Wednesday newsletter time: Garver departure opens door for two young players
(AP photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez)
Mitch Garver won’t be back with the Rangers, which seemed like a foregone conclusion.
Garver was a free agent for the first time and needed to cash in. The two-year, $24 million agreement he reached with the Mariners pays him well now, and if he does well in 2024 and 2025, he could cash in again.
Rangers Today friend Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reported that most of Garver’s at-bats will come at designated hitter. Cal Raleigh is the Mariners’ primary catcher. Garver likely would have had a similar role with the Rangers, but they either didn’t offer enough to keep him or decided it was time to give Sam Huff and Justin Foscue a chance.
Huff is the clear front-runner to be the backup to catcher Jonah Heim. Huff can play first base should Nathaniel Lowe need a day off and could also slide into the lineup at DH if the Rangers need some punch.
Foscue’s chances at making the roster also improve with Garver headed elsewhere. He hasn’t made his MLB debut but was added to the 40-man roster last month to avoid exposure to the Rule 5 draft. Foscue can hit and play a little at second, first and third base. Most anticipate that his future is at DH,
A right-handed hitter, Foscue could find himself in a platoon should he earn a roster spot. But he’s good enough to earn everyday at-bats.
Huff and Foscue would be due the league minimum salary, and that would help the Rangers this offseason and at the trade deadline should they need to add some salary.
The Rangers will see Garver 13 times a year, and that’s a good thing. He’s a good dude. He also had a great postseason and will always have a place in franchise lore.
The Rangers’ pro scouts have been on at least a five-year heater, maybe even longer, finding players in the United States, Latin America and the Far East who keep surpassing expectations.
Their work in all three realms has led to the signing of two right-handers to minor-league contracts.
The Rangers signed Jesus Tinoco to a minor-league contract earlier this month and on Tuesday reached another minor-league deal with right-hander Diego Castillo.
Tinoco pitched for the Rangers in 2022, serving up No. 62 to Aaron Judge. Castillo has pitched against the Rangers since 2018, when he broke in with the Rays and later was traded to the Mariners. He enjoyed some solid seasons and still boasts a 3.22 career ERA even after a disastrous 2023 that saw him designated for assignment by the Mariners and then pitch poorly for Triple A Tacoma.
The Rangers’ Triple A affiliate, Round Rock, plays in the same league as Tacoma, so Rangers scouts had eyes on Castillo during the regular season. He has pitched in two games for Licey in the Dominican Winter League, where Huff is currently playing.
Tinoco is pitching in Venezuela this winter after pitching in 2023 for the Seibu Lions in Japan. The Rangers have pro scouts in Japan and Venezuela, just as they do across the U.S. and in the Dominican Republic.
Don’t count on much from Tinoco or Castillo, at least not at this point. They are part of the depth that all teams build for spring training. With some luck, a few depth pieces emerge in spring training or at some point during the season and help the big-league club.
Travis Jankowski is the shining 2023 example. If Leody Taveras hadn’t been injured in spring training, Jankowski wouldn’t have made the Opening Day roster. He ended up spending the entire season and postseason with the Rangers.
Rangers Today spent some time in Colorado last week, which put a dent into our regular programming, but we received a huge assist from T.R. Sullivan. He had an itch, and he scratched it with two T.R.’s Memoirs. There were a few other stories and a sale, which expired Tuesday. But if you ask nicely, I might be persuaded to give you the sale price of $48 for an annual subscription. Here’s our latest content, in case you missed it.
Time for Rangers Today to get going again. Enjoy.
— out of context dogs (@contextdogs) December 26, 2023
Jeff Wilson, firstname.lastname@example.org