Wednesday newsletter time: Looking for news? Rangers had plenty Tuesday
(ProLook Photos/Eddie Kelly)
The following is Texas Rangers news from Tuesday (it’s a lot):
• Left-hander Martin Perez accepts the qualifying offer of one year, $19.65 million to return the rotation.
Perez’s decision to return is a pretty big deal. The Rangers now have three starters locked up for the rotation and still have the money to find more. General manager Chris Young said they will be shopping at the top of the market while keeping an eye on other tiers.
• The Rangers trade right-handed reliever Dennis Santana to the Braves for a cash consideration, freeing a spot on the 40-man roster.
Perez accepting took away a 40-man spot, so the Rangers shipped Dennis Santana off to Atlanta. That was necessary because …
• Six players — shortstop Luisangel Acuna, outfielder Dustin Harris, right-hander Zak Kent, infielder Jonathan Ornelas and right-handers Owen White and Cole Winn — are added to the 40-man roster to protect them from being exposed to the Rule 5 draft.
With that extra opening on the 40 man, the Rangers were able to make the adds from the minor leagues. With the 40-man full, the Rangers are really going to be trimming the fat when it comes time to add free agents. Roster spots can be created via designated a player for assignment, trading a player (as the Rangers did with Santana) and non-tendering a player or two.
That’s the next big roster deadline, and it’s Friday.
• Young says the Rangers are still looking for a pitching coach on manager Bruce Bochy’s staff.
This is a busy time for the Rangers, though maybe they will have time find the right hire this week. Mike Madux has had muliple conversations. Former Bochy pitching coaches Darren Balsley and Curt Young are thought to be candidates, as well. Young made it sound like there is no timetable for this opening to be filled.
Exposure to Rule 5
Six players could make a case thaty they should ahve been protected from the Rule 5 draft, ranging from a very good case to a fair case.
Topping the list, at least in my book, is right-hander Kyle Cody. In an offseason when relievers are getting paid outrageous money, the hard-throwing former starter seems like a really good candidate to be selected. He does have an extensive injury history, but he’s healthy now and pitched well at Triple A following his long layoff.
First baseman Blaine Crim, righty Mason Englert and left-handers Cody Bradford, Avery Weems and Antoine Kelly were among the others. Englert and Bradford were mentioned by one official as his two toughest calls.
“It’s no indication of how we feel about those players,” Young said. “We believe those players are going to be contributing members of our organization and a big part of our future.”
So, say one of them is selected. What happens?
The team that makes the claim would pay the Rangers $100,000. The player immediately goes on the 40-man roster and must stay on the active roster for the entire season.
If the player doesn’t make the team, he is designated for assignment and must pass through waivers. If he goes unclaimed, the selecting team must offer him back to the Rangers for $50,000.
It’s not easy getting a player who isn’t ready for the majors through a major-league season, and the players the Rangers didn’t protect aren’t ready.
Crim might be best equipped, but he’s not going to be a team’s starting first baseman, and a righty-hitter who plays only first base will be tough to keep on the bench all season. Kelly throws hard and from a funky arm angle from the left side, but he also posted a 7.23 ERA after being acquired by the Rangers (Matt Bush trade) and bumped to Double A.
Weems is also a bit of a funky lefty.
Englert and Bradford are starting pitchers who finished the season well and pitched better than their numbers. Bradford has plus-changeup. Englert tossed seven innings of a combined no-hitter at High A Hickory, but has only a few appearances at Double A. Both have excellent makeup.
But can any of them be stashed away on a roster for a full season? The Rangers must not think so.
Bullpen upgrades coming?
When Young was asked about the Rangers still being in the market for starting pitchers, he said the Rangers are looking to fill out their “pitching staff.”
That means bullpen help could be on the horizon.
The Rangers should bring back left-hander Matt Moore, who performed so well for them in 2022. In hindsight, with the way prices for relievers are soaring, the Rangers should have taken care of Moore during the season.
But the Rangers could be aiming higher, potentially for a closer.
Let’s just use Kenley Jansen as an example. I’m not saying the Rangers are interested in him, but he’s the first free-agent closer I thought of.
OK. The Rangers sign Jansen to a two-year deal. That means right-handers Jose Leclerc and Jonathan Hernandez become setup men any where from the sixth to eight inning. Moore fits in that group, and so does lefty Brock Burke.
Games just got shorter, and maybe there’s a setup man out there the Rangers can sign, too.
However, the Rangers’ are essentially going to have only eight 40-man players as real options to choose from the minors to start the season. The six prospects added to the 40-man Tuesday need more time in minors, though Winn could fill a valuable multple-innings role in his first stint in the majors.
It would be a similar play to what the Rangers did with Derek Holland in 2009. He was brought up to work as a reliever so that he could get a feel for big-league baseball in short spurs. .
The point, though, is if the six 40-man adds are going to stick, a few of them need to be of some service.
And the bullpen needs to be serviced.
Come right into your living room. Enjoy.
Majestic Catch pic.twitter.com/pqoGAjSatX
— Madeyousmile (@Thund3rB0lt) November 12, 2022
Jeff Wilson, email@example.com