Wednesday newsletter time: Rangers looking past winter meetings to complete shopping list
(AP photo/George Walker IV)
NASHVILLE — The Rangers won’t be leaving the winter meetings empty-handed.
They satisfied a desire for a bullpen veteran by agreeing to terms Tuesday with right-hander Kirby Yates on a one-year deal. Yates, who saved 41 games in 2019 for the Padres, pitched to a 3.28 ERA in 2023 with five saves for the Braves.
Yates will slide into a late-innings role along with Jose Leclerc and Josh Sborz. While he doesn’t throw particularly hard, with an average fastball velocity last season of 93.6, Yates’ four-seamer had good horizonal movement and his split-fingered fastball helped produce one of the top strikeout percentages (31.5) in the National League.
Manager Bruce Bochy said that the Rangers continue to shop for a starting pitcher, and they are thought to be the favorites to land left-hander Jordan Montgomery. They aren’t done shopping for bullpen help, either.
General manager Chris Young reiterated that the Rangers will be adding more relief arms. He doesn’t expect anything to happen by the time he leaves Thursday morning, but it only takes one phone call or one really, really big decision (see below) for the dam to break.
That Bochy is a funny guy. When asked informally if he had any news, he said that the Rangers had gotten Shohei Ohtani locked up for $2.1 billion.
“He’s our owner now,” Bochy quipped.
You had to be there, I guess.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts confirmed that his club met with the two-way star over the weekend. Ohtani reportedly traveled to the Blue Jays spring home in Florida and was also recently spotted in San Francisco. The Cubs said that they are not out of the bidding.
A decisions seems unlikely at these meetings, which have been a dud. He’s the primary reason for that.
Rule 5 watch
The Rule 5 draft is the most anticipated moment of every winter meetings, because it signals the end of the winter meetings.
The Rangers have a few prospects they could potentially lose, namely first baseman Blaine Crim and right-handers Dane Acker, Justin Slaten and Anthony Hoopii-Tuionetoa. The Rangers have room on the 40-man roster if they want to make a selection, but they might not have the roster flexibility to carry a player all season.
Infielder Justin Foscue, left-hander Antoine Kelly and right-handers Marc Church and Jose Corniell, the 2023 Rangers Minor League Pitcher of the Year, were added to the 40-man last month as protection from the Rule 5 draft.
Acker underwent a minor procedure on his knee after an abbreviated season at Double A Frisco following a spring shoulder injury. Slaten and Hoopii-Tuionetoa, both relievers, pitched in the Arizona Fall League, where Hoopii-Tuionetoa posted a 0.00 ERA.
The Rangers lost right-hander Mason Englert last year in the Rule 5 draft. He pitched in 31 games for the Tigers, posting a 5.46 ERA.
Gangs of corgi puppies have a well-deserved reputation as being vicious. Enjoy.
Mistakes were made.. 😅 pic.twitter.com/Py21A2iScO
— Buitengebieden (@buitengebieden) December 5, 2023
Jeff Wilson, firstname.lastname@example.org