As expected, the Rangers have agreed to re-sign free agent pitcher Colby Lewis, the club announced today (via MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan). The deal is for one year and $4MM. Texas has also re-signed the recently non-tendered Michael Kirkman to a minor league deal with a Spring Training invite, the team announced.
Lewis, a 35-year-old righty, has been with the Rangers since returning stateside after a two-year run with in Japan. He was a sturdy, high-value presence in the team’s rotation until being derailed by elbow issues in the middle of 2012.
Lewis worked back to throw 170 1/3 innings last year, proving that he could carry the load of a big league starter. The results were not there, with a 5.18 ERA, but his peripherals (7.0 K/9 against 2.5 BB/9) led ERA estimators to value his contribution at about a run per nine lower than the earned runs he actually permitted.
Kirkman, meanwhile, lost his 40-man spot but obviously still held interest to the Rangers. The club seemingly took advantage of the non-tender deadline as a way to move him off the roster without exposing him to waivers, a process explained recently by Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper. Last year saw Kirkman’s lowest MLB innings tally since he broke into the league in 2010, though he had a fairly typical season at Triple-A and should have every opportunity to crack the big league pen in the spring.