The Rangers have released left-hander Michael Kirkman, tweets Stefan Stevenson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Kirkman had been non-tendered by the Rangers in December and then re-signed to a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training.
The 28-year-old Kirkman has spent his entire career with the Rangers but saw just 5 2/3 innings with the team in 2014. In 106 2/3 innings, Kirkman has worked to a 4.98 ERA 8.7 K/9, 4.6 BB/9 and a 39.4 percent ground-ball rate. Kirkman’s career has been slowed by a battle with skin cancer that limited his time on the field over the past few seasons, but he was able to take the mound again last season and pitched an inning and two-thirds in Spring Training this year before today’s release.
A number of clubs will likely be on the lookout for left-handed depth over the course of Spring Training, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Kirkman get an audition with another team in the next few weeks. The Mets are one team in particular known to be looking for left-handed relief help, following the news that Josh Edgin will undergo Tommy John surgery.
It’s worth noting, though, that lefty hitters have had more success against Kirkman in his career than right-handed hitters. He does, however, possess much better K/BB numbers against lefties, and his FIP/xFIP marks against same-handed hitters (3.65 and 3.72, respectively) are much better than those same marks against righties (4.80, 4.86) in spite of the bottom-line results.