The Rangers have signed free agent pitcher Jeremy Guthrie to a minor league contract, tweets Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com was the first to report the two sides were close to an agreement while T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com reported it was a minor pact. The deal is pending a physical.
Guthrie, soon to be 37, is coming off the worst season of his career. Pitching for the Royals, he posted a 5.95 ERA (5.62 FIP), 5.10 K/9, and 2.67 BB/9 in 148 innings. A career high line drive rate led to an above normal .315 BABIP (career .284 BABIP). He also had an elevated 14.1% HR/FB ratio although that has been a common problem for him in recent seasons.
Given that Kauffman Stadium is one of the most home run suppressant parks in baseball, a move to Texas’ Globe Life Park is not promising. Guthrie will compete with Chi Chi Gonzalez, Nick Martinez, and others for the fifth starter’s role. Colby Lewis, penciled in as the fourth starter, is recovery from a knee injury. Yu Darvish will also eventually rejoin the rotation mid-season.
In addition to competing for a rotation job, Guthrie provides a very necessary safety in the case of injury to Derek Holland or Martin Perez. Both pitchers have missed most of the last two seasons with various injuries.