5:24pm: James Wagner of the Washington Post adds some clarity from the Nats’ perspective, noting that although Badenhop did re-sign in late March, he was again released on April 1 (Twitter link).
5:19pm: The Rangers and right-hander Burke Badenhop have agreed to a minor league contract, Rangers radio play-by-play man Jared Sandler first tweeted. The 33-year-old ACES client will pitch at Triple-A to open the season.
Badenhop spent the 2015 season with the Reds, posting a 3.93 ERA with 4.9 K/9, 2.7 BB/9 and a 46.7 percent ground-ball rate in 66 1/3 innings. That marked sixth straight season in which he avoided the disabled list. The highly durable Badenhop has averaged 58 appearances and 66 innings per season dating back to the 2009 campaign, logging a 3.50 ERA in that time. Badenhop doesn’t throw particularly hard, having never averaged even 90 mph on his fastball in a season (88.6 mph in 2015), but he’s managed to carve out a history of success based on his strong control and penchant for inducing ground-balls.
This offseason, Badenhop inked a minor league pact with the Nationals, but he ultimately did not make the club out of Spring Training. The Nats announced (via Twitter) that they had released and re-signed Badenhop in late March (to avoid paying him a $100K retention bonus as an Article XX (B) free agent), and he curiously was never reported to have been released from that new minor league pact. However, multiple reporters have noted the transaction, so perhaps Badenhop and the Nats had an understanding that he could pursue a better opportunity if he felt one presented itself. The Rangers have a fairly crowded bullpen picture at the big league level, although they’ve been an oft-mentioned candidate to deal from their bullpen surplus, even as recently as March 31. That, of course, doesn’t mean that any sort of move is nearing fruition, but Badenhop should provide the Rangers with additional depth in the event of a transaction or injury, should either (or both) arise.