TODAY: Tolleson has elected free agency, the team announced.
YESTERDAY: The Rangers have outrighted right-handed pitchers Lucas Harrell and Shawn Tolleson, according to an announcement from VP of communications John Blake. Both pitchers ended the year on the 60-day DL, and now have the option to elect free agency.
Harrell, 31, returned stateside after spending 2015 with Korea’s LG Twins. He didn’t pitch well at Double-A with the Tigers organization, but got a shot with the rebuilding Braves and turned in five useful starts for Atlanta.
That led to a trade to the Rangers, but things didn’t quite pan out in Texas. In his four outings, Harrell managed only 17 2/3 innings, coughing up 11 earned runs and permitting 13 walks to go with his 15 strikeouts. His year ended with a groin strain.
As for Tolleson, 28, the 2016 campaign was a bit of a nightmare. He had been quite a productive member of the Rangers bullpen for the two prior seasons, racking up 144 frames of 2.88 ERA ball and taking over the closer’s role. But he fell off of a cliff this year, allowing a 7.68 ERA over 36 1/3 innings.
While he still managed 7.2 K/9 versus 2.5 BB/9 in 2016, Tolleson allowed 53 hits and eight long balls in his partial-season work for the Rangers. Tolleson didn’t show any velocity decline, and was perhaps unlucky in some respects (.372 BABIP, 24.2% HR/FB rate). He was ultimately placed on the 60-day DL due to back issues. With a projected $3.6MM arbitration salary, Texas decided to move on.
It’s certainly possible that either of these hurlers could end up returning to the Rangers, though they’ll have a shot to test the open market first. Both figure to garner their fair share of interest: Harrell may at least represent a rotation depth option, while Tolleson’s recent history as a quality late-inning arm is intriguing.