TODAY: Texas has officially announced the move.
YESTERDAY: The Rangers will designate struggling former closer Sam Dyson for assignment, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter links). Texas expects to trade Dyson after informing other clubs of its plans and receiving interest from more than one team, Rosenthal adds. Jose Leclerc will be activated from the DL to take Dyson’s place on the roster.
Dyson, 29, emerged as the closer in Texas just one year ago on the strength of an excellent 2.43 ERA with 7.0 K/9, 2.9 BB/9 and a 65.2 percent ground-ball rate. He logged a total of 70 1/3 innings and picked up 38 saves last season, leading to a $3.52MM salary in arbitration last winter. However, the 2017 season has been nothing short of nightmarish for Dyson, who has posted a 10.80 ERA with more walks (12) than strikeouts (7). Dyson has served up six homers in just 16 2/3 innings this year after yielding a total of five over the life of the entire 2016 season.
Dyson is still owed the balance of that aforementioned salary — a commitment of roughly $2.347MM through season’s end. Of course, Texas could offset some of that salary in trade talks with interested teams over the course of the next few days. Presumably, the move won’t be made official until tomorrow, as the Rangers are off today.
Despite his disastrous results in 2017, it’s not difficult to envision a club rolling the dice on Dyson’s track record. From 2014-16, the righty posted a combined 2.45 ERA with 7.6 K/9 against 2.8 BB/9 in 187 2/3 innings with the Marlins and Rangers. And while he hasn’t been able to keep the ball in the yard this year, his heavy ground-ball tendencies helped him to average just 0.5 HR/9 across those three seasons. Furthermore, Dyson has maintained a ground-ball rate north of 61 percent in 2017 and is averaging nearly 95 mph on his fastball.
While one can make the argument for any number of teams to take a gamble on Dyson, a few stand out as plausible in my eyes. The Nationals have been looking for late-inning ’pen help for quite some time and could try Dyson in a low-leverage role with the hope that he can reemerge as a viable setup option. The Mets, too, are in need of relief help following Jeurys Familia’s injury. The Twins’ have the worst bullpen ERA in the Majors and may find the idea of acquiring Dyson at a bargain rate appealing, given that their surprising status as AL Central contenders clashes with their expected plan of rebuilding. (Notably, Minnesota GM Thad Levine was a longtime Rangers assistant GM before moving to the Twins this year.) Of course, all of those fits are purely my own speculation.