The Rangers announced Thursday that they’ve selected the contract of veteran reliever Kevin Jepsen, who was in camp on a minor league contract. In a corresponding move, the Rangers designated first baseman Tommy Joseph for assignment. Texas claimed him off waivers from the Phillies last week. Additionally, Martin Perez, Tony Barnette and Tim Lincecum have been placed on the 10-day DL.
Once a top-ranked catching prospect, Joseph moved to first base due to concussion issues and broke into the Majors with a solid showing in 2016 (.257/.308/.505). However, Joseph has struggled to get on base in each of his two big league seasons and saw his overall offensive output decline in 2017. Overall, he’s a .247/.297/.460 hitter in 880 PAs, but as an OBP-challenged slugger with significant defensive limitations, he was squeezed out in Philadelphia and could have a tough time finding a regular role elsewhere.
The 33-year-old Jepsen didn’t pitch in the Majors last season after posting a dismal 5.98 ERA in 49 2/3 frames between the Twins and Rays in 2016. He spent last year with the Nationals’ Triple-A affiliate but endured similar struggles, logging a 5.32 ERA in 23 2/3 innings of work. Jepsen has long shown the ability to miss bats, however, and was an effective closer for the Twins as recently as 2015. From 2012-15, he posted a 2.93 ERA with 8.7 K/9 against 3.2 BB/9 in 215 1/3 innings between the Angels, Rays and Twins.