The Rangers announced today that they have designated veteran pitcher Drew Smyly for assignment. His 40-man and active roster spots will go to fellow lefty Locke St. John, whose contract was selected.
While rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, Smyly signed a two-year, $10MM deal with the Cubs in anticipation of a full and productive 2019 season. The Rangers acquired that contract last fall, installing the lefty in a rotation full of salvaged former quality starters.
Unfortunately, Smyly’s attempt to come back after two missed campaigns has simply not gone as hoped. He has been torched for 8.42 earned runs per nine in 51 1/3 innings on the season, with his struggles continuing after a move to the bullpen.
Though Smyly is back to his customary 91 mph fastball range, he’s having a hard time coaxing hitters to offer at pitches out of the zone (22.4% chase rate). With batters not being fooled by the breaking stuff, they’re having an easy time drawing walks (just under six per nine) from the typically under-control Smyly. And they are teeing off on his mistakes, having already launched 19 long balls against him.
Still only thirty years of age, Smyly may well have a second act left. He was at times a highly effective starter with the Tigers and Rays. If he’s to get back on track, though, it’ll likely mean spending some time working on things at an extended spring facility and then earning another shot at the big leagues through some time in the minors.