The Rangers announced today they have designated right-hander Pedro Payano and left-hander Locke St. John for assignment. Their 40-man roster spots were needed for the activations of Jeffrey Springs and Edinson Vólquez from the 60-day injured list.
Payano, 24, didn’t enter the year as a top prospect but put himself on the organizational radar with a 28.3% strikeout rate in the Double-A Texas League. He was knocked around in 11 games in the Pacific Coast League (as most pitchers are) and scuffled in his six-game MLB debut, too, but he comes with three option years and did show a swing-and-miss slider in the bigs, so perhaps another team will take a look.
Much like Payano, St. John, 26, is an optionable arm who made his big league debut this year despite an unheralded prospect reputation. He, too, was quite good in Double-A and got knocked around in Triple-A, but he’s run strong minor-league strikeout rates since being moved to the bullpen full-time in 2018.
Springs, also 26, will take St. John’s place as a left-handed bullpen arm in Arlington. He was terrible in 26 innings before succumbing to left biceps tendinitis, but the changeup specialist was a little more well-regarded than his designated counterparts as a prospect.
The most-noteworthy name in today’s transaction series, though, is that of Vólquez. The 15-year veteran plans to retire at the end of the season but had been pushing for a return from a right elbow sprain. Even though the Rangers are out of contention, the 36-year-old had wanted to go out on his own terms, which fortunately seems to be in the cards.