The Rangers announced a series of pitching-related moves today, including the signings of right-hander Luis Garcia and southpaw James Jones to minor league contracts. Garcia and Jones will be invited to the club’s Major League Spring Training camp. In addition, recently-designated righty Jimmy Herget has been outrighted to Triple-A Nashville after clearing waivers, and right-hander Reed Garrett has been released so he can pursue a deal with Japan’s Seibu Lions.
Garcia, the most experienced member of the quartet, tossed 62 innings out of the Angels bullpen last season before opting for free agency rather than accept an outright assignment to Triple-A in October. Garcia posted a 4.35 ERA, 8.3 K/9, and 1.73 K/BB rate, while taking a lot of damage from the home run ball, allowing 13 homers over his 62 frames of work. Garcia also posted a career-low 47.2% grounder rate; still a respectable total, though a step down for a pitcher who never dropped below the 54.7% mark with the Phillies from 2013-17. Garcia also posted a 48.4% grounder rate in 2018, so his days as a truly elite grounder specialist could be over.
Overall, Garcia has a 4.17 ERA, 8.2 K/9, and 1.77 K/BB rate over 306 2/3 innings over the last seven seasons. He has held right-handed batters to a .238/.329/.370 slash line in that time, so he offers a bit of specialist value and durability to the Rangers should he win a job in their bullpen.
Jones will return for his fifth season in the Rangers organization as he continues the transition from outfielder to pitcher (yes, this is the same James Jones who saw action in center field for the Mariners in 2014-15). This work was interrupted by a Tommy John surgery that cost him the entire 2017 season, though more recent results have shown promise. Jones had a 2.67 ERA, 10.0 K/9, and 2.37 K/BB rate over 64 innings in 2019, split between Double-A (56 1/3 IP) and Triple-A (7 2/3 IP). Jones seems likely to continue at Triple-A this year, as continues to slowly but surely take an unlikely path back to the majors.
Herget was designated when Texas acquired Adolis Garcia from the Cardinals almost three weeks ago, though Herget’s extended stay in DFA limbo was due to league offices being closed over the holiday season. A sixth-round pick for the Reds in the 2015 draft, Herget made his Major League debut in the form of 6 1/3 relief innings for Cincinnati last season, before the Rangers claimed him off waivers in early December.
Garrett also got his first taste of MLB action in 2019, with an 8.22 ERA over 15 1/3 innings with the Tigers. Garrett had some strong numbers in the minors in 2018, which prompted Detroit to select him in the Rule 5 Draft. The righty’s lack of immediate success, however, prompted the Tigers to send Garrett back to the Rangers last May. Garrett will now become the latest in an increasingly large number of players with MLB or high-minors experience (or, the proverbial “Quadruple-A” types) to head to Japan or South Korea in search of a larger salary or a more prominent role.