The Rangers announced today that they have added right-handed pitchers Juan Nicasio and Edinson Volquez to their 60-man player pool. That leaves the team with three remaining openings to work with at the outset of Summer Camp.
Both of these hurlers had already been inked to minor-league deals with the Texas organization. Their inclusion on the list was expected, but the club had waited to make the formal moves until the veterans had entered the United States and made it through testing protocols.
Nicasio, 33, has topped forty MLB frames in each of the past nine seasons. He hasn’t been terribly effective of late; last year, he finished with a 4.75 ERA in 47 1/3 innings with the Phillies. But Nicasio has had his share of success and carried eye-popping peripherals in the 2018 campaign (despite a substandard 6.00 ERA).
As for Volquez, who turns 37 tomorrow, it once seemed he’d already be retired by this point. But he chose to return last year after undergoing Tommy John surgery and was able to reacquire all of his arm strength. The results weren’t there in his brief 2019 action and he struggled early in camp, but the Rangers obviously feel there could still be some gas in the tank.
In each case, the MLB opportunity is perhaps greater than might have been expected. The new three-batter minimum rule and shortened second training camp give these veteran pitchers added appeal. Both have experience as starters and historically carry neutral platoon splits. With extra active roster spots to work with early on, the Rangers could well carry and frequently utilize both Nicasio and Volquez.