The Rangers have signed right-hander Joe Gatto to a major league contract, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. They also re-signed outfielder Scott Heineman to a majors pact, TR Sullivan of MLB.com tweets. The team non-tendered Heineman on Wednesday. He has a split contract that would pay him $595K in the majors, per Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News.
It’s somewhat surprising that Gatto, who hasn’t pitched above Double-A ball to this point, received a big league deal. The 25-year-old spent a large portion of 2018 in Double-A and all of 2019 there with the Angels organization. He combined for a 5.36 ERA with 7.3 K/9 against 4.4 BB/9 in 131 innings during those two seasons.
While Gatto hasn’t had great success in Double-A, he was a prospect of note during his younger days. A second-round pick of the Angels in 2014, Gatto ranked as one of their top 10 prospects at Baseball America during his first couple years with the franchise. Back when the team drafted him, Gatto was seen as one of the most talented righties to come out of New Jersey in recent memory.
Heineman, 27, has been with the Rangers since they used an 11th-rounder on him in 2015. He has often mashed in the minors, including when he hit .340/.412/.553 in 182 Triple-A plate appearances in 2019, but his success there hasn’t translated to the bigs. Heineman owns a .189/.259/.331 line with three home runs in 139 plate appearances as a Ranger.