Feb. 10: The Rangers have announced the signing.
Feb. 5, 5:22pm: Foltynewicz will earn $2MM with incentives, per The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, who tweets that the deal is done pending a physical. The incentives could reach $500K, Mark Feinsand of MLB.com relays.
2:54pm: The Rangers are closing in on a one-year, Major League contract with free-agent right-hander Mike Foltynewicz, reports Kiley McDaniel of ESPN (via Twitter). Foltynewicz is a client of Excel Sports Management.
Foltynewicz was a quality starter earlier in his career with the Braves, especially in 2018. That year, he threw 183 innings of 2.85 ERA/3.77 SIERA ball while averaging a career-high 96.4 mph on his fastball and posting a well-above-average strikeout percentage of 27.4. But Foltynewicz’s production dropped off in 2019, in which the Braves demoted him to the minors. And though he did enjoy a late-season rebound in 2019, he wasn’t able to carry that into last year.
Foltynewicz made one appearance with the Braves in 2020 (on July 27) and allowed six earned runs on four hits and and four walks in 3 1/3 innings. The 29-year-old’s fastball averaged a startlingly low 90.5 mph in that contest, and the Braves then booted him from their 40-man roster. He went unclaimed on waivers, as no club was willing to pick up the remainder of his salary, and he spent the rest of the year at their alternate site before electing free agency earlier in the offseason.
The right-hander could have elected free agency at the time he was outrighted, but doing so would’ve meant forfeiting the remainder of his salary, as he was just a couple weeks shy of the five years of service time required to reject an outright assignment while still retaining salary. Because he’s shy of that five-year service mark, he’s now controllable for the Rangers through the 2022 season via arbitration.
Foltynewicz will get a chance to bounce back from his horrid 2020 as a member of the Rangers, whose rotation was among the worst in the game last year. Kyle Gibson, Jordan Lyles and Kolby Allard had terrible years a season ago, though Foltynewicz and new acquisitions Dane Dunning and Kohei Arihara could provide reasons for hope.