The Rangers announced Wednesday that they’ve placed right-hander Ian Kennedy on the 10-day injured list due to a “mild” hamstring strain and selected the contract of right-hander Spencer Patton from Triple-A Round Rock in his place. Texas already had an open spot on the 40-man roster, so an additional corresponding move is not necessary. Patton will be in the club’s bullpen for today’s game.
Kennedy, 36, has proven to be one of the best minor league signings in all of baseball this season. He inked a non-guaranteed pact with an invite to Spring Training and parlayed a strong showing there into a $2.15MM base salary. He’s not only justified that modest investment, he’s thrived as one of the game’s more effective late-inning relievers. Kennedy has pitched 21 1/3 innings and racked up 12 saves to go along with a 2.53 ERA, a hefty 29.8 percent strikeout rate and a tidy 8.3 percent walk rate.
That standout performance, coupled with a generally poor performance from the team as a whole, makes Kennedy one of the most obvious trade candidates on this summer’s market. Texas has dropped nine of its past ten games, falling to 16 games south of the .500 mark and 13 games back of the division-leading Athletics. As such, it’s good news for the Rangers that Kennedy is dealing with only a “mild” strain. While a timeline for his return wasn’t provided, the mild nature of the injury should allow him to return long before the July 30 trade deadline.
As for Patton, today’s promotion will mark the culmination of a nearly five-year journey back to the big leagues. A 24th-round pick of the Royals back in 2011, Patton made his MLB debut as a Ranger in 2014 and spent parts of the next three seasons as an up-and-down member of the bullpen for both the Rangers and Cubs.
From there, Patton went on to spend four seasons pitching with the Yokohama DeNA BayStars of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball. The righty was one of NPB’s best relievers in 2017-18 before struggling, in part due to injury, in 2019-20. Even with the downturn in his final two years in Japan, however, Patton’s overall NPB track record was strong: 205 2/3 innings of 3.68 ERA ball with a 27.4 percent strikeout rate against a 9.5 percent walk rate.
Patton returned to the Rangers on a minor league deal of his own this winter, and he’s fired off 12 scoreless innings to begin his season in Round Rock. He’s walked six hitters, which clearly isn’t ideal, but has also yielded only six hits and whiffed a dozen of the 45 batters he’s faced. He’ll now get the chance to prove that the gains he appeared to make in NPB are sustainable here at the game’s top level in North America. Patton turned 33 back in February, so if he is indeed able to replicate his NPB success here in MLB, he could have several years remaining as a productive, late-inning reliever — be it with the Rangers or with another club.
This year’s trade market was already thin on pitching.
Now every GM has to be asking, how many of these guys will regress without sticky grip.
The way pitchers are going down, prospective sellers should not be waiting until the deadline to move guys. The sticky thing is another reason why. Bad and rebuilding teams need to trade these relievers asap. Since they have limited trade value to begin with, why risk them losing all their value with an injury?
That’s too bad about Kennedy. Texas was probably hoping to get some prospects for him at TD. Gallo, Kennedy, Gibson, Holt, etc. Do Rangers have anyone untouchable. Even Garcia he’s pushing 30 so if they could get some top prospects he’s expendable too. They are in full-time rebuild.
Guys like Kennedy and Gibson have done the Rangers a major favor by accruing some trade value. Garcia is an interesting one. All those years of club control, yet baseball logic tells us his prime is now and the Rangers won’t be winning while he’s in it. Just 10 walks and 58 strikeouts. This will likely be the best time to cash him in.
The BROCKSTAH’s available??????? Call Bloom right away.
Kennedy is not dead. Ian, I mean. The trade deadline is in seven weeks. Mild strain.
Fever Pitch Guy
Thoughts and prayers for a speedy recovery.
I’m guessing all of them. What pitchers don’t use sticky grips? Maybe sinker ball pitchers as I believe less spin helps sink. I might be misremembering that.
Patton is getting his chance, by George.
Just our luck having one of our best trade chips hit the IL right now.
You can’t keep trading away everyone that is having a good season or we will continue this process forever. Selling at the deadline every year is insane.
Give Cashner a shot. He did good the one year he was a Ranger.
Cashner would be good in the bullpen.