Workman, a UT-Austin product, has seven years of big league experience to his name. He worked in a swing capacity with the Red Sox from 2013-14, but he lost most of the following two seasons recovering from Tommy John surgery. Upon returning from that procedure in 2017, Workman moved full-time into relief and found a fair amount of success.
The right-hander worked at least 39 innings with an ERA below 3.30 in every season from 2017-19. He was an utterly dominant late-game option in 2019, when he pitched to a 1.88 ERA in 71 2/3 frames and saved 16 games. Few pitchers could match the combination of strikeouts (36.4%) and grounders (51.1%) Workman put up that season, although he did walk a fine line with his control (15.7% walk percentage).
Workman had been a capable strike-thrower for his career until 2019. But he’s continued to dole out plenty of free passes in recent seasons even as his strikeout and ground-ball numbers have fallen back to ordinary levels. Over the past two seasons, he’s suited up with three clubs (the Red Sox, Phillies and Cubs) and combined for 47 2/3 innings of 5.66 ERA ball. He’s been hit at a .330/.426/.522 clip, with a dramatically reduced 20.3% strikeout rate and an elevated 14.3% walk percentage.
Those past two years of struggles dictate that Workman will have to pitch his way back into the big leagues as a non-roster player. Still, it’s sensible for the Rangers to take a look at a reliever who’s not too far removed from finding major league success. Texas’ bullpen mix is almost entirely wide open, with Joe Barlow and Spencer Patton perhaps the only right-handed locks for season-opening spots.