The Rangers announced that they have claimed right-hander Nick Mears off waivers from the Pirates. Mears had been designated for assignment earlier in the week. In a corresponding move, outfielder Eli White was designated for assignment.
Mears, 26, will join just the second organization of his career, as he’s spent it all with the Pirates up until now. An undrafted free agent, he burst onto the scene with a 2019 campaign that saw him go from Single-A to High-A to Double-A. He threw 46 2/3 combined innings at those different stops with a 3.28 ERA, 35.9% strikeout rate and 9.4% walk rate. He capped that season off 8 2/3 shutout innings in the Arizona Fall League.
That strong campaign was enough to get him attention from prospect evaluators. Baseball America ranked him the #19 prospect in Pittsburgh’s system going into 2020, highlighting a fastball that averaged in the mid-to-high 90s and could even reach 101 mph. FanGraphs put him as up in the #13 slot.
Mears was added to Pittsburgh’s 40-man roster in 2020 and has served as an optionable depth arm over the past three seasons. He has 30 1/3 big league innings over those three campaigns with a 4.75 ERA and 22.7% strikeout rate but a huge 14.9% walk rate. He spent most of 2022 in Triple-A with similar control concerns, walking 16% of batters faced.
The Rangers were evidently intrigued enough by the power to put in a claim and see if they can harness it. Mears has one option year remaining, allowing the club to keep him in the minors for another season of experimentation and development, if necessary. However, the price they are paying for that privilege is potentially losing White.
Originally drafted by the A’s, White came to the Rangers in the Jurickson Profar trade. Since then, he’s struggled to produce offensively and has dealt with injuries, though he’s been strong on defense. He’s played 130 games at the big league level over the past three seasons, hitting just .185/.260/.296, wRC+ of 56. His 2021 season was ended by elbow surgery and his 2022 finished by wrist surgery. On the glove-side of things, Defensive Runs Saved has given him a grade of +11 in the outfield so far, along with a +9.7 from Ultimate Zone Rating and 10 Outs Above Average.
The Rangers will now have a week to trade White or pass him through waivers. Though the bat hasn’t been great so far, his strong defense and two remaining option years could make him attractive to other clubs looking for outfield depth.
Boy Caught MLB TR
How does this help Texas? They are worse in left field, and this guy isn’t too good, even for a blowout reliever.
Eli White I thought is the greatest 4A player ever. Could never figure out with his skills why he couldn’t make itin MLB. Sad.
I could be wrong, but pitching is better in MLB than AAA. That’s just my opinion
Surprised it took them this long to let him go. Thought he was going to be non-tendered. I would have rather added Mason Englert and let White go than pick up Mears. My gyess Mears is 1st off the 40 with any other trades/signings in the future.
Boy Caught MLB TR
Same thoughts exactly
Hope the As pick him back up
Me too. I’d much rather have him as depth and DFA Stevenson.
PIT must have DFA’d him knowing there’d be trade interest. 7th Rd Senior sign P is just a wild card but still makes a little more sense than releasing a solid enough 2B/UT guy
Who would win the Indy 500? (Nick) Mears or Ditka driving a busload of Bears?
I just hope Texas is not slipping back into the old JD mindset of always trying to get something for nothing!
Worked out well for Cruz, Hamilton, and a host of pitchers
The Rangers have two fast, quality defenders in the outfield, Tavares and Thompson. Eli was expendable. Hope he puts it all together, and sticks on a MLB roster.