Rangers reliever Brett Martin will undergo shoulder surgery, as first reported by Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News (Twitter link). A specific timeline will become clearer after the operation but Grant writes he’s likely to miss most of the 2023 campaign.
It’s an unfortunate development for the left-hander, who ended last year on the injured list thanks to a shoulder strain. While it seemed he and the club were hopeful the issue would subside with a non-surgical treatment plan, that won’t wind up being the case. Levi Weaver of the Athletic tweets that Martin’s surgery is scheduled for next week.
The 27-year-old has pitched for Texas in each of the past four seasons. He’s been one of their more trusted southpaws for the past two years, combining for a 3.61 ERA through 112 1/3 innings since the start of the 2021 campaign. He posted a 4.14 mark over 55 appearances last season. Martin only struck out 18.9% of opponents but kept the ball on the ground at a quality 50.7% clip. He held same-handed hitters to a .194/.242/.290 line over 67 plate appearances.
Despite the injury, Martin and the club agreed to a $1.275MM contract for the upcoming season. That buys out his first of three would-be arbitration years, and he remains under club control through the 2025 campaign. Under the new collective bargaining agreement, eligible players who avoid a hearing with an arbitration settlement are entitled to full termination pay if released. In previous years, teams could cut players before Opening Day and only owe a portion of the agreed-upon salary. Texas’ outlay in this case is rather modest but suggests the front office still has faith in Martin to bounce back after his rehab and contribute, either down the stretch or in future seasons.
With Martin likely out for an extended period, Texas is dealt a hit to their lefty relief depth. Brock Burke somewhat quietly posted a 1.97 ERA over 82 1/3 innings as a rookie last season, earning himself a high-leverage role in the process. Former highly-regarded prospect Taylor Hearn has been hit around as a starter but posted a 3.51 ERA while limiting opponents to a .208/.276/.318 line over 41 innings of relief. John King is a similar low-strikeout grounder specialist to Martin and a generally solid matchup option.
The Rangers could consider that trio a strong enough group to handle the workload for new skipper Bruce Bochy, even with Martin injured and Matt Moore hitting free agency. Moore is still unsigned, as are Andrew Chafin and Will Smith. That provides some potential options for GM Chris Young and his front office if they’re interested in further adding to the bullpen.