The Rangers have agreed to a minor league contract with right-handed reliever Jesus Tinoco, reports Jon Heyman of the New York Post. Presumably the Rep 1 client will head to big league camp this spring.
It’s a reunion between the two parties, as Texas was also Tinoco’s most recent MLB club. He pitched 20 2/3 innings of 2.18 ERA ball for the 2022 Rangers, fanning 21.4% of his opponents against a more concerning 11.9% walk rate. Tinoco’s run with the Rangers was mostly solid, but he’ll also forever be remembered by many as the pitcher who had the distinction of serving up Aaron Judge’s record-setting 62nd home run late in the ’22 campaign.
Tinoco, 28, spent the 2023 season with the Seibu Lions of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball. He notched a tidy 2.38 earned run average with the Lions but did so with a below-average strikeout rate (18.2%) and a shaky walk rate (12.5%) that resembled his 2022 marks in Texas. Tinoco, who was famously traded alongside Jose Reyes and Miguel Castro in the 2015 blockbuster that send Troy Tulowitzki and LaTroy Hawkins from Colorado to Toronto, has a career 4.05 ERA in 66 2/3 big league frames.
The Rangers have a few spots at the back of the bullpen solidified, where Jose Leclerc, Josh Sborz, Brock Burke, Cody Bradford and recently signed Kirby Yates all seem likely to have roles. But there’s still competition for the remaining few spots and likely will be, even if GM Chris Young and his staff still make another veteran addition or two before the end of the offseason.