The Twins have signed right-hander A.J. Alexy to a minor league deal, according to the transactions section of Alexy’s MLB.com player page. It’s currently unclear if the deal includes an invite to big league Spring Training.
Alexy, 26 in April, got his start back in 2016 when the Dodgers selected him in the eleventh round of that year’s draft. Alexy didn’t stay with L.A. for very long, quickly getting shipped to the Rangers in a package that brought Yu Darvish to the Dodgers at the 2017 trade deadline. At the time of the deal, Alexy sported a respectable 3.67 ERA through 19 starts at the Single-A level that season. His five starts after changing uniforms down the stretch were even more impressive, as he posted a 3.05 ERA and struck out 30.3% of batters faced.
The righty’s success continued in 2018, as he posted a 3.58 ERA with a similar 30.5% strikeout rate across 108 innings in a repeat of the Single-A level that season. Unfortunately for the right-hander, he was limited to just five starts in the 2019 season due to injury and did not pitch in 2020 due to the cancelled minor league season. That being said, Alexy looked nothing short of dominant at Double- and Triple-A levels upon his return to the mound in 2021, with a 1.66 ERA and a 29.8% strikeout rate in 65 innings of work across both levels.
That success in the minors earned Alexy his first cup of coffee in the majors, and he held his own with a 4.70 ERA (95 ERA+) in 23 innings across five appearances. Alexy’s peripheral numbers, including a 6.30 FIP and identical 17.5% strikeout and walk rates, were potential red flags but the right-hander nonetheless appeared poised to earn a more significant opportunity in the majors in 2022. Things did not go according to plan for Alexy, however, as he posted the worst season of his career in 2022. He walked (9) more batters than he struck out (6) while surrendering nine runs on ten hits across seven innings of work at the big league level, and his Triple-A numbers weren’t much better as he posted a 5.91 ERA across 96 innings of work.
Alexy’s struggles in 2022 led the Rangers to designate him for assignment in December of last year to make room for left-hander Andrew Heaney on the club’s 40-man roster. The move kicked off a ride on the transactional carousel for Alexy, who was claimed by the Nationals before being traded to the Twins only to be put on waivers and claimed by the White Sox, who held him on their 40-man roster for the remainder of the offseason before eventually sneaking him through waivers and assigning him outright to Triple-A in late April.
Alexy’s time with Chicago did not go well, as the righty posted a 12.00 ERA in 21 innings at the Triple-A level before the White Sox cut him loose back in July. Since then, Alexy completed a brief stint in the Atlantic league, where he struggled to a similar 11.81 ERA in 5 1/3 innings of work before heading back to the open market this offseason.
Now, the Twins will take another chance on Alexy on a minor league deal, surely hoping that he can put his struggles from the past two seasons behind him and recapture the dominant form he flashed in 2021. Going forward, Alexy appears likely to act as non-roster depth for the Twins at the Triple-A level who the club can call on to pitch out of either the bullpen or rotation in a pinch.