The Rangers announced Wednesday that they’ve signed right-handers Shane Greene and Jonathan Holder to minor league contracts with invitations to big league camp this spring. Texas also confirmed its previously reported signing of righty Austin Pruitt to a similar pact.
Greene, 35, was at one point a high-leverage bullpen arm with both the Tigers and Braves, pitching to a combined 3.25 ERA with 64 saves and 35 holds in 221 2/3 innings from 2017-20 between the two clubs. He reached free agency on the heels of that stretch but didn’t end up signing until the following May, when he returned to the Braves. Greene struggled to a 7.23 ERA in 28 innings after that delayed start to the season and hasn’t had much of an opportunity to get back on track since; he’s pitched just six MLB innings over the past two campaigns.
The Cubs inked Greene to a minor league deal last year and got three sharp innings out of him late in the season. Coupled with a dominant showing their Triple-A club in Iowa (1.75 ERA in 25 2/3 frames) that performance surely piqued the interest of the Rangers and others. It’s been several years now since Greene found success in the big leagues, but his track record is mostly solid and there’s no risk for the Rangers to bring him to camp and see how he looks this spring.
Holder, 30, was solid for the Yankees back in 2017-18, notching a tidy 3.42 ERA in 105 2/3 innings while whiffing 22.6% of his opponents against an excellent 6.1% walk rate. However, shoulder troubles have limited the right-hander in each of the 2019, 2021 and 2022 seasons. He pitched just 23 innings between the minors and big leagues combined from 2021-22 and hasn’t appeared in the Majors since 2020.
Holder spent the 2023 season with the Angels after inking a minor league contract last winter. The results weren’t pretty — 5.40 ERA — but Holder was healthy enough to rack up 66 2/3 innings. That’s something of a success story in and of itself, given his prior shoulder troubles. He fanned nearly a quarter of his opponents with Salt Lake last year but also saw his once-pristine walk rate inflate to an untenable 12.9%.
The reigning World Series champs have some uncertainty both in their bullpen and in their rotation, the latter due in no small part to injuries for Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom. They’re also facing some questions about their television broadcast situation, which has played a role in the club’s far more timid offseason than the recent free-agent extravaganzas that brought in deGrom, Corey Seager, Marcus Semien, Jon Gray and others. The bulk of the remaining offseason resources could be allocated to the rotation, so it’s not a surprise to see Texas GM Chris Young loading up on non-roster veterans in hopes of finding some low-cost relief help this spring.