The Rangers have settled on their roster mix to begin the season. Righties Ian Gibaut and Edinson Volquez have made the team along with outfielder Rob Refsnyder. All will be selected to the 40-man roster.
The Rangers have finalized their 30-man roster for the start of the season, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News tweets. Right-handed relievers Edinson Volquez and Ian Gibaut and infielder/outfielder Rob Refsnyder have all made the club, per Grant. Nobody from that trio is on the Rangers’ 40-man roster, which has only one opening at the moment. Outfield prospect Leody Taveras, who is on the 40, has also earned a spot in Texas.
It was already known that the Rangers would select Volquez’s contract, but the same wasn’t true for either Gibaut or Refsnyder. The team signed both players to minor league deals last offseason, but Gibaut does have previous experience with the Rangers. They acquired the 26-year-old Texas native from the Rays last July and he went on to throw 12 1/3 innings with a 5.11 ERA and 10.2 K/9 against 5.8 BB/9 in his Rangers debut. He’s the owner of a much more palatable 2.75 ERA with 12.1 K/9 and 4.4 BB/9 in 72 Triple-A innings.
Refsnyder has also fared nicely in Triple-A, having slashed .296/.372/.436 in 1,804 plate appearances. However, the 29-year-old – once a promising prospect – hasn’t been able to put it together in the majors. As a Yankee, Blue Jay and Ray from 2015-18, he batted .218/.308/.302 with just four homers in 423 PA. Now, after spending last season with the Reds’ and Diamondbacks’ Triple-A affiliates, he’ll get another shot in the bigs.
Taveras has been in the Rangers organization since they signed him out of the Dominican Republic for a $2.1MM bonus in 2015. So far, the switch-hitter hasn’t played above Double-A, where he batted .265/.320/.375 in 293 trips to the plate last season. While that’s not earth-shattering production, Taveras is still just 21 years old, and he’s widely regarded as one of the Rangers’ top prospects. MLB.com ranks Taveras third in the Texas system and likens him to Braves center fielder Ender Inciarte, who has carved out a nice career.
The Rangers have re-signed right-handers Edinson Volquez and Ian Gibaut, and catcher Tim Federowicz to minor league contracts, as per club executive VP of communications John Blake (Twitter link). All three players receive invitations to the Rangers’ big league Spring Training camp.
Volquez and the Rangers have been in talks for several weeks about a new minor league deal, as the veteran is looking to play in his 15th Major League season after considering retirement earlier this year. Volquez missed all of 2018 recovering from Tommy John surgery and then faced the threat of another surgery last year after suffering an elbow sprain in April. At the time, Volquez indicated that he was just hoping to return for a final appearance or few appearances in 2019 before hanging up the spikes, but it seems like he’ll again look to win himself a spot on the Texas roster.
Volquez won’t be in line for a starting job now that Texas has revamped its rotation, though the 36-year-old can provide some depth in the event of an injury, and also work out of the bullpen. Full-time relief work would be something of a new frontier for Volquez, who has started 273 of his 287 career appearances, though he performed well in the very small sample size of his 2019 pen work. Volquez didn’t allow a single run in his seven games (6 2/3 IP) as a reliever last season, while posting an 11.57 ERA over 9 1/3 innings as a starter.
Gibaut wasn’t eligible for arbitration, though he was still non-tendered earlier this month as a way for the Rangers to clear some roster space. 2019 was Gibaut’s first season of big league action, as the 26-year-old posted a 5.65 ERA over 14 1/3 combined innings for the Rays and Rangers. An 11th-round pick for Tampa Bay in the 2015 draft, Gibaut has a 2.44 ERA, 3.03 K/BB rate, and 11.2 K/9 over 221 2/3 career minor league innings, though that impressive track record was hit with some heavy control issues last season. In addition to a 7.5 BB/9 over 18 total minor league frames, Gibaut also had a 6.3 BB/9 in his brief MLB tenure.
Federowicz hit .160/.213/.347 over 83 PA with the Rangers last season, and the veteran backstop will return as a potential Triple-A depth option, as Texas is known to be looking for upgrades to its lackluster catching situation. Federowicz has appeared in parts of eight Major League seasons, and owns a career .568 OPS over 443 plate appearances with six different teams.
We’ve been tracking the day’s arbitration decisions in the run-up to tonight’s deadline, which has produced a bevy of last-minute calls. In addition to those already covered elsewhere (with all projected salary figures from MLBTR/Matt Swartz projections) …
- The Padres announced they have non-tendered Miguel Diaz and Pedro Avila. Neither hurler had yet been eligible for arbitration, so this amounts to no more than a roster cleanup. Avila had already been designated for assignment. Diaz, meanwhile, saw extensive action as a Rule V pick in 2017 but has only sporadically logged MLB time since.
- Relievers Javy Guerra and Koda Glover were non-tendered by the Nationals, per a club announcement. Guerra would have cost a projected $1.3MM. Glover announced earlier today that he would retire.
- The Red Sox non-tendered infielder Marco Hernandez and reliever Josh Osich, per a team announcement. Neither projected at big dollars — $700K and $1.0MM, respectively — but obviously the club felt it could put the roster spots to better use on other players.
- The Blue Jays have non-tendered relievers Derek Law and Jason Adam, along with backstop Luke Maile. Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca (via Twitter) and Scott Mitchell of TSN (on Twitter) were on the news. Law projected at $1.3MM, while Maile was in line for a $800K payday. Adam is still pre-arb eligible.
- The Giants announced today that they have non-tendered outfielder Joey Rickard ($1.1MM projection), southpaw Tyler Anderson ($2.625MM), and righty Rico Garcia (pre-arb). Both Anderson and Garcia were claimed from the division-rival Rockies after the end of the 2019 season.
- In addition to other moves earlier today, the Braves have non-tendered catcher John Ryan Murphy and outfielder Rafael Ortega. Each provided depth down the stretch in 2019 for the Atlanta organization. Murphy would’ve been owed a projected $1.2MM, while Ortega remains shy of arbitration eligibility.
- A host of players were non-tendered by the Royals, per a club announcement. Righty Jesse Hahn was cut loose along with infielders Humberto Arteaga, Cheslor Cuthbert and Erick Mejia. Among these players, Hahn (projected $900K) and Cuthbert ($1.8MM) have the most MLB experience. With these 40-man trimmings, the K.C. org should be able to place some claims and/or make Rule 5 selections in the coming weeks.
- Righties Ian Gibaut and Wei-Chieh Huang are each heading to free agency after being non-tendered by the Rangers. Neither is anywhere near the service time needed for arbitration eligibility, so this was just an opportune time for the Texas org to drop them from the MLB roster.
The Rangers have acquired right-handed pitcher Ian Gibaut from the Rays, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. The Rays will receive cash or a player to be named later in return. Gibaut was designated for assignment last week, with today marking the last day for the Rays to make a decision on his future. The Rangers announced that he has been optioned to Triple-A Nashville, while left-handed pitcher Jesse Biddle has been transferred to the 60-day injured list.
Gibaut has appeared in just one Major League game in his career, but his impressive minor-league track record made him a popular trade target after he was designated. Gibaut, 25 was an 11th-round draft choice of the Rays in 2015, and in four seasons impressed the organization enough to warrant his addition to the 40-man roster prior to this season.
He began the season on the injured list before throwing 12 1/3 innings in Triple-A and earning a promotion to the big leagues. In 2018, Gibaut pitched 56 innings for Triple-A Durham, striking out 75 batters and walking 21. With a record of success at every minor-league level, he looks like a good bet to receive an extended look in the Texas bullpen over the final two months.
The Rays announced that they’ve designated right-hander Ian Gibaut for assignment. His spot on the roster will go to third baseman Matt Duffy, who has been reinstated from the 60-day injured list. Tampa Bay also placed corner infielder Yandy Diaz on the 10-day IL due to a foot injury.
Gibaut, 25, spent the first two months of the season on the minor league injured list but returned in early June and made his MLB debut earlier this month. In 12 1/3 innings in the minors this season, Gibaut allowed 10 runs (only four earned) on 12 hits and 11 walks with 17 strikeouts. He also yielded a pair of runs in his two-inning MLB debut.
That said, Gibaut pitched well enough in 2018 that the Rays protected him from the Rule 5 Draft by adding him to the 40-man roster in the offseason. Last year in Triple-A, Gibaut logged a 2.09 ERA with 12.1 K/9, 3.4 BB/9, 0.48 HR/9 and an even 47 percent ground-ball rate. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times tweets that the Rays have already heard from clubs expressing interest in Gibaut, and they expect to be able to trade the righty.
It’s not yet clear how long Diaz will be sidelined. Topkin tweets that the slugger is on crutches at the moment with what the team has termed to be a bruise, but Diaz is still in a good amount of pain. The fact that there’s no break or structural damage in his foot is obviously encouraging, however. A speedy return would prove most beneficial for the Rays, as their under-the-radar acquisition of Diaz looks like one of the offseason’s best moves for the team. In 344 plate appearances, he’s hitting .270/.343/.480 with 14 homers, 20 doubles and a triple.
The 28-year-old Duffy will be making his season debut after missing nearly four months due to a hamstring injury. Acquired in the trade that sent Matt Moore to the Giants, Duffy’s Rays tenure has been punctuated by injury. It’s been nearly three years to the day since Duffy was traded, but he’s only been able to suit up for 153 games. He’s been productive in that time (.292/.354/.364) and is regarded as a strong defender on the left side of the infield, but his acquisition has yet to yield significant dividends — at least, not to the extent the organization had hoped.
Choi missed the minimum ten games for a sprained left ankle. He is a key cog in the middle of the Rays lineup. With little margin for error in a top-heavy American League, the Rays could stand to get a little more production from him after a .266/.351/.423 first half.
For now, manager Kevin Cash will rotate Choi with Nate Lowe, tweets Topkin. Lowe would most naturally be used as a roster replacement for Choi, but Cash is also prepared to use Lowe at third base, where he’s spent time in the minors. For now, they simply don’t want to take Lowe out of the lineup as the 24-year-old has hit .291/.355/.509 with 3 home runs in 15 games. That kind of production out of the first base spot would go a long way in helping the Rays secure a spot in this year’s playoffs.
With the Rays, however, everything is fluid, and one day’s cleanup hitter could be back in Triple-A the next. Yandy Diaz also figures to play a prominent role in the corner infield rotation as the regular starter at third now that he’s discovered a power stroke (.278/.351/.477 on the year). Two other third base options remain on the shelf: Matt Duffy and Daniel Robertson are close enough to returning that each of them could be on rehab assignments by next week, per Topkin (Twitter links).
Gibaut has a fairly high ceiling as a bullpen piece, but his first taste of the majors was short: one appearance, two innings, two earned runs, two walks, two strikeouts, one hit.