The Rangers announced Monday that they’ve claimed right-hander Drew Strotman off waivers from the Twins, who’d designated him for assignment over the weekend. Texas opened a spot on the 40-man roster by transferring veteran utilityman Brad Miller from the 10-day injured list to the 60-day injured list.
Strotman, 26, came to the Twins in July 2021 alongside right-hander Joe Ryan in the trade that sent Nelson Cruz to Tampa Bay. At the time of the swap, Strotman had been in the midst of a solid season — albeit with some worrying command issues — at the Triple-A level and looked like he could potentially join Ryan as a fast-tracked arm to the big leagues. His walk rate, however, failed to improve in his new environs, and Strotman became increasingly homer-prone following the swap.
Strotman had Tommy John surgery in 2018, and while his velocity has generally recovered, that surgery and the ongoing command issues created some some concerns that he may have to move from a starting role to the bullpen. The Twins tried that approach in 2022, surely hoping that Strotman’s fastball and cutter would play up in shorter stints. It hasn’t worked out, however, as the 2017 fourth-rounder has pitched to a grisly 6.44 ERA with a career-worst 13.8% walk rate in 50 1/3 innings of bullpen work with Triple-A St. Paul this season. Strotman’s 24.2% strikeout rate and 51.1% grounder rate are both solid but aren’t strong enough to offset the persistent location issues.
This is Strotman’s second season on a 40-man roster, meaning he’s already been optioned to the minors twice (at the end of Spring Training ’21 and at the end of this past Spring Training). That burns through two of his minor league option years, leaving him with just one more season of options (2023) — assuming he even sticks on the Rangers’ 40-man roster that long.
As for Miller, the move to the 60-day injured list formally ends his season. He was originally placed on the 10-day IL with a right hip strain back on Sept. 9. After hitting .236/.331/.480 with 40 home runs in 718 plate appearances from 2019-21, Miller’s first season with Texas has to be considered a disappointment. He signed a two-year, $10MM deal over the winter but turned in an ugly .212/.270/.320 output in 241 plate appearances while thrice hitting the injured list due to neck and hip injuries. He’s set to earn $4MM next season on the back half of a slightly front-loaded two-year deal, so Texas will hope that better health brings about something closer to that 2019-21 form.