Right-handers Dan Winkler and Nick Tropeano have opted out of their respective minor league contracts with the Rangers, reports Levi Weaver of the Athletic (Twitter link). Texas opted against selecting either onto the 40-man roster, so they’ll return to the open market.
Winkler signed his non-roster pact shortly after the lockout was lifted in March. The 32-year-old had pitched in the majors each season from 2015-21, including a 47-game stint with the Cubs last year. Winkler had a strong run of success early in his career with the Braves, but he’s struggled of late as he’s increasingly battled control concerns. Last season, he had a 5.22 ERA for the North Siders, walking 15.8% of opponents.
He has spent this season with the Rangers’ top affiliate in Round Rock, making 16 appearances. Over 18 innings, he has a 3.50 ERA with an excellent 32.1% strikeout rate. He’s partially offset that with a much too high 16% walk percentage, however, and those strike-throwing shortcomings were enough the Rangers decided to let Winkler test free agency rather than get a look in the MLB bullpen.
It’s been a fairly similar story for Tropeano, who signed his deal in January. A starting pitcher with the Astros and Angels early in his career, he’s worked out of the bullpen for the Angels, Pirates and Mets over the past few seasons. Tropeano had a nice seven-game run with Pittsburgh during the abbreviated 2020 campaign, but he only got five MLB appearances last year.
Working in long relief for Round Rock, the 31-year-old tallied 20 2/3 frames across 12 outings. He had a 3.05 ERA, but that was obscured by underwhelming peripherals. Tropeano doled out free passes to nearly a fifth of the batters he faced while striking out a league average 23.6% of opponents. The former fifth-round pick will try to iron out his control woes in a new environment.