The Rangers are planning to decline their 2020 club options on newly-acquired catcher Welington Castillo and right-handers Nate Jones and Shawn Kelley, The Athletic’s Levi Weaver reports (Twitter link). Castillo will be bought out for $500K rather than his $8MM salary for 2020. Jones will receive a $1.25MM buyout rather than $3.75MM, and Kelley will get $250K in buyout money rather than $2.5MM in 2020.
Both Castillo and Jones came from the White Sox in trades that were ultimately more about the international bonus money that came into the Rangers’ coffers rather than anything the two veteran players brought to the table. Jones underwent right forearm surgery last season and was already on the 60-day injured list at the time of the deadline day trade, never suiting up for Texas in a game. With this much uncertainty surrounding his health, and Jones’ checkered injury history also looming as a big factor, it perhaps isn’t surprising that the Rangers decided to move on and explore less-risky relief options.
As for Kelley, he said in September that he was planning to retire if his option wasn’t picked up, so today’s news could mark the end of the right-hander’s Major League career. Kelley spent time on the IL due to a biceps injury and a bacterial infection last season, and posted a 4.94 ERA, 8.2 K/9, and 3.91 K/BB rate over 47 1/3 innings when healthy. If this is indeed the end, Kelley has enjoyed a very solid career over 11 seasons as a Major League reliever, posting a 3.80 ERA over 464 2/3 IP and banking over $25MM in career earnings.