- Left-hander Brian Flynn has elected free agency after the Rangers didn’t add him to their player pool, Steve Adams of MLBTR reports. Flynn joined the Rangers on a minor league contract in the offseason after appearing in the majors in each of the previous four years with the Royals. Thanks in part to a sprained UCL, Flynn could only muster 29 1/3 innings of 5.22 ERA pitching a season ago. To his credit, though, Flynn still managed a respectable overall mark of 3.76 during his 162 2/3-frame KC tenure.
JULY 14: Chirinos has improved since Monday, but his status for Opening Day is up in the air, according to Woodward (via Wilson).
JULY 13: Catcher Robinson Chirinos suffered a potentially worrisome injury at Rangers Summer Camp on Monday, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. Chirinos departed after teammate Scott Heineman slid into his right ankle.
The images Chirinos underwent after he exited came back negative, but manager Chris Woodward acknowledged that “it’s concerning to say the least” whenever a catcher rolls his ankle. Woodward and the Rangers should know more about Chirinos’ status Tuesday.
Chirinos was one of the notable offseason acquisitions the Rangers made, as he parlayed an effective 2019 with the division-rival Astros into a one-year, $6.75MM contract. This isn’t the first Rangers go-around for the 36-year-old Chirinos, who was a member of the club from 2013-18.
Defense isn’t Chirinos’ calling card, but he has been one of the game’s steadiest offensive catchers over the past half-decade. Dating back to his 2015 breakout, Chirinos has slashed .234/.340/.452 (110 wRC+) with 71 home runs in 1,615 plate appearances. That type of production would certainly be welcome for the Rangers, whose catchers provided little to nothing at the plate last season. Primary option Jeff Mathis struggled more than anyone else in the mix, registering a .158/.209/.224 line and a stunningly poor 2 wRC+ in 244 trips to the plate.
In the event Chirinos misses time this year, Mathis could once again end up in the lineup on a regular basis. Jose Trevino also figures to make the roster, and Wilson notes that Nick Ciuffo could open 2020 as the team’s third catcher if Chirinos lands on the shelf.
Joey Gallo joined his Rangers teammates in Summer Camp activities Friday after the slugger passed two COVID-19 tests. Gallo originally tested positive for the coronavirus back on June 29, albeit in somewhat unusual circumstances.
As Gallo told the Associated Press and other media, he twice tested positive for the virus after taking the saliva test, while a swab test in between those two positive results produced a negative diagnosis. He never had any symptoms, leaving Gallo rather unsure as to whether or not he actually had COVID-19, and he said he is “now on edge” whenever he has to take another saliva test.
Regardless, Gallo was given the green light for Summer Camp activities in the wake of his two-week quarantine and subsequent negative testing, putting him potentially on track to be part of the Rangers’ Opening Day lineup. Texas begins play on July 24, making it almost exactly one year since Gallo’s last appearance in a big league game, as a fractured hamate bone resulted in the end of his 2019 season.
Between the hamate fracture and an oblique strain, Gallo was limited to only 70 games, though he made the most of his playing time by hitting .253/.389/.598 with 22 homers in 297 plate appearances. This performance earned Gallo his first All-Star appearance.
The Rangers reinstated left-hander Yohander Mendez on Wednesday and added him to their 60-man player pool, T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com writes. The move leaves the Rangers with two open spots on their Summer Camp roster.
Mendez had been on the club’s suspended list since March for seeking unauthorized medical care as a result of shoulder inflammation. His team-imposed ban was the most recent disappointment in a career that hasn’t gone according to plan thus far. When he debuted in the majors in 2016, multiple outlets considered Mendez a top 50 prospect. The 25-year-old hasn’t seen much action in the bigs since then, though, and the results haven’t been pretty when he has pitched. Mendez owns a 6.23 ERA with a matching 6.23 K/9 against 4.72 BB/9 across 47 2/3 innings in a Rangers uniform. Home runs have been a problem for Mendez, whose difficulty keeping the ball out of the air (35.5 percent groundball rate) has led to 1.7 HRs per nine.
To his credit, Mendez has been much better at the Triple-A level, where he has logged 97 innings of 3.71 ERA ball with 8.1 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9. But with no minor league season in 2020, MLB is Mendez’s only hope of pitching competitively this year.
Rangers slugger Joey Gallo has tested positive for COVID-19, general manager Jon Daniels tells reporters (Twitter link via Levi Weaver of The Athletic). Gallo initially tested positive back on June 29, per Daniels. And while he had one negative test in the days thereafter, a second and more recent test again came back positive. Gallo is presently asymptomatic, thankfully, but he’ll need two consecutive negative tests, with more than 24 hours separating them, before he’s cleared to report to Rangers Summer Camp.
Gallo’s most recent test on July 2 came back negative yesterday, per Weaver, so despite the fact that he’s not showing symptoms at the moment, it appears he’ll be out at least several more days. Gallo joins lefty reliever Brett Martin as the Rangers’ second known positive test case. Martin, who is diabetic, tested positive last week and has been showing what the team termed “mild” symptoms.
The 26-year-old Gallo has emerged as the centerpiece of the Rangers lineup. The 26-year-old turned in consecutive 40+ home run seasons in 2017 and 2018 before reaching new heights in an injury-shortened 2019 campaign. In 297 plate appearances last year, he swatted 22 long balls and posted a .253/.389/.598 batting line — all while delivering highly rated glovework in center and left field.
Needless to say, the Texas organization is hopeful that Gallo will knock out his infection and make it into Summer Camp soon. If all goes well, he won’t exhibit any deleterious reaction and could perhaps even ready for the start of the 2020 season.
Rangers left-hander Brett Martin tested positive for COVID-19, the team told reporters Friday (Twitter link via Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram). It’s also notable that Martin is diabetic — although to this point the Rangers have thankfully indicated only mild symptoms for the southpaw. The team also has three minor league trainers conducting contact tracing for Martin, who arrived for summer camp earlier this week, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News tweets.
As with Delino DeShields Jr. and the Indians this morning, it seems quite likely that Martin gave his consent for his diagnosis to be made public. Player cases aren’t to be disclosed to the media or public without the individuals consent.
Martin, 25, made his Major League debut with the Rangers last year and pitched 62 1/3 innings across 51 appearances (49 out of the bullpen). In that time, he worked to a 4.76 ERA but a more encouraging 3.65 FIP with a strong 62-to-18 K/BB ratio. If he’s able to get back to full strength without lingering complications, Martin would quite likely be in line for a relatively prominent bullpen role — particularly given this year’s expanded rosters. He’ll need a pair of negative tests with at least 24 hours between them before he is medically cleared to return.
The Rangers announced today that they have added right-handed pitchers Juan Nicasio and Edinson Volquez to their 60-man player pool. That leaves the team with three remaining openings to work with at the outset of Summer Camp.
Both of these hurlers had already been inked to minor-league deals with the Texas organization. Their inclusion on the list was expected, but the club had waited to make the formal moves until the veterans had entered the United States and made it through testing protocols.
Nicasio, 33, has topped forty MLB frames in each of the past nine seasons. He hasn’t been terribly effective of late; last year, he finished with a 4.75 ERA in 47 1/3 innings with the Phillies. But Nicasio has had his share of success and carried eye-popping peripherals in the 2018 campaign (despite a substandard 6.00 ERA).
As for Volquez, who turns 37 tomorrow, it once seemed he’d already be retired by this point. But he chose to return last year after undergoing Tommy John surgery and was able to reacquire all of his arm strength. The results weren’t there in his brief 2019 action and he struggled early in camp, but the Rangers obviously feel there could still be some gas in the tank.
In each case, the MLB opportunity is perhaps greater than might have been expected. The new three-batter minimum rule and shortened second training camp give these veteran pitchers added appeal. Both have experience as starters and historically carry neutral platoon splits. With extra active roster spots to work with early on, the Rangers could well carry and frequently utilize both Nicasio and Volquez.
The Yankees announced their 60-player Spring Training player pool earlier today, a list that included a couple of new faces to the organization. New York announced that infielder Matt Duffy and catcher Max McDowell were signed to minor league contracts, while righty Dan Otero was released from his previous minors deal with the club and re-signed to a new pact. In addition, right-hander Luis Severino was officially placed on the 60-day injured list in the wake of his Tommy John surgery last February.
Duffy was most recently a member of the Rangers organization, though Texas announced earlier today that Duffy had been released. It didn’t take him long to catch on with another team, as Duffy will now return to the AL East in the pinstripes after spending the last four seasons with the Rays.
Acquired in the 2016 trade that saw Matt Moore go from Tampa to San Francisco, the Rays had hopes that Duffy would become an everyday infielder, though Duffy was plagued by injuries. Duffy did manage a solid .294/.361/.366 slash line over 560 PA and 132 games for Tampa Bay in 2018, though that performance was sandwiched between missing the entire 2017 season and only 46 games played in 2019. Duffy has worked mostly as a third baseman, though he has enough experience at second base and shortstop that could provide utility depth for the Yankees if he cracks the MLB roster.
McDowell joins the Yankees after spending his five pro seasons with the Brewers, who selected him in the 13th round of the 2015 draft. McDowell has hit .232/.335/.323 over 1417 career plate appearances in the minors.
It’s safe to assume that Otero’s new deal overwrites some type of opt-out clause in his previous minor league pact, signed back in early February. The 35-year-old groundball specialist is looking to bounce back from a pair of shaky seasons in Cleveland’s bullpen, as Otero had a lot of trouble with home runs (1.8 HR/9) when batters did manage to get the ball in the air against him. Otero’s 5.09 ERA in 88 1/3 innings over the last two seasons stands in sharp contrast to his 2016-17 numbers — a 2.14 ERA, 5.00 K/BB rate, and 6.5 K/9 over 130 2/3 frames for the Tribe.
Today marks the deadline for teams to submit to Major League Baseball their initial spring training player pools, which can comprise up to 60 players. Players are not eligible to participate in either a spring training or regular season game until they are included in the pool. Teams are free to change the makeup of the pools as they see fit. However, players removed from a team’s 60-man (for reasons unrelated to injury, suspension, etc.) must be exposed to other organizations via trade or waivers.
Not all players within a team’s pool are ticketed for MLB playing time, of course. Most teams will include well-regarded but still far-off prospects as a means of getting them training reps with no intention of running them onto a major league diamond this season. A comprehensive review of 2020’s unique set of rules can be found here.
The Rangers’ initial player pool consists of the following players.
- Cody Allen
- Jesse Chavez
- Demarcus Evans
- Luke Farrell
- Luis Garcia
- Ian Gibaut
- Kyle Gibson
- Nick Goody
- Jimmy Herget
- Jonathan Hernandez
- Wei-Chieh Huang
- Ariel Jurado
- Corey Kluber
- Derek Law
- Jose Leclerc
- Jordan Lyles
- Lance Lynn
- Rafael Montero
- Tyler Phillips
- Alex Speas
- Elvis Andrus
- Sherten Apostel
- Greg Bird
- Todd Frazier
- Ronald Guzman
- Andy Ibanez
- Josh Jung
- Isiah Kiner-Falefa
- Rougned Odor
- Yadiel Rivera
- Anderson Tejeda
- The Rays and Rangers are the latest teams to commit to paying their minor leaguers through the end of July, as respectively reported by Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times and Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Minor leaguers in each organization will continue to receive their $400 weekly stipends for at least another month.