In the month of December, the Rangers made a number of signings to bolster their roster depth
During the month of December, the prime-time for offseason deals to be made, the Texas Rangers signed a number of players to contracts in an effort to increase their depth and minor league system for the upcoming season.
Justin Ruggiano: Texas signed Justin Ruggiano, 33, to a one-year deal. In 2015, Ruggiano split time between the Mariners and the Dodgers in which overall, he hit .248/.333/.472 with 6 HR and 15 RBI. The highlight of the 2015 season though was his time with Los Angeles where he hit .291 in 21 games. Ruggiano will likely see some spot starts in the outfield for Texas especially on long road stretches.
James Jones: The Rangers also signed centerfielder James Jones, 27, to a minor league contract. Jones played 28 games for the Mariners last season and posted a .108 batting average. Despite the low major league numbers, Jones hit an impressive .282 in 7 minor league seasons. Texas is hoping he can add depth to their outfield especially come September call-up time.
Chris Gimenez: Texas agreed to a one year deal with catcher Chris Gimenez, 33, on December 3rd. Gimenez played in 36 games for the Rangers in 2015 hitting .255 with a .330 on-base percentage and 5 HR. Gimenez should split time with starter Robinson Chirinos this year.
Bobby Wilson: The Texas Rangers signed catcher Bobby Wilson, 32, to a minor league deal. Wilson hit .221 in 31 games for Texas last year after coming over in a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays. Wilson is more known as a defensive catcher and the Rangers kept him for depth considering Robinson Chirinos‘ injury problems in recent history.
Michael McKenry: Texas also signed catcher Michael McKenry, 30, to a minor league contract. McKenry is coming off a 2015 in which he played 58 games for the Rockies and hit .205 with a .329 OBP. Last season was a down year for McKenry but he has showed potential as he did in 2014 where he hit .315 in 57 games. McKenry will be an option for the Rangers if one of the two catchers on the 25 man roster gets hurt which isn’t unlikely.
Tony Barnette: The Rangers signed RHP Tony Barnette to a two-year deal in December. Barnette is a former Diamondbacks draft pick who has spent the past 6 seasons playing in the Japan Central League. Last season Barnette posted a 1.29 ERA in 59 games with an impressive 41 saves.
Chad Smith: Texas signed RHP Chad Smith, 26, to a minor league deal. Smith played most of 2015 in three different minor league systems. In 18 games he posted a 5.62 ERA and 1.792 WHIP.
Matt Bush: Texas also signed former number one overall draft pick, RHP Matt Bush, 29, to a minor league deal. Bush hasn’t played in an MLB system since 2011 after numerous legal troubles and a stint in prison where he was released in mid-October. This signing is a good move for the Rangers as its low-risk and has the potential of great reward.
A.J. Griffin: The Texas Rangers also agreed to a minor league contract with RHP A.J. Griffin, 27. Griffin is coming off of Tommy John surgery in 2014 but the season prior, Griffin threw 200 innings for the A’s with a 14 win season and a 3.83 ERA. This is a solid signing for Texas given Griffin’s past success.
Donnie Veal: The lone lefty in this signing class is Donnie Veal, 31. Veal spent 2015 in the Braves organization, mostly in AAA, and with the Long Island Ducks, a professional team in the ALPB. During his stint in AAA Gwynett, Veal pitched 16 innings with a 0.00 ERA. After his transition to the Ducks, Veal posted a 1.45 ERA in 18.2 innings.
These signings aren’t anything major from the Texas Rangers, but they do add much depth, especially in a pitching rotation that was decimated with injuries last season.
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