Texas Rangers Invite Five Pitchers to Tryout Camp
By Andrew Webb
The Rangers continue to search for pitching depth, this time in the form of free agent veterans. Over the last few seasons Texas has been able to take struggling pitchers and turn them into reliable options. Could we see another case of that this spring?
This is not an invite to Spring Training, but a tryout session for these pitchers to prove they can still pitch in the Major Leagues. This has been a specialty of the Texas Rangers, most notably relief pitcher Matt Bush who made his debut last season. Could they find another diamond in the rough this off-season?
One of the biggest names given a tryout is former All-Star Justin Masterson. The 31-year-old hasn’t pitched in the MLB since the 2015 season. Masterson has eight years of Major League experience, but had an ERA over 5 his last two seasons.
He could return as a swingman pitcher like Chris Young. A pitcher that can be used both in the bullpen and rotation with ease. Masterson was an All-Star in 2013, and could bounce back if he’s given another shot.
Blake Beavan is back with the Rangers, he was selected in the 1st round of the 2007 amateur draft. Never pitched in an MLB game with Texas, but pitched four seasons with the Seattle Mariners.
The 28-year-old spent 2016 in the Independent League, going 5-4 4.60 ERA in 18 games (16 starts) with the Bridgeport Bluefish. He has a career 4.61 ERA in over 50 MLB games, but could be a candidate as bullpen or rotation depth.
Another 1st round pick was given a shot, this time it’s Kyle Drabek who was selected by the Philadelphia Phillies in 2006. Drabek did pitch in the Majors last season, but only has nine appearances the last four seasons.
He pitched mostly with the Arizona Diamondbacks organization in 2016. He struggled going 3-6 6.68 ERA in 15 games (11 starts) in Triple-A. If the Rangers do decide to sign him, it’d be as depth and he’d likely be sent to the minors.
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Kameron Loe might have the best chance out of anyone of making the Rangers roster. He hasn’t pitched in the Majors since 2013, but did play five seasons in Texas. Loe spent the last three seasons in the minor leagues, and Independent Leagues.
Most recently with the Chicago White Sox in 2016. He went 3-5 4.53 ERA in 13 games (12 starts) in Triple-A. It’s doubtful he’d make the 25-man roster, or even the 40-man roster. He could be given a shot in Triple-A, and earn a promotion to the MLB.
The 36-year-old relief pitcher Jose Veras could be an interesting option. Veras hasn’t seen MLB action since the 2014 season. He pitched in the Independent League last season, going 2-2 5.32 ERA in 26 games with 12 saves.
Veras has plenty of late inning experience, and could find a role in Triple-A. If injuries arise Veras has closer ability, and could fill in on a short-term basis if needed. It’s a long shot, but he’s got a shot nonetheless.