Texas Rangers: Should A.J. Griffin Move to the Bullpen?

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 2: Starting pitcher A.J. Griffin (Photo by Brandon Wade/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 2: Starting pitcher A.J. Griffin (Photo by Brandon Wade/Getty Images) /

Finding reliable pitching is going to be the key this winter for the Texas Rangers. Moving around guys that will already be under contract could help save some money, and could spark something in the player themselves.

It’s been difficult to watch A.J. Griffin since he joined the Texas Rangers in 2016. A boatload of injuries have hindered Griffin’s career, and made it difficult for him to adjust at the Major League level again.

In 2017 Griffin went 6-6 with a 5.94 ERA in 18 games (15 starts) with Texas. He had moments where his curveball was untouchable, and others where he was just batting practice for the hitters.

The biggest problem for Griffin is the amount of home runs he allows. In 77.1 innings of work Griffin allowed 20 home runs, and limiting that is going to help his career and long-term success.

During his two seasons with Texas, Griffin is 13-10 with a 5.41 ERA in 41 games (38 starts) and a 0.8 career WAR. He isn’t bringing much to the table, and it’s becoming difficult for the Rangers to trust Griffin at this point.

A move to the bullpen could do some good for Griffin. He has fantastic breaking pitches, but hitters seem to lock in and get to Griffin early. If the Rangers limit Griffin’s innings that could bring more success.

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Shifting Griffin would mean he’d pitch one maybe two innings instead of the five or six as a starter. In small amounts Griffin can be helpful, but eventually hitters will adjust to his breaking pitches and learn to hit him.

If Griffin is only in the game for a handful of batters that might not be enough time for the hitters to adjust. Imagine going from hard-throwing Matt Bush to Griffin. it would completely throw off the hitter’s timing.

A career as a starting pitcher is likely over for Griffin at this point. There is a chance for him to re-invent himself as a reliever if both the Rangers and Griffin are willing to make the move.