The Texas Rangers left the Winter Meetings with two new relievers, but still plenty of holes left to fill. They added righty Chris Martin on a two-year deal and veteran Kevin Jepsen to a Minor League contract.
Both these moves by the Texas Rangers are low risk/high reward type of deals. 31-year-old Chris Martin hasn’t pitched in the MLB since 2015. He went 0-2 with a 1.19 ERA in 40 games with one save last season with the Nippon Ham Fighters in Japan.
Much like Tony Barnette, the Rangers believe Martin can come over from Japan and be successful in the MLB. Both pitchers were closers during part of their time in Japan, and give the Rangers extra experience in that role.
It’s a two-year $4 million deal for Martin which is cheap for how well he pitched the last two seasons in Japan. He adds depth and gives Texas another veteran arm that could potentially have a big impact in Arlington.
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The other reliever added was Kevin Jepsen, but he receives a Minor League deal with an invite to Spring Training. The 33-year-old last pitched in the MLB with Twins and Rays in 2016. He went 0-1 with a 5.32 ERA in 19 games and one save in Triple-A with Nationals last season.
His best season happened in 2015 when Jepsen went 3-6 with a 2.33 ERA in 75 games with 15 saves. He put together a solid 2014 campaign as well with the Angels, finishing with a 2.63 ERA in 74 games.
There is no evidence to support that Jepsen will be able to do anything similar with the Rangers. That was over two seasons ago, but Texas is giving him a chance to show that he still has something left in the tank.
Neither of these signings are “big” upgrades for the Rangers roster. However, it does give them pitching depth, and are low risk moves that have the potential of being great signings. There is still plenty more improvement needed over the next few months in Arlington.