Restructuring the starting rotation was one of the main tasks for the Texas Rangers front office this winter. They brought in Mike Minor on a three-year deal, but can the reliever convert back into the rotation?
The Texas Rangers did not hesitate this winter when acquiring pitching depth. They went out and got multiple veteran arms to fill-in their starting rotation. One of which is lefty Mike Minor who spent all of 2017 as a reliever.
The Rangers signed Minor to a three-year deal worth $28 million, and said they plan on him joining the starting rotation. Minor went 6-6 with a 2.55 ERA in 65 games and six saves with the Kansas City Royals in 2017.
The 30-year-old lefty began his career as a starter with the Atlanta Braves. He went 38-36 with a 4.10 ERA in 110 starts and one relief appearance in five seasons with the Braves. Minor hasn’t started in a Major League game since 2014.
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However, Minor did start in 10 games with the Triple-A Royals organization in 2016. He went 0-4 with a 5.74 ERA in those 10 appearances. The Rangers believe Minor can make a strong transition back into the rotation.
It’ll be interesting to see how Minor does as a starter, especially after having much success as a reliever. Something that should be considered is the difference in the amount of innings that will be expected.
Last season, Minor threw just 77.2 innings out of the bullpen. Most starters in a full season, average 180-200 innings per season. Minor hasn’t started a game since 2014, and that is quite a jump in workload.
It’s hard to imagine a scenario where this ends positively for the Rangers. Signing Minor as a reliever is fine, but expecting him to convert back into a starter is difficult to grasp. The free agent market was full of actual starting pitchers, but the Rangers picked Minor.
Clearly, both Minor and the Rangers front office believe this is possible. There is a chance this works out well, but hopefully the Rangers have a backup plan in case Minor fails to make the transition.