Texas Rangers Executive Vice President of Communications, John Blake, announced that the club has claimed left-handed relief pitcher, Jesse Biddle, from the Seattle Mariners.
Who is Jesse Biddle?
Jesse Biddle came onto the MLB scene as a 26-year-old pitcher for the Atlanta Braves. In 2018, he was a key cog in the Braves bullpen. He posted a 3.11 ERA to go along with a 1.27 WHIP, 133 ERA+ and 9.5 K/9.
The Braves traded Biddle as part of a larger deal to the Mariners earlier this season. The lefty got off to a slow start with Atlanta before the trade and has struggled greatly since joining Seattle.
His 2019 totals include a 7.54 ERA, 2.43 WHIP, 45 ERA+ and 7.5 K/9. His strikeouts have largely vanished as that K/9 has dropped to 6.5 just looking at his numbers with Seattle.
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Biddle is also giving up an alarming number of hits. His hits per nine innings this year is a ridiculous 15.1. That is more than double his 7.1 hits per nine innings in 2018.
His struggles are not entirely exclusive to this season, however. Biddle struggled to the 2018 finish line and had a rough September to the tune of a 7.71 ERA, 2.14 WHIP and over a walk per inning pitched. Hitters who faced Biddle in the last month of last season had an .898 OPS against him.
This number jumped even higher in 2019, in which hitters have a whopping .971.OPS against him. To put the stat into perspective, that is a higher .OPS than the entire Rangers team has accumulated if excluding Joey Gallo. If hitters who have faced Biddle were compiled into one singular hitter in 2019, that hitter would rank 10th in the league in .OPS.
Why Claim Him?
This is a low-risk, potentially medium-to-high reward move.
Obviously, the Rangers see what he did in 2018 and know there is potential for Biddle to be a solid relief pitcher. He has been one of the worst in baseball this year, however. If he turns it around though, the Texas Rangers will get productivity from a controllable reliever at the cost of practically nothing. Biddle is under team control through the 2023 season.
The Texas Rangers are desperate for reliable left-handed pitching out of the bullpen.
As a recent GM Mode article detailed, this is an area that needs an upgrade. Biddle may not be the left-handed savior in the bullpen, but it cannot hurt to see if the Rangers can get him back on track. It is possible Biddle will have a short window and leash to show Texas he can be a part of the ‘pen going forward this year.
There has not been word of when Biddle will join the club. This is a move that makes sense for the Rangers given he is under control for multiple years. With the Rangers in the playoff race at this point, though, it is likely Biddle will have to prove he has what it takes sooner rather than later.