Report: Texas Rangers, LHP Joely Rodriguez Agree to Two-Year Deal
By Kenneth Nash
Per reports, the Texas Rangers and LHP Joely Rodriguez have agreed to a two-year deal worth $5.5 million pending a physical.
According to Jon Morosi of MLB Network, the Texas Rangers have agreed to a two-year deal with LHP Joely Rodriguez per $5.5 million pending a player physical. The deal reportedly also careers a club option for a third season. If the deal goes through, Rodriguez will be the third free agent pitcher to sign with Texas and the fifth total pitching addition to the 40-man roster.
Rodriguez spent the past two seasons playing in the Japanese league working as a reliever for the Chunichi Dragons. A former Rangers’ minor leaguer, Rodriguez was excellent last season in Japan making 64 relief appearances and posting a 1.64 ERA. He threw 60.1 innings last season with a 0.928 WHIP and an 11.5 strikeouts per nine innings rate.
In his time in Major League Baseball, Rodriguez made 38 relief appearances across 2016 and 2017 for the Philadelphia Phillies. He threw 36.2 Major League innings, striking out 25 and posting a 5.40 ERA.
The 28-year old broke the Nippon Professional Baseball velocity record for a lefty hitting 159 kilometers per hour which equates to nearly 99 miles per hour.
How Does He Fit With Texas?
Given that Rodriguez has worked as a reliever his entire career and has an elite fastball from the left side, he likely will get an opportunity to earn a spot in the Rangers bullpen in 2020. Having DFA’d Jeffrey Springs earlier this offseason, the Rangers only had two lefty pitchers who are specified relievers in Brett Martin and Kyle Bird. A handful of young lefty starters could compete for bullpen spots but Texas will hope Rodriguez can help shore up lefty relief.
With an expected change in rules coming this season that requires relievers either face a three-batter minimum or end an inning, finding relievers who are successful against hitters on both sides of the plate becomes crucial. With a high-90’s fastball, Rodriguez should be better suited to work against all hitters.