The Texas Rangers have bolstered their organizational depth bringing back a trio of big league players on Minor League contracts.
Despite looking to make impact, everyday signings this offseason, the Texas Rangers made three moves to help bolster their big league depth. Texas brought back right-handed pitchers Edinson Volquez and Ian Gibaut as well as catcher, Tim Federowicz on minor league contracts with Spring Training invites. All three players spent time on the Rangers active roster last season.
Volquez was rumored to be working on a deal with Texas over a month ago despite planning to retire at the end of the 2019 season. The 36-year old missed all of 2018 recovering from Tommy John surgery and looked to be a part of the Rangers rotation last year. An elbow sprain forced him out for much of the season though and limited him to just 11 appearances and 16 total innings. He posted a 6.75 ERA and 6.65 FIP.
In 2020, Volquez likely is competing to have a shot in the bullpen as a multi-inning reliever. Texas has retooled its rotation that will limit the chances that somebody on the outside will break in and win a shot. If Volquez doesn’t win a Major League roster spot out of Spring Training, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him move forward to his retirement as was expected this offseason.
Ian Gibaut was acquired by the Ranger last season in a trade with the Rays just prior to the deadline. The 26-year old righty has a lively fastball and has spent time in both the Rays’ and Rangers’ top 30 prospects’ lists according to MLB Pipeline. He pitched in the Majors for the first time last season throwing 14.1 innings in 10 relief appearances. He had a 5.65 ERA but just a 4.19 FIP which shows some promise.
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Gibaut was non-tendered by Texas earlier this offseason as they tried to clear up room on their 40-man roster. Bringing him back on a non-roster deal lets the Rangers keep a young arm with some promise within their organization. Like Volquez, he’ll have a chance to win a relief spot in Arlington although he fits better as a late-inning pitcher than a middle relief role.
The Texas Rangers also made a move to shore up their catching depth in bringing back Tim Federowicz. Texas picked up Federowicz last season as catching insurance and he played in 29 games for the big league club last year. He hit .160 with a .559 OPS and a -0.2 fWAR aligning with the struggles Rangers catchers had as a unit last season.
As it stands, it looks like Federowicz will serve as depth for the organization as Texas currently has both Jeff Mathis and Jose Trevino set to be their catchers next year. He’ll likely spend much of the season with Triple-A Nashville and fill in if the club is hit with injuries at the big league level.