Texas Rangers: Who is new lefty Hyeon-Jong Yang?

Seth Carlson
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA - NOVEMBER 06: Pitcher Yang Hyeon-jong #54 of South Korea throws in the top of first inning during the WBSC Premier 12 Opening Round Group C game between South Korea and Australia at the Gocheok Sky Dome on November 06, 2019 in Seoul, South Korea. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA - NOVEMBER 06: Pitcher Yang Hyeon-jong #54 of South Korea throws in the top of first inning during the WBSC Premier 12 Opening Round Group C game between South Korea and Australia at the Gocheok Sky Dome on November 06, 2019 in Seoul, South Korea. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images) /
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They signed Yu Darvish in 2012. They signed Kohei Arihara last Christmas.

So why wouldn’t the Texas Rangers circle back to a familiar source for another player acquisition?

That’s what they’ve reportedly done once again, as sources indicate that the Rangers have signed South Korean left-hander Hyeon-Jong Yang as an international free agent.

The Texas Rangers went the international route to sign a player once again.

This isn’t the first time the Texas Rangers have been connected to Yang. They actually made an attempt to secure his services back in 2014 when he was posted by the KBO.

The bids were ultimately rejected that season, and Yang would return to South Korea and pitch for the Kia Tigers.

Hyeon-Jong Yang could make the Texas Rangers’ rotation in 2021.

A southpaw with a career 3.83 ERA in 13 seasons, all for the Kia Tigers, Yang comes with plenty of professional experience.

In 2019, the now soon to be 33-year-old had a phenomenal season for the Tigers, posting a 2.29 ERA over 184.2 innings pitched, showcasing the kind of potential Yang has to be successful as a pro pitcher.

Adding to his prestige, Yang won KBO league MVP honors in 2017.

Last season wasn’t the lefty’s best performance, producing a subpar 4.70 ERA over 172 innings pitched.

Still, Yang offers depth and another rotation option for the Texas Rangers and manager Chris Woodward in 2021.

As we’ve written in this space before, the team has needed a left-handed starter for quite some time, but were unsure how they were going to acquire on.

It seems as though Texas now has their southpaw.

According to reports, Yang preferred to sign with a team that would give him a chance to start. With the Texas Rangers rotation very much in flux and without other quality left-handed options, Yang should potentially find himself competing for a starting spot alongside fellow international free agent signee Kohei Arihara.

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Overall, Yang looks to be a solid depth signing, at minimum, with questions about whether his stuff will be able to translate to Major League Baseball.

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