Texas Rangers news: Righty reliever with upside traded to Texas

According to the fine folk over at MLB Trade Rumors, the Texas Rangers did some shuffling around with their pitching staff this morning. They traded left-handed pitching prospect Kelvin Bautista to the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for right-handed bullpen arm Dennis Santana, and in turn DFA’d Hyeon-jong Yang to clear up space on the 40-man roster.

A four-year veteran who’s only appeared in 32 total games for the Dodgers since debuting back in 2018 (40.2 innings pitched), Santana possesses a career ERA of 6.42 and a WHIP of 1.672. Nothing special in the slightest at first glance.

However, Santana’s high-velocity stuff has seen him continuously ranked as an above average prospect year after year. He entered the 2021 season as the Dodgers’ 19th overall prospect, and at just 25 years of age, it’s understandable as to why the Rangers felt he was worth giving a shot.

Santana has successfully found a way to generate a high number of ground balls on the mound this season, primarily due to his 95 MPH sinker, but is still struggling with his overall control and ability to miss bats on a more frequent basis. Set to remain unexposed to waivers for the remainder of the ’21 season due to it being the final year on his rookie contract, Santana will likely get opportunities in AAA and in the major leagues to prove himself as a potential bullpen piece for the Rangers moving forward.

Santana was immediately optioned to AAA upon being acquired by the Rangers, so he’ll be beginning his Texas career down in Round Rock.

The Texas Rangers made a trade!

With Santana needing a spot on the 40-man roster, that did unfortunately mean someone had to be removed, and that person ended up being Hyeon-jong Yang. Despite showing genuine flashes of potential early this season, he eventually regressed down to that of a 5.59 ERA with an FIP north of 6.50. Not the type of pitcher the Rangers needed to be holding onto right now.

The Rangers have a week to trade Yang, or he will be placed on outright waivers.

Kelvin Bautista, the southpaw that Texas traded to Los Angeles in exchange for Santana, was ranked as the #62 prospect in the Rangers farm system this past offseason. We’ll have to wait and see what he ends up developing into out on the West coast, but a small price to pay in the grand scheme of things.