Last off-season was a surprisingly active one for the Texas Rangers, making a bevy of moves to try and put at least a respectable product on the field for 2021.
Well, that hasn’t really worked out, and apparently neither did their largest free agent “expenditure” from the winter, as Japanese RHP Kohei Arihara was reportedly designated for assignment by the team on Sunday.
This move comes in an effort to clear roster space for returning pitcher Mike Foltynewicz, who came down with COVID-19.
Arihara was signed to a two-year deal in the off-season, for between $6-$7 million, so the move to designate him certainly comes as a mild surprise. Coming over from a successful career Japan, the 29-year-old was expected to be a stable presence in the middle of the Texas Rangers’ rotation.
Kohei Arihara didn’t end up working out the way the Texas Rangers had hoped he would
Instead, he floundered with a 6.64 ERA in 10 starts. Albeit, Arihara also suffered a shoulder injury that sidelined him for a good chunk of the season. Still, he wasn’t very productive when healthy.
Essentially, the Rangers designating Arihara amounts to acknowledging the signing as a “bust”, which definitely isn’t a new phenomenon around here, especially over the last few years.
However, Texas intends to bring the Japanese righty back next season (assuming he doesn’t get claimed) to compete for a roster spot in spring training. Make no mistake, though, he’s on the outside looking in.
It’s a disappointing development for the Rangers when it’s all said and done. And yet despite his struggles, there’s a chance he may get claimed by another organization.
If you remember from last off-season, the San Diego Padres and Boston Red Sox both demonstrated interest in Arihara. Both of those teams could also use more pitching currently as they make runs at the playoffs. Perhaps both circle back to him, but especially the Padres who seem content to pick up any pitcher that hits the streets these days.