Former Rangers pitcher signs minor-league contract with White Sox

Toronto Blue Jays v Texas Rangers
Toronto Blue Jays v Texas Rangers / Ron Jenkins/GettyImages

The Texas Rangers' bullpen was a hotbed for scrutiny during their postseason run last year. Their relief core had the seventh-worst in ERA in the league at the end of the regular season (4.77), which lent itself easily to a lot of talk about whether or not they'd be able to see Texas through the postseason. Luckily, the rotation stepped up, with Nathan Eovaldi and Jordan Montgomery especially coming through to work toward quality starts and take some pressure off the bullpen.

Still, there were moments when the problems in the bullpen made themselves all too evident. Martín Pérez, relegated to a relief role for the postseason, gave up five runs across 4 2/3 innings, and Brock Burke gave up five runs and a walk over just two-thirds of an inning. If the Rangers want to run their World Series-winning success back in 2024, there's a lot of work to do.

Joe Barlow, a reliever drafted by the Rangers in the 11th round in 2016 who put in a few tough innings of work in the 2023 regular season, was part of that issue. He was DFA'ed by the team in July and picked by the Royals, but he'll pack his bags again to join the White Sox on a minor league deal.

Former Rangers pitcher signs minor-league contract with White Sox

Barlow did good work for the Rangers in 2021, pitching 29 innings for a 1.55 ERA, which earned him a spot on 2022's Opening Day roster. He pitched 35 innings for the big league team that year for 3.86 ERA and started the 2023 season in Triple-A, where he struggled between a few appearances in the major leagues. He was DFA'ed by the Rangers at the end of July and picked up by the Royals, but the struggles continued and intensified in Triple-A in Omaha (7.36 ERA in 18 1/3 innings). He elected free agency in November.

The White Sox signed him to a minor-league deal with little fanfare on Monday, and he'll presumably get an invite to spring training. The Rangers have made a number of relief additions of their own to their minor league system, including former Mariners/Rays standout Diego Castillo in hopes of giving the bullpen more options in 2024. Letting go of Barlow was the right thing to do last year, and the Rangers can only look to the future and wish him the best in Chicago.