Rangers, Gibson finalize 3-year contract

December 6th, 2019

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers officially added another veteran starter to their rotation on Friday, announcing a three-year, $28 million contract with right-hander that was first reported last week.

Gibson will receive an $11 million salary in 2020, $10 million in '21 and $7 million in '22. The contract calls for another potential $3 million in bonuses. Gibson passed his physical earlier this week.

"Texas was one of the first teams to reach out and make us an offer," Gibson said. "I got some advice from a teammate who went through free agency. Make sure you look for teams who want you to be there just as much as you want to be there. I really felt that with Texas the whole time."

Gibson went 13-7 with a 4.84 ERA and a 1.44 WHIP in 29 starts and five relief appearances for the Twins this past season on a team that won the American League Central title. He made one relief appearance for the Twins in their American League Division Series against the Yankees.

Gibson benefited from strong run support from the Twins. His 7.14 runs of support per nine innings was the fifth highest among AL pitchers with at least 160 innings. He also dealt with ulcerative colitis for most of the season that sapped his strength and put him on the injured list in September.

Gibson, a ground-ball pitcher adept at getting opponents to hit into double plays, fits the Rangers' desire to add at least one -- and possibly two -- veteran starters to their rotation to go with left-hander Mike Minor and right-hander Lance Lynn. The Rangers have a group of young left-handers -- Joe Palumbo, Brock Burke and Kolby Allard -- that they are high on, but the club is hoping to give them more development time in the Minor Leagues.

The Rangers are also looking for a front-line third baseman with free agents Anthony Rendon and Josh Donaldson high on their list.

Gibson has proven to be a durable starter for the Twins over the past six seasons. His 178 starts since the beginning of 2014 is the 11th most among Major League pitchers over that stretch. His only arm injury was a strained right shoulder that limited him to 25 starts in '16.

“We have a number of connections from the team to Kyle," general manager Jon Daniels said. "[Minor League director] Paul Kruger knows him personally and has always spoke highly of him. Lance Lynn, teammate [from Minnesota], friend of his, spoke highly of him. Obviously the player, he has always been a really good starter. A lot of things to like as a pitcher. Outstanding slider, one of the better sliders in the game, really good changeup. He has a lot of ways to get hitters out.”

Gibson has a four-pitch mix led by a sinking fastball that averages 93.3 mph. He also throws a slider, curveball and changeup. With his forte being the ground ball, Gibson forced a ground ball 51.4 percent of the time last season, which was second highest in the AL for pitchers with at least 160 innings.

“Solid stuff across the board,” said an AL scout. “He’s behind Lynn and Minor, but a quality fourth starter on a championship team.”

Gibson is 65-64 over the past six seasons with a 4.42 ERA that ranks 79th out of 94 starters with at least 600 innings pitched. His 1.395 WHIP ranked 87th. He also averaged 7.09 strikeouts and 3.23 walks per nine innings. His ground-ball rate of 52.6 percent is the seventh highest, and his 136 double plays induced were the most in the Majors in the past six years.

“He has been a little bit of an underachiever,” said another scout. “Should be better, but he’ll give you innings. He has always been an innings-eater, but has been up and down. Maybe he’ll be better for the Texas Rangers. He’s got a good ground-ball sinker but tends to leave pitches over the heart of the plate. But they need a guy like that to give them innings.”

Gibson was originally drafted by the Twins with the 22nd overall pick in the 2009 MLB Draft out of the University of Missouri. He was recently inducted into the Mizzou Hall of Fame.