Rangers snag lefty reliever as Meetings open

December 10th, 2019

SAN DIEGO -- The Rangers added a left-handed reliever to their bullpen on Monday by reaching an agreement with out of Japan. According to MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi, Rodriguez has agreed to a two-year, $5.5 million contract, pending a physical. The Rangers have not confirmed the deal.

Rodriguez, who averages 95 mph on his fastball, spent the past two seasons with the Chunichi Dragons, going 3-7 with a 1.85 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP over 90 appearances. He averaged 10.6 strikeouts, 6.6 hits and 2.9 walks per nine innings.

He made 38 appearances for the Phillies in 2016-17, going 1-2 with a 5.40 ERA and a 1.74 WHIP. He also pitched for the Rangers at Triple-A Round Rock in ‘17 and was 2-0 with a 6.33 ERA and 1.81 WHIP.

Woodward extols Lyles signing

The Rangers could still use more starting pitching, but manager Chris Woodward said he is feeling much better about his rotation after the club acquired free agent right-handers Jordan Lyles and Kyle Gibson earlier this month.

The Rangers have officially announced the Gibson signing, but Lyles’ situation is still pending a physical. Those two are expected to fall in behind Mike Minor and Lance Lynn in the Rangers’ rotation.

“It's nice to have guys -- you have four quality guys with that fifth spot still being open,” Woodward said Monday from the Winter Meetings. “We can fill it with another guy, or we can have our younger guys compete for that spot, which we're going to get the best guy out of our group in that spot if we choose to do that.”

Lyles is a nine-year veteran with a career record of 43-60, a 5.11 ERA and a 1.44 WHIP while being used both as a starter and a reliever. The Rangers were impressed with his two-month tour with the Brewers at the end of last season. He made 11 starts for the Brewers and was 7-1 with a 2.45 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP.

“Jordan Lyles was a guy that we identified that he found something last year,” Woodward said. “Honestly, I think Jordan is scratching the surface on finding out how good he can be, and that was intriguing for me.”

Rangers hire Wilson as Double-A skipper

The Rangers have hired former Major League catcher Bobby Wilson to be their Double-A Frisco manager. Wilson spent parts of 10 seasons in the Major Leagues with six organizations, including the Rangers in 2015-16 and the Tigers last season.

Wilson will get a chance to work with some of the Rangers’ top prospects, including catcher Sam Huff, who is ranked No. 2 in the organization by MLB Pipeline.

“I've heard that name a few times, and it's exciting,” Wilson said of Huff. “It's exciting to be able to possibly have somebody of that caliber. We've already had conversations about what my plan is for him and how we're going to speed up his curve as fast as we can, on preparation and mental side of the game.”

Wilson’s staff will include pitching coach Jeff Andrews, hitting coach Josue Perez and coach Jonathan Gelnar. The Rangers have yet to name a Triple-A manager, but that coaching staff will consist of pitching coach Greg Hibbard, hitting coach Chase Lambim and coach Tyler Graham.

Rangers beat

• The Rangers also announced the promotion of Matt Hagan to Minor League field coordinator. He has been a manager in the Rangers’ system for the past three seasons, leading Class A Hickory to an 83-52 record. His staff includes pitching coordinators Danny Clark and Jono Arnold, infield coordinator Kenny Holmberg, hitting coordinator Cody Atkinson and roving coaches Geno Petralli and Turtle Thomas.

• Josh Johnson, who was a coach at Hickory last season, has been named manager of Class A Advanced Down East. He will be joined by pitching coach Steve Mintz and hitting coach Jared Goedert.

• Carlos Cardoza is being promoted to Hickory after managing the Rangers’ Rookie League team last year. His staff will include pitching coach Jose Jaimes, hitting coach Jason Hart and coach Jay Sullenger.

• Sean Cashman, who was the Rangers’ Rookie League pitching coach last season, has been named manager at Class A Short Season Spokane along with Bryan Conger (pitching coach), Sharnol Adriana (hitting coach), and Pat Brady (coach).