Rangers add Chavez to pitching mix

February 22nd, 2018

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Rangers added flexibility and depth to their pitching staff by signing free-agent right-handed pitcher to a one-year contract. The club made the announcement official on Friday, and it also made room on the 40-man roster by putting left-hander on the 60-day disabled list.

Chavez, 34, was with the Angels last year, making 21 starts and 17 relief appearances. He was 7-11 with a 5.35 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP. In 138 innings, he averaged 7.76 strikeouts, 2.93 walks and 9.65 hits per nine innings.

Chavez's deal is for $1 million but he will earn $1.5 million plus incentives if he makes the team.

"He has a reputation for being an outstanding teammate," general manager Jon Daniels said. "I would have known that better if I hadn't traded him 12 years ago."

The Rangers originally drafted Chavez in the 42nd round of the 2002 MLB Draft, but he never reached the big leagues with them. Instead, Texas traded him to Pittsburgh on July 31, 2006, for pitcher Kip Wells.

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"[Chavez is] a big-time competitor who will do anything for the team," Daniels said. "There is real value in that. He can start, and he can pitch out of the 'pen. He can help a team in a lot of ways."

The Rangers' rotation currently includes Cole Hamels, , Doug Fister and Matt Moore. Mike Minor was also signed to be a starter, even though he can pitch as a reliever, and Texas still intends to give Matt Bush an opportunity to be a starter. Bush is starting on Sunday against the Rockies.

The Rangers also have veterans and Jonathan Niese in camp competing for a spot in the rotation.

Daniels said adding Chavez does not change Texas' plans as far as Minor or Bush.

"Not at this time," Daniels said. "When you put a staff together, it is all part of a puzzle. We haven't even started games yet, but nothing has changed."

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Chavez may have more value as a long reliever -- a role the Rangers haven't defined yet. Their best bullpen arems are mainly one- or two-inning guys.

"It's nothing I haven't been accustomed to," Chavez said of the dual roles as a starter and reliever. "It's not like I haven't been in this situation before. I'll be fine as long as I stay on top of a starter's workload and keep the same routine."

Over the past four years, Chavez has made 68 starts and 94 relief appearances.

"That versatility -- whether starting, relieving or moving back and forth -- is key," Daniels said. "He's coming and competing for a spot on the club. We like what he can bring. His utility is his ability to fill multiple spots."

Chavez is late to camp, but he has been throwing at his home in California. Daniels said Chavez threw a three-inning simulated game to hitters earlier in the week.

"He has built his arm up," Daniels said. "He has to go through the baseball piece of it, but he has been doing this a long time. He knows what he is doing."

Palumbo underwent Tommy John surgery on his left elbow on April 26, and he is not expected to be ready until mid-summer.