The Rangers on Wednesday officially announced their one-year contract with free-agent pitcher Mike Foltynewicz, which was first reported on Friday. According to a source, the deal is worth $2 million with up to $500,000 in incentives, but the club has not confirmed the terms.
"I'm in a good spot right now and I'm very healthy," Foltynewicz said. "I'm busting my butt this offseason. I had to be on my own this year, and you know, just invest in yourself to be great."
Foltynewicz was an All-Star in 2018, when he posted a 2.85 ERA, but the 29-year-old righty threw just 3 1/3 innings for the Braves in 2020, giving up six runs on four hits, before being designated for assignment.
Rangers general manager Chris Young said they signed Foltynewicz with the intention for him to be a starting pitcher. Foltynewicz will join a rotation that includes Kohei Arihara, Dane Dunning, Jordan Lyles and Kyle Gibson.
While he wasn’t happy with how his career with the Braves ended, Foltynewicz understood it from a business perspective.
“In the back of the mind, that kind of fuels you a little bit when someone gives up on you like that,” Foltynewicz said. “I worked my butt off as best I could to try to get to come back, and prove [to] everybody that that wasn't me.”
Braves manager Brian Snitker said Foltynewicz’s velocity was down during Summer Camp and his only start in 2020 confirmed that. Foltynewicz had a throwing session at Georgia Tech on Jan. 29, and it was reported that his velocity was up and he looked in better shape than he did last summer, according to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman.
Young said they felt good after watching Foltynewicz throw. During his throwing session, the righty was in the low-90s, and the Rangers expect it to get higher throughout the spring.
“We're confident that as he kind of gets innings under his belt, his velocity is going to bounce back,” Young said. “His sinker looks good, the slider was solid, so I think we're confident. And the motivation is there. He's worked extremely hard to get to where he is. I think that if you pair all that together, he's in a good position to bounce back.”
Though all pitchers threw less innings last year because of the shortened season, Foltynewicz’s 3 1/3 frames were far less. Young said the Rangers are looking to get creative with the rotation throughout the season.
With a young rotation, Foltynewicz is going to be one of the older pitchers for the Rangers this season.
“I've kind of slowly learned how to, you know, be that leader, kind of just have some fun with a young dude and have a good environment,” Foltynewicz said. “These kids are just excited and they're just full of energy, just want to go go go go all the time. But I don't think we're going to have a problem because I'm still young at heart.”
Foltynewicz also struggled with injuries in 2019 and spent time in Triple-A before returning to post a 1.73 ERA over his last seven starts. He said his offseason workouts have been helpful and he’s in a great position both physically and mentally at this point in his career.
“I'm in a very good spot just knowing I'll get a fresh start with somebody,” Foltynewicz said. “I think you know a lot of people need that in life sometimes. I'm just excited to get to a new state, a new team and meet everybody -- and just have some fun and be comfortable.
“I think that we're going to get along very well and I'm just -- I'm easy to get along with, a mature guy. But at the same time, we need to work and all that stuff, but we'll get our work [done] and have some fun.”
Outfielder Adolis Garcia was designated for assignment to make room for Foltynewicz on the Rangers' 40-man roster.