Welcome to the other side of a rebuilding pitching staff, everyone! The Rangers announced some major changes on the pitching side before the game Thursday. After major struggles the past few days, the team made a total of four roster moves and a rotation change. Here’s the breakdown of all that occurred early Thursday.
— Alex Plinck (@aplinckTX) June 20, 2019
LHP Drew Smyly designated for assignment
The Smyly experiment came to a close, and the experience buckled less than desired results. Smyly went 1-5 with an 8.42 ERA and had a WHIP of 1.909. The Rangers demoted Smyly to the bullpen after his struggles on June 9th’s game against the Athletics. He had two long relief outings since then. Smyly had a positive three-inning outing in Cincinnati last Saturday and a scuffling appearance on Tuesday against Cleveland. “Were at the point in the season where we felt like we gave it a chance.” GM Jon Daniels said. “It’s a situation where a fresh start will be best for him. He was putting work in, (it) just wasn’t paying consistent dividends at this point.”
LHP Joe Palumbo optioned to AAA Nashville
Let’s get this out-of-the-way, when Palumbo got the call, it was from AA Frisco to the big leagues, jumping past AAA. While Joe did get sent down, it is still an upgrade from a month ago. After a positive outing against Oakland on June 8th, the Indians shredded Palumbo for seven runs in two-plus innings. Chris Woodward mentioned before the game that Palumbo had trouble executing his secondary pitches after the Indians zeroed in on his strength, his fastball. Woodward compared the Indians preparation to a Bill Belichick Patriots group that takes away a pitcher’s best option. “It’s part of the process.” Woody said. “Sometimes [young pitchers] have an immediate impact and they do well, and sometimes they get their butt kicked and they have to deal with that.”
LHP Kyle Bird recalled from AAA Nashville
The Bird is flying back to the big leagues after the Rangers optioned him to Nashville less than a month ago. It’s Bird’s third stint in 2019 where he’s pitched in six games. Since Mid-April, Bird’s appeared in one game on May 27th at Seattle. Kyle’s walked ten batters in 6.2 innings and allowed five runs this season.
LHP Locke St. John added to the 40 man roster and recalled from AAA Nashville
Locke is a left-handed sidewinder, similar to former Ranger Alex Claudio. In fact, Locke said he watched YouTube videos of Alex Claudio (confirmed by Locke that he searched sidearmers and found Claudio), when the Tigers organization hinted at Locke to use the side delivery. “[The Tigers] asked me if I would [throw sidearm] and I did just to see what would happen, keep your job.” Locke stated. “I had a good feel for it and it took off.” In December 2017, St. John got claimed off waivers by AAA Round Rock from West Michigan (Tigers minor league affiliate) and got assigned to the Rangers in March 2018. Locke pitched two years in AA Frisco and five innings for AAA Nashville in 2019. I do see Locke St. John will have a similar effect on the mound as Alex Claudio.
#GSM stud/Texas @Rangers LHP Prospect Locke St. John w/ a great 2k19 debut pitching 1.1 Scoreless Innings + 3K’s yesterday! #Family #WorkEthic #Purpose #MLB #MiLB #TexasRangers pic.twitter.com/RXJbyEtNKK
— Gaeta Sports Mgt (@GaetaSportsMgt) April 8, 2019
RHP Jesse Chavez moved from bullpen to rotation
— FOX Sports Southwest (@FOXSportsSW) June 20, 2019
After two long outings, Chris Woodward made the decision that Chavez, for now, will fill the fifth rotation spot. Starting has been a desire for Jesse since he came to the big leagues. The last time Chavez started a game, traditionally, was on July 30th, 2017 with the Angels against the Blue Jays. Jesse Chavez has seventy career starts under his belt, and in 2019, he’ll get a chance to add to that. One downside is that Chavez’s success may hurt the bullpen, but Woodward feels that the rotation needs more help from Jesse than the bullpen now. “I don’t know if this long-term, but for now he represents the best option.” It should be a good transition with a few long relief outings, already stretching out Jesse’s pitch count.
Chavez's spot in rotation will be on Tuesday in Detroit after the off day on Monday
— Alex Plinck (@aplinckTX) June 20, 2019
With more off days approaching and the All-Star break coming, more moves may be on the horizon. Jon Daniels didn’t rule out any transactions from outside the organization. However, the focus is to settle down the rotation, after a couple of short starts. But hey this is what we expected, right?
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