As expected, the Rangers have removed Alexi Ogando from the playoff roster following his oblique injury last night and replaced him with Dustin Nippert.
It’s a tough break for the Rangers, who were already without their top right-handed setup man in Frank Francisco. Ogando emerged as a viable alternative with a 1.30 ERA in 41.2 regular season innings and six innings of one-run ball this postseason, but now his injury leaves Darren Oliver and Darren O’Day to do an awful lot of heavy lifting in front of closer Neftali Feliz.
And since Ron Washington uses Feliz in such a rigid way the Rangers’ middle relievers and setup men have longer gaps to the closer to bridge than they should anyway. If the Rangers call Nippert into a game then you know something went terribly wrong, because he’s a 29-year-old with a 5.31 ERA in 268 career innings.
Free agent right-hander Chris Tillman is narrowing his pool of potential suitors, per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. Returning to the Orioles is one option, of course, but Heyman also mentions another two undisclosed teams who are still in the running. An earlier report from Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun suggests that as many as four teams may be in the mix; either way, a final decision is expected by Monday.
Tillman, 29, has spent the entirety of his major league career in Baltimore. After posting career-high numbers in 2016, his progress was derailed during an injury-plagued 2017 campaign, during which he missed nearly six weeks on the disabled list with recurring right shoulder inflammation. He finished the season with a bloated 7.84 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 4.9 SO/9 over 93 innings.
While the mystery teams have yet to reveal themselves, the Blue Jays, Twins and Tigers have all expressed interest in the veteran right-hander this offseason. Both the Blue Jays and Twins have made big moves to bolster their rotations over the last few days, with the additions of Jaime Garcia and Jake Odorizzi, respectively. That doesn’t mean that Tillman is out of reach, however — if his price is right, he could provide some much-needed depth for pitching staffs that finished 15th and 22nd in the league last year.