On the heels of Neftali Feliz’s elbow injury, Rangers general manager Jon Daniels told Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram this evening that they are considering alternatives for their rotation, including free agent right-hander Roy Oswalt.
“We’ll consider all our options, whatever’s best for the team going forward,” Daniels said. “He [Oswalt] is still out there. He hasn’t faced hitters yet. He’s not an immediate option.”
Scott Feldman will replace Feliz in the starting rotation on Wednesday against the Mariners, but the Rangers will re-evaluate things from there. Alexi Ogando enjoyed success as a starter last season, but he’s not stretched out and the team appears content using him in a late-inning role. At least right now. It’s unlikely the Rangers will turn to one of their top pitching prospects, including right-hander Neil Ramirez and left-hander Martin Perez.
The Rangers were one of three teams who reportedly watched Oswalt throw Friday in Mississippi, along with the Red Sox and Cardinals. Those are the same teams who were mentioned most often in connection with Oswalt over the winter. However, he’s likely about a month away from being major-league ready.
Oswalt, 34, posted a 3.69 ERA and 93/23 K/BB ratio over 23 starts with the Phillies last season while dealing with a back injury. He has never pitched for an American League team.
The Mariners acquired Yankees’ right-hander Nick Rumbelow in exchange for minor league righty Juan Then and left-hander JP Sears, per an official announcement on Saturday. Rumbelow made 17 appearances for the Yankees in 2015 before undergoing Tommy John surgery and could provide some bullpen depth for the Mariners in 2018.
The 26-year-old right-hander spent the majority of his 2017 season in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, where he delivered an 0.62 ERA, 2.5 BB/9 and 9.3 SO/9 over 29 innings. The Yankees didn’t rush Rumbelow into a full workload after he missed the 2016 season recovering from Tommy John, but he didn’t appear to have any significant setbacks with his health or performance and should be ready to compete for a role next spring.
Sears, 21, was ranked 21st in the Mariners’ organization by MLB Pipeline. He was drafted in the 11th round of the 2017 draft and features a deceptive, low-velocity fastball that he can throw for strikes to either side of the plate. In his first year of pro ball, he split 17 games between Short-Season A Everett and Single-A Clinton, turning in an 0.65 ERA, 3.9 BB/9 and 16.6 SO/9 across two levels.
Then, 17, also completed his first year of pro ball after signing with the Mariners as a free agent. He went 2-2 in 13 games of rookie ball, pitching to a 2.64 ERA, 2.2 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 in 61 1/3 innings. Neither Sears nor Then will take the mound for the Yankees anytime soon, and offloading Rumbelow to the Mariners should clear up some room on New York’s 40-man roster as they prepare for the upcoming Rule 5 Draft.