Nick Blackburn was already facing an uphill battle to rejoin the Twins’ rotation thanks to his awful performance during the past few seasons, but now he may not even be healthy for spring training.
Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com reports that Blackburn will undergo wrist surgery and will be in a cast for at least six weeks. He previously underwent surgery to remove a bone chip from his elbow in October.
Blackburn is owed $5.5 million in the final season of a misguided contract extension handed out by the Twins, but he was dropped from the 40-man roster (and predictably went unclaimed on waivers) amid a career-worst season in which he threw 99 innings with a 7.39 ERA.
For all the talk of needing to improve their rotation the Twins haven’t exactly made any impact moves to actually do so this offseason and Blackburn’s injury further thins out the fifth starter candidates.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Rangers have signed pitcher Jesse Chavez. He’ll earn a $1 million base salary that will increase to $1.5 million if he’s added to the active roster, Heyman notes. The right-hander can earn an additional $500,000 in incentives as a reliever and $1 million in incentives as a starter.
Chavez, 34, struggled across 21 starts and 17 relief appearances for the Angels last season, finishing with a 5.35 ERA and a 119/45 K/BB ratio in 138 innings. He had decent peripherals, but has always allowed a high batting average on balls in play. Chavez has also been homer-prone in recent seasons which may only be exacerbated by the Rangers’ home ballpark.
The Rangers have Mike Minor and Matt Bush already clamoring for the fifth spot in the rotation, so it seems unlikely Chavez will open the year in the rotation. He could wind up there during the season, however, should any of the starters suffer an injury.