Injuries to Colby Lewis, Neftali Feliz, and Martin Perez have forced the Rangers to dig deeper into their pitching depth than they’d like and they’ve picked Nick Tepesch as their fifth starter.
Tepesch is 24 years old and has yet to pitch above Double-A. And in fact he wasn’t even all that good at Double-A, making 14 starts there with a 4.28 ERA, 68/26 K/BB ratio, and 97 hits allowed in 90 innings.
Robbie Ross and Michael Kirkman were also in the running for the spot, but the Rangers decided they preferred them both in the bullpen and opted not to make a run at free agent Kyle Lohse. Instead they’ll hope that Tepesch can hold his own until Lewis or Perez is ready in a couple months.
Free agent right-hander Trevor Cahill reportedly has a one-year deal in place with the Athletics, according to MLB.com’s Jane Lee. The exact terms have yet to be disclosed, and as the agreement is still pending a physical, it has not been formally announced by the club.
Cahill, 30, is coming off of a decent, albeit underwhelming year with the Padres and Royals. He kicked off the 2017 season with a 4-3 record in 11 starts for the Padres, then split his time between the rotation and bullpen after a midseason trade to the Royals. By the end of the year, the righty led the league with 16 wild pitches and had racked up a 4.93 ERA, 4.8 BB/9 and 9.3 SO/9 in 84 innings for the two teams.
The A’s found themselves in desperate need of rotation depth this week after Jharel Cotton announced he’d miss the 2018 season to undergo Tommy John surgery. Right now, the team is considering some combination of Andrew Triggs, Daniel Gossett, Daniel Mengden and Paul Blackburn for the back end of the rotation — a mix that seems unlikely to change in the last two weeks before Opening Day, as Lee points out that Cahill won’t be ready to shoulder a full workload by then. Instead, he’s expected to begin the year in the bullpen and work his way up to a starting role, where the A’s hope he’ll replicate the All-Star numbers he produced with them back in 2010.