The Texas Rangers have released right-hander Adrian Sampson, in a move which allows him to pitch in South Korea. He’ll soon join the Lotte Giants, with whom he has been negotiating.
Sampson went 6-8 with a 5.89 ERA in 125.1 innings in swingman duties for Texas this past season, making 15 starts and 20 relief appearances. He was third on the club in innings pitched after Mike Minor and Lance Lynn. In all he has pitched in three seasons in the bigs, though all but six of his 41 games pitched came in 2019.
Sampson was unlikely to stay on the 40-man roster as the rebuilding Rangers, hopefully, improved over the next couple of years, and it was likely that he’d have to settle for a minor league deal to pitch in the United States in 2020. Signing to pitch in the KBO is, therefore, a smart financial move for him in the short run and, with success for Lotte, he could position himself for a second go-around in the bigs if he chooses to at some point down the line.
Yasiel Puig, unexpectedly, remained unemployed for the entire offseason. But now, a week or so into spring training, it’s appearing as though he may soon have a job. That’s the word from Hector Gomez of Z101, who reports that the Rockies and White Sox have emerged as “frontrunners” to sign the guy.
Puig hit a .252/.302/.475 (92 OPS+) for the Reds before being traded to the Indians. Once in Cleveland his performance improved, however, as he hit .297/.377/.423 (109 OPS+). Definitely a down year overall, and a far cry from the sort of superstar performance he showcased when he first broke into the league, but he’s just 29 and still profiles as an above average big league outfielder, on defense and at the plate.
He’d certainly benefit from playing in the thin air of Colorado. He’d also look pretty spiffy in the White Sox’ lineup, though he’d likely have to assume a platoon role there. Which, given that he as better in that role toward the end of his tenure in Los Angeles, would not be the worst idea. He didn’t like it all that much, but at the moment, he needs to find a job.
Anyway, look for Puig to be off the market soon.