“Obviously, coming into the organization, you look at the workload of pitchers, injuries, monitoring the ability to have these guys be in a rotation where workload is consistent,” Minor said. “The ability to have days in between. The benefits of how they prepare. I think we can talk about all the different obstacles and things, but the biggest obstacle is finding the guys to be able to do it and have the core group to be able to put together a six-man rotation. But yeah, it’s obviously one of those things we thought about and talked about and looked at all the benefits of it.”
Minor, who turns 30 later this month, was a starter for the Braves from 2010-14, compiling a 38-36 record with a 4.10 ERA in 111 outings (110 starts). He missed ’15-16 with major shoulder injuries before making a comeback with the Royals last season.
Texas also re-signed right-handed reliever Tony Barnette to a one-year contract, the club announced. The Rangers made Barnette a free agent when they declined to pick up his option on Nov. 6, but the club re-signed him to a $1.5 million contract for 2018.
Barnette spent the past two years with the Rangers, finishing 7-3 with a 2.09 ERA in 53 games in 2016 before slipping to 2-1 with a 5.49 ERA in 50 outings this past season. But the 34-year-old recorded a 2.51 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP during a 25-game stretch from July 3-Sept. 22 before allowing seven runs in his final two outings after the Rangers were eliminated from postseason contention.
“During my short-lived free agency, it was difficult to imagine an immediate future without being in a Rangers uniform,” Barnette said.
The Rangers also signed right-hander Chi Chi Gonzalez, their first-round pick in 2013, as well as three others to Minor League contracts with invitations to Spring Training.
Gonzalez became a free agent last Friday when Texas non-tendered him. The 25-year-old is recovering from Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery and is not expected to pitch in 2018.
The Rangers also signed former Blue Jays and Tigers outfielder Anthony Gose with the possibility that he could pitch for them. Gose, a left-hander, spent parts of five seasons in the Major Leagues from 2012-16 mainly as a center fielder with excellent speed.
Gose, 27, has appeared in 372 Major League games, posting a .240/.309/.348 slash line and stealing 57 stolen bases. The Phillies originally drafted him as an outfielder out of Bellweather (Calif.) High School in 2008. Gose pitched in high school but wanted to play professionally as an outfielder even though scouts were attracted to a fastball registering in the high 90s.
That changed last Spring Training when the Tigers told Gose he was not going to make the team. He volunteered to switch to pitching and was clocked at 99 mph. Gose went 0-2 with a 7.59 ERA in 11 appearances at Class A Advanced Lakeland before being shut down on July 2 with elbow inflammation.
In addition, the Rangers signed left-hander David Hurlbut, who spent all of last season at Triple-A Rochester in the Twins’ organization and finished 10-8 with a 3.44 ERA and 1.393 WHIP over 23 games (22 starts). The 28-year-old has averaged an attractive two walks per nine innings in seven Minor League seasons.
The Rangers also signed infielder Christian Lopes out of the Blue Jays’ organization. The 25-year-old played in 92 games at Triple-A Buffalo this past season and hit .261 with a .349 on-base percentage and a .402 slugging percentage. Lopes knocked six home runs and stole 18 bases. A right-handed hitter, he has been a second baseman for most of his career with only limited experience at shortstop and third base.
Fantasy spin | Fred Zinkie (@FredZinkieMLB)
Minor was exclusively a reliever last season — his first since 2014 after missing two full years with shoulder woes — but he showed in 2013 (3.21 ERA, 1.09 WHIP in 32 GS) that he can thrive out of a big league rotation. The 29-year-old would have received a greater fantasy boost had Texas signed him to save games, but he nonetheless has enough upside to be a late-round mixed-league pick as a projected arm on the Rangers’ starting staff.
T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.