The Texas Rangers have signed pitchers Shawn Tolleson and Paolo Espino to minor league contracts with invitations to spring training.
Espino was with the Rangers for the end of 2017, having been purchased by the Rangers from the Milwaukee Brewers in late August, before being outrighted off the 40 man roster at the end of the season and becoming a free agent. He will presumably be one of the arms slated for Round Rock to be depth, but who will theoretically have a chance to vie for a job on the major league staff this spring if the opportunity arises.
More interesting is the return of Tolleson, who spent the 2014-16 seasons with the Rangers after being claimed on waivers after the 2013 season from the Los Angeles Dodgers. Tolleson was really solid in both 2014 and 2015 (believe it or not, he actually finished 10th in the Cy Young balloting in 2015), then fell apart in 2016. Tolleson joined the Rays on a minor league deal last year, but had Tommy John surgery in May, 2017, which likely means he won’t be major league ready until August at the earliest.
That said, Tolleson, who turns 30 next month, is a local guy (born in Dallas, attended Allen High School), and he has had success here in the past. Both parties seem comfortable with each other, so it makes sense for Texas to take a look at him as he rehabs, and see if he might be able to give them a boost when rosters expand in September. In addition, he’s at five-plus years service time, so even if they call him up in September, they would have him under team control for 2019 if it looks like he’s still serviceable.