The Texas Rangers announced today they’ve signed Chi Chi Gonzalez, Anthony Gose, David Hurlbut and Christian Lopes to minor league contracts, with invitations to the major league camp.
The signing of Gose was reported last week, though hadn’t been officially announced until today. Gose is a center fielder who converted to pitching last season, though the Rangers’ announcement has him listed as an outfielder. We shall see if the Rangers work with him as a two-way player, or if he really is just going to be in the Jared Hoying AAA center field depth role.
Gonzalez being back is news, however. Gonzalez, a 25 year old righthanded pitcher, was one of four players non-tendered by the Rangers last Friday. The 2013 first round pick of the Rangers missed all of 2017 with a UCL tear that ultimately needed Tommy John surgery, and he is expected to miss all of 2018. With Gonzalez on a minor league deal, the Rangers can work with him on his rehabbing, and potentially put him back on the 40 man roster at the end of 2018, should they feel his progress warrants it.
Hurlbut, 28, was a 28th round pick of the Minnesota Twins out of Cal State-Fullerton in 2011. The lefthanded pitcher spent all of 2017 in AAA Rochester for the Twins, putting up a 3.44 ERA in 130.2 IP over 22 starts and 1 relief appearance, with 103 Ks against 30 walks and 6 home runs. Hurlbut will, presumably, get a look as a potential rotation candidate, but is likely AAA pitching depth.
Lopes was a 7th round pick of the Blue Jays in 2011 out of Edison High School in Huntington Beach, California. He spent most of 2017 in AAA Buffalo, splitting time between second base and third base, though he has mostly played second base in his career. Lopes, who turned 25 in October, has a career .262/.336/.376 slash line, including a .261/.349/.402 slash line in AAA last year. He, too, seems to be minor league depth for Round Rock.