The Texas Rangers have signed free agent pitcher Mike Minor, the team announced today. While terms weren’t officially announced, multiple sources indicate that it was a 3 year, $28 million deal for the about-to-turn-30 lefthanded pitcher. The team says that the plan at this point is for Minor, who was a reliever in 2017, to be used as a starter in 2018.
Minor, the #7 overall pick in the 2009 draft, came up to the majors as a starting pitcher — 110 of his 111 career appearances with the Atlanta Braves, his original team, were as a starting pitcher. After shoulder injuries cost Minor the 2015 and 2016 season, the Kansas City Royals, who had signed Minor, opted to use him as a reliever in 2017 in order to reduce the stress on his arm. Minor had a terrific 2017 season, putting up a 2.55 ERA and a 2.62 FIP in 77.2 IP over 65 games.
Minor had one really good season as a starting pitcher for Atlanta, in 2013, when he had a 3.1 bWAR with a 3.21 ERA and a 3.37 FIP in 204.2 IP. He broke down the following season, and it remains to be seen whether he can hold up to a starter’s workload, although Jeff Banister apparently said today that a six man rotation was one of the things the team has considered, and such an arrangement would presumably result in less stress on Minor. Moreover, if starting doesn’t work, Minor can presumably be moved back to the bullpen.
At 3 years, $28 million, Minor is getting a little more than $9 million per year, which is a pretty reasonable deal if he’s going to be a 1.5-2 win starting pitcher for the Rangers over the next three years. Minor said at the press conference today Texas was the one team willing to commit to him as a starting pitcher, which is what he wanted to go back to doing. Per Jeff Passan, Minor also has a 10 team no trade clause.