The Texas Rangers have purchased the contract of pitcher Austin Bibens-Dirkx from AAA Round Rock. To make room for Bibens-Dirkx on the active roster, the Rangers have optioned lefthanded pitcher Dario Alvarez to AAA Round Rock. There was an open spot on the 40 man roster, so no corresponding 40 man roster move is necessary.
This is simply a matter of the Rangers needing a fresh arm in the major league bullpen who can go multiple innings if need be. After Cole Hamels’ late scratch meant Alex Claudio starting what was effectively a bullpen game on Tuesday, and then the 13 inning affair on Friday that necessitated 6 innings being thrown by the bullpen, the team has run out of pitchers who have a lot of innings in their arms right now. Bibens-Dirkx gives them a true long man.
Alvarez was the odd man out, both because he’s a lefty who is more of a situational reliever than someone Jeff Banister is going to trust for an inning or more, because he pitched last night and threw a number of pitches, and because he has options remaining. Alvarez will likely be back up in the majors at some point this season, but for now, they had to create a roster spot, and Alvarez drew the black bean.
As for Bibens-Dirkx, he is a 32 year old minor league lifer who was drafted in the 16th round of the 2006 draft by the Seattle Mariners out of the University of Portland. He pitched in the Indy Atlantic League and for Round Rock in 2016, and was re-signed as a minor league free agent this offseason by the Rangers. My guess is that he’s just a warm body to soak up innings if Cashner gets knocked out early or a game gets out of hand in the next few days, after which he will likely be designated for assignment, will clear waivers, and will be returned to Round Rock.