The Texas Rangers have acquired pitcher Paolo Espino from the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for cash, the team has announced today. To make room for Espino on the 40 man roster, the Rangers have designated pitcher Tanner Scheppers for assignment.
The acquisition of Espino is rather odd. The 30 year old righty is listed at 5’10”, 215 lbs., and had never pitched in the majors before 2017. This season he has started 2 games for the Brewers, pitched in relief for them 4 times, and put up a 6.11 ERA and 7.20 FIP in 17.2 IP. He has split time between the Brewers and AAA Colorado Springs, where he put up a 4.52 ERA in 16 games, 14 of which were starts.
Espino was designated for assignment earlier this week by the Brewers when they claimed reliever Aaron Brooks on waivers. I’m not entirely sure why the Rangers acquired him. He would seem unlikely to make it through the offseason on the 40 man roster, and having him on the 40 man roster in September uses up a spot that could otherwise be used for a Jose Trevino or a Willie Calhoun as a September callup. I have to assume their scouts saw something in him that makes them feel like maybe he’s worth hanging onto through the offseason and including in the starting rotation battle in spring, 2018.
Meanwhile, this would appear to spell the end of Tanner Scheppers’ time with the Rangers. Draft in the supplement first round in 2009, Scheppers was really good in a relief role in 2013, started on Opening Day in 2014 after winning a spot in the rotation then, got hurt, and basically hasn’t been healthy and productive for long since then. He was waived earlier this year, wasn’t claimed, and was outrighted then. He has the right to opt for free agency if he clears waivers this time.