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Texas Rangers trade Alex Claudio, acquire Jordan Romano

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The Rangers have dealt lefthanded reliever Alex Claudio for a first round draft pick and have acquired Rule 5 pick Jordan Romano

Minnesota Twins v Texas Rangers Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

Texas Rangers transactions: Alex Claudio has been traded to the Milwaukee Brewers for a draft pick, and pitcher (and Rule 5 pick) Jordan Romano has been acquired by the Rangers today, in a flurry of end-of-the-winter-meetings-moves.

Claudio was one of the Rangers’ player development success stories...there were people clamoring for Claudio, a sidearming lefty reliever drafted in the 27th round of the 2010 draft, to be released a few years ago. But he consistently put up quality numbers from 2014-17 as both a multi-inning reliever and a lefty specialist, logging a 2.66 ERA and a 3.31 FIP in 162 innings pitched over 142 games. Claudio had a rough 2018 campaign ERA-wise, putting up a 4.48 ERA in 68 innings, but did have a 3.42 FIP. As a versatile lefty reliever with three years of team control left, he has value in a bullpen, though there has always been concern that as a gimmicky type changeup specialist he would end up getting exposed if the league caught up to him.

The Rangers could have used Claudio as part of their 2019 pitching staff, but have opted instead to deal him to the Milwaukee Brewers for a competitive balance pick in the 2019 draft, currently set to be the #39 selection overall. While most MLB draft picks can’t be traded, competitive balance picks can be, and this allows the Rangers to get an extra late first rounder in exchange for a nice relief pitcher — and nice relief pitchers are something the Rangers seem to not have a problem developing.

Meanwhile, in this morning’s Rule 5 draft, the Rangers selected pitcher Chris Ellis, traded him to the Kansas City Royals for cash considerations, and acquired pitcher Jordan Romano, drafted in the Rule 5 draft from the Toronto Blue Jays by the Chicago White Sox, for cash considerations. In addition, the Rangers lost Reed Garrett to the Detroit Tigers in the Rule 5 draft.

Romano, who turns 26 in April, was a 10th round pick by the Jays out of Oral Roberts in the 2014 draft. The righthander spent most of 2018 in the AA Eastern League, striking out 125 batters and walking 41 in 137.1 innings, with a 4.13 ERA. He also had one appearance for AAA Buffalo. He missed the 2015 season due to Tommy John surgery, and pitched in low-A in 2016 and high-A in 2017. BP had an eye-witness report on him in 2017.

He appears to be your classic fastball/slider righthander. He’s been a starter in the minors, and one has to wonder if the Rangers think he’s someone who could fit in an opener or piggyback role, going through the order one time in the majors. As a Rule 5 pick, he has to stay on the major league roster all season (including at least 90 days on the active, non-disabled-list roster). If the Rangers want to remove him from the roster, he has to clear waivers and be offered back to the Jays.

Meanwhile, the Rangers have lost righthanded relief pitcher Reed Garrett to the Tigers. Garrett, 25, was a 16th round pick out of VMI in 2014, and is one of the Rangers’ collection of big, hard-throwing righthanded minor league arms. He appeared to be a bubble 40 man addition candidate, and his being selected isn’t a big surprise. As with Romano, Garrett will have to be kept on the major league roster all season or waived and offered back to Texas.

The Rangers 40 man roster stands at 35, and will go to 36 if and when Lance Lynn officially signs.