Texas Rangers transactions: The Texas Rangers have acquired outfielder Austin Jackson and righthanded pitchers Cory Gearrin and Jason Bahr from the San Francisco Giants in exchange for a player to be named later or cash, the Rangers announced today. To make room on the 40 man roster for Jackson and Gearrin, the Rangers have moved Matt Bush and Tony Barnette to the 60 day disabled list.
This appears to be a straight salary dump by the Giants — Jackson is in the first year of a 2 year, $6 million deal, and Gearrin is making $1.68 million this season. The San Francisco media painting this as the Giants getting additional room under the luxury tax line (which they were close to, but not over) for this season while adding some younger players to the roster.
For the Rangers, meanwhile, this is an opportunity to buy a minor leaguer. Bahr is a 23 year old righthander who was the Giants’ 5th round pick out of the University of Central Florida in the 2017 draft. Between the low-A Sally League and the high-A California League, Bahr has put up a 2.55 ERA in 84.2 IP over 16 starts, with 103 Ks and 23 walks. Bahr seems analogous to Kyle Cody last year — an older (he was 22 when he was drafted) college draftee who has had a breakout year in his first season in pro ball. Here’s a scouting report on Bahr.
Jackson and Gearrin, meanwhile, are veterans having disappointing years that the Rangers will see if they can get something out of. Jackson has been talked about, at least here on LSB, as a potential Ranger target seemingly forever. The 31 year old Denton native was terrific his first few seasons in the league for Detroit, and since has settled into a journeyman role. His strong 2017 campaign for the Indians resulted in the Giants scooping him up, but he’s slashing .242/.309/.295 in 165 plate appearances, and his defense is sub-par at this point in center field. Gearrin, meanwhile, has a 4.20 ERA and a 4.82 FIP in 30 relief innings for the Giants this year, after putting up a 1.99 ERA and 3.89 FIP last season.
My guess is Jackson temporarily takes over for either a d.l.’d Carlos Tocci (who just got hit in the head by a throw to first on a bunt by Tocci) or an optioned Ryan Rua as a righthanded backup outfielder and bench bat while the Rangers look to see if another team is interested in Jackson. Gearrin will be an arm in the bullpen while Bush, Barnette and Chris Martin are sidelined. He’s under team control for 2019, as well.
While we have to see if the player to be named later ends up being anyone meaningful, this appears to be a straight dump by the Giants, with the Rangers being willing to spend money on underperforming veterans in order to pick up an interesting minor league arm that appears to have some potential as a back-end starting pitcher. If the Rangers get anything from Jackson or Gearrin, either via a trade or in performance, that would be a bonus.
In the meantime, moving Barnette and Bush to the 60 day disabled list eliminates the obvious choices to create a 40 man roster spot for Martin Perez, who should be activated later this coming week from the 60 day d.l. If Gearrin or Jackson aren’t moved or DFA’d in the near future, Perez’s spot will likely need to come from either designating Carlos Perez for assignment or recalling Nick Gardewine, who has been on the minor league d.l. for weeks, and putting him on the 60 day d.l.
UPDATE — It sounds like Jackson may not actually suit up for the Rangers, with Stefan Stevenson tweeting that Gearrin is joining the active roster when the Rangers go to Boston, Bahr is going to Down East, and Jackson could be part of another trade.