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Rangers sign Rodriguez, plus five to minor league deals

The Rangers have officially signed lefthanded reliever Joely Rodriguez to a major league deal, and have signed five players to minor league contracts

Texas Rangers Photo Day Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

Texas Rangers transactions: Joely Rodriguez has officially signed, the team announced today, and Matt Bush, Blake Swihart, Tim Dillard, Brian Flynn and Arturo Reyes have been signed to minor league deals.

We had heard last week that Rodriguez, a 28 year old lefthanded relief pitcher who spent part of 2018 and all of 2019 pitching for Japan, had agreed to terms with the Rangers on a two year, $5.5 million deal with a club option. Rodriguez, who was acquired by the Rangers from the Philadelphia Phillies in the summer of 2017 and pitched for Round Rock for a couple of months that year, is reportedly touching 100 out of the pen, and gives the Rangers what they hope will be a quality lefthanded relief arm.

With his being added to the major league roster, the 40 man roster is now full.

Moving on to the minor league deals...

Bush, who underwent Tommy John surgery last summer, signed a two year minor league contract, similar to what Edinson Volquez did prior to the 2018 season. He will rehab with the Rangers in 2020, and be under contract with the team for 2021, as he continues to try to work his way back to the major leagues.

Swihart, who turns 28 in April, is a Texas native, having been born in Bedford. He was a first round pick of the Boston Red Sox in 2011, and was highly-regarded as a switch-hitting catcher with a potential impact bat. Swihart, however, has never really hit in the majors (he has a career .243/.301/.355 slash line in 696 major league plate appearances), and his defense has gotten negative reviews. The Red Sox tried to hold onto him when he was out of options, but finally waived him in 2019, and he was claimed by the Arizona Diamondbacks. Arizona never played him at catcher, and he didn’t hit there either. The Rangers have him listed as a C-OF in their announcement, so we shall see what their plans for him are.

Dillard, 36, is a social media sensation and veteran AAA arm who logged 153.1 IP for Nashville in 2019. He will be back in Nashville for 2020 as the rubber-armed guy who does whatever the teams needs him to do, be it start, relieve, or whatever.

Flynn, a lefthanded pitcher who turns 30 in April, was originally a Detroit Tiger draft pick, went to Miami in the 2012 Anibal Sanchez/Omar Infante trade, and has been with the Kansas City Royals since November, 2014, when they acquired him in the Aaron Crow trade. He has a career 4.41 ERA in 187.2 IP in the majors, almost all in relief, and put up a 4.78 ERA in 43.1 IP for Omaha last year.

Reyes, who turns 28 in April, is a righthanded pitcher who was a 40th round pick of the St. Louis Cardinals out of Gonzaga in 2013. He’s never made the majors, and spent last season splitting time between AA and AAA for the Rays.