The Texas Rangers told Jason Hammel yesterday that he had made the team’s Opening Day roster and would be the long man.
Jason Hammel told the Rangers today, thanks, but I’ve decided to retire, per the beat guys on Twitter. Hammel reportedly indicated that he wanted to spend more time with his family.
It is a curious decision for a guy who stuck it out to the end of spring training on a minor league deal. Hammel had said that he wouldn’t go to the minors, and would only keep pitching if he was in the majors, but when that potentiality became reality, it appears Hammel decided the grind and time away from his kids wasn’t worth it.
Replacing Hammel in the bullpen is righthander Jeanmar Gomez, who was also on a minor league deal. Gomez was a closer for the Phillies a few years ago, but has not been good the past couple of seasons. He will get a chance with the Rangers, though it would appear likely to be in low-leverage roles.
Danny Santana, meanwhile, has been informed he will not be making the team, per the beat writers. Santana’s chances of making the squad were contingent on Joey Gallo not being 100%, since Gallo is the backup center fielder, and if he couldn’t handle center, Santana would be needed. Gallo is apparently healthy enough that Santana won’t be around.
The Rangers have six pitchers locked into the bullpen: Jose Leclerc, Shawn Kelley, Jesse Chavez, Chris Martin, Jeffrey Springs, and Jeanmar Gomez. Zach McAllister, who is on a one year, $1 million major league deal, is expected to make the team, but as of yet there’s been no indication he’s been told he is on the team.
Assuming McAllister makes the club, and Texas goes with a three man bench to start the year, Connor Sadzeck would seem to have the inside track for the eighth bullpen spot, though the club could potentially keep Kyle Bird as a second lefty, or grab someone on waivers at the end of camp. With Hammel out, there’s no true long man, so Texas could look to acquire a Rule 5 guy or someone out of options on waivers who could go multiple innings.