Texas Rangers transactions: Jesse Biddle, a lefthanded relief pitcher, has been claimed on waivers from the Seattle Mariners, the team announced today. To make room on the 40 man roster for Biddle, the Rangers have transferred Jeffrey Springs from the 10 day injured list to the 60 day injured list.
Biddle, 27, was a first round pick of the Philadelphia Phillies in 2010. He was traded by the Phillies to the Pirates in 2016 for Yoervis Medina, claimed on waivers by the Atlanta Braves in March, 2016, and then was sent to the Mariners along with Arodys Vizcaino (who is out for the year) in exchange for Anthony Swarzak and cash in what was essentially a money-neutral struggling reliever for struggling reliever deal.
Biddle had a solid rookie campaign for Atlanta in 2018, putting up a 3.11 ERA and a 3.88 FIP in 63.2 IP over 60 appearances, but has been awful in 2019, with a 7.54 ERA and a 5.61 FIP in 22.2 IP.
I’m kind of at a loss as to the purpose of this move. The Rangers currently have a seven man bullpen, with Jesse Chavez in the rotation (kind of), consisting of Peter Fairbanks, Shawn Kelley, Jose Leclerc, Brett Martin, Chris Martin, Shelby Miller and Locke St. John. I’m not sure who would be bumped for Biddle, and if the Rangers wanted to go with an eight man bullpen, there would seem to be internal options who would get the nod first. And with Matt Bush seemingly close to being major league ready, and Kyle Dowdy starting a rehab assignment (which will necessitate him being returned to the 25 man roster in 30 days), you’ve got other bullpen options that are in the pipeline. The Rangers would seem to need bullpen arms who can be shuttled between AAA and the majors, and Biddle, who is out of options, has to stay in the majors or go on waivers.
It will be interesting to see what move the Rangers make when Biddle joins the 25 man roster, and whether they opt to send down or cut ties with a position player (since they have a 4 man bench right now), or if they send down one of the lefty relievers (either B. Martin or St. John) and stick with a seven man pen.
As for Springs, him moving to the 60 day injured list, after being i.l.’d just a week and a half ago, is kind of ominous. His injury was listed as biceps tendinitis, but that can sometimes be a symptom of elbow problems. In any case, Springs won’t be an option on the active roster again until mid-August.