Texas Rangers transactions: Juan Nicasio, a 33 year old righthanded relief pitcher who spent last season with the Philadelphia Phillies, has signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, per multiple reports.
Nicasio was originally signed by the Colorado Rockies out of the Dominican Republic in 2006, and came up in their organization as a starting pitcher. The Los Angeles Dodgers acquired him for a player to be named later in November, 2014, and used in out of the bullpen in 2015, where he proved to be useful. He had an okay year in 2016 for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2016 before having a career-best season in 2017 between the Pirates, the Philadelphia Phillies and the St. Louis Cardinals (who acquired Nicasio in September, 2017, for future Ranger Eliezer Alvarez).
His 2.61 ERA in a league-leading 76 appearances in 2017 prompted the Seattle Mariners to give him a 2 year, $17 million free agent deal, and it worked out poorly for the M’s, as he put up a 6.00 ERA (albeit with a 2.99 FIP) in 46 appearances. He was shipped off as salary ballast to the Phillies last offseason in the Jean Segura deal, and put up a 4.75 ERA for the Phillies.
Nicasio gives the Rangers a veteran righthanded relief arm to be depth in spring training and, potentially, in AAA, should he end up accepting an assignment to AAA Nashville. He seems like a longshot to actually make the Rangers out of spring training, but then, I said the same thing about Jeanmar Gomez last year.
In the meantime, I’m sure Facebook Rangers fans will ask why the Rangers are signing a bad reliever and complain about how they wasting time on this instead of trading for Nolan Arenado.