Texas Rangers transactions: Juan Nicasio was officially signed to a minor league contract today, and Kyle Bird was outrighted to AAA Nashville, the Rangers announced today. Both are non-roster invitees to the major league spring training camp.
Nicasio agreeing to a minor league deal with Texas was reported over the weekend, and the 33 year old righthanded reliever will presumably look to get himself back on track after two pretty bad seasons in 2018-19 — he was very good in 2017, and while he likely simply represents bullpen depth for spring training and Nashville, if he can get back to where he was a couple of years ago, he would be a viable option in the major league pen.
Bird, meanwhile, was designated for assignment on January 15, when the Rangers officially signed Todd Frazier and Robinson Chirinos and needed to open up 40 man roster space. Jeffrey Springs was also designated for assignment that day, and he was traded two hours later to the Boston Red Sox for Sam Travis. Bird, however, cleared waivers and is still in the Rangers’ organization.
Bird came over to Texas from Tampa Bay in the Jurickson Profar trade last winter, and had an impressive training camp, but struggled with his consistency and his command while in the majors, leading to a 7.82 ERA in 12+ IP and more walks than strikeouts. His minor league performance for Nashville was solid, however — he had a 2.86 ERA in 34.2 IP, with 39 Ks against 14 walks — and the Rangers will get to continue to evaluate him in 2020.