The Texas Rangers have purchased the contracts of righthanded pitchers A.J. Alexy and Yerry Rodriguez and catcher David Garcia, the team announced today. By adding them to the 40 man roster, they have protected them from being selected in next month’s Rule 5 Draft.
Rodriguez, 23, had a breakout year in 2018, and followed it up with a solid full season debut in 2019, when he put up a 2.08 ERA in 73.2 IP for low-A Hickory before being sidelined with an elbow issue. He would have likely been in high-A in 2020 had the minor league season not been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He’s a well-regarded starting pitching prospect who is old enough that starting his option clock shouldn’t be an issue. He may have four options, depending on how MLB treats the 2020 season for minor leaguers — if he isn’t considered to have been on the “active roster” for 2020, he would have a fourth option.
Alexy, 22, came over to the Rangers from the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2017 Yu Darvish trade. He had a solid 2018 season at Hickory, then missed most of 2019 due to a late strain. He throws hard and appears to currently be a starter, though his future may be in the pen. His being added is something of a surprise, given his limited action in 2019 and his not participating in the alternate site work this summer or in the Instructional League.
Garcia, who turns 21 in February, was one of the Rangers big signings in the 2016 J-2 period. The switch hitter made his stateside debut with Spokane in 2019 and had a strong second half with the bat, and appeared to be a potential breakout candidate in A ball in 2020. His defensive work generates rave reviews, and while he would seem to have been a long shot to be picked in the Rule 5 draft, he’s the type of player a team could stash with the 26th roster spot and use as a third catcher. Since he has never played full season ball, he should have four options, making it easier to carry him.
The names that are the most surprising omissions are pitchers Jason Bahr, Jake Latz and Alex Speas. Bahr and Latz are both relatively older starting pitching prospects who were at the Alternate Training Site this summer and generated positive reviews. Speas, meanwhile, has been touching 102 since late last year when he returned to action after Tommy John surgery, and was seen as a likely candidate to make an appearance in the Rangers bullpen this past summer, though he obviously never cracked the roster.
The Rangers 40 man roster now stands at 38.