MLB Rumors: Spencer Patton is drawing interest from the Texas Rangers, among other teams, according to Jon Morosi. The righthanded reliever, who spent part of the 2014 and 2015 seasons pitching out of the bullpen for the Rangers, has spent the last four years in Japan, and is reportedly looking at a potential return to MLB for 2020.
Patton, who turns 33 in February, was acquired by the Rangers from the Kansas City Royals for Jason Frasor in 2014. He put up a 0.96 ERA and 2.06 FIP in 9.1 IP over 9 games in 2014, providing us with some reason for optimism, and then allowed 24 runs in 24 big league innings in 2015 in the big leagues. After the 2015 season, Patton was dealt to the Chicago Cubs for minor league infielder Frandy de la Rosa, who had a great name but didn’t bring much else to the table.
After the Cubs released Patton following the 2016 season, Patton joined the Yokohoma Bay Stars in the Japanese League, and spent the next four seasons pitching there, putting up a 3.68 ERA in 205.2 IP over 219 games. Patton had a 4.92 ERA in 53 innings in 2020, striking out 65 while walking 27 and allowing 6 home runs, following a 2019 season where he put up a 4.89 ERA in 38.2 IP.
It seems like almost every offseason the Rangers sign a pitcher from Japan. Sometimes they work — Colby Lewis, Chris Martin, that Yu Darvish guy — and while occasionally you end up with a Kaz Fukumori, the Rangers have generally had a good degree of success signing pitchers out of the JPL. Last year’s obligatory JPL signing, Joely Rodriguez, was slowed by injuries but was still pretty solid when he was on the mound.
Patton would probably be looking at something like a 2 year, $4-5 million deal with a third year team option. If the Rangers don’t sign Patton, I suspect they’ll still end up signing some relief pitcher from Japan to a 2 year, $4-5 million deal this offseason.
Also, Morosi tweeted earlier this weekend about the Rangers having interest in free agent lefthanded starter J.A. Happ, as well, though the idea of doing a post about the Rangers rumored interest in J.A. Happ was too depressing for me. I don’t want to write about that.