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Rangers release four minor leaguers

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The Texas Rangers released four minor leaguers this month whose departures are worth noting

2018 Texas Rangers Photo Day

Scott Lucas tweeted last night that the Texas Rangers released, at some point over the past week or two, outfielder Jose Almonte and pitchers Ricky Rodriguez, Ronald Herrera and Emerson Martinez. Each of those guys is kind of noteworthy, in his own way, and I thought it was worth doing a post to mention their departure.

Ricky Rodriguez, you may recall, burst on the scene in 2017, seemingly out of nowhere. After missing most of 2015 and all of 2016 due to Tommy John surgery, he joined the Down East bullpen in 2017 and dominated, putting up a 1.41 ERA in 32 IP over 23 outings before being promoted to Frisco, where he put up a 1.20 ERA in 15 IP over 12 outings.

Rodriguez made his major league debut in 2017, putting up a 6.23 ERA in 16 games, and then split 2018 between Frisco, Round Rock and the majors, while battling shoulder issues. Rodriguez non-tendered after 2018 and later re-signed by the Rangers, but he missed all of 2019 due to shoulder issues, and is now a free agent again at the age of 27.

Herrera was acquired by the Rangers in November, 2017, from the New York Yankees for minor leaguer Reiver Sanmartin. The Rangers were looking for rotation depth, and the Yankees were trying to clear out 40 man roster space so they could add players in advance of the Rule 5 draft. Herrera ended up missing all of 2018 due to surgery, and in 2019, put up a 7.73 ERA in 80.1 IP over 17 starts and 4 relief appearances between AA and AAA.

Martinez, 25, got on radars as a guy to keep an eye on after a solid 2016 season split between Hickory and Frisco. 2017 saw Martinez spend most of the year in Down East, pitching decently if not great, and he was bandied about as a possible guy to add to the 40 man roster, and as someone who could be plucked in the Rule 5 draft. He ended up spending all of 2018 in Down East again, and split 2019 between the AZL and Frisco as he battled injuries.

Finally, there’s Jose Almonte. The 23 year old Almonte inked a $1.8 million signing bonus in 2013, one of A.J. Preller’s final J-2 classes with the Rangers that also featured Yeyson Yrizarri and Marcos Diplan. The big, righthanded hitting outfielder never hit, however — between rookie ball and low-A Hickory, he put up a .196/.268/.298 slash line in 1142 plate appearances. He disappeared from even the deep prospect lists sign after signing, and now, at 23, will presumably look to latch on with another team.