We have a Texas Rangers rumor, as Mike Foltynewicz and the team are apparently close on a one year deal, per Kiley McDaniel. The free agent righthander became a free agent after the 2020 season, having previously been waived by the Atlanta Braves and outrighted.
Foltynewicz, 29, broke in with the Houston Astros in 2014, and then was traded after the 2014 season to the Atlanta Braves in the Evan Gattis deal. He was a guy who threw hard, had command issues, and struggled to make an impact until the 2018 season, when a 2.85 ERA in 31 starts and 183 IP for the Braves led to an All Star appearance and an 8th place finish in the Cy Young balloting.
He regressed in 2019, however, putting up a 4.54 ERA and a 4.97 FIP in 21 starts, and then an awful camp followed by one awful major league appearance in 2020 led to the Braves designating him for assignment. He did not return to the majors after he was outrighted.
McDaniel says Foltynewicz is getting a guaranteed major league deal from the Rangers, and says he will be in the mix for a spot in the starting rotation. He was, by all accounts, a mess in 2020, and had a big drop in his fastball velocity. While I have said I think the Rangers needed to add another starting pitching option, I’m not terribly enthusiastic about this addition, and I’m wondering to what extent he is possibly being viewed as a starting pitcher versus as a potential multi-inning reliever. We have discussed the possibility of the Rangers using a rotation spot or two to run guys out in 2-3 inning stints versus using a traditional starter, and he could, maybe, possibly, be considered for something like that.
The Rangers have a full 40 man roster, and will have to clear a roster spot to make room for Foltynewicz, so we may be seeing Adolis Garcia on the waiver wire shortly.
Also...Foltynewicz was a first round pick of the Astros in 2010, going #19 overall. I’ve mentioned before the numerous ties the Rangers have to 2010 first rounders...they had four picks in the 50 pick first round (including supplemental round), selecting Kellin Deglan, Jake Skole, Luke Jackson and Mike Olt. They also ended up signing the #6 pick, Barret Loux, after he was declared a free agent due to a failed medical that resulted in the Arizona Diamondbacks, who selected him at #6, not wanting to sign him.
The Rangers had previously selected the #5 overall pick, Drew Pomeranz, in the 2007 draft, but didn’t sign him. The Rangers also took Anthony Ranaudo in the 2007 draft — he went at #39 in the 2010 draft to the Boston Red Sox, and then was traded to the Rangers for Robbie Ross.
Oh, and speaking of Luke Jackson and the Atlanta Braves, Tyrell Jenkins was the 50th and final pick of the 2010 draft. He was traded to the Rangers by the Braves after the 2016 season, along with Brady Feigl, for Luke Jackson. The Rangers lost Jenkins on waivers two weeks later to the Cincinnati Reds.
Foltynewicz, incidentally, wasn’t the Astros’ first first round selection in 2010 — that was Delino DeShields, who went at #8 overall to Houston, and was selected by the Rangers in the Rule 5 Draft several years later. The #10 overall pick was University of Texas at Arlington product Michael Choice, who was selected by the Oakland A’s, and traded to the Rangers along with Chris Bostick in the deal that sent Craig Gentry and Josh Lindblom to Oakland.
As much as anything, the reason I thought the Rangers would end up signing Nick Castellanos (#44 overall in 2010) is because they seem intent on grabbing every 2010 first rounder at some point.
UPDATE — Ken Rosenthal says that the deal is one year, $2 million plus incentives. And as a side note, Foltynewicz would still be under team control for 2022, should he stick around all year and the Rangers be willing to go to arbitration with him after this season.