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Rangers option Phillips, Gatto

The Texas Rangers have officially optioned righthanded pitchers Tyler Phillips and Joe Gatto to the minors

MLB: Texas Rangers-Media Day Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports

Texas Rangers transactions: Tyler Phillips and Joe Gatto were officially optioned to AAA Round Rock yesterday, the team announced.

This is strictly a procedural move — since there is no minor league camp in session currently, they will stay in the major league camp, and neither pitcher was seen as having a realistic chance of making the Opening Day roster. The optioning to Round Rock is procedural as well — Phillips will likely, I suspect, start the minor league season at AA Frisco, and Gatto could be in either Frisco or Round Rock. Both will likely be at the Alternate Training Site until the minor league season begins.

Phillips spent the 2020 season at the Alternate Training Site, reportedly working on a four-seamer to add to his repertoire. Phillips is a righthanded starter whose strength is in his ability to command his pitches, and the four seamer is, from what I can glean, an effort to add something that will provide him with more of a swing-and-miss option. This will be his final second minor league option, unless a determination is made that the 2020 season did not constitute a “full season” under the CBA for option purposes, which was something mentioned as a possibility by Derrick Goold last week. (Ed. Note — Phillips was added to the 40 man roster after 2019, so this is just his second option being used. 2020 just felt like two years rather than one.)

Gatto is a righthanded relief pitcher who became a minor league free agent after the 2020 season. The 25 year old had spent his entire career with the Anaheim Angels organization, and after not being invited to the Alternate Training Site in 2020, and with no minor league season to provide innings, he went to Arizona and re-worked himself. The results were impressive enough that, once teams saw him in offseason workouts, he was able to land a major league deal with the Rangers. As he has never been on a 40 man roster before, he has all three options coming into this season.