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Rangers sign three to minor league deals

Righthanded relievers Diego Castillo and Reid Birlingmair and outfielder Michael Reed have been signed to minor league deals by the Rnagers

St. Louis Cardinals v Seattle Mariners Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

The Texas Rangers have signed relievers Diego Castillo and Reid Birlingmair and outfielder Michael Reed to minor league contracts, per the MLB.com transaction page, which indicates that the three were all signed on December 18.

Castillo is the most notable addition. A righthander listed at 6’3”, 268 lbs., Castillo has spent at least parts of the last six seasons in the majors with the Tampa Bay Rays and the Seattle Mariners. He was a solid if unspectacular middle reliever for most of that stretch, putting up a 3.12 ERA and a 3.69 FIP in 259 innings over 250 games from 2018-22. He had a bad 2023 season, however, putting up a 6.23 ERA in 8 games in the majors and a 5.13 ERA in 43 games for AAA Tacoma. Castillo was outrighted from the Mariners’ 40 man roster in May, with no team wanting to take on the $2.95 million he was owed, and became a free agent at season’s end.

Castillo, who turns 30 in January, is a sinker/slider guy. In his successful seasons, he generated a bunch of ground balls while putting up acceptable K and walk numbers. In 2023, both in the majors and the minors, he stopped striking out guys and started walking a bunch of guys. He will presumably get a look as a potential bullpen option this spring.

The other two guys are more depth signings. Birlingmair, 27, is a small righthanded reliever who was originally a 28th round draft pick of the Oakland A’s. After being released by the A’s in 2022, he pitched Indy League ball in 2022 and 2023 before being signed by the Rangers last June. He split the year between Hickory and Frisco, and did a fairly respectable job. The Rangers have brought him back to, I imagine, be part of the Frisco bullpen in 2024.

Reed, 28, is a switch hitting outfielder who the Rangers originally selected in the 35th round of the 2013 draft, in the next to last Rangers draft run by A.J. Preller. In 2016, Preller, now the general manager of the San Diego Padres, took Reed in the second round out of the University of Florida. Reed was one of your toolsy outfielders with speed and raw power but a questionable hit tool, and the hit tool never really developed.

Reed was sent to the A’s as the player to be named later in the trade that sent Jurickson Profar to San Diego after the 2019 season. Oakland released Reed in May, 2022. Reed signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers, who released him in April, 2023. Reed then joined the Milwaukee Brewers, who released him in July, 2023. Reed would appear to be a depth guy for Round Rock.