The Texas Rangers have purchased the contract of righthanded relief pitcher Alex Speas from AAA Round Rock and have added him to the 26 man roster. To make room for him on the active roster, the Rangers have optioned John King to AAA Round Rock. To make room for him on the 40 man roster, the Rangers have designated pitcher Taylor Hearn for assignment.
Speas, 25, has been on the radar for much of the season as a potential major league bullpen piece. After retiring and spending 2022 as a high school coach, Speas returned to the game this year and has been lights out. After putting up a 0.64 ERA in 28.1 IP in AA, with 47 Ks against 13 walks, he has a 2.35 ERA in 7 appearances in 7.2 IP for Round Rock, striking out 12 and walking 2.
Speas will get a look as a righthanded late inning option. He throws 100, but doesn’t always throw strikes, and there’s some question about whether he gets enough movement to keep major leaguers from squaring up on him. But the 2016 2nd rounder has passed all the tests in the minors, and now gets a look in the bigs.
King being sent down is not a surprise, as he’s been a last guy in the bullpen up-and-down guy much of the season.
As for Hearn, this is a disappointing outcome for a local guy who has shown flashes, but hasn’t been able to put it all together. He has spent the majority of the season in Round Rock, where he has a 3.66 ERA in 39.1 IP over 24 games, with 54 Ks and 24 walks. He seems likely to be claimed (if the Rangers can’t work out a deal to trade him somewhere), but he is arbitration eligible and will only have two or three years (depending on how much time he spends in the majors the rest of the way this year) of team control remaining, which is going to limit his market.