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Rangers add three on minor league deals

Infielder Matt Duffy, first baseman Jared Walsh and pitcher Blake Taylor have been signed by the Rangers to minor league deals

Los Angeles Angels v Minnesota Twins Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

The Texas Rangers have signed infielder Matt Duffy, first baseman Jared Walsh, and pitcher Blake Taylor to minor league deals, the team announced today. All three have been invited to major league training camp.

Duffy, 33, was signed by the Rangers to a minor league deal in 2020, as well, but ended up getting released before the pandemic-delayed season started. He spent the 2023 season with the Kansas City Royals, slashing .251/.306/.325 in a bench role, playing all four infield positions and also pitching in a couple of games.

Walsh, 30, is a lefthanded hitting first baseman who has appeared occasionally in the corner outfield spots. He has spent his entire career up to now with the Angels. After slashing .293/.324/.646 in 32 games in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, earning him a couple of down-ballot Rookie of the Year votes, Walsh was named to the All Star team in 2021, when he put up 2.8 bWAR while slashing .277/.340/.509.

Walsh has been, to put it mildly, terrible since then. He had a 642 OPS in 118 games in 2022, then split 2023 between AAA and the majors. In 52 AAA games he slashed .217/.360/.375, while in 39 major league games he slashed .125/.216/.279.

Taylor, 28, is a lefthanded reliever. Originally a second round pick of the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2013, Taylor was traded by Pittsburgh to the Mets in the Ike Davis deal in 2014, then from the Mets to the Houston Astros as part of the Jake Marisnick deal prior to the 2020 season.

In 79 innings over 92 major league games, from 2020-22, Taylor put up a 3.06 ERA and a 4.65 FIP, with 67 Ks against 44 walks, which isn’t ideal. Taylor put up a 5.15 ERA in 36 innings over 35 games for Sugar Land last year, with 25 Ks against 22 walks — again, not ideal.

These are all basically spring training depth guys, players who have played in the majors in the past and who may have something to offer. I wouldn’t bet on any of them making the club, though there’s always the potential for someone like this to stick on the end of the roster with a good spring.