This Day in Baseball and Rangers History for February 10

* 13 days until the Feb 23, 2024, spring training season opener with KC
* 47 days until the Mar 28, 2024, regular season opener against the Cubs

There is one Rangers signing of a notable player on Feb 10 -- today is the 43rd anniversary of the signing of Jose Guzman, with a thumbnail.

February 10, 1981
The Rangers Signed Jose Guzman as an Amateur Free Agent

(8 ML years, approx. $2.58MM)

Jose Guzman was a Rangers RH SP on some mediocre Texas teams for 6 seasons over 8 years (1983-92). Guzman showed flashes of great talent throughout his injury-truncated ML career, particularly with a reportedly wicked split-finger fastball. But he was plagued with repetitive injuries that eventually terminated his career, and he had intermittent streaks of poor outings, possibly related to those medical issues.

Jose Guzman was a native of Santa Isabel, Puerto Rico, who was signed by a Rangers scout on Feb 10, 1981, as a 17 year-old high school player.

Guzman worked his way through the MiLs quickly and steadily. He was as a late season call-up in 1985, making his ML debut on Sep 10. He was overwhelmed in his first 2 starts, losing 12-3 and 10-4, but he rebounded well for his last 3 starts of the season, in one of which he allowed no runs on six hits, finishing just an out shy of a complete game victory, and earning a starting position in the rotation for the following season.

Charlie Hough was scheduled to be the Rangers Opening Day Starter for the 1986 season, but Hough suffered an accident landing him on the DL, which gave Guzman the start. Guzman threw 8 shutout innings and got the Opening Day win against the AL East Champion Blue Jays as a rookie. In 1986, Guzman's workload increased, to 28 games, 172 innings and a 4.54 ERA for a 9-15 record. In 1987, Guzman started 30 games, throwing 208.1 innings, for a 4.67 ERA and a 14-14 record. Guzman's 16 wins were second-best behind Hough on a team that finished 2nd in the 7-team AL West, 5 games behind the Angels, a team high-water mark for that period. Guzman, began to deliver on his ability in 1988, starting 30 games with a 3.70 ERA, even though his record fell to 11-13. His 1988 season metrics would have been much better, but he suffered a "dead arm" phase of sorts in the latter part of the season and managed to win only twice in Aug-Sep.

Sadly, Guzman would then suffer injuries to his throwing shoulder requiring 3 surgeries over 3 years. He apparently first felt a sharp pain in his right shoulder towards the end of 1988. In the offseason he had minor shoulder surgery, and was expected to be fine to start the season in 1989. But he landed on the DL in spring training with a torn rotator cuff, and underwent surgery again, missing the entire ML 1989-90 seasons in recovery. Late in the 1990 season, Guzman pitched well in 10 rehab games in the MiLs.

In 1991, Guzman had one of his best seasons with a slightly lower workload, starting 25 games, pitching 169.2 innings with a 3.08 ERA for a 13-7 record, and winning the AL Comeback Player of the Year Award. In 1992, he returned to full workload, starting 33 games, pitching 224 innings, with a 3.66 ERA, for a 15-11 record.

While Guzman appeared to be back at full strength, Texas didn't need him in 1992 at the price he could command on the FA market. Texas would have Kevin Brown, Kenny Rogers and Nolan Ryan in the Rangers 1993 rotation.

............................................................................ W-L ..... G .... GS ...... IP ..... ERA ... bWAR
Guzman's 6 ML Seasons in Texas (1985-92) ... 66-62 .. 159 .. 152 .. 1013.2 .. 3.90 .... 13.7

In Dec 1992, Guzman signed a lucrative 4-year contract with the Cubs. Guzman's arm, however, would not hold up. After an adequate 1993 season (12-10 with a 4.34 ERA), Guzman went on the DL temporarily in Apr 1994, appeared briefly in May, and then went on the DL again for the rest of the season. At the end of the year, Guzman had another shoulder surgery, this time with postoperative problems. Guzman never pitched again in the MLs. In June of 1996, the Cubs gave Guzman an unconditional release. In 1998, Guzman attempted a comeback with the Rangers, but arm issues in the form of tendonitis showed up in his throwing shoulder in AAA Oklahoma, and Guzman retired from the MLB.

Despite the shoulder injuries, Guzman played some lower-level ball years later in the indies with the Fort Worth Cats in the 2001 season (where he went 5-2 with a 1.65 ERA), when the Cats played in the All-American Association, and for a partial season in 2002, when the Cats played in Central Baseball League.

Since 2004, Guzman has been a Spanish-language radio broadcaster for the Rangers on KFLC (1270 AM). In 2014, Guzman attended Rangers spring training as a special instructor for the team. Through his non-profit Guzman23 Foundation, Guzman has held a charity golf tournament for Alzheimer patients each October for the last 12 years -- "Putting for a Purpose", at the Lantana Golf Club in Lantana, Texas, in honor of both his mother, who died with Alzheimers, and his sister, who was his mother's primary caregiver.

Jose Guzman (BR)
Jose Guzman (BR Bullpen)
Shaping The Rangers: #20 Jose Guzman (247 Sports 2007)
Jose Guzman (Wikipedia)
List of Texas Rangers Opening Day starting pitchers (Wikipedia)
Former Ranger, Jose Guzman, Spanish Language Broadcaster (MyArligtonTx 2023)
Fort Worth Cats (BR Bullpen)
The Guzman23 Foundation