The Texas Rangers capped their winter meetings Thursday morning by adding right-hander Mike Hauschild in the Rule 5 draft and declaring him a candidate for the fifth spot in the starting rotation.
The Rangers also signed two outfielders to minor league deals, including Jared Hoying.
After the meetings ended, the Rangers acquired right-hander Tyrell Jenkins and left-hander Brady Feigl for right-hander Luke Jackson.
Hauschild produced a nice season for Triple A Fresno, the Houston Astros’ affiliate, going 9-10 with a 3.22 ERA in 24 games. The Rangers like that he throws strikes with his fastball and changes speeds with two changeups and a slider.
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A changeup that acts as a forkball is his primary out pitch, general manager Jon Daniels said.
“He’s not a top prospect, but he’s matriculated up through the system,” Daniels said. “He’s one of those guys that gets overlooked by guys with more physical ability, but he’s produced and we’re going to take a look at him.”
Hauschild could also slide into a relief role, which might make it easier to keep him on the active roster all season as dictated by Rule 5 regulations. If he doesn’t make the club, the Rangers must offer him back to the Astros.
The 26-year-old enters into a growing mix of pitchers vying for the rotation. Right-handers A.J. Griffin, Nick Martinez, Chi Chi Gonzalez and Tyler Wagner are the front-runners in a group that also includes righty Connor Sadzeck and left-hander Yohander Mendez.
Daniels said the Rangers will continue pursuing pitching help, possibly an acquisition that fills out the rotation ahead of camp. Colby Lewis is also a possibility.
The Rangers also acquired three pitchers in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 draft to help restore depth to a farm system that has been depleted by trades. Lefty Matt Smoral (Toronto) and righty Zack Bird (Atlanta) haven’t pitched above A ball, and righty Fernando Miranda (Atlanta) spent last season pitching in Mexico.
All three pitchers are 22 years old.
Hoying returns to the organization after being designated for assignment last week. He made his major league debut in May and was selected over Delino DeShields to be on the roster for the American League Division Series.
Cesar Puello was also signed and, like Hoying, invited to spring training. Puello is a former New York Mets prospect who was caught up in the Biogenesis scandal in 2013.
Yankees: Aroldis Chapman is headed back to New York after agreeing to a five-year, $86 million contract, a record deal for a closer. Chapman started last season with the Yankees, who traded him to the Chicago Cubs ahead of the trade deadline.
Cubs: Right-handed relief pitcher Koji Uehara agreed to a one-year deal worth about $4.5 million, according to reports.
Dodgers: Now that the closer market is set, Los Angeles is weighing whether to attempt to re-sign Kenley Jansen or let him leave to another team. Miami and Washington have shown interest, but the Nationals could attempt to trade for Chicago White Sox closer David Robertson.