Alexi Ogando was a breakthrough reliever on the 2010 Texas Rangers team that went to the World Series, an All-Star starter and a postseason bullpen ace on the 2011 World Series team.
But at 11 p.m. Tuesday the Rangers let him become a free agent.
The Rangers decided to not offer Ogando a contract for 2015, along with left-hander Michael Kirkman and infielder Adam Rosales, ahead of the annual nontender deadline. All three can now sign with any team.
Ogando, 31, has been plagued by injuries the past two seasons, and last month decided he would not pitch in the Dominican Winter League despite being cleared to do so. That decision didn’t sit well with some in the organization, and was a factor in the Rangers’ thinking.
So was money. Ogando, who missed most of last season and was ineffective when he did pitch, was projected to make between $2.5 million and $3 million.
“We didn’t get a chance to see him face hitters. … There was just too much uncertainty,” general manager Jon Daniels said. “It would have helped, just to have seen it in games. I fully expect he’s going to go to camp healthy and ready to go.”
The Rangers and Ogando talked about a deal before the deadline, but he decided he wanted to test the market. The Rangers will stay in touch with Ogando, who wants to be a starter despite his health problems.
The Rangers will also stay in contact with Rosales, who will test free agency after his best big-league season. He was the Rangers’ Player of the Month in August, and finished hitting .262 with four homers.
“We’d welcome him back,” Daniels said. “We did make him an offer at a raise off of last year. We offered what we thought was fair. We’ll stay in touch. We’re going to have a utility player, and he would fit that for us.”
Designated hitter Mitch Moreland was a candidate to be nontendered after another injury-marred season, but the short-on-offense Rangers couldn’t part with a hitter who has shown glimpses of production.
“We have such a positive report on his health, and we’ve always believed in Mitch,” Daniels said. “We believe in the bat. I’m excited to see what he can do.”
All other players will be offered a contract, and the Rangers’ 40-man roster sits at 37.
Lewis signing soon
Daniels expects that right-hander Colby Lewis will sign a contract with the Rangers this season, filling one of the Rangers’ three rotation openings.
The deal comes as no surprise, even though Lewis had said that he would test free agency.
Lewis, 35, will join a rotation that includes Yu Darvish and Derek Holland but will still have two holes to fill. One is expected to be filled by an off-season acquisition, and another will be filled by the winner of a spring competition between Nick Tepesch, Nick Martinez, Alex Gonzalez and other candidates.
Moreland and Jurickson Profar have received encouraging news from Dr. Keith Meister.
Moreland (reconstructive ankle surgery) has been cleared to begin a running program and should be ready for spring training, and Profar (torn shoulder muscle) should begin throwing in January and be ready for the regular season.