Colby Lewis is unlikely to return to the Texas Rangers, general manager Jon Daniels said Thursday, but the two-time American League West champs appear to be one of two finalists for free agent right-hander Tyson Ross.
Lewis has been with the Rangers since returning from Japan in 2010. He had battled through injuries the past few seasons, including an oblique injury in 2016 that halted a potential All-Star season.
Despite the Rangers’ need for a starting pitcher, and Lewis’ popularity in the organization and production from the bottom of the rotation, the right-hander’s future with the Rangers looks doubtful.
“The door’s open,” Daniels said. “There’s always going to be a fondness and a value that we place on Colby, both what he’s done between the lines and what he’s done for all of us just as a man. I don’t foresee anything happening at this point.”
One issue is Lewis’ desire for a major-league deal while the Rangers would want him in camp on a minor-league deal to earn the fifth spot in the rotation. Another is his durability at 37 and after a series of injuries the past few seasons.
4 Career postseason victories for Colby Lewis, each coming during the Rangers’ 2010 and 2011 runs to the World Series
Lewis, who was drafted by the Rangers in 1999, enjoyed an All-Star-caliber first half in 2016 before an oblique injury sidelined him for more than two months and left him ineffective down the stretch and in the American League Division Series.
Lewis is 65-57 with a 4.27 ERA since returning from Japan for the 2010 season.
Daniels said there are only a few pitchers who could receive a big-league contract from the Rangers, and one of them presumably is Ross. The right-hander was in town Wednesday and reportedly is leaning toward either the Rangers or the world champion Chicago Cubs.
Ross made only one start in 2016, on Opening Day, and dealt with a shoulder injury the rest of the season. He underwent surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome in October and might not be ready by Opening Day.