After weeks of little action toward building their 2017 roster, the Texas Rangers struck Friday afternoon with the signing of free agent right-hander Tyson Ross.
Two sources confirmed that the starting pitcher has agreed to a one-year deal pending a physical that he will take next week. Ross missed all but one start last season, on Opening Day, and had thoracic outlet syndrome surgery in October.
He might not be ready for Opening Day, but when he is ready he will round out a Rangers rotation that will also include left-handers Cole Hamels and Martin Perez and righties Yu Darvish and Andrew Cashner.
Ross, who turns 30 on April 22, spent the past the four seasons with San Diego and was the Padres’ Opening Day starter last season. But he made just that start as a shoulder injury stumped him the rest of the season.
He was finally diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome and underwent surgery Oct. 13. He could be ready in April, but not for the April 3 season opener against Cleveland and at least a few times through the rotation.
The Rangers have long coveted Ross and attempted to acquire him two years ago. The Padres opted not to tender him a 2017 contract after he made $9,625,000 last season and likely would have commanded a similar salary.
Multiple officials with the Rangers believe that Ross was the best option remaining on a thin free-agent market for starting pitchers. Ross went 23-26 with a 3.03 ERA in 2014 and 2015. He pushed 200 innings in each season and topped 200 strikeouts in 2015 while leading the National League in walks.
Among his 10 wins in 2015 were two over the Rangers in which he tossed 13 2/3 scoreless innings.
The agreement leaves a handful of starters who thought they would compete for a rotation spot likely ticketed for Triple A Round Rock. That group includes right-handers A.J. Griffin, Chi Chi Gonzalez, Nick Martinez and Mike Hauschild.
A Rule 5 draft pick, Hauschild must remain on the active roster all season. The Rangers can send him to the minor leagues only if he clears waivers and if the Houston Astros, who lost him in the draft, either decline to take him back or work out a trade with the Rangers.