The first domino in the free agent market might have fallen late Monday. Former Kansas City Royals pitcher Mike Minor reportedly agreed to terms with Texas.
Everyone knew it would happen sooner or later, but the Kansas City Royals will officially not retain all of their free agents. According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the Rangers have agreed to sign pitcher Mike Minor pending a physical.
It didn’t come as a shock to learn Minor had chosen to spend the foreseeable future in the Lone Star State. It was a surprise to find out he would be spending it in Arlington instead of Houston. Just a few days ago, ESPN’s Buster Olney reported the Astros and Red Sox were among the favorites to sign Minor. For the record, Kings of Kauffman had predicted at different times that he would sign with Houston and Boston.
That didn’t happen, but Olney’s assertion that Minor would be one of the first major free agents to sign did come to fruition. It remains to be seen whether the signing represents a blip on the free agency radar or an initial indication of a major storm brewing.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports! believes it could lead to a rash of moves soon, particularly in the pitching market. As of this writing, terms had not been released. (We predicted a while back that Minor would sign somewhere for three years and $28 million.) However, Passan did report that Minor would be receiving a multi-year deal.
What the Rangers have planned
As you may have also noticed in Passan’s above tweet, it appears as though Texas has the intention of putting Minor is their starting rotation. Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News first mentioned the change in roles.
That would be a clear reason why the Rangers jumped ahead of several 2017 playoff teams for his services. Minor’s flexibility not just between starter and reliever — having spent every year sans 2017 in the former role — but also throughout the bullpen always made him an intriguing option. But it always seemed as though Minor would prefer at least a shot at becoming a starter again.
Minor’s Royals legacy
Minor signed with the Kansas City Royals prior to the 2016 season but missed the entirety of it due to a shoulder injury, which had also cost him 2015. Given he hadn’t pitched since 2014, Minor did more than anyone could have expected this past season.
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His first half proved to be nearly flawless. He had a 5-1 record, a 1.89 ERA and a 0.97 WHIP. Minor’s record in the second half completely flipped to 1-5. His ERA (3.41) and WHIP (1.08) also jumped up but not to ridiculous levels. That latter portion of the season saw him move to increasingly high-leverage situations. Minor took over the setup man role when Joakim Soria went down injured and ultimately finished out the year as the team’s closer.
The left-hander doesn’t have quite the same following as some of the team’s other free agents. That can clearly be chalked up to the former Atlanta first-round pick spending just one healthy season with the Kansas City Royals. Even still, fans will forever remember his career revitalization. It’s a sign that even when teams underachieve, deserving players can reap the benefits. Several other will follow in his footsteps in the coming weeks.
What do you think, fans? Will Minor have success with the Rangers? Will he ultimately end up in the Texas bullpen? Let us know your thoughts.