A Closer Look at the Signing of Kyle Gibson

Chris Halicke

The Rangers went into the winter with the plan to spend a significant amount of money and go after the top free agents on the market. 

The signing of Kyle Gibson to a three-year, $30 million contract doesn't satisfy this plan, but it's a nice start to a winter that is hopefully full of Rangers' signings. Or at least a couple big ones.

Gibson has a career ERA of 4.52, which doesn't jump off the page at most people. His issues with ulcerative colitis, the same disease that plagued ex-Ranger Jake Diekman, slowed him down quite a bit in 2019. 

Despite the issues with his health in 2019, he still managed to pitch over 160 innings and maintained the same kind of stuff off the mound. This is also a pitcher who has logged over 194 innings twice in seven seasons.

Gibson wasn't brought to Texas to be the number three starter. Texas is still looking to add to the rotation, initially pursuing the likes of Zack Wheeler or Hyun-Jin Ryu. 

That would mean Gibson's largest role would be the number four spot in the rotation, which could end up being a sneaky smart move by the Rangers. Texas signed Mike Minor, coming off health issues, to a three-year, $28 million contract two offseasons ago. They signed Lance Lynn, coming off health issues, to a three-year, $30 million contract last offseason.

Do you see the pattern here?

The difference here is Gibson won't be thrust into the role Minor or Lynn were thrown into in 2018 and 2019. Gibson will be brought it to be a quality starter near the back end of the rotation, pitch deep into games and provide as many quality starts as possible. He's turned in 27 of those in the past two seasons. 

This isn't one of those high-risk, high-reward moves Texas made for the likes of Matt Moore.

For those worried about the health issues, the contract isn't finalized yet. The deal is still pending a physical and likely won't be finalized until next week per Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. If Gibson fails the physical, he won't become a Ranger, and they will still be in play for other free agent pitchers on the market. Texas isn't handcuffed by limited funds like they have been the past few winters. 

The downside of the signing: Gibson never finds his form again and provides replacement-level pitching near the end of the rotation. 

The upside of the signing: He regains his form [and health] and becomes another bargain in the Rangers' rotation. 

This signing is worth the risk. If Gibson's worst pitching is behind him along with his health issues, he'll provide the Rangers very solid depth in their rotation.

Other Rangers News

On Tuesday night, the Rangers claimed RHP Nick Goody from the Cleveland Indians on unconditional release waivers. 

A former sixth-round pick of the New York Yankees in 2012, Goody struck out 11.1 batters per nine innings and had a 1.28 WHIP in 40.2 innings in 2019. 

Since the Rangers put in this claim before agreeing to the contract with Kyle Gibson, if Goody accepts the assignment, he will take the vacated roster spot left when Adrian Sampson left for the KBO in South Korea. A subsequent roster move will then have to be made to make room for Gibson.

If Goody accepts the assignment, he is projected to make $1.1 million in his first season of arbitration. He will compete for a spot in the Rangers' bullpen. 

In other Rangers' news, Texas designated two players for assignment to finalize their 40-man roster before last week's deadline. One of those players will remain in the organization, while another will not.

CD Pelham spent time on the Rangers' major league roster in 2018, but severely struggled with command and never saw the big leagues in 2019. He has a big arm that the Rangers liked, but when push came to shove, there was just no spot for him. 

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