The Texas Rangers have reached a deal with southpaw Mike Minor, but before the contract becomes final, Minor must pass his physical.
Texas is expected to use Minor as one of its starters in 2018, as has been reported by several media outlets.
It is not known as of yet what Minor and the Rangers have agreed to as far as money, but estimates have the deal at 4 years for as much as $28 million.
The deal will be the largest to date in the free agent market that has been far slower this year than in previous years as the holidays approach.
Minor, who will turn 30 soon, pitched very well at one time in the Atlanta Braves rotation before problems with his left shoulder derailed that.
Surgery followed the 2014 season and he did not play at the major-league level for two straight seasons.
After he was non-tendered by Atlanta, Minor joined the Kansas City Royals, who agreed to pay him $7.25 million over two seasons hoping he would bounce back. Minor did not recover quick enough to return in 2016 to the big leagues, but did so in 2017, but pitched out of the bullpen.
Minor pitched 77 2/3 innings during the 2017 season, ending the campaign with an ERA of 2.55 and a walk to strikeout ratio for nine innings of 10.2-2.5. His fastball averaged slightly over 95 mph, which was three mph higher than in any other season as a starter.
The southpaw relied a great deal on his slider, but otherwise used much of the same mix of pitches that gave him success as a starter with the Braves before his surgery.
During the season, 20 of Minor’s relief appearances lasted more than just one inning.
Minor showed in 2017 that he can be a late-inning lockdown southpaw that can give multiple innings from the pen or even return to the starting rotation.
Worries over injury could keep the Rangers from giving him a slot in the starting rotation, but media reports indicate the team will do just that in spring training.
Minor will bring loads of potential to a pitching staff in Texas that desperately needs it. Texas has already signed Doug Fister, who will be a starter, and hopes to add Shohei Ohtani to the roster, but still lacks any semblance of a strong starting rotation.