After a career-worst 5.95 ERA over 30 appearances (including 24 starts) last year for the World Series winning Kansas City Royals, Jeremy Guthrie hoped to earn a spot in the Texas Rangers rotation this spring. Instead, the Rangers released the 36-year-old right-hander after opting not to place him on the club’s 40-man roster.
Guthrie posted a 5.14 ERA in three Cactus League outings and surrounded three solo home runs over five innings in a Triple-A game in his last start. He refused a minor league assignment and will search for a Major League roster spot.
The transaction likely means that 28-year-old right-hander A.J. Griffin, who also reported to camp as a non-roster invitee, will occupy the No. 5 spot in the Rangers rotation. He has a 4.40 ERA in three spring training starts and two relief appearances. During his last start, Griffin limited the Oakland A’s to one run and four hits in five innings.
Griffin was 21-11 with a 3.60 ERA in two seasons (2012 and 2013) with the A’s before undergoing Tommy John surgery, missing the 2014 campaign and making just four starts in the Oakland farm system last year.
Right handers Nick Martinez and Phil Klein, and left-hander Cesar Ramos, are other candidates for the final rotation spot. Rangers manager Jeff Banister says he will likely open the season with four starters, eight relievers and four bench players. Texas could begin the year with Martinez in the bullpen as the eighth reliever until the fifth game of the season on April 8, when the time arrives to add Griffin to the rotation.
Cole Hamels, Martin Perez, Colby Lewis and Derek Holland are slated to compose the top four spots in the Rangers rotation. Yu Darvish continues to rehab from Tommy John surgery and is not expected to return before mid-May at the earliest.