ARLINGTON, Texas – The Texas Rangers completed a Minor deal Wednesday while waiting for Shoehi Ohtani to decide where he wants to play.
A day after meeting in Los Angeles with the Japanese pitcher and outfielder, Rangers officials were back home in Texas to introduce left-hander Mike Minor after finalizing a $28 million, three-year contract.
General manager Jon Daniels described Minor as a primary target in the team’s offseason pursuit to replenish and bolster its pitching staff.
“He’s somebody that we’ve liked back in his amateur days. … Gets to the big leagues, promising starter, had a hiccup and then dominant last year again,” Daniels said of Minor, a standout reliever for Kansas City last season.
While the Rangers’ interest in Ohtani has been well-known, Daniels and other team officials didn’t want to talk Wednesday about the pitcher-outfielder or their visit with him.
Ohtani was put up for bid last week by the Pacific League’s Nippon Ham Fighters for the maximum $20 million posting fee. The 23-year-old has until 11:59 p.m. EST on Dec. 22 to agree to a contract with an MLB team. The Rangers are among seven teams he is considering.
Meanwhile, Minor is the second pitcher the Rangers have signed in a week. He gets a $1 million signing bonus and salaries of $8 million next season and $9.5 million each in 2019 and 2020. He has a limited no-trade provision that allows him to list 10 teams each year he can’t be traded to without his consent.
When the offseason began, the Rangers had only left-handers Cole Hamels and Martin Perez signed for their 2018 rotation. Right-hander Doug Fister last week agreed to a $4 million, one-year deal that could be worth up to $11.5 million over two seasons.
Minor was 6-6 with a 2.55 ERA in 77 2/3 innings over 65 relief appearances last season with Kansas City. He previously was a starter for Atlanta before missing the 2015 and 2016 seasons with shoulder issues. The Braves picked him seventh overall in the 2009 amateur draft.
“Our plans are for Mike to start for us,” Daniels said. “He’s done both with success in the big leagues. There is some flexibility that his past provides us.”
Minor, who turns 30 the day after Christmas, became a free agent last month when he declined his $10 million player option to stay with the Royals. He was 38-36 while starting 110 of 111 games in Atlanta from 2010-14, and said he wanted to be a starter again.
“I wanted that to be an option for teams, and I felt like Texas was the only team that kind of stepped up and gave me that option,” Minor said. “As everybody knows, I’ve always been a starter. Last year was my first year in the pen, and I was comfortable doing it. Deep down in my well, I still feel like there’s something there and I feel like I can help this team being a starter.”
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