Well, this is a nice little collection the Rangers are building. Richard Durrett:
- The Texas Rangers signed free agent pitcher Yoshinori Tateyama on Tuesday to a one-year contract with two years of club options.
Tateyama, a right-hander who turns 35 the day after Christmas, will be competing for a bullpen spot.
Tateyama, a sidearm pitcher, had a career-low 1.80 ERA in 58 appearances for the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters in the Japanese Pacific League last season with four saves and 25 holds. He held opposing batters to a .213 average with 11 walks and 59 strikeouts and gave up three home runs all year. He was especially effective against right-handed batters, who hit .186 against him.
The Rangers' front office seems to have developed something of an obsession with right-handed relief pitchers. Last season they employed four of the league's best in Neftali Feliz, Darren O'Day, Frank Francisco, and Alexi Ogando. Mark Lowe's pretty good, too, and they just re-signed him.
And now Tateyama makes six.
Remember, it wasn't so long ago that teams carried six relievers, period (and not so long before that, teams carried five). Even considering today's Super Expanding Bullpens, you wouldn't think the Rangers would routinely feature eight relievers. Which means either they're going with just one lefty or they're going to deal one of their righties.
Or perhaps -- most smartly but least likely -- they're going to seriously explore the possibility that Neftali Feliz can become a starter again, and give them 200 good innings rather than 70 good ones.