With less than a week before the start of spring training, the Rangers are making finishing touches to their bullpen, signing former Indians closer Cody Allen.
Now they have two former closers: Allen and Jose Leclerc. Both had disastrous 2019 seasons and are hoping to find it again in 2020.
The good thing is, if neither one recovers, they can just pluck someone else off the closer tree. While it’s an extremely valuable role, it’s also a revolving door on so many teams. One closer goes down, bring on another.
Allen had a strong five-year run as Cleveland’s closer from 2014 to 2018, saving 24, 34, 32, 30, and 27 games. Then he left for free agency to sign with the Angels. He looked to be solid, picking up his only four saves in his first six appearances. Then it went south.
He was the losing pitcher his next two outings, then lost his closer role. He was injured in May, came back for a few disastrous games, then was released.
Overall his 2019 numbers were 0-2, with four saves, a 6.26, and a 1.91 WHIP. Very Rangers like.
After a brilliant 2018, Leclerc did what so many relievers do. He came back to earth. He lost his closer job by the end of April after blowing his second save of the season, this one to the Pirates, to see his ERA swell to 8.44.
He reclaimed the closer role at in August, pitching more effectively than before but with the pressure of meaningful games gone. He picked up nine saves from August on, had one blown save, and lost a game, with an ERA the last two months of just a tick over 4.00.
So Allen comes over on a minor league contract with the goal of making the pen. He’s a good safety net for Leclerc. Because with relievers you never know from year to year. The Rangers could have two world-beating closers. They could have none.
One year sirloin, the next Spam. That’s the life of a reliever.