Last season, thirty-two-year-old righthander Kyle Gibson went 13-7 (good) with a 4.84 ERA (not great) and a WHIP of 1.444 (not good at all).
Those numbers pretty much mirror his career numbers. In his seven major league seasons, all with Minnesota, Gibson has been good at times and not so good at times. He always got to that proverbial corner but never was able to turn it, frustrating Twins fans with flashes of brilliance followed by wallows in mediocrity.
That he is a welcome addition to the Rangers rotation after being signed to a three-year contract speaks volumes to the paper-thin nature of the Rangers rotation.
So, who are the Rangers getting? Baseball-reference has a wonderful feature where they compare a player statistically to others in order give you an idea of where a that player fits. The comps for Kyle Gibson are underwhelming. According to Baseball-reference, the five pitchers Kyle Gibson compares to statistically are Homer Bailey, Cal Eldred, Gavin Floyd, Kris Benson, and (please, dear baseball god, no) Mark Clark.
Rangers fans may remember Mark Clark. He was an unspectacular pitcher who, after eight seasons of unspectacularity, ended up a Texas Ranger. And ended up having two of the worst seasons a major league pitcher has ever had. And that is not hyperbole.
In 1999, Mark Clark made 15 starts for the Rangers and posted an ERA of 8.60. That is not a typo.
He followed that up in 2000 with an ERA of 7.98 after twelve games. He was pulled in the sixth inning of a game in early July, walked off the field, walked into the clubhouse, and walked away from baseball for good.
He is one of the pitchers Kyle Gibson compares to.
Rest assured, the Rangers are not getting a late-career Mark Clark. It would be nearly impossible for Gibson to pitch that poorly. It seemed nearly impossible for anyone to be that bad. But don’t expect this to be a Mike Minor or Lance Lynn type either.
He will have some brilliant starts. And a whole lot of not-so brilliant starts. He will encourage. He will frustrate. He will remind us of Martin Perez.
But compared to who the Rangers ran out there in 2019, he will be a welcome change.
The Kyle Gibson era has begun in Texas.