Rangers Add Seung Hwan Oh to Uncertain Bullpen
The Rangers have signed Seung Hwan Oh to a one-year, $2.75 million contract that includes a $4.5 million club option for a second year. The Rangers bullpen has several question marks, and Oh adds to the uncertainty.
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The 35-year-old Oh debuted in 2016, took over the Cardinals’ closer role, and never let go, posting 19 saves and a 1.92 ERA. He struggled in 2017 with a lower strikeout rate (11.6 K/9 to 8.2 K/9), as hitters quit chasing his slider (27% SwStr% to 14% SwStr%). With the lower strikeout rate, his ERA ballooned to 4.10 with matching ERA estimators. It’s tough to know exactly why the declined occurred, as his velocity and break stayed constant. It seems like hitters either got used to the pitch, or it’s possible he was tipping it. Both issues may be fixed by changing teams and leagues.
Oh enters a Rangers bullpen with no standout closer. Alex Claudio ended last season as the team’s closer and performed fine in the role. The Rangers may not have a ton of faith in the lefty, however, since his only positive trait is generating groundballs (66.7% in 2017). If I were going to bet on anyone getting saves in Texas, it’d be Keone Kela. That said, it’s a situation to track during the spring.
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