Rangers sign three, release three

The Texas Rangers made a handful of moves over the last two weeks, signing three players to minor league contracts and releasing three more. Lone Star Dugout breaks down the club's recent transactions.

In an effort to bolster the Triple-A Oklahoma City pitching staff, the Rangers have re-signed right-handers Elizardo Ramirez and Jailen Peguero. Both hurlers bring extensive professional experience.

• The 26-year-old Ramirez will be pitching his third season as a member of the Rangers' organization. Ramirez is best known for his 21 appearances [19 starts] with the Cincinnati Reds in 2006, when he went 4-9 with a 5.37 earned-run average in 104 innings. In his previous two seasons with the Rangers, the Dominican Republic native appeared in just one big league game, yielding nine runs in 2.2 innings.

Ramirez has been a steady workhorse in the RedHawks' rotation the last two seasons, combining for 47 starts, 19 wins and over 300 innings pitched. While he doesn't have overpowering stuff, Ramirez can be successful when he works down in the zone and on the corners with his upper-80s, low-90s fastball. He also works with a 78-80 mph slider, a curveball and a changeup.

• Peguero was brought aboard by the Rangers late in the 2009 campaign after his excellent showing with Veracruz of the Mexican League. The 29-year-old logged 24 relief innings with the Arizona Diamondbacks between the 2007 and 2008 seasons, but he was released by the Angels organization early last year.

After signing with Veracruz, Peguero posted a 2.03 ERA in 31 innings, allowing just 26 hits, walking eight, and striking out 31. Upon joining the Rangers' system, Peguero worked out with the rookie club in Arizona for a few days before being shipped out to OKC. He finished the season by yielding five runs in 11.2 innings, walking eight and fanning 14.

The Dominican Republic native performed well between two winter league stops this offseason, pitching both in the Dominican and in Mexico. He allowed nine earned runs over 28.1 total innings, walking 12 and striking out 20.

• The Rangers also inked one position player–infielder Matt Brown. The Angels' 10th-round selection in the 2001 MLB Draft, Brown played nine years in the L.A. system. Though he appeared in 314 career Triple-A games over three seasons, he has just 24 Major League at-bats.

Brown was dominant with Triple-A Salt Lake in 2008, batting .320 with 33 doubles and 21 home runs over just 97 games. However, he dropped off last year, hitting .245 with 27 doubles and 13 round-trippers in 107 contests. A right-handed hitter, Brown could prove valuable to the Rangers because of his ability to mash left-handed pitching. Despite his pedestrian numbers last summer, Brown batted .330 with a .936 OPS against southpaws.

• Because Texas has a system loaded with pitching talent and depth, they will have some difficult decisions to make in Spring Training in regards to assigning and releasing players. They recently cut three right-handed pitchers–Dustin Brader, Jake Geglein, and Brock Piper.

Brader, 24, had been in the organization the longest. The club's 21st-round pick in 2008 pitched at High-A Bakersfield last season, posting a 5.49 ERA in 39.1 relief innings. The Arizona State product threw his fastball in the upper-80s, and he used a four-pitch arsenal.

Geglein and Piper were both undrafted free agents brought aboard in mid-summer to fill out the Arizona League roster. Geglein, a four-year relief standout at the University of Cincinnati, logged just 3.1 innings for the AZL Rangers after his fastball dipped into the 79-82 mph range. He was put on an arm strengthening program by the Rangers, but the results were minimal. Piper posted a 4.91 ERA in 11 innings, striking out 13, but he had similar velocity issues.

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