Rangers ink Gobble to Minors deal
Southpaw expected to compete for bullpen spot in Majors camp
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Rangers have signed left-handed reliever Jimmy Gobble to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training. He was released by the Royals earlier this week.He gives the Rangers another relief option in an area of concern, as he could fill the role of left-handed relief specialist. Left-handed batters were 13-for-65 (.200) off him last season, and he allowed just one home run to a lefty -- off the bat of Texas outfielder David Murphy. Left-handers have hit .236 off him over the past three seasons.
Gobble could become a free agent at the end of Spring Training if he's not added to the Major League roster."Jimmy's had past success getting lefties out, and we're going to take a look to see if he can do the same for us," general manager Jon Daniels said. "We met with him Saturday morning and decided to extend the getting-to-know-you period into Major League camp." Gobble could compete for a middle-relief spot with right-handers Warner Madrigal, Willie Eyre, Derrick Turnbow, Brendan Donnelly, Josh Rupe and others. Gobble was the 43rd overall pick by the Royals in the 1999 First-Year Player Draft, and he has spent his entire career in the Kansas City organization. He has made 192 career relief appearances, and he sports an 8-6 record with a 5.05 ERA over those outing. Gobble is 14-17 with a 5.36 ERA in 43 starts, but he has been used mainly as a reliever over the past three years. Gobble was 0-2 with an 8.81 ERA in 39 relief appearances last season. He was on the disabled list from July 22 to Sept. 2 with back tightness, but he finished strong with seven scoreless innings in September. "I was definitely shocked," Gobble said about being released. "It kind of came out of left field. From my understanding -- but obviously assumptions aren't always the best things to go on -- but I thought I was on the team, pretty much." This spring, Gobble appeared in four Cactus League games and posted a 4.91 ERA. "It wasn't necessarily a matter of him not having it," Royals manager Trey Hillman said when Gobble was released. "We just didn't see that he was going to be a definite fit for us. He hadn't pitched that bad, and we know what he does against left-handed hitters. In a couple outings, he also had success against right-handed hitters."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.