With the Texas Rangers bullpen in a sort of work-in-progress state with pieces shuffling back and forth, the Rangers assured themselves of having one of the key bullpen arms back for at least the 2012 season.
Mark Lowe was signed by the Rangers on Tuesday, avoiding arbitration with the veteran, hard-throwing righty who was acquired with Cliff Lee from the Seattle Mariners in July 2010.
Lowe had his low spots in 2011, but evened out and for the most part was a valuable piece of the Rangers' bullpen.
He finished the season with 3.80 ERA and a 2-3 record with one save in 52 appearances.
He averaged nearly a strikeout per inning with 42 in 45 innings of work and allowed just six of his 32 inherited runners to score, which ranked ninth among American League relievers.
With the move of Neftali Feliz to the starting rotation and the signing of veteran closer Joe Nathan, along with the expected signing of Japanese starter Yu Darvish by Wednesday's deadline, the Rangers pitching staff is awfully flexible.
Initial thoughts suggest that if the Rangers sign Darvish, Alexi Ogando might move back to the bullpen, where he excelled in the postseason and in the 2010 regular season, despite his four months of lights-out starting last season. That would mean the Rangers bullpen would be loaded with weapons with Nathan, Ogando, Mike Adams likely taking innings 7-9 with Lowe and maybe Koji Uehara mixed in. If Nathan can remain healthy, it has the potential to be one of the best bullpens in baseball.