Maybe the Texas Rangers should've just given Alexi Ogando that salary increase in arbitration, after all.
The former Rangers reliever-turned starter-turned reliever-turned starter-turned reliever again was cut loose this winter, as Rangers GM Jon Daniels said Ogando's health concerns were too much to commit a higher salary to. There's some merit in that idea, given Ogando missed much of the 2014 season with arm fatigue and elbow inflammation.
But with his new team, the Boston Red Sox, Ogando appears to have rediscovered everything that made him one of the most lethal, versatile relievers in all of baseball during the Rangers' World Series runs.
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Ogando has been lights out this spring for the Red Sox, fanning five of the 15 batters he's faced this spring in Florida. He's also regained his mid- to upper-90s velocity, and there's even talk he could start the season as the Red Sox closer if fellow former Ranger Koji Uehara has to start the year on the disabled list with a hamstring issue.
“He was nasty, man,” said Mike Napoli, the Sox first baseman who was a catcher for the Rangers and Ogando’s teammate in 2011-12, in the Boston Herald. “I remember his fastball, being able to spot up to righties down and away. He would mix in that slider. He was real tough on righties.
“I thought it was awesome when I heard we got him. He could be a nice complement in the back end of the bullpen. . . . It looks like he’s back to where he was.”
If that's true, the Rangers could regret letting him go, especially given their search for bullpen arms with the season less than two weeks away.