By Jim Callis
July 21, 2005
With the third-worst ERA (4.89) in the American League, the Rangers need pitching as they look to reverse a recent 2-6 slide that has dropped them to third place in the AL West and fifth in the wild-card race. They made a small trade on that front Thursday, acquiring Kevin Gryboski from the Braves for minor league righthander Matt Lorenzo.
Gryboski, a 31-year-old righthander, excels at inducing groundball outs when he can spot his low-90s sinker. Since Atlanta acquired him in a January 2002 deal for righty Elvis Perez, Gryboski has gone 11-7, 3.32 with two saves in 221 big league appearances. He has a 0-0, 2.95 record in 31 games this year and missed two weeks in May with a viral infection. Gryboski’s ERA is misleading, however, as his strikeout-walk ratio is a poor 8-12 in 21 innings and opponents are batting .300 against him (albeit with no homers). He’s making $877,500 this year and will be eligible for arbitration again after the season. Rookie Macay McBride will replace Gryboski in the Atlanta bullpen.
Lorenzo, 23, signed as a 2003 fifth-round pick out of Kent State. He has struggled this year, going 4-9, 5.42 in 19 games (18 starts) between high Class A Bakersfield and Double-A Frisco. He has an 83-43 K-BB ratio in 100 innings, while opponents have hit .316 with 17 homers against him. His best fit probably is in relief, a role in which his fastball jumped from 88-92 to 93-95 mph in the Arizona Fall League in 2004. His curveball is an effective second pitch, but he needs a better command overall and a better changeup to combat lefthanders.