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Daniel Duarte returning to the Texas Rangers: A Winning Move?

By Alex Al-Kazzaz

Daniel Duarte has been on quite a journey for the past ten-plus years. In baseball, it's not uncommon for players to spend many years in the minors, bouncing around from team to team, battling injuries, and dealing with numerous difficulties due to unfortunate circumstances and bad luck. Duarte is a perfect example.

Duarte was signed by the Texas Rangers in 2013 as an international prospect. He made his debut in the organization's farm system in 2015 and was loaned to a Mexican club in April 2017 before the Kansas City Royals selected him in the Rule 5 draft in December of that year. He would bounce around the Royals farm system before he was released in the fall of 2019.

In January 2020, he was signed by the Mexican club Tigres de Quintana Roo. He would only be released the next month to sign a minor league deal with the Cincinnati Reds eventually. He would not play due to the minor league's season cancellation due to the pandemic and was released in June. After a brief stint in the Mexican league in 2021, he would rejoin the Reds on another minor league deal.

Duarte made his major league debut in 2022, appearing three times as a relief pitcher before landing on the 60-day due to an elbow injury. Upon his return that September, Duarte was optioned to the Reds' Triple-A affiliate. In November, he became a free agent but quickly re-signed with the Reds. He would start the 2023 season in Triple-A Louisville until being called up to the majors.

Last year, he appeared in 31 games, amassing a 3-0 record and a 3.69 ERA. In addition, he earned one save and two holds. Duarte is certainly a fine addition to the Rangers bullpen on paper. The 27-year-old pitcher was designated for assignment last weekend, so the Rangers acquired him in exchange for cash considerations.

This investment has the potential to be a massive winning move for the defending World Series champions. There's no guarantee that Duarte will be on the 40-man Opening Day roster right now. If Duarte can put up solid work in Spring Training and stay healthy, he'll earn his spot. He convinced the Reds to take a chance on him more than once, so he's perfectly capable of doing the same with the Rangers.

The club has been making a few moves to bulk up its talent development program, including a few top international prospects. Texas intends to build on their surprising World Series triumph last year.

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