Jose Leclerc to undergo Tommy John surgery, will miss season
It's the latest in a long string of bad news for Jose Leclerc, who began his career as very promising young reliever but has dealt with persistent injury problems in recent seasons. Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Rangers closer Jose Leclerc will undergo Tommy John surgery and miss the 2021 season, general manager Chris Young announced to reporters Monday (Twitter link via MLB.com’s Kennedi Landry).

Leclerc has battled elbow soreness since last week, so this news isn’t surprising, but it will rob him of an entire season and the Rangers of their best reliever. The 27-year-old threw just two innings last season as he dealt with a strain of his right teres muscle, and this latest injury will continue to throw a once-promising career off  course.

Between 2016-19, Leclerc threw 187 innings of 3.16 ERA ball, and even though he walked almost 15 percent of batters during that span, he helped offset that with a 33 percent strikeout rate and a fastball that averaged upward of 95 mph. The Rangers were so impressed with Leclerc’s work that they signed him to a four-year, $14.75 million extension before 2019. It looked like a worthwhile gamble at the time, but it hasn’t worked out as hoped for Texas because of Leclerc’s arm troubles. His deal still includes one more guaranteed season, in which he’s also sure to miss time as he recovers from this surgery, and two years with club options for $6 million or more or buyouts worth $750,000 or less apiece.

With Leclerc done for the season, it’s unclear who will open the season as the Rangers’ closer. Ian Kennedy and Matt Bush look like the most logical candidates, as they have game-ending experience, and the Rangers selected their contracts over the weekend. Taylor Hearn and Josh Sborz are also among those who could be in the mix. Regardless, the loss of Leclerc is a significant one for the Rangers.

This article first appeared on MLB Trade Rumors and was syndicated with permission.

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