Rangers continue copycat Dodgers act by adding former LA 1st-round pick

Minnesota Twins v Detroit Tigers
Minnesota Twins v Detroit Tigers / Dave Reginek/GettyImages

All that's left here is for the Texas Rangers to, point blank, come out and say, "We would love to be the Los Angeles Dodgers of the American League." Yet again, a former Dodger has found his way to the Lone Star state.

On Thursday, it was reported the Rangers agreed to a minor-league deal with reliever Kyle Funkhouser, who played with the Detroit Tigers the last few seasons (and actually may have found his footing in 2021). He missed all of 2022 with a shoulder injury.

What does this have to do with the Dodgers? In case you forgot, Funkhouser was a former first-round pick of LA back in 2015. The 35th overall selection out of Louisville never made it to the Dodgers organization, though.

He opted to return to college for his senior year and became the highest draft pick that year not to sign. The following year, he dropped to the fourth round and was taken by the Tigers, for whom he's played for ever since.

So while this doesn't have full-on copycat vibes like the Corey Seager signing, Andrew Heaney and Nathan Eovaldi additions this offseason, nonstop Clayton Kershaw interest, Zach Reks/Josh Sborz/Dennis Santana trades, and Brett de Geus Rule 5 Draft swipe (among other minor moves), the Rangers are still making subtle decisions that have even the smallest of Dodgers imprints on them.

Rangers sign former Dodgers first-round pick Kyle Funkhouser

Once a promising starting pitching prospect, Funkhouser, 28, has made just two starts in his 70 career MLB games. After a dreadful 2019 in the minors, the Tigers made the bizarre decision to promote Funkhouser to the bigs and use him as a reliever. He appeared in 13 games during the shortened 2020 campaign and finished with a 7.27 ERA and 1.90 WHIP.

In 2021, he continued in that role, but found much more success. The right-hander logged a 3.42 ERA and 1.41 WHIP with 63 strikeouts in 68.1 innings of work in his first full MLB season. He struggled with control, but managed to limit hard contact while boasting good velocity (96 MPH average with his fastball and sinker).

It's unclear if the Rangers plan to utilize Detroit's approach with Funkhouser to see if they can help harness his stuff after a step forward in 2021 ... or if they're finding out a way to get their hands on Andrew Friedman's files from the 2015 draft.

Whatever their plan is, something tells us a 94-loss team from 2022 will probably need the entire Friedman dossier to turn it around instead of simply getting their hands on former Dodgers players.

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