The club also signed right-handed pitcher Nate Adcock and outfielder Bryan Petersen to Minor League contracts with invitations to Spring Training. Texas has seven players coming to camp on Minor League contracts, including pitchers Colby Lewis, Ross Wolf and Aaron Poreda, and outfielder Brad Snyder.
Contreras spent last season with the Pirates and the Red Sox organizations. He made seven relief appearances for the Pirates in May, allowing five runs in five innings. Contreras, who had Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery on June 20, 2012, was 2-3 with a 3.00 ERA in 27 relief appearances in the Minor Leagues.
Contreras is 0-3 with a 5.88 ERA in six starts for Licey in the Dominican Republic Winter League.
"We're excited to bring Jose into the organization," Rangers farm director Mike Daly said. "He's a player we have history with going back to when he defected from Cuba and Don Welke scouted him. We had a number of scouts see him in the DR Winter league. We liked his stuff down there, experience and veteran presence. We feel he has a chance to come to camp and compete to make the club."
Contreras left his native Cuba in 2002. He had been one of the best pitchers in Cuba and when he was cleared to pitch in the Major Leagues, it set off a serious bidding war between the Yankees and the Red Sox. When the Yankees won the bidding, Red Sox president Larry Lucchino made his famous remark in calling them the "Evil Empire."
Contreras' best year came in 2005 after being traded to the White Sox. He was 15-7 with a 3.61 ERA, selected to the American League All-Star team and won three more games in the playoffs as the White Sox ended up winning the World Series. He was 36-45 with a 4.84 ERA in 103 starts and seven relief appearances over the next four years before becoming a full-time reliever for the Phillies in 2010. He was 6-4 with a 3.34 ERA in 67 relief appearances that season. But he has been on the disabled list five times in the last three seasons.
Adcock was with the Royals for parts of 2011 and '12. He was 1-1 with a 4.62 ERA in three starts and 21 relief appearances in '11 and 0-3 with a 2.34 ERA in two starts and 10 relief appearances in '12.
He was in Royals camp this past season, but did not make the team out of Spring Training. Instead he was sent to Triple-A Omaha, designated for assignment on June 6 and claimed by the D-backs off waivers. He was 8-6 with a 6.67 ERA in 19 starts and seven relief appearances in Triple-A, but did not pitch in the big leagues for either team.
Petersen was a fourth-round pick by the Marlins in 2007 out of UC-Irvine and was in the big leagues for parts of the past three seasons. He has a career .220 average with 22 doubles, two home runs and 29 RBIs over 181 games. He hit .195 with a .272 on-base percentage and a .257 slugging percentage in 84 games last season.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.