That’s hardly surprising, as the team has long signaled this arrangement after the offseason dust settled. But there was some new uncertainty when the Rangers began running Nick Solak up the middle.
So, does this mean the end of the Solak experiment? Not necessarily. Woodward says the hitter in search of a position has actually looked fairly comfortable since trying out the new spot.
Solak, 25, has limited professional experience on the outfield grass, with most of that coming in the corners. But the Rangers are looking for creative ways to get him into the lineup — quite understandably, given that he has a nice track record of hitting in the minors and posted a .293/.393/.491 slash in his first 135 MLB plate appearances last year.
The switch-hitting Santana was also long a middle infielder before increasingly shifting into outfield duties. He appeared all over the place in a breakout 2019 season, all while slashing a robust .283/.324/.534. Whether he can sustain that outburst remains to be seen. Santana was similarly productive as a rookie back in 2014 but had a long dry spell in the interim.
In the aggregate, it probably doesn’t matter all that much how the Rangers sort things to begin the season. Both Santana and Solak come with some upside and some desirable flexibility. They each also have questions to answer. No doubt the team’s plan is to adapt as the season unfolds.