The Rangers have signed veteran catcher John Hicks to a minor league deal with a Spring Training invitation, per a club announcement. Outfielder Adolis Garcia, who was designated for assignment earlier this week, will also be invited to Major League camp after going unclaimed on outright waivers, according to the Rangers. Texas also confirmed its previously reported minor league deals with Korean lefty Hyeon-jong Yang and with infielder Brock Holt.
Hicks, 31, didn’t play in the big leagues last year, instead spending the 2020 season at the Diamondbacks’ alternate training site. He’s appeared in parts of five big league seasons between the Mariners and Tigers, logging a combined .235/.280/.391 batting line with 28 homers and 15 doubles in 871 plate appearances.
He’s never graded out as a particularly strong framer, but Hicks has an above-average 31 percent caught-stealing rate at the MLB level and will add some depth to a Rangers club that is presently lacking in that department. Jose Trevino currently projects as the starter, with Jonah Heim and non-roster veteran Drew Butera serving as backup candidates. Top prospect Sam Huff got his feet wet in the big leagues last year, but he skipped both Double-A and Triple-A, so he’s likely in line for additional minor league seasoning.
Yang, as noted in the linked post above, is a former KBO MVP who has long had his sights set on pitching in the Majors. His decision to do so this winter wasn’t particularly well-timed, given not only the economic climate in MLB but also the fact that he’s coming off one of the rougher seasons of a generally strong career in South Korea. Still, he’s made 29 starts or more in each of the past eight seasons and prior to 2020 carried a 3.35 ERA over a seven-year stretch. If nothing else, the fact that he threw 172 1/3 innings last year — nearly 100 more than any MLB pitcher — ought to be of benefit while the Rangers look to monitor the workloads of the rest of their staff.