The Rangers announced this afternoon that catcher Mitch Garver is returning from the 10-day injured list. To open space on the active roster, corner outfielder Nick Solak has been optioned to Triple-A Round Rock. Texas also announced that veteran infielder Matt Carpenter has been released from his minor league contract, making him a free agent.
Garver returns after a minimal IL stint because of a muscle strain in his forearm. Texas acquired the power-hitting backstop in a key offseason deal with the Twins, and he’s thus far appeared in 22 games with his new team. Garver is off to a relatively slow start, hitting .205/.292/.346 with a trio of homers in 89 trips to the plate. Backup catcher Jonah Heim has been excellent all season, though, and he and Garver figure to share a fair bit of time behind the dish and at designated hitter.
Solak is a former second-round pick and highly-regarded prospect. Texas acquired him from the Rays in July 2019 for reliever Pete Fairbanks, hoping they’d landed their long-term second baseman. The right-handed hitter had put up excellent numbers in the Yankees and Rays farm systems before the deal, which continued down the stretch at Texas’ top affiliate. Solak made his MLB debut late that season and hit .293/.393/.491 through his first 33 games, a continuation of the offensive upside he’d shown in the minors.
Unfortunately, he hasn’t managed to build off that early success. Solak didn’t hit for much power during the shortened 2020 season, and he stumbled to a .242/.314/.362 line over a personal-high 511 plate appearances last year. He also rated poorly defensively at the keystone, echoing concerns about his glovework that have persisted since his days as a prospect. After Texas signed a new double-play tandem of Corey Seager and Marcus Semien, they bumped Solak off the dirt entirely. He’s played exclusively left field and designated hitter to this point in 2022.
Falling further down the defensive spectrum only raises the pressure on the 27-year-old to hit. He got off to a strong start this year, primarily on the short side of a platoon. He hasn’t performed in May, however, and Texas will now send him back to the minors for more regular run. Through his first 75 plate appearances (more than half of which have come against left-handed pitching), Solak owns a .209/.293/.313 line.
Depending on how long he’s in the minors, the optional assignment could have an impact on Solak’s service trajectory. He’s on pace to hit free agency after the 2025 season, having entered the season with two years and 28 days of service time. Spending more than a month in the minors would jeopardize his ability to reach the three-year threshold after this season, although Solak will eventually need to perform better for the Rangers to tender him contracts throughout his arbitration years anyhow. With a .253/.327/.372 career line and currently squeezed off the active roster, Solak may find himself as a change-of-scenery candidate over the next couple months.
Carpenter, meanwhile, signed a non-roster deal during Spring Training. It marked a homecoming for the former TCU star, who had previously spent his entire career with the Cardinals. A three-time All-Star and two-time top ten finisher in MVP balloting in St. Louis, Carpenter saw his production turn sharply downwards by 2019. He had significant struggles in both 2020-21 and didn’t land an MLB roster spot after the Cards bought him out last fall.
The 36-year-old spoke over the offseason about the necessity to overhaul his hitting mechanics to rediscover his production at the plate. The early results have been encouraging, as Carpenter hit .275/.379/.613 and popped six homers in 21 games for Round Rock. Texas didn’t feel they had big league at-bats to offer, however, and the sides mutually agreed to part ways, relays Levi Weaver of the Athletic. It stands to reason there’ll be other teams willing to offer Carpenter a new minor league deal after his strong start for the Express.
Not saying that Carp was going to re-discover his 2012-2018 prime, but he did have a .341 xwOBA last season. Figured some team would give him more of a shot on that basis alone.
He was killing it at AAA Round Rock…just makes sense to give Carpenter a shot, unfortunately that’s not gonna happen
I guess we’ll see where he ends up
He’s been really, really bad the last 3 seasons. I see no reason why I’d want my team bothering with him.
Saw Solak on a bar rescue rerun last week lol
Honestly, as long as he hits in AAA he could be dealt
Willie Calhoun wants that to happen but since being demoted to AAA: (.AVG / .OBP / .SLG)
.194 / .275 / .278 (.553 OPS)
Corey Dickerson is making Matt Carpenter look pretty appealing right now.
Dickerson deal smelt bad to begin with, thank goodness it’s a one year pact
Royals dump Santana and sign Carp.
We need to call up Taveras and Duran and send Ibanez down too
I agree. I really thought Ibanez was gonna be great this year. I’m sure it’s at least partly the humidor/short spring/cold weather but he needs to get some momentum going and then they need to let him play everyday.
Leody might be worth a call up, but Duran is not close, the kid hasen’t been in AA for long at all. Josh Smith would get the call long before Duran
If ur gonna bring up a cf, I’d like to see bubba Thompson come up for a cup of coffee. Kid has made some big strides last 2 yrs
Bubba would have to be added to the 40 man roster. I would like to see both him and Tavaras get the call. but then either Eli White or Adolis Garcia would sit. I wanted the Rangers to trade Adolis in the off-season because I didn’t think he could continue hitting like he did in 2021.
Yea, I’m not sold on adolis either
Carp is toast. Those numbers in the PCL suck.
Carpenter may not have any more MLB appearances left in him, but those numbers don’t suck at any level.
Carp could play LF for Atlanta , their outfield minus Acuna is doing little with the bats. Wish they could get AJ Pollock .
I’d take a flyer in Boston given the struggles at the plate of Verdugo, Hernandez and JBJ.
How is a player who can’t hit anymore going to improve an offense?
Cosmo I usually agree with your posts, but I don’t know how you think you know he can’t hit anymore. I mean, I wouldn’t put money on it, but maybe he’s taking a designer drug.
How else do you predict future outcome in this sport but by looking at the recent past? He’s been terrible for 3 years now, in steady, measurable decline. He’s 36 and unlikely to suddenly rebound. Of course anything is possible; he just seems like a really bad bet. And above all, if he can suddenly buck all trends and turn it around, well then so can the poor hitting players he’s supposed to replace. Why not bet on the guys you already have rather than someone no more or even less likely to succeed?
Fair point. I don’t think anybody has claimed him, else MLBTR would have posted it.
Cue the “Carpenter signs a minor league deal with…the Padres
What the hell are we gonna do with semien? His sub .200 avg and $25m/7yr contract is a bigger concern to me than solak.
He’s a steal at $3.57 mil per year
Awwww he’ll snap out of it
Good thing we’re only 30+ games into the season.. Chill nancy
So when does it start counting? I’m sorry for $25m I’d think a player, that was brought in for offense and leadership, would bat at least .200 with a homer or 2, 1/4 way through season. A slump is 1 thing but a quarter of the season. I must be crazy thinking like that
he just had a 3 hit game against the Angels and a nice double last night. Semien is a known quantity, he will come around
Might as well bring Carp back to STL for the retirement tour, since the team sucks anyway.
Sucks? They just might win it all! Now talking about sucking that would be the cubs!
What, are you 12 years old?
This might be the end of the road for Carpenter. Even with DH open and the only logical place for him at his age, I think he’s finished. I don’t think the Pirates or O’s would offer him a shot due to his struggles. It’s hard to imagine anyone taking a gamble on him. Heck, Reds I think would turn that idea away. Who knows, baseball is one sport that will surprise you and one team will probably give him a shot.
Astros. Not gonna trust Bregman for a full season
Nancy, as in Carpenter?
Purely speculation on my part, but usually a “mutual parting of ways” when a player is being successful at AAA like Carpenter has demonstrated so far, means that he’s been at least offered a better shot to get back in the Big Show by another team. Which team is looking for a veteran LHB is more speculation…
I don’t know about “usually” but you could be right.
Sad about Matt Carpenter, looked absolutely awful with the Cardinals, time to hang them up
Angels. Fletcher out 60 days, perfect time to add and give him a chance.
Why? He was a -1.1 bWAR last year. An organization has got to be more imaginative than just signing an obviously washed up big name. There’s gotta be better choices out there than someone who is clearly done. Name recognition doesn’t win games.
Guessing Kansas City or the Reds
I’m guessing retirement. What does he offer beyond name recognition at this point?