Rangers infielder/outfielder Nick Solak is out for the rest of the season due to a right foot fracture, per Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. He will be placed on the injured list on Tuesday, due to the club having an off-day tomorrow.
Solak, 27, fouled a fall of his foot a few days ago and has been out of the lineup since then. It appears that the injury is significant enough to prevent him from returning this year, with just over two weeks remaining on the schedule. This will put an end to an uneven season for Solak, who has been shuffled around in a few different ways this year.
Last year, Solak got into 127 games for the Rangers, exclusively at second base. He provided solid glovework and stole seven bases but produced a batting line of .242/.314/.362. That offensive production was 12% below league average by measure of wRC+. This past offseason, the Rangers decided to spend aggressively to start digging themselves out of their rebuild, focusing on the infield in particular. They gave mega deals to Corey Seager and Marcus Semien, which pushed Solak into more outfield work.
This year, he’s only been able to play a single inning at second base at the MLB level, with the rest of his time being spent in left field. He’s also been optioned a few times, spending more of this season in Triple-A than in the majors. He’s fared well with Round Rock, hitting .278/.371/.489 for a wRC+ of 114 in 57 games. But after 35 major league contests, he’ll finish 2022 with a line of .207/.309/.329, wRC+ of 89.
With the breakout of Nathaniel Lowe and the promotion of prospect Josh Jung to take third base, the path to infield playing time seems closed to Solak going forward. An injury could always change that, but it seems like Solak’s best chance at getting a regular MLB gig is in the outfield. Even in the minors this year, the club only used him on the grass. Right now, the majority of the big league playing time in the outfield is going to Adolis Garcia, Leody Taveras and Bubba Thompson, with the club potentially bringing in outside reinforcements this winter. Since Solak will still have one option remaining next year, it’s possible he’s ticketed for another season of depth duty.