The Rangers are in agreement with Rafael Ortega on a minor league contract, reports Joel Sherman of the New York Post (on Twitter). The deal allows him to opt out on April 29 if he’s not added to the roster, reports MLBTR’s Steve Adams (Twitter link). If Ortega secures a big league roster spot, he’d lock in a $1.5MM base salary, according to Adams.
Ortega has played for five teams over parts of six big league seasons dating back to 2012. Much of his early-career work came in a depth capacity. He logged a decent amount of action over the past two years with the Cubs, playing in 221 games. Ortega posted decent offensive numbers in that time, combining for a .265/.344/.408 line in 701 plate appearances.
Despite that solid showing, Chicago non-tendered him at the start of this past offseason. Ortega signed a minor league deal with the Yankees and spent the spring in their camp. The lefty-hitting outfielder had a bizarre .158/.327/.474 line over 38 exhibition at-bats. He struck out 12 times but drew ten walks and connected on three home runs. New York stuck with the out-of-options Estevan Florial and signed Franchy Cordero to take the outfield bench spots on the season-opening roster. Upon being informed this week that he wouldn’t make the team, Ortega triggered an opt-out clause and was granted his release.
It didn’t take long for the 31-year-old to find a new landing spot. Outfield is a significant question mark for Texas, particularly early in the season. Adolis García is assured of one spot. That’d ideally be in right field but he started in center field today. That’s due to a season-opening injured list stint for presumptive starting center fielder Leody Taveras, who sustained an oblique strain this spring. Robbie Grossman and utilityman Josh H. Smith got the nod in the corners flanking García.
With Taveras out, it’s easy to see the appeal for Ortega in signing on with Texas. The organization will have a little less than a month to evaluate both his performance at Triple-A Round Rock and Taveras’ health status before deciding whether to give him an MLB look. Ortega is out of minor league option years, so if he secures a 40-man roster spot at any point, Texas would have to keep him in the majors or designate him for assignment.
Not really. He made his debut in 2012 for the Rockies. I don’t understand this acquisition. He hits like a back up catcher.
He was just released by the Yankees. I like him a lot. There’s no reason why he can’t be a solid bench player for the Rangers. He played really well for my Cubies.
Ortega not from New York City! Ortega is made in Texas. Salsa jokes aside, Ortega played well for the Cubs, he is a fine backup outfielder.
If he was a fine backup OFer, he would have a major league job.
Can he do better in the OF than Grossman?
Not against LHP, but I am not sure against RHP.
Grossman has done just fine against RHP this year in ST and hit a 3 run game tying HR last night against a RHP. He’s not taking Grossman’s job.
Talking about his defense.
I remember the time with the Jay Bruce Grand Slam incident.