The Rangers announced a series of roster moves Tuesday afternoon, most notably adding recently signed Derek Dietrich to the Major League roster and designating first baseman Greg Bird for assignment (after first reinstating him from the injured list). Texas also selected the contract of lefty Wes Benjamin from its alternate training site and optioned right-hander Jimmy Herget and infielder Anderson Tejeda.
Designating Bird for assignment opened one of two requisite roster spots for Dietrich and Benjamin. The other looks to have come from placing right-hander Luke Farrell on the Covid-19 injured list. Texas merely announced that Farrell has been placed on the IL, but Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News further reports that it is a Covid-19 IL placement due to Farrell coming into “close contact” with an individual who has tested positive. Farrell has tested negative to this point, per Grant.
Dietrich only just inked a minor league contract with the Rangers yesterday, but he’ll step in as an apparent first base and second base option in the wake of Bird’s departure. The longtime Marlins utilityman slugged a career-best 19 home runs last year, though the overwhelming majority of his production came in the season’s first nine to ten weeks. Dietrich experienced a precipitous dip in production after that point but will look to rebound in his latest setting after being unable to grab a big league spot on prior minors pacts with the Reds and Cubs.
The 27-year-old Benjamin is stepping onto a big league roster for the first time. He was clobbered in Triple-A in 2019 (5.52 ERA in 135 1/3 frames), but that’s true of most of the league’s pitchers after unprecedented levels of home runs that mirrored the Major League long ball surge. Prior to 2019, Benjamin had run up a sub-4.00 ERA in each of his professional seasons, topping out with a solid showing at Double-A in 2018 (3.62 ERA, 72-to-23 K/BB ratio in 79 2/3 innings).
As for Bird, the former Yankees first base hopeful will again be on the lookout for a new team. He’s shown in the past that he has all of the skill to be a strong offensive contributor in the Majors, but shoulder and ankle injuries have completely derailed his career to this point. It’s perhaps telling that he landed on the IL with the Rangers before taking his first plate appearance with the club.