Outfielder Delino DeShields Jr. has foregone the June 1 opt-out clause in his minor league contract and will remain with the Rangers for the time being, per Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News (Twitter link). Grant notes that the Rangers are still open to helping DeShields land on a big league roster if the opportunity presents itself. The Yankees reportedly looked into a trade involving DeShields but have thus far opted to go in another direction. Given Texas’ openness to helping DeShields back to the Majors, the Yankees probably wouldn’t have to give much of anything in return.
Of course, Texas could also opt to take another look at DeShields themselves. He’s batting .363/.433/.538 in Triple-A Round Rock, albeit in just 91 plate appearances and with a ridiculous .500 average on balls in play that won’t be sustained. DeShields has spent parts of five seasons as a Ranger, but Texas is currently committed to evaluating younger and/or more controllable players throughout the bulk of the lineup — hence the decision to move on from Elvis Andrus and Rougned Odor this season. Twenty-five-year-old Jason Martin is getting a look right now, and Texas also has Willie Calhoun, Adolis Garcia and Joey Gallo in the current outfield mix.
Some more notes from Arlington…
- Lefty Hyeon-jong Yang is moving back into the bullpen after four of his past five appearances (including three in a row) were starts, Grant tweets. The former KBO MVP has been hit hard when working out of the rotation — particularly the second time through the order. Everything regarding Yang’s numbers so far comes with a small-sample caveat, given his limited innings count, but he’s pitched to a 3.55 ERA in 12 2/3 innings as a reliever while holding opponents to a .191/.255/.340 output. As a starter, he’s been tagged for 11 runs in 15 innings while yielding a .298/.388/.561 slash. One good start or one poor relief outing could obviously skew those numbers substantially at this point, so those numbers can be taken with a grain of salt. The 33-year-old Yang has tossed at least three innings in all of his appearances as a Ranger, so he’ll give skipper Chris Woodward a multi-inning option.
- Stepping into Yang’s rotation spot will be left-hander Kolby Allard. The former Braves top prospect and first-round pick has worked primarily out of the bullpen this season but stretched to four innings in his most recent relief outing. Allard held his own as a rookie following the trade that swapped him and reliever Chris Martin in 2019, but he was clobbered for a 7.75 ERA in 33 2/3 innings last summer. He’s been sharp through his small sample of 11 1/3 innings in ’21, sporting a career-best 27 percent strikeout rate and a strong seven percent walk rate. It feels like Allard has been a prospect forever, but that’s common with high-profile high school draftees. He’s still just 23 years of age and has only 19 big league starts under his belt, so there’s time for him to yet emerge as a solid back-end starter for Texas.
- Top prospect Josh Jung is expected to be cleared to return to action within the next two weeks, per Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The 23-year-old Jung, selected eighth overall in 2019, has yet to play this season after suffering a stress fracture in his foot back in Spring Training. He underwent surgery that came with a recovery period of up to eight weeks. Jung has yet to play above A-ball because of last year’s canceled minor league season, but he hit .316/.389/.443 between Rookie ball and Class-A in 2019, his lone pro season thus far. He’s widely considered to be among the game’s top 100 overall prospects and is viewed as the club’s third baseman of the future.