The Rangers announced that catcher Nick Ciuffo and right-hander Wei-Chieh Huang have been signed to minor league contracts. The two players and utilityman Rob Refsnyder (whose signing was reported last week) will all receive invites to the big league Spring Training camp.
Chosen 21st overall by Tampa Bay in the 2013 draft, Ciuffo has yet to deliver on that potential, with just a .248/.293/.344 career slash line over 1844 minor league plate appearances and 19 MLB games on his resume. That said, Ciuffo doesn’t turn 25 until March, and he has displayed a knack for throwing out baserunners and framing pitches. He represents a no-risk depth option for the Rangers, though Texas already has multiple glove-first backstops in Jose Trevino and Jeff Mathis.
Huang returns to the Rangers after being non-tendered earlier this week, a move that was more about clearing roster space than saving money since Huang isn’t arbitration-eligible for several seasons. The righty only just made his MLB debut in 2019, appearing in four games and tossing 5 2/3 relief innings. Acquired in 2018 as a player-to-be-named-later in the trade that sent Jake Diekman to the Diamondbacks, Huang has some interesting potential as a relief or swingman piece, though he exhibited severe control problems as he climbed up the organizational ladder in 2019. Huang issued 25 walks over 31 Triple-A innings, and five free passes over his brief time with the Rangers.