The Rangers released outfielder Joe McCarthy this week, according to his transactions log at MLB.com. Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News tweets that McCarthy was granted an out after agreeing to a deal with a team in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball. Last week, Sports Hochi in Japan reported McCarthy had agreed to terms with the Orix Buffaloes. The team has yet to announce the move, but it seems the 28-year-old will head to the Osaka-based club, which has started the season 10-12.
McCarthy, the older brother of D-Backs outfielder Jake McCarthy, is a former fifth-round draftee of the Rays. Traded to the Giants at the 2019 deadline, he played in four games and tallied 10 plate appearances with San Francisco in 2020. McCarthy otherwise spent his Giants’ tenure in the minors, including a 2021 campaign where he posted an impressive .305/.384/.542 mark with 15 homers in 74 games with Triple-A Sacramento last season.
After electing free agency at the end of the year, the University of Virginia product signed a minor league deal with Texas. Despite an 8-14 showing in Spring Training, he didn’t crack the Opening Day roster. Rather than head back to Triple-A, McCarthy will make the jump to Japan’s highest level.
It’s not uncommon for players on minors deals or even at the fringes of an MLB 40-man roster to explore opportunities in other pro leagues. McCarthy’s salary has yet to be reported, but he’ll certainly make more with the Buffaloes than he would’ve spending the entire season with the Rangers’ top affiliate in Round Rock. McCarthy doesn’t have much big league experience, but he’s a career .255/.355/.464 hitter in three Triple-A seasons. If he performs well in NPB, it stands to reason he could again draw interest from MLB teams a year or two down the line.