McKinney, Reks give Rangers outfield depth
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers acquired Dodgers outfielders Billy McKinney and Zach Reks on Monday in return for cash considerations, further bolstering the club's outfield depth.
Both players were designated for assignment by the Dodgers on Nov. 19. The Rangers' 40-man roster now sits at 39 players.
McKinney, a Dallas-area native and 2013 first-rounder, played for three clubs in 2021, appearing in 116 games and batting .192 with nine home runs. He's spent time in the big leagues in each of the last four seasons.
McKinney is a Plano West High School alum and was committed to play college baseball for TCU in Fort Worth before being selected 24th overall in the 2013 Draft by the A's.
Reks was selected by the Dodgers in the 10th round of the 2017 MLB Draft. He made his MLB debut in 2021, going 0-for-10 over six games. With Triple-A Oklahoma City, he slashed .280/.382/.539 (.921 OPS) in 87 games.
The move is interesting, not only because of the Rangers' outfield depth at the big league level, but because the club did not add outfield prospects Bubba Thompson (No. 27 per MLB Pipeline) and Steele Walker (No. 20) to the 40-man roster ahead of the Rule 5 Draft.
The Rangers now have seven outfielders on the 40-man roster including McKinney and Reks: 2021 All-Star Adolis García, Willie Calhoun, Eli White, Leody Taveras and DJ Peters, who was a waiver claim after being DFAed by the Dodgers earlier this season.
García, who led the Rangers in most offensive categories in 2021, is the only near definite for an Opening Day spot, likely in right field. But the field is wide open elsewhere. While Calhoun had a high batting average and on-base percentage, he played half the games as García and doesn't nearly bring the same power at the plate or defensive abilities in the field. None of the other had an average above .200 or an OPS above .700.
Here are the slash line for each of the Rangers' five outfielders:
• García (149 games): .243/.286/.454/.741
• Calhoun (75 games): .250/.310/.381/.691
• Taveras (49 games): .161/.207/.270/.477
• White (64 games): .177/.259/.308/.567
• Peters: (70 games): .197/.242/.422/.663
Acquiring McKinney and Reks shouldn't and likely won't stop the Rangers from going out and attempting to sign star players like the front office has preached.
The Rangers' front office has been open about its need to upgrade at almost every position, and while the shortstop market is booming, Texas could benefit from the likes of outfielder Nick Castellanos or a utilityman like Chris Taylor.
Texas has also been reported to be interested in Japanese outfielder Seiya Suzuki, who was posted on Nov. 22.
Who knows if McKinney or Reks are on the Opening Day roster or if they end up at Triple-A Round Rock, but they both give the club extra depth in the outfield across both levels.