Holt, Rangers agree to Minors deal

February 12th, 2021

The Rangers announced three Minor League signings on Friday, headlined by utility infielder .

Holt, a Fort Worth, Texas native, will earn $1.75 million if he makes the club, plus up to $750,000 in incentives, a source told MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand.

After seven seasons with the Red Sox, Holt split 2020 between the Brewers and the Nationals. Milwaukee released him after a slow start during which he hit just .100. But in 70 plate appearances with the Nats, he slashed .262/.314/.354. He's a career .268 hitter.

Along with veteran infielder Charlie Culberson, Holt will add depth at third base and competition behind Rougned Odor as top prospect Josh Jung gets more seasoning in the Minors. Odor has almost exclusively played second base during his Rangers tenure, but the club is giving Nick Solak a shot to win that position in Spring Training. Holt has played 243 career games at second base and 145 at third base, as well as seeing some time in the outfield.

In addition to Holt, the club signed left-handed pitcher Hyeon-jong Yang of the Korea Baseball Organization's Kia Tigers and catcher John Hicks to Minor League deals.

Yang’s deal is worth $1.3 million with $550,000 in performance bonuses, according to a club source. He has spent the last 14 years in the KBO, posting a career 3.83 ERA. He was the KBO’s Pitcher of the Year in 2017, when he had a 3.44 ERA and 20-6 record.

In 2020, Yang was 11-10 with a 4.70 ERA in 172 1/3 innings. His innings total is well above any Rangers pitcher last season due to MLB’s shortened schedule. Yang will have a chance to make the Major League roster and add additional depth to the rotation or pitch out of the bullpen.

The Rangers have had interest in Yang previously. They made a bid when he was posted in 2014, but he opted to stay in Korea.

Hicks did not appear in any games with the D-backs last season and spent all year at their alternate training site before being released on Sept. 19. Over five seasons split between Seattle and Detroit, Hicks hit .235 with 28 home runs and 90 RBIs.

Texas also announced three internal non-roster Spring Training invites: right-handed pitchers Hans Crouse and Luis Ortiz, and outfielder Adolis García. Garcia was designated for assignment to make room for pitcher Mike Foltynewicz on the 40-man roster, but cleared waivers and was assigned to Triple-A Round Rock.

Crouse, a 2017 second-round pick, is the Rangers No. 7-ranked prospect according to MLB Pipeline and has a 3.27 ERA through three Minor League seasons. Ortiz, a 2014 first-rounder, was signed to a Minor League deal on Dec. 16. He only has three big league appearances, but a 23-29 record with a 3.73 ERA over six Minor League seasons.