Rangers sign Dietrich: 5 questions

August 11th, 2020

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers signed infielder to a Minor League contract, added him to the 60-man player pool and assigned him to the alternate training site. That will be a temporary assignment.

Dietrich can play first base, second, third and left field, and he has some power as a left-handed hitter. The Rangers see him as an alternative at multiple positions.

“He brings a lot of energy, a lot of fight, a lot of grind,” manager Chris Woodward said. “I think he'll fit in well if we do activate him. He's a left-handed bat good against righties, can play pretty much anywhere in the infield but short. I really like him at second and first.”

Here are questions that have come up with this signing:

1. Is Dietrich a threat to take Odor’s spot?

The Rangers clearly are getting impatient with . Through his first 10 games, he is hitting .114/.205/.229 and the postseason-minded Rangers can’t wait too much longer. Dietrich is one option. So is , who has been bouncing from one position to another.

Second base is not Dietrich’s best position, but he can play there.

“I think everybody understands what's at stake right now, but we need more production,” Woodward said. “If we need more production, and I feel like that's a better option, we might go with that. It's just the nature of the business nowadays, especially with 60 games.”

2. Is Dietrich a threat to Elvis Andrus at shortstop?
Not directly, but yes. Dietrich can first base. In that scenario, moves to third and plays shortstop. It’s an option for Woodward.

3. Why are the Rangers so excited about a player who hit .187 last season and has been with two organizations so far this season?
Dietrich was with the Reds last season and hit .221/.349/.544 before the All-Star break. He had 18 home runs and 40 RBIs in 81 games. He fell apart completely in the second half, hitting .071/.257/.179. A bad left shoulder was a big problem, and he had surgery in September.

This year, Dietrich was a late arrival to Summer Camp with the Reds because he was recovering from COVID-19 and did not make the Opening Day roster. Dietrich opted to take his release and become a free agent. He signed with the Cubs to be at their alternate training site and again exercised an opt-out clause when he was not added to the Major League roster.

Both clubs wanted him but had no room at the big league level. If Dietrich is healthy and there is an opening, he could help.

“There are really three things: power, versatility and energy,” Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. “All three things were appealing. He got slowed down after he banged up his shoulder a little bit last year. He goes out there and brings it every day. He’s really committed. I think that energy level was a plus. But all three of those things were factors there.”

4. Could Santana figure in the middle infield?
is on the injured list with a sore right arm. He can hit, but his throwing is not close to 100 percent. He is taking ground balls at first base, but the Rangers want to see more arm strength before activating him.

5. Could the Rangers make a major trade to upgrade the offense?
The Rangers have a number of young players in their 60-man player pool who should be attractive to other clubs. Catcher , outfielder and infielders and are among those, along with pitchers , , Wes Benjamin, and .

Daniels said the Rangers have started having preliminary conversations with other clubs, just to see what the trade market is like. Serious discussions are two to three weeks away, closer to the Aug. 31 Trade Deadline.

Rangers beat
• The Rangers recalled left-hander from alternate camp to add depth to their bullpen. To make room, they sent down outfielder .

• The Rangers have filed an appeal with Major League Baseball on a scoring decision from Sunday’s game. Angels outfielder Jo Adell was given an error when Solak’s fly ball went off his glove and over the fence. The Rangers want it changed to a home run.

• Woodward confirmed that will start Friday against the Rockies and will be pushed back in the rotation. The Rangers are off on Thursday and that allows Woodward to switch up the rotation. So far he has only confirmed Lynn will start on Friday.

• Opponents are hitting .126 off Lynn after four starts. That’s the lowest for a qualifying pitcher in the American League, entering the week. His 1.16 ERA is the second lowest, behind Oakland’s Chris Bassitt at 1.08.