Rangers option struggling infielder Nick Solak, designate catcher John Hicks
The Rangers announced Friday that they’ve selected the contract of minor league first baseman Curtis Terry (as previously reported) and opened a spot on the 40-man roster by designating catcher John Hicks for assignment. Texas also reinstated catcher Jose Trevino from the 10-day injured list and, perhaps most notably, optioned struggling infielder Nick Solak to Triple-A Round Rock.
Hicks, 31, smacked four home runs in 10 games for the Rangers prior to his DFA but was squeezed out by Trevino’s return. He’s 8-for-31 on the season with those four dingers and has also posted a .275/.352/.440 slash in 122 Triple-A plate appearances.
Of course, Hicks has had numerous chances in the majors prior to the 2021 season and has yet to establish himself as a consistent MLB presence. He made his big league debut with the Mariners back in 2015 and then saw action in parts of four straight seasons with a rebuilding Tigers club. He’s a career .236/.279/.401 hitter with a 32 percent caught-stealing rate but more questionable marks in the pitch-framing and pitch-blocking departments. Texas will have a week to trade him, place him on outright waivers or release him.
Solak, 26, opened the season as the primary second baseman in Arlington and got out to a blistering start. He carried an OPS north of .900 as far into the season as early May, but his production has been in a rapid tail spin since that time. Over his past 255 plate appearances, Solak is hitting just .190/.256/.273. It’s been nearly a month since he logged multiple hits in a game, and since that two-hit night back on June 29, he’s posted a .149/.216/.191 batting line.
Given those struggles, it’s plenty understandable that the Rangers feel it’s in his best interest to get something of a reset. It’s unlikely that this will impact Solak’s service time or general path to free agency. He entered the season with a year and 41 days of service time and would remain on track for free agency post-2025 so long as he accumulates a total of 131 days of service in 2021. He’s already at 113 days of service time this year, so unless he remains in the minors through season’s end, he’ll accumulate the necessary service to sustain that trajectory.