The Texas Rangers were looking for another outfielder and the answer might have come in Thursday’s Rule 5 draft. The club drafted Delino DeShields Jr. with its No. 3 pick and will give him a chance to earn a spot on the Opening Day roster.
DeShields, 22, has spent his entire career in the Houston Astros system.
He was a first-round pick in 2010 and played last season at Double A Corpus Christi, hitting .236 with 11 home runs and 57 RBIs in 114 games. He played second base his first three seasons.
“We like the combination of the now and the future. He’s got a chance to earn a role on this team,” Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. “He’s another center field option and a really unique speed tool with instincts to use it. It’s a good fit for our roster right now. Long term, we’ll see, but he has the ability to develop into more than that.”
One knock against him in the Astros organization has been his worth ethic.
“We’re certainly aware of that,” Daniels said. “But he’s got a unique opportunity here. We’ll sit down and talk to him about our expectations. The opportunity to play in the big leagues and all that comes with that … it’s got to be earned but it’s also a unique motivator.”
DeShields has at least 50 stolen bases the past three seasons, including 101 steals in 2012. He became the first player in minor league history with 10 or more home runs and 100 or more steals in a season.
“I’m excited that I got selected and everything. It’s like bittersweet. I grew up in the organization that I wanted to be a part of, and I’m glad for the opportunities and all that, but I guess it’s time to try to move on and get a new start somewhere else,” DeShields said.
DeShields was hit by a pitch during a Triple A game from Phil Klein last season, which fractured his cheek bone and caused massive swelling to his right cheek. He returned to play two weeks later.
DeShields gives the Rangers 39 players on their 40-man roster. He’ll have a strong chance to earn a spot on the Opening Day roster.
“That’s all I ever wanted was just get an opportunity to show guys that I belong and I could play in the big leagues,” he said. “It’s what I’ve lived for, for my whole life.”
The Rangers lost prospect Odubel Herrera, who was selected by the Phillies with the ninth pick. Herrera hit .312 with 12 steals in Double A last season and was tearing up winter ball. The Rangers liked his natural ability to make contact.
Profar to minors
Medical reports on Jurickson Profar continue to be encouraging, Daniels said, but the infielder is expected to open the season in the minors.
Daniels admitted that the Rangers were too aggressive last year with the rehab of Profar’s injury, a torn teres major muscle. The injury occurred in late March, and was aggravated twice. He missed all of last season. Surgery becomes an option if he has another setback. The Opening Day roster is highly unlikely.
That means that Rougned Odor will be the Rangers’ starter at second base, the position Profar was going to play last season before his injury woes. It would also seem to increase the likelihood that Elvis Andrus will not be traded.
Daniels said the Rangers’ deal for a veteran reliever is likely to be finalized by Tuesday. A source said it won’t be former Blue Jays right-hander Casey Janssen.
More Rule 5 draft news
▪ The Rangers selected first baseman/outfielder Rock Shoulders from the Cubs’ Double A Tennessee roster and infielder Hiram Martinez from the Marlins’ Double A Jacksonville roster.
▪ The Rangers signed right-handed pitcher Anthony Bass, outfielder Antoan Richardson and right-handed pitcher Ross Wolf.
▪ Former TCU shortstop Taylor Featherston was selected by the Cubs from the Rockies with the eighth pick in the Rule 5 draft and then traded to the Angels for cash.
▪ Former Rangers pitcher Brandon McCarthy signed with the Dodgers late Wednesday for four years and $48 million.
▪ The Reds traded starting pitchers Mat Latos to the Marlins and Alfredo Simon to the Tigers. In return, the Reds received right-handed starter Anthony DeSclafani and catcher Chad Wallach from Miami. Detroit acquired infielder Eugenio Suarez and right-hander Jonathon Crawford.
▪ Dodgers slugger Matt Kemp will reportedly be traded to the Padres for catcher Yasmani Grandal, pitcher Joe Wieland and another prospect, several outlets reported Thursday morning. The Padres also would receive catcher Tim Federowicz in the deal.
Stefan Stevenson, 817-390-7760