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Rangers trade Heineman, sign Ortiz

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Scott Heineman has been traded to the Reds, and former Ranger first rounder Luis Ortiz has been signed to a minor league deal

Texas Rangers v Houston Astros Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

The Texas Rangers have traded outfielder Scott Heineman to the Cincinnati Reds for minor league infielder Jose Acosta, the team announced today.

Heineman was non-tendered earlier this month, then re-signed to a major league contract, and then designated for assignment when the team re-signed Jimmy Herget, who had also been non-tendered earlier this month, to a major league contract. The 28 year old Heineman has a career .189/.259/.331 slash line in 139 plate appearances in the majors for the Rangers. He is generally seen as a potential outfield bench player — he has played all three outfield positions, but is seen as stretched defensively in center field, while the bat hasn’t profiled as strong enough to play in a corner outfield spot regularly.

Acosta, who turns 21 in March, spent 2018 in the DSL, where he didn’t hit while mostly playing second base. In 2019 Acosta hit a lot, slashing .403/.503/.611 in 184 plate appearances in the DSL before coming to the AZL, where he slashed .370/.396/.478 in 50 plate appearances. Acosta primarily played third base in 2019. He would, I imagine, be slated for the AZL in 2021.

In addition, the team has announced the signing of righthanded pitcher Luis Ortiz to a minor league deal. Ortiz, you may recall, was the Rangers’ first round pick in 2014, selected 30th overall in the draft out of Sanger, California. Ortiz was dealt to the Milwaukee Brewers in the Jonathan Lucroy trade in 2016, and then was sent to the Baltimore Orioles at the July, 2018, trade deadline, along with Jean Carmona and Jonathan Villar, for Jonathan Schoop.

Ortiz was a consensus top 100 prospect prior to 2016 and 2017, but his stock fell after that — he had a decent enough 2018 season, split between AA while he was with the Brewers and AAA while with the Orioles, but got hammered in 2 very brief outings in the majors in 2018, allowed 7 hits and 3 walks to 18 batters. In 2019 he spent time injured and had a 6.38 ERA in 66.1 IP over 14 games in AAA when he was healthy, along with one start in the majors where he again faced 18 batters and allowed 4 hits and 5 walks.

Ortiz was waived this summer and outrighted, and became a free agent in November. He throws hard but weight issues have been a problem for him since his amateur days, and his size has resulted in him having problems staying healthy and staying consistent. Ortiz did not, per the announced, get an invitation to the major league camp, which suggests that as of now he’s just a spring arm who they aren’t viewing as anything other than a depth guy.