The Texas Rangers announced Monday they'd signed free agent infielder/outfielder Charlie Culberson to a 2021 minor league contract with an invitation to spring training. The club also says they've signed five other minor leaguers to contracts for next season.
The team said Culberson, 31, saw action in nine regular season games for Atlanta in 2020, batting .143 (1-7) with no home runs and one RBI. He was also on the Braves' roster for all three rounds in the club's postseason run, going a combined 2-for-3 in 3 games.
The Rangers said Culberson entered last season on a minor league deal with Atlanta and had his contract selected on July 21 before the start of the abbreviated campaign. He was designated for assignment on Sept. 8 and assigned outright to the Alternate Training Site on Sept. 10 before his contract was selected again ahead of the playoffs on Sept. 29.
"Although he has seen starts at six different positions in his MLB career, as well as four appearances in a pitching role, Culberson has seen most of his action split primarily in left field, and at shortstop, third base, and second base. He was originally selected in the first round (51st overall) of the 2007 June draft by San Francisco, and has batted .249 over 427 MLB games with the Giants (2012), Rockies (2013-14), Dodgers (2016-17), and Braves (2018-20). He is a career .316 (12-38) batter over 21 games in the postseason," the Rangers said in a news release.
The Rangers also announced the signings of five minor league free agents to 2021 contracts. All five will report to minor league spring training camp: Below is more from the Rangers.
RHP Tim Dillard will be in his 19th professional season in 2021, his 3rd with Texas. He was selected Triple-A Nashville co-MVP in 2019. The 37-year-old Dillard, who spent his entire professional career in the Milwaukee organization prior to joining the Rangers, was sent on loan this summer to the Milwaukee Milkmen of the independent American Association and went 2-1 with a 3.12 ERA in 5 games/starts.
OF Elier Hernandez has batted .261 with 38 home runs and 347 RBI over 8 minor league seasons spent in the Kansas City organization, topping out at Triple-A Omaha in 2018-19. The 26-year-old was granted free agency following the 2019 campaign and has been playing for Vaqueros of the Colombian Professional Baseball League this winter. The Dominican Republic native has played all 3 outfield positions during his career, with the vast majority of action coming in right field.
RHP Jesus Linarez has gone 14-8 with a 2.89 ERA in 82 games/37 starts over six minor league campaigns since signing with Texas as a non-drafted free agent in 2014. The 23-year-old most pitched to a 2.35 ERA across 22 games/2 starts with Low-A Hickory in 2019.. The Dominican Republic native's lifetime 9.12 strikeouts per 9.0 innings figure ranks 4th among Rangers' farmhands with at least 250.0 IP since the start of the 2014 season.
LHP Sal Mendez returns to the Rangers organization after he did not see official game action in 2020. The 25-year-old was named a Carolina League Postseason All-Star with High-A Down East in 2019, capturing the circuit's ERA title (2.37) and logging a career-high 117.2 IP. A New Jersey native, Mendez has posted a 24-22 record and 3.23 ERA across five minor league seasons since being selected by Texas in the 40th round of the 2013 June draft.
RHP Collin Wiles returns to the Rangers, the club that originally drafted him in the first round (53rd overall) of the 2012 June draft. The 26-year-old did not see game action in 2020, and he was not on the Rangers' Alternate Site roster or fall instructional roster. He appeared in 13 games/11 starts in 2019, when he did not pitch until late June while recovering from 'Tommy John' ligament replacement surgery, which caused him to miss most of 2018.