A former SF Giants middle infield prospect is on the move after signing a minor-league pact with the Texas Rangers.
The Texas Rangers announced on Monday that they have signed former SF Giants infielder Charlie Culberson to a minor-league deal with a spring training invite. The financial part of the deal is not yet known.
The Giants received a compensation pick for losing reliever Mike Stanton to the Cincinnati Reds in the 2007 offseason and used it to draft Culberson with the 51st overall pick. Culberson, who was drafted out of Calhoun High School in Georgia, made a slow and deliberate ascent through the minor league system.
He debuted with the Giants as a 23-year-old shortstop in 2012 where he recorded three hits in 22 at-bats. His stay on the Giants roster would be short-lived as he was shipped to the Colorado Rockies at the 2012 deadline in exchange for infielder Marco Scutaro.
Scutaro would play a key role for the Giants down the stretch in 2012 as he registered a .362 batting average following the trade. Furthermore, he collected 14 hits in 28 at-bats while earning MVP honors during the 2012 NLCS against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Culberson, on the other hand, has carved out a nice career as a versatile middle infielder with modest power. He has appeared in parts of eight seasons with the Giants, Rockies, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Atlanta Braves.
Since he debuted back in 2012, the right-handed bat has slashed .249/.293/.391 (79 OPS+) with 23 home runs and 111 RBI. His best season came in 2018 where he posted a .270/.326/.466 line (111 OPS+) with 12 home runs and 45 RBI in 322 plate appearances.
However, the following two seasons have been much more of a struggle as he has generated a .716 OPS in 151 plate appearances. He did not see much of the field at all last season and ended the year with one hit in seven at-bats.
With that being said, he offers just enough power to go with a versatile glove that he has seen work at every position except for catcher and center field. Yes, he has even posted a 2.70 ERA in 3.1 frames of mop-up duty on the mound (Pablo Sandoval would say, “that’s cute”).
The 31-year-old is looking for his next major league opportunity and the Rangers might be an ideal fit as they look to go through a lengthy rebuild. With Elvis Andrus currently a free agent and Rougned Odor struggling to establish himself as a major league contributor, it is easy to envision a role for Culberson on the Rangers 2021 roster.