Rangers Designate Steven Duggar, Steele Walker For Assignment

The Rangers have designated outfielders Steven Duggar and Steele Walker for assignment, per a club announcement. The move clears space on the 40-man roster for Cole Ragans and Bubba Thompson, whose promotions have each been previously reported. To open space on the active roster, Texas placed outfielder Cole Calhoun on the 10-day injured list and reliever Dennis Santana on the 15-day IL.

Duggar spent a little more than a month on the Texas roster. Acquired from the Giants in late June in a one-for-one swap with Willie Calhoun, the lefty-hitting outfielder appeared in only eight MLB games with the Rangers. He collected three hits (all singles), with 12 strikeouts and two walks in 19 plate appearances. Duggar spent 11 contests with Triple-A Round Rock, hitting .184/.360/.316.

The 28-year-old hasn’t played much this season, as he lost a good chunk of the year to a severe oblique strain. He’s combined for just 20 big league games between San Francisco and Texas, an unfortunate follow-up to a 2021 season that saw him log a career-high body of work. Duggar appeared in 107 games and picked up 297 trips to the plate last year, hitting .257/.330/.437 with eight home runs and seven stolen bases. Paired with strong center field defense, that made him a valuable contributor to the 107-win Giants club, but he struck out at a near-30% clip along the way.

Swing-and-miss has been an issue for Duggar throughout his career, as he’s fanned in 30.2% of his 824 trips to the dish at the big league level. He’s a career .240/.296/.373 hitter. That’s obviously underwhelming production, but Duggar’s only making a hair above the league minimum salary and is a strong defender at all three spots on the grass. That could draw him some attention from rival clubs, who’ll have an opportunity to add him for minimal cost in the next few days. With the trade deadline passed, Texas has no choice but to place Duggar on waivers. If another team were to claim him, they could stash him in Triple-A for the remainder of this season — his final minor league option year.

Walker was acquired from the White Sox while he was a prospect over the 2019-20 offseason, heading over in the trade that sent Nomar Mazara to Chicago’s South Side. The former second-round pick has spent the bulk of his time in the organization in the upper minors, although he did earn a cup of coffee at the big league level in June. Walker was selected onto the MLB roster and appeared in five games, collecting one hit (a home run off Cal Quantrill) through 16 plate appearances.

The 26-year-old otherwise spent the year in Round Rock, hitting .277/.353/.435 in 215 trips to the plate. He’s connected on seven homers and is only striking out at a 16.3% rate there while splitting his time between the corner outfield spots. Like Duggar, Walker will hit the waiver wire in the next few days. He’s only in his first option year, so a claiming team could keep him in the upper minors for the foreseeable future if willing to give him a 40-man roster spot.

Kole Calhoun, signed to a $5.2MM over the offseason, has struggled during his time in Arlington. The veteran corner outfielder has hit 11 longballs but is hitting only .211 with a .269 on-base percentage. He’s now dealing with right heel irritation and will miss at least a week and a half. Calhoun’s contract contains a $5.5MM club option for next season, but the Rangers figure to give additional reps to younger players like the newly-promoted Thompson down the stretch before declining Calhoun’s option.

Santana has a left ankle sprain, so he’ll miss a couple of weeks at least. The hard-throwing righty owns a 5.09 ERA through 40 2/3 innings on the season, but he’s inducing ground-balls at a strong 51.6% clip.

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