Outfielder Zach Reks, whom the Rangers designated for assignment Saturday, is signing with the Korea Baseball Organization’s Lotte Giants for the remainder of the season, per an announcement from the Giants (link via Jee-ho Yoo of the Yonhap News Agency). The Rangers didn’t formally announce the move, but Reks was released yesterday following that DFA, per his transaction log at MLB.com, paving the way for him to take this new opportunity overseas. He’ll earn $310K for the remainder of the season.
The 28-year-old Reks has seen brief big league action between the Dodgers (10 plate appearances) and Rangers (34 plate appearances) over the past two seasons. He’s hit just .205/.205/.227 in that small sample, but the former 10th-round pick has obliterated Triple-A pitching to the tune of a .331/.421/.579 batting line in 140 plate appearances this season. Overall, he’s a .290/.388/.537 hitter in parts of three Triple-A seasons, making it at least a bit of a surprise that he never got an earnest look in either Texas or Los Angeles (or with another organization).
Reks, coincidentally, will be replacing an outfielder with a fairly similar career arc. He and DJ Peters were both Dodgers draftees — twice teammates in Triple-A Oklahoma City — who made their way to the Rangers after being designated for assignment in Los Angeles. Both received larger but still relatively brief looks in Texas before ultimately landing with Lotte in the KBO. Peters was just waived earlier this week after struggling through his KBO debut, and Reks will hope for better results than his former teammate enjoyed.
A strong couple months in the KBO isn’t likely to put Reks back on the immediate MLB radar, but it could potentially open additional opportunities with the Giants or another team in the KBO. Should he fare well in multiple KBO campaigns, it’s always possible he could follow the paths of Eric Thames, Darin Ruf and others who’ve broken in out in South Korea following nondescript MLB tenures and make his way back to the big leagues down the road. Reks will play all of the 2023 season at age 29, so there’s still ample time for him to either make that loop or to more simply carve out a lucrative multi-year career in the KBO if he plays to expectations there.