Rangers leaning toward keeping Rule 5 pick DeShields

Speed, bunting ability impress new manager Banister

Rangers leaning toward keeping Rule 5 pick DeShields

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Rangers still have outfield decisions to make and Nate Schierholz may be next on the list. The Rangers have until Saturday to put Schierholz on the Opening Day roster, or allow him the option of taking his free agency.

Schierholz is a left-handed hitter who can play all three outfield positions. That's a good thing to have, especially if both right-handed hitting Ryan Rua and Jake Smolinski make the team.

But the Rangers keep coming back to their desire to keep outfielder Delino DeShields on the team. DeShields is a Rule 5 Draft pick with significant potential taken from the Astros organization. But unlike many Rule 5 picks who are kept for future situations, the Rangers see DeShields possibly having a significant role this season.

"I don't see Delino as a Rule 5 guy," manager Jeff Banister said. "This is a guy with a skill set that helps you win ballgames. He has a speed element, he shows the bunt, shows some [hitting] and has shown to be better than adequate in the outfield. If Delino stays on the club, I see Delino as a player who can add value to a club in a winning fashion."

As a Rule 5 pick, DeShields has to be on the Opening Day roster. If not, the Rangers must first put him through waivers to see if any other team will take him with the usual Rule 5 stipulations. If he clears waivers, DeShields has to be offered back to the Astros for $25,000. A trade could also be made between the two clubs at that point.

But it is more likely that at least one other club will see DeShields as somebody who could help immediately. DeShields was the Astros' first-round pick (eighth overall) in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft.

DeShields has had just one full season at Double-A. Playing at Corpus Christi last season, DeShields hit .236 with a .346 on-base percentage and a .360 slugging percentage. He also led the Texas League with 54 stolen bases, and can play both the outfield and at least second base.

DeShields offers the Rangers speed off the bench as well as an occasional right-handed hitting alternative to Leonys Martin in center and Rougned Odor at second base.

"We still have to connect some areas on this roster, but this is a guy with a usable skill set," Banister said.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.