originally posted March 9, 2016
What is up with the Rangers and left field? Sounds like a joke and let’s face it, it might as well be.
I thought about writing this post last week but I thought, “Nope. I’ll sit on it for a week and see if I get over it.” That didn’t happen, so here we are.
Not even a month ago, I wrote this post (notice number five on that list) and almost a week later, Hamilton showed up on crutches and was said to be out until late April, early May.
A year ago there was a lot of talk of Mitch Moreland playing left field and Prince playing first base. And I was pretty against that option as well.
I’m not a big fan of moving good infielders to the outfield, or making a relief pitcher become a starter. Both of which the Rangers love to do. If a player is comfortable and reliable where they are, why move them? Especially to a position they’ve never played and there are other free agents you can sign that’ve proved themselves in the position you need filled?
I pretty much let it slide last year when both Gallo and Napoli played games in left field, I wasn’t a fan of it but whatever. Middle of the season, ok I get that.
What I don’t get, signing a short stop to play left field, during Spring Training, when there are plenty of free agent options out there. Reliable free agent options.
I’m still racking my brain trying to figure out why on Earth the Rangers signed Ian Desmond to play left field. For the life of me I can’t make sense of it.
I tried to reason with “Well I guess we have a backup shortstop in case Elvis gets hurt.” But even then they Rangers would be back at square one with no one to play left field if that was the case.
I guess you could just put Profar out there, I mean they did that back in 2013, why not try that again?
Rangers had 12 different players start in left field last year. Half of those players they don’t have anymore, four of them are listed infielders. Three of the six of those are obviously not available to play left field this season; Hamilton is on DL, DeShields is playing center, and Gallo is not a left fielder. That leaves Ryan Rua, Ryan Strausborger, and Drew Stubbs. And all three of those players are right handed, which is what the Rangers need. Why not give one of those three a chance to prove themselves out there?
I guess my point is why go out and sign a free agent shortstop who doesn’t have a major league start in left field, instead of using the guys you have.
If you think it’s worth the risk to use an infielder in your left field, why isn’t it worth the risk to bring up a prospect who knows the position and see how he plays?
Also, just to put it out there, ESPN credits Ian Desmond with seven full innings playing right field in 2009.
(Still doesn’t make him an outfielder, just like Adam Rosales pitching two innings last season doesn’t give him the title of “relief pitcher.”)
I think it’s also worth mentioning two outfield free agents, whose names had been tossed around on twitter, were still available before the Rangers signed Ian Desmond.
David Murphy, a name known by Ranger fans, had a .283 average and .318 on base percentage. He is a lefty so I can see why the Rangers might not jump on the chance right away.
However, Austin Jackson, a righty, was also available before the Rangers made a move. He had a .267 batting average and .311 on base percentage.
Last season, Ian Desmond batted .264 with a .312 on base percentage.
Considering Desmond and Jackson both have similar stats and are both righties, wouldn’t you go with the outfielder to play outfield?