How Do the Texas Rangers Solve Their Logjam of Good Players?
Hey guys, the Texas Rangers have too many good players. I know, I know -- I'm working on a telethon to raise money for this problem.
At some point, injured third baseman Adrian Beltre is going to come back from his sprained left thumb and likely reclaim his spot at the hot corner. Beltre had the stitches from his thumb removed over the weekend, but said he still can't grip a bat, so it does not appear as if his return to the club is imminent.
But there will be a problem when he does return. You see, the Rangers have called up this young fella named Joey Gallo who is, um, doing things with the baseball since he was brought up to the big leagues.
joey gallo OMG https://t.co/UUfxTTqdxUâ€” nick pants (@nick_pants) June 14, 2015
Joey Gallo's first 4 career HR have traveled an average of 440.8 feet For comparison- Joc Pederson's first 4 HR averaged 419 feetâ€” ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 14, 2015
After homering again on Sunday, his fourth of the season, Gallo is batting .300/.391/.625 with an OPS of 1.016 in 40 plate appearances. He came into Sunday's game with a weighted runs created (wRC+) of 165 and has already made himself worth 0.5 fWAR.
Folks, he's a monster already. But Gallo also plays third base, which leaves Texas with an interesting problem when Beltre is ready to come back.
The Rangers could move Gallo to the outfield, but there seems to be little room at the inn for him there as well. DeLino DeShields is the team's left fielder, enjoying a solid rookie season. He's batting .269/.358/.386 with 9 doubles, 4 triples and 13 stolen bases in 145 at-bats atop the lineup, with an fWAR of 0.5. Gallo can't play center field, and in right field, the Rangers have Shin-Soo Choo, who is hitting .243/.332/.414 with eight home runs and 32 RBI, but are also paying him $20 million a season each of the next three seasons, and then $21 million in 2019 and 2020.
As for moving Gallo to designated hitter, well, that position is located in the offices of Prince Fielder and Associates, who is having a ridiculously good season, hitting .343/.405/.518 with 10 homers, 44 RBI, 13 doubles and an fWAR of 1.5. And what about having Gallo play first, or moving Fielder to DH? Well, Mitch Moreland is having a pretty darn good season in his own right at first, batting .308/.364/.541 with 8 homers, 30 RBI and an fWAR of 1.2 that is second on the team, behind only Fielder.
What is a poor general manager to do?
For the moment, the Rangers may benefit from an injury to DeShields, who injured his hamstring this weekend and is headed to the disabled list. The team is recalling second baseman Rougned Odor to play second base, moving Hanser Alberto or Adam Rosales to third, and having Gallo take DeShields' spot in left. But that is not a long-term solution for when both DeShields and Beltre are healthy.
If I were general manager Jon Daniels, I'd be trying to gauge the trade market's interest in Moreland. While he is having an excellent season at 29 years old, is making just under $3 million this year and is under team control through the year 2017, he's also having a career year that could push his arbitration number to an area the team is not interested in going.
Coming into the season, Moreland has never posted an fWAR better than 0.8 (in 2012) and is a career .257/.320/.439 hitter with a wRC+ of 101. His batting average on balls in play (BABIP) is at .345 in 2015, far higher than his career mark of .290, and it hasn't been aided by an uptick in line drive percentage or "hard hit" percentage.
Texas needs pitching, and perhaps a team devoid of power at first base or DH would be interested in taking Moreland, either as part of a larger package or in exchange for a mid-rotation pitcher.
Either way, the team needs to do whatever they can to make sure Joey Gallo doesn't go anywhere. He's the future. DeShields is a promising rookie that offers speed and on-base ability. Beltre is a solid hitter and still a premium defender. Choo is too expensive to move or bench and Fielder is having an All-Star season.
So, the odd man out would seem to be Moreland.
I guess having too many good players is a terrific problem to have. There are certainly a lot of teams who wouldn't mind trading places with the Texas Rangers, that's for sure.
Oh, those first-world problems.