That’s how I feel too, Jurickson. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
It has been a rough camp for your Texas Rangers. Let’s see if we can name all of the injuries: Matt Harrison, Geovany Soto, Shin-Soo Choo, Elvis Andrus, Jurickson Profar, Mitch Moreland, Adrian Beltre…on and on. And that doesn’t even include Derek Holland and Colby Lewis as carry-overs from the off-season.
As of last night, we can add Profar to that list. AGAIN.
Profar is expected to miss 10-12 weeks with a slight muscle tear in his throwing shoulder. *insert sad face* And while you’ve most likely read all of the details of his injury by now, you many not have weighed the Rangers options on replacing Profar at 2nd base. So, let’s see what we’ve got.
Kensuke Tanaka – 32-year old Tanaka has already had a long career at 2nd base. While he’s played fewer than 20 games at the Major League level (during the 2013 season with the SF Giants), he did play 13 seasons at 2nd base for Nippon Ham in Japan. If you’re curious, Tanaka wasn’t a big time hitter there, but that’s okay, because that’s certainly not what the Rangers need from their Profar replacement; although he was a four-time All-Star. He played a solid second base, only committing more than 10 errors in a season three times. Tanaka was sent to the Minors earlier in camp, but that’s because he’s not a true utility guy (he can’t play shortstop), but the team’s needs have changed, so we may see him again.
Rougned Odor – This kid is the #4 prospect in the entire Rangers organization according to MLB.com. He just turned 20-years old (born in 1994…I was in HIGH SCHOOL!). And while this may be the sexy pick to replace Profar, I don’t think it’s likely. Odor looked pretty good in camp with the Rangers this spring (.294 in 17ABs), but he was sent down a while ago. He’s only had 30 games at the AA level and I’m sure the Rangers won’t risk moving him too quickly; especially since that might cause quite the stir when Profar is ready to return. (Profar/Kinsler flashbacks anyone?)
Adam Rosales – Rosales is a 30-year old veteran utility guy. And with him, we know exactly what we’ll get: solid defensive play at 2nd base. And, at this point, that’s really what the Rangers will need. Rosales is only hitting .111 this spring, but as with Tanaka, anything he provides at the plate is a bonus; a good fielder is really all the Rangers need here. The difference here is that Rosales has always been a utility guy, playing everywhere from 3rd base to 1st base, making all the stops at every position in between. And while that versatility will be good in a utility role for the team, maybe a true 2nd baseman will be the ideal fill-in for Profar.
Brent Lillibridge – I am really tempted to just write “See Adam Rosales” here. Really tempted. But I won’t. The fact is, Lillibridge presents a very similar option to Rosales. Veteran utility guy, good with the glove, not great with the bat. He also provides the same dilemma (if we want to call it that): he’s always played all over the infield with no true specialty at 2nd base. Not sure if this matters to the Rangers, but the fact remains.
Josh Wilson – Can I write “See Adam Rosales” now? You get the picture at this point, I’m sure. Rosales, Lillibridge, and Wilson (Josh, not Russell) all present similar options. But, it should be said that Wilson seems to have been outplaying the other guys for the utility role on the team thus far this spring. And if he’s in the lead to be the utility guy, does that put him in leading contention to replace Profar? Maybe. But who knows?
Lucky for us, it seems that Wash has quite a few decent options. And honestly, I think any of these guys could get the job done for 3 months (oh man…that’s starting to sound like a long time). I’d be happy with any of these options except(!) Odor. We need to give that kid more time in the minors and not risk ruining his psyche at the plate forever. FOR.EV.ER.
So who is your pick? Let’s not forget that some other options may arise in the coming days as other teams start to trim their rosters. That remains to be seen. And even if nothing is out there, I feel pretty good about the above options.
And just when I’ve renewed your confidence…I must tell you that Geovany Soto can be added to the injury list AGAIN too. Out 10-12 weeks with a torn meniscus. I’m sorry. Please don’t throw sunflower seeds at me. We’ll have more on that injury and much more on Nolan Writin’, so stay tuned.
One week until Opening Day. ONE. WEEK.