Texas Rangers: Kevin Kouzmanoff and J.P. Arencibia opt for free-agency


On Monday the Texas Rangers made 6 roster  moves on Monday, two of which were moving J.P. Arencibia and Kevin Kouzmanoff off the 40-man roster to AAA Round Rock.  Both  were likely extended an invite to the Texas Rangers spring training camp, but both have elected to take free-agency instead.

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Due to injuries during spring training the Rangers original primary starting catcher Geovany Soto missed beginning of the season.  That opened the door for Arencibia to be the Texas Rangers Opening day starting catcher and plenty of chances for him at that plate.  Before he came to the Rangers he struggled in Toronto where he barely had an on-base percentage above .200.

He did show signs of power from time-to-time, but his struggles at the plate continued.   Eventually he was sent down to the AAA around mid-season to work out his issues.  He did show a lot of improvement with the Round Rock Express.  Over 48 games/190 at-bats he had a batting line of .279/.320/.542 with 8 doubles and 14 home runs.

After he returned to the Rangers after the All-star break he took a bit what he was doing in AAA to the Rangers.  He quickly smashed a few home runs, drove in several runs and found himself as one of the hottest hitters after the break.

But, he started to trend back down and he started approaching the Arencibia line.   He finished the season with a batting average of .177 and an on-base percentage of .239. His overall performance went way down this season from his 2013 season with the Blue Jays.  So it comes as no surprise that the Rangers decided to demote him down to AAA.  It is a bit surprising that he would test the free-agency market.  He’ll likely end up with another team, but in their minor league system. Also, Kevin Kouzmanoff opted for free-agency.   He stepped up in a big way to third base for 13 games while Adrian Beltre was on the disabled list.  It’s not easy to replace Beltre, but Kouzmanoff did his best and it was pretty good.  He quickly found himself as a fan favorite and received a warm welcome with the sounds of “Kooooouz”.

During his 13 games he hit .362 with 10 RBI, 6 doubles and 2 home runs.   During this short time with the Rangers he was able to earn the Player of the Week award.  Kouzmanoff missed the rest of the season after those 13 games due to back issues which required two back surgeries.