Texas Rangers New Second Baseman?
By Jason Burke
It’s no secret that Texas Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor is struggling this season, slashing just .144/.252/.233 in 90 at bats. A couple of days back I wrote that he shouldn’t be sent down to Round Rock, because the other options, Ed Lucas and Thomas Field are journeymen, and Odor’s development needs to be at the major league level. Yesterday, Jeff Wilson of the Star-Telegram wrote that recently acquired pitcher Mike Kickham had been outrighted off the 40-man roster, cleared waivers, and assigned to Round Rock, which clears a spot for either Lucas or Field to take Odor’s place, should he be be send down.
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Instead of the Rangers taking this action, there is another option that Wilson mentioned briefly that is rather intriguing: Having Delino DeShields Jr. play second. He was drafted at that position by Houston after all. While he hasn’t officially played second since 2013 as a member of the Lancaster JetHawks (High-A ball), Wilson also reports, “DeShields has been working at second base since spring training, and is changing the Rangers’ thinking on if he should play there more.”
While he has been roaming the outfield for Texas this season, with Leonys Martin having returned, and Josh Hamilton close to doing so as well, there just won’t be much playing time there for DeShields in the coming weeks. As a Rule 5 selection, he must stick with the team through the entire season, or be offered back to Houston. With this being the case, the Rangers should get as good of a look as they can at him. Play him at second. Have him platoon with Roogie if need be. They’re both already on the roster anyway.
While his batting average won’t turn many heads at a slightly improved .200, his OBP is .314 in just 35 plate appearances. While April wasn’t kind to Delino, he is 4-for-16 this month while getting regular playing time, and has added five steals and four walks which show that he is becoming more comfortable in the bigs. Remember, he played in Double-A Corpus Christi last season, so he will need a bit of an adjustment period before we see if he really has what it takes.
Essentially the stars have aligned for this move to be made. DeShields isn’t going anywhere for the time being, he’s improving the more that he plays, and the man that is currently manning second could use a breather. Why the heck wouldn’t the Texas Rangers make this move?