On Tuesday, the Texas Rangers made a deal with their old friend, A.J. Preller who is now the general manager of the San Diego Padres after spending years in the Texas front office. In exchange for minor league player Marcos Green and a player to be named later, the Rangers added another veteran bat to their outfield in for form of Will Venable.
First, we will examine the player that will be coming to Arlington (Venable is expected to join the team today in Detroit). The 8-year veteran has known only San Diego as his home playing 918 games for the Padres.
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His career numbers are respectable. He has hit .252 with 81 home runs and 304 RBI. His career on base percentage of .316 is lower than the usual league average, which is around .330.
Venable has hit .266 against right handed pitching this season while averaging a meager .194 versus lefties. These stats don’t seem to indicate that Venable will be able to help the Rangers increase their .245 average against southpaws.
In contrast, the recent acquisition of DH/1B Mike Napoli was a move that made perfect sense for this team. With everyday first baseman Mitch Moreland struggling against lefties, Daniels traded for Napoli who’s average against left-handers is only .228 but who’s on base percentage is a solid .345 and who carries an .840 OPS (on base percentage + slugging percentage) when facing southpaws.
What is most confusing though is why Rangers general manager has put another left handed hitter to the team. Right now, all three of the Rangers’ starting outfielders, Delino DeShields Jr., Shin-Soo Choo, and Josh Hamilton also hit from the left side of the plate.
Might this move suggest that the knee injury to Josh Hamilton may be worse than originally expected causing him to be placed on the disabled list? Or, do the Rangers want a veteran player to use in an outfield platoon to give DeShields and Choo time off down the stretch?
Whatever Daniels’ reasoning is, Venable does not figure to be a key contributor to the roster. With only a .256 average, 6 home runs and 30 RBI in 98 games this season, it appears that this move is being made for depth and insurance.
For right now, Venable likely becomes the everyday option in left field over current stand-in Ryan Strausborger who will almost certainly be a roster casualty when Hamilton returns. Then the role of Venable because that of a bench player who can pinch hit and provide solid defense, both traits being necessary for a playoff club (which the Rangers obviously believe they are) to have.
The addition of Venable is the latest in a long list of moves Daniels has made to enhance his team on the fly. Seven members of the Texas active roster for Wednesday’s matinee against Seattle were not anywhere in the Texas Rangers Organization on opening day.
Jon Daniels is determined to do everything he can to help his team reach the playoffs. After a 7-14 April, Texas has the third best record in the American League and the best record of any AL West team so the Rangers brass has plenty of reasons to believe Texas is a contender.
With the return of Holland and the additions of players like Napoli and Venable, the Texas roster is as solid as it has been all year. Now, the onus falls on the players and coaches to do their part to make the front office’s vision become reality.