Texas Rangers: Is it Time to Move on From A.J. Griffin?
By Andrew Webb
The A.J. Griffin experiment has not panned out for the Rangers. After a disastrous season in 2016, and a rough start to Spring Training. Is it time for the Texas to move on and cut Griffin?
Last season the Texas Rangers took a chance on A.J. Griffin based on his prior success with the Oakland Athletics. Griffin went 21-11 3.60 ERA in 47 starts between two seasons in Oakland. After the 2013 season everything went downhill for Griffin.
He missed all of the 2014 season and pitched in just a handful of minor league games in 2015. After rebuilding his elbow Griffin was back, and was attempting an MLB comeback with the Rangers in 2016.
It didn’t go as planned as Griffin went 7-4 5.07 ERA in 23 starts. The stat line looks worse than his actual performance on the field. The 29-year-old signed a one-year $2 million deal with the Rangers during the off-season.
The team decided to give Griffin another chance to prove himself this spring. In his first two games, he pitched five innings, allowing three earned runs, and walked two batters. Not great outings, but Griffin was given the start on Monday against the Seattle Mariners.
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He pitched just 2.2 innings, allowing six hits, six earned runs, and three walks. It is clear that Griffin is not the same 24-year-old that he was in Oakland. The Rangers want to give Griffin a chance to re-establish himself in the MLB, but at some point, enough is enough.
If these struggles continue the team will likely send Griffin to the minors, if not cut him. There is a chance that he would be more successful in a bullpen role. The Rangers could attempt to convert Griffin into a pitcher out of the pen.
Clearly the starter role is not working, and Griffin may have just put the final nail in that coffin with Monday’s performance. The team may decide to release Griffin, so that he can pursue other opportunities with another Major League team or in the Independent League, so he can attempt to re-prove himself as an MLB pitcher.
The Rangers don’t want to put their organization in jeopardy with this Griffin experiment. It has clearly not panned out, and the team has better pitchers that are more deserving of his roster spot. Fans in Arlington might be sad to see Griffin go, but it could be the best decision for the future of the organization.