The Texas Rangers need to find a utility man for the regular season. Free agent Sean Rodriguez stands as a qualified option.
Roughly a month out from spring training, the Texas Rangers’ offseason to-do list is shrinking. Their main objectives are now to add depth to the bullpen and to establish a reliable utility infielder. While a big free agent splash remains a possibility, it’s not as immediate as compiling a roster for the spring.
Regarding the utility role, Texas doesn’t have any infield prospects on the brink of the big leagues. Even if they did, it wouldn’t make sense to take valuable minor league at-bats away from a prospect in favor of sporadic major league playing time.
The Rangers claimed infielder Jack Reinheimer from the Chicago Cubs this past November. Reinheimer can play all over the diamond, but he has only 23 MLB games to his name. He’ll certainly compete for the utility job; however, the club would be wise to add a more experienced infielder to the mix.
How about 34-year-old Sean Rodriguez?
Rodriguez’s career has spanned 11 years, 1,023 games and five teams. He struggled mightily at the plate in 2017 and 2018, though his teams still afforded him playing time due to his defensive versatility and capability. He can play any infield position and any outfield position.
Also, it’s not like Rodriguez is offensively challenged. He’s had a number of fine seasons at the plate. In 2016 with the Pittsburgh Pirates, the veteran slashed .270/.349/.510. and hit 18 home runs in 300 at-bats.
If the Texas Rangers were to sign him, they wouldn’t fear him stepping up to the plate. Will they let him hit in the bottom of the 9th with the tying run on second base? Probably not very often. Will they let him start 30-35 games to give a starter a day of rest? Definitely.
The Rangers could sign him for cheap. At the cheapest, they may be able to hire him on a minor league contract with an invite to spring training. Though, even if he were to join the team on a major league deal, the price would only be for a couple million dollars.
The bottom line is Sean Rodriguez fits a need, and he could fill the need as well, if not better than any of the club’s current options.