On Friday the Texas Rangers announced that Danny Santana had been placed on the IL and that first baseman Ronald Guzman had been recalled.
After dealing with a right elbow strain for the better part of a couple of weeks, the Texas Rangers have placed Danny Santana on the 10-day Injured List retroactive to August 27. The 29-year old had been trying to play through the issue and was limited to first base defensively but with the club has opted to give him time off to get the problem addressed.
In Santana’s place on the active roster, the Rangers have recalled Ronald Guzman who was optioned to the team’s alternate training site on July 30 after just one appearance this season. Guzman, a first baseman by trade, will replace Santana directly as a first base only option but is limited as a left-handed hitter.
Santana has struggled this season to recreate the breakout year he put together in the 2019 campaign. He was hitting just .145 before going on the IL with a .511 OPS. The club likely hoped even if he was limited to first base duties, he could make an impact in the lineup. Considering the lack of production, a reasonable inference is that Texas felt it better to get him fully healthy that to play him out of position hoping he could break out.
For Guzman, this represents another opportunity at becoming a big league regular. The 6’5″ lefty has floated in between the Triple-A and MLB levels for a couple of seasons now as a player who was too developed for the minors but couldn’t produce enough to be a big league regular. The Rangers are in need of a long-term option at first base and Guzman has the tools defensively to be one of the better first basemen in the league.
However the position is trending away from being a spot calls for top end defense in favor of being a player who can impact the lineup with regular power production. Guzman has the power but has never been able to make it a regular part of his game and his 29.5% strikeout rate last year plus a .723 OPS didn’t cut it in terms of offensive production.
Guzman is a player that’ll be given a chance to succeed but he’s running out of time to make himself the long-term option at first base for Texas. The Rangers will no doubt look to add first base options this offseason and has prospects nearing the big leagues who could shift over to first down the road.