Another great outing by Jacob deGrom and a series clinching walk off victory by the Texas Rangers, was overshadowed by the apparent hamstring injury to All-Star shortstop Corey Seager. In the bottom of the fifth inning, Seager hit a ball into the leftfield corner and had a triple on his mind. The Kansas City Royals were playing their right fielder in close to the infield and thus had only two outfielders to cover lots of ground. When Seager was between first and second and thinking about going to third, he reached down and immediately started to grab at his hamstring.
If Corey Seager has to spend time on the IL, what are the Rangers options?
Seager has had hamstring issues in the past and hopefully this one is not a major setback. The initial in-game report is that it is hamstring tightness. If that is all that it is, that would be great news for the Rangers. But even if the hamstring is just tight, the Rangers will be sure to not rush Seager back into the lineup until he is ready.
Hopefully Seager is able to sit out for a few days and back in the lineup at full speed. If that is the case, there won't be any roster moves that would be needed and the Rangers would just play shorthanded for a while. However, if Seager does spend some time on the IL, even if it is just for 10 days, they will need to make a decision on who to bring up.
Leody Taveras isn't a shortstop and doesn't play infield at all, but he is the player that will more than likely be moved to the active roster if Seager goes on the IL. Taveras is currently on a rehab assignment of his own and just went to Triple-A Round Rock today to get some extra swings. He had been struggling a bit at the plate, but he connected on a grand slam today, so that is a good sign that his timing is coming around.
If Taveras is the move, that will mean that Josh Smith will more than likely become the everyday shortstop, with Ezequiel Duran as the utility guy for all of the infield positions. Smith, who was the shortstop for LSU in college, was taken in the second round of the 2019 draft by the New York Yankees. The kid can play ball and has a history of playing well at shortstop.
Don't forget that the Rangers everyday second baseman, Marcus Semien, played shortstop for nine seasons in the big leagues before coming over to Texas last year. It is doubtful that the Rangers will want to move Semien to short on a consistent basis, but they could have him play over there as much as needed.
The other two options that are both in the minors, and also on the 40-man roster is Triple-A shortstop Jonathan Ornelas, and Double-A shortstop Luisangel Acuna. Both of these guys are solid prospects and are developing into good players. The issue is that Ornelas has played in only eight Triple-A games in his short career and Acuna has not advanced past Double-A Frisco. These guys will be fine options if something falls apart with our first game plan. But for now, if Seager does go to the IL, the move that makes the most sense is to bring up Taveras to join our guys that are already in Arlington.