The Texas Rangers find themselves in last place in the AL West, a familiar perch since 2014. Yet scoring back to back wins for the first time in 2015, over the first place Houston Astros no less, adds more good problems to the Rangers. Here are the problems, in order of when they’ll crop up.
Mitch Moreland Comes Off The DL
Before an elbow issue forced him to the DL, Moreland was one of only two bright spots in the Texas offensive lineup, hitting .304 with a homer and 9 RBI in 16 games. Prince Fielder even agreed to DH more because he saw Mitch was the better defensive 1st baseman.
The problem is the guy Texas brought up to replace him. Kyle Blanks, picked up on waivers from Oakland in the off season, has been nothing short of sensational. In his first six games, Blanks is hitting at a robust .391 clip, with 3 home runs and 5 RBI. Blanks can play left field, so when Moreland is ready for activation, the Rangers could move Blanks there. That, however, brings up Good Problem #2.
Josh Hamilton Returns
Assuming Moreland returns to 1st base/DH duties, Blanks gets moved to left field, leaving no spot for Carlos Peguero. Now what happens when Josh Hamilton is deemed ready to go? If Blanks continues his hot hitting, you don’t get rid of him. It appears the only choices would be releasing Jake Smolinski, who manager Jeff Bannister loves for his hustle, or offer Rule 5 pick Delino DeShields back to the Astros. DeShields offers speed on the bases. While Smolinski is probably the better player overall, DeShields might have more worth to the team. I fear Jake will be out of a job soon.
This brings us to the Good Pitching Problems.
Derek Holland Returns
Dutch is likely the first rotation piece returning. After a rocky start, Ross Detwiler has recovered to give Texas consecutive strong starts. Yet the success of Nick Martinez leads one to the conclusion Detwiler will be odd man out when Holland is ready. Expect Ross to move to the bullpen. But what happens in the second half when…
Martin Perez And Matt Harrison Return
Oof. Now it gets dicey. Perez is returning from Tommy John surgery, Harrison from back surgery. There’s no guarantee Harrison comes back but signs thus far is positive. Perez should be ready after the All Star break. If both come back, then what? Colby Lewis and Martinez have been the best starters, Wandy Rodriguez has done well so far and Yovani Gallardo is who he is. A quality piece or two will have t p go.
Since Perez still has options available, if I’m the Rangers, I just might let Perez spend the rest of the season in Round Rock. Then he’ll be more than ready for 2016. A successful Harrison return means someone has to go. If the Rangers aren’t in the pennant chase, I think Gallardo is traded for a prospect or two.
Lots of problems, but these are good ones to have for a change.