One of the ongoing mysteries of the 2010 Rangers is why the Rangers need both Joaquin Arias and Andres Blanco on this team.
T.R. Sullivan had this quote on May 29:
"If we let either one of them go right now, we'd lose them," Washington said. "I need Blanco and I need Arias."
Blanco, going into Saturday, has not played in 10 straight games while Arias has appeared in just three of 11 games since coming off the disabled list. Washington said there are no plans to get Blanco in the lineup anytime soon. The Rangers are in a stretch where they have three days off in an eight-day period and Washington doesn't see any of his infielders needing a day off.
"I'm not going to give [Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus] a day off so Andres can play," Washington said. "We're trying to win ballgames. We've got to go with the best we've got."
So...Ron says he needs both players, but we have to go with the best we've got because we aren't going to just sit guys to give other guys playing time.
But then, this morning, we have this, via T.R. Sullivan:
Joaquin Arias started at first base, just his third Major League start at first. Washington made it clear he is not unhappy with starting first baseman Justin Smoak.
With Seattle starting southpaw Cliff Lee in the opener, Washington said, "My only chance to get [Arias] some at-bats at first base is against a tough left-hander.
"If we've got a lead in the seventh, [Smoak's] out there."
Am I the only one who sees the inherent conflict in the above statements?
He needs both guys, but isn't going to find ways to get them in there just to get them in there, but has to play Arias against tough lefties because otherwise he wouldn't play.
Here's the thing...the argument is that the Rangers need Arias and Blanco both because if someone were to go down, they aren't confident in the depth at AAA. Never mind that Esteban German and Hernan Iribarren and Gregorio Petit all have major league experience and wouldn't kill you as a UIF for a short period of time.
But even so, if Young or Andrus were to go down, the Rangers would still have to bring one of those guys up. Blanco would step in as the starting third baseman or shortstop, but Arias isn't really capable of backing up those positions, so you'd end up in a situation where Blanco is starting and both Arias and, say, Iribarren would be on the bench.
I'm coming to the conclusion that one of two things is at work here. One, the Rangers aren't confident Ian Kinsler's ankle is going to hold up, and aren't confident that even if it does, that he'll stay healthy all season. They want Arias around as Kinsler insurance. Personally, I have a hard time believing that Esteban German doesn't provide that just as well, but that's just me.
Alternatively, they think Arias has value, and they don't think they can get value for him right now, but aren't willing to lose him on waivers and get nothing for him. So they are holding on to him, in the belief that a market will develop and they will get what they think is fair value down the road.
Either way, I'm struggling to see how either scenario really warrants handcuffing the manager by giving him Arias on the bench, rather than a righthanded bat that could play COF of first base.