Carlos Gomez, Texas Rangers left fielder: Jeff Banister, Texas Rangers manager, says that Carlos Gomez will be the team's starting left fielder once he gets brought up from the minor leagues this coming week, according to the beat guys on Twitter.
This is surprising...I expected Gomez to be in the mix among the corner outfielders for playing time, but Banister saying Gomez will be the starter before he plays a game in a Rangers uniform is pretty aggressive. It may be the Rangers had to assure Gomez that he'd be the starter in order to get him to sign, given that the Marlins, among other teams, were pursuing him as well.
But this also speaks to the desperation, for lack of a better word, that the Rangers are dealing with with their outfield situation right now. Its reminiscent of 2015, when the Rangers had Joey Gallo, Ryan Strausborger, Drew Stubbs, Will Venable, and finally Mike Napoli getting time in left field. Shin-Soo Choo's injury, combined with Prince Fielder being out for the season, has left the Rangers scrambling to find serviceable options in the outfield the rest of the way.
What we do know is that Ian Desmond will be playing center field virtually every day, and Nomar Mazara appears to be set in right field against righthanded pitchers. Currently, that leaves the Rangers with a grab bag of Jurickson Profar, Drew Stubbs, Delino DeShields, and Ryan Rua for the other starts, and apparently, none of those choices appear particularly palatable to the Rangers.
If Gomez is going to be in left field, that would seem to force DeShields out of the platoon mix, since he doesn't have the arm to play right field. Either Mazara goes back to playing every day, or Stubbs ends up platooning with Mazara in right field, if we assume Ryan Rua continues to platoon at first base with Mitch Moreland. If the Rangers decide Moreland is going to play every day, Rua would seem to be the natural platoon partner for Mazara.
This seems to be an upside play by the Rangers, who are banking on Gomez getting at least in the same area code as his pre-Houston self with a change of scenery. If he can just be a below-average major league left fielder, rather than the disaster he's been since last season's trade to Houston, he's probably the best option the Rangers have out there. If not, well...then the Rangers are back to some sort of mix-and-match out there, and likely aren't significantly worse off as a result.
I do suspect this is being done with an eye towards October...Gomez seems to be a high-beta pickup, since his downside -- what he's done this year already -- is worse than what the Rangers are currently getting out there. If the Rangers were one game up, rather than six games up, I'm wondering if they wouldn't decide they couldn't take the risk that Gomez would be a disaster, and instead limped along with a Profar/DeShields combo or something like that.
In some ways, this reminds me of the Rangers' acquisition of Jeff Fassero from the Mariners right before the trade deadline in 1999. Fassero had been a very good pitcher who turned awful all of the sudden in 1999. The Rangers, looking to shore up their pitching staff, took a flyer on Fassero in the hopes that he would turn it around once he was out of Seattle. Fassero didn't -- he posted a 7+ ERA for the Rangers, just as he did with Seattle -- but it was a situation where the other options were underwhelming, and Fassero offered some upside, so it was worth the risk.
Hopefully, Gomez is better than Fassero was...
Oh, and on a separate note...thank goodness for the Carlos Beltran trade. I can't imagine what a mess things would be right now if Beltran hadn't been picked up.