Texas Rangers questions involving Ronald Guzman, Willie Calhoun and Elvis Andrus, among others, are fielded by T.R. Sullivan in his latest Inbox column. Among other things, he addresses the inevitable “is Elvis going to opt out?” and “when will the Rangers trade Cole Hamels and Adrian Beltre” questions that are a staple of the 2018 season.
What caught my eye, though, is Sullivan saying of Ronald Guzman that “[he] is here, he is going to stay here and he is going to get an extended chance to show what he can do.” If that’s the case, Joey Gallo is going to be the regular left fielder for the time being.
Which doesn’t bode well for the chances of Willie Calhoun getting called up. The date that many have circled for Calhoun’s promotion is this Thursday, May 3 — that’s the date where, even if Calhoun is called up and stays up all season, he will not accumulate a full year’s service time by season’s end.
However...if Sullivan is right, and Guzman is going to stay up and get an extended look, it seems unlikely Calhoun’s promotion is imminent. Calhoun is limited to left field and DH, and with Guzman at 1B, Gallo at LF and Shin-Soo Choo at DH, there’s no starting spot available for Calhoun. In addition, since all these players are lefthanded hitters, you can’t really set up a platoon among them to get Calhoun at bats, which is how Renato Nunez is currently getting in the lineup.
The return of Adrian Beltre or Rougned Odor — whichever one returns first (and it looks like one or the other could be back in a couple of weeks) — will result in Ryan Rua getting sent down, which would leave the Rangers with a bench of Nunez, Drew Robinson and Juan Centeno. As it is, the only way the Rangers are able to carry Nunez right now is to have Robinson be both the UIF and the backup center fielder — and speaking of backup center fielders, at some point, presumably, Rule 5 Carlos Tocci will be coming off the d.l., and the Rangers will likely have to decide between keeping him on the roster or keeping Nunez, who is out of options and who would have to be exposed to waivers if they wanted to send him down.
That said, plans can change quickly -- the Rangers were committed to Ryan Rua as an everyday left fielder until Nunez was available on a waiver claim, and the Rangers may be committed to giving Guzman an extended look only until he has a couple of hitless games after May 3 comes and goes, at which point they could announce they are sending Guzman down to work on his approach or whathaveyou, and bring Calhoun up to play left field. Or an injury to a corner guy or a DH could strike, which would potentially open the door for Calhoun.
But if Sullivan is right, and the Rangers are going to give Guzman an extended look in the majors at first base, Willie Rakes is going to have to bide his time for a while in AAA, because there’s not room on the roster, or at bats available, for him and Guzman both in the majors.