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Rangers face roster dilemma with the return of Hunter Pence

Photo: Klay Kuban/Dallas Sports Fanatic

Rangers face roster dilemma with the return of Hunter Pence

Hunter Pence’s timeline aims to the beginning of next week against the Angels. While the fans, teammates, and the organization are anxiously awaiting, a tough decision is on the horizon. The Rangers will need to make a roster move to accommodate bringing Pence back from the IL. There are many paths the team can go, here are the most common roster moves the Rangers and fans brainstormed:

Send down Rougned Odor to AAA

Fans are pleading for the Rangers to execute this move. However, the move is a lot more complicated than just optioning Rougie. On May 8th of this year, Odor completed five years of MLB service. Due to that anniversary, Odor has the ability to veto any demotion to the minor leagues. If this conversation comes up with the organization, I have to believe that Rougie will immediately decline the option, though the Rangers can counter by giving Odor a lot less playing time. With all that said, Rougie is swinging the bat better in June than the previous two months. Odor is hitting over the Mendoza line this month along with an on-base percentage that is sixty points higher than the previous two months. The Odor veto is the biggest wall for the Rangers, but if the club executes the move, it opens the door to give Danny Santana an everyday spot.

Send down Willie Calhoun to AAA

This presents a similar dilemma as it did on Opening Day. The Rangers left Calhoun off the roster due to no real spot for Willie. The club had an abundance of left-handed outfielders to choose from. Therefore, a right-handed outfielder in Pence made the club and not Willie Calhoun. If the Rangers choose to send down Willie, it’ll be solely because Calhoun is a left-handed outfielder. Willie reached base in all fifteen games played in the big leagues in 2019. His defense overall vastly improved, and Willie’s performance exceeded all expectations. Keeping Willie could be tricky with Choo being the primary designated hitter, but I feel like the Rangers won’t send Calhoun down. Calhoun and Pence will alternate in left field, though Willie will probably see less playing time.

Send down Ronald Guzman to AAA

Before you say anything, the Rangers do have options at first base. Logan Forsythe and Danny Santana have first base experience this season. What makes this choice hard is that Guzman is starting to find his groove. Guzzy reached base in eight of his last nine games after a miserable stretch in Boston and Cincinnati. In those nine games, Guzman walked seven times with three multi-hit games. While the previously mentioned Forsythe and Santana have the experience, Guzman’s reach at first gives an extra step to what is a decent defensive club. In 404 innings, Guzman has committed three errors. Unfortunately, for Guzzy, this looks like the most linear choice the club can make.

Send down Delino DeShields to AAA

There’s one aspect that the Rangers get in Delino that they don’t have in anyone else: blazing speed. Delino hasn’t turned the corner one-hundred percent since his recall in early June, but he certainly shows signs of improvement. Since his recall, Delino is hitting .348 and has an on-base percentage of .416. Previous to the recall, Delino hit .182. Woody raves about the table-setting Delino brings to the lineup and to the outfield. It also creates a nice compliment with Joey Gallo in center field. Like Willie Calhoun, Delino earned his spot based on his current performance and the fact that he is a right-handed outfielder. However, the ease for Gallo and Santana in center shaves the value in having a sole center fielder on the roster, like what we thought at the beginning of the year.

Send down a bullpen pitcher

The Rangers made this move already sending down Kyle Bird to replace Joey Gallo on the roster back on Tuesday. To be quite frank, I don’t see the Rangers performing this move again. The Rangers have seven current guys in the bullpen with five bench players. The Rangers have three remaining games at a National league park (August 9-11 at Milwaukee). It makes more sense for an American League club to carry more bullpen pitchers and not bench since pinch-hitting is rarer in the AL than NL. However, if the club goes this route, it’ll be clear that Locke St. John would be the odd man out.

Release Asdrubal Cabrera

The Rangers signed Asdrubal Cabrera in mid-January for 3.5 million to add veteran presence to ease away from Adrian Beltre. For the first two and a half months of the season, it worked. However, Cabrera is two for his last twenty-eight at-bats and missed the Tigers series due to a suspension for an equipment violation on June 20th against Cleveland. The Rangers options at third are limited to Logan Forsythe, though Danny Santana started three games a couple of years ago with Atlanta. If the key now is going young and go for the hot bats, Asdrubal would get the unfortunate nod. Though with the club’s options limited at the hot-corner, Cabrera’s spot is more secure than you think.

In all honesty, this situation is a fantastic dilemma. The Rangers have to make a choice because almost everyone on the roster performs on a daily basis. It’s a dream situation for a manager and an organization, and any team will take the trade-off, despite the costs. With the Rangers making a push toward the postseason and the trade deadline looming, the success of this group makes not only July 31st exciting but makes September exciting as well. Oh, by the way, Hunter Pence is coming back. Oh I mean, All-Star starter Hunter Pence.

Credentialed Media Staff Writer covering the Texas Rangers for Dallas Sports Fanatic | 2014 University of North Texas graduate with a Bachelor's in Radio, Television, and Film. My baseball memory bank is dominated by the Texas Rangers with the other 29 franchises sprinkled in. In addition, I enjoy NFL Sunday afternoons and only the first NCAA tournament weekend.

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