Jun 30, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers center fielder Engel Beltre (43) runs safely to first base after a bunt ahead of the throw to Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto (19) at the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports

How the Texas Rangers Will Replace Nelson Cruz


Aug 4, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Texas Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz (17) warms up in the on deck circle against the Oakland Athletics in the sixth inning at O.Co Coliseum. The Rangers defeated the Athletics 4-0. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

 

We all knew it was coming. It was just a matter of time. Some of us were in denial as we tried to convince ourselves that Cruz’s name was improperly linked to the Biogenesis report. But at the end of the day – we just knew it was coming.

News broke on Monday that Nelson Cruz, the Texas Rangers top slugger, has been suspended for the remainder of the regular season. Even before the suspension the Rangers lacked offensive firepower. As the Rangers approached the trade deadline the question wasn’t- Should the Rangers add a bat. It was- How Many bats should the Rangers add.

Well, the trade deadline passed without the Rangers making a single move. Yes, earlier they acted big by trading for starting pitcher Matt Garza but the deadline was about adding bats. Bats the Rangers desperately needed. Jon Daniels has earned Rangers Nation’s trust. If he said a good deal wasn’t out there then we should believe him. But what seemed like a weakness before the deadline is now a tragic flaw (much like the construction of the Death Star).

The Rangers need to find a way to replace Cruz’s offense or they could miss the postseason in 2013. If that’s not bad enough, without a postseason it would make the Matt Garza trade virtually worthless and cause some major remorse in giving up those valuable prospects for seemingly nothing.

The Waiver Trade Deadline isn’t until August 31st so Jon Daniels can technically work something out until then. I have no doubt he will search every available option up to that looming date but even he has said how difficult it is to work out deals given the tricky August waiver rules. In the meantime Ron Washington seems prepared to move forward with a platoon of hitters.

“We’re going to use the whole roster and continue to play Texas Rangers baseball,” says the Rangers manager

The Rangers just recalled Engel Beltre and Joey Butler to complete the six player outfield platoon. The platoon is comprised of 3 right handers and 3 left handers. As you probably guessed, the starters will be decided primarily by if the opposing starting pitcher is a righty or lefty.

Jul 24, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers left fielder Jeff Baker (15) bats during the game against the New York Yankees at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Texas won 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The right handed outfielders are Engel Beltre, Craig Gentry, and Jeff Baker. Beltre is the most well-rounded of those three but he is young and will have growing pains as he pushes to meet his potential. Gentry has basically met his potential. At this point he is just a role player with great speed. Jeff Baker is a sort of journeyman who has been having a very good year minus his stint on the DL. He has a great batting average and packs a punch at the plate. If Baker can sustain his performance he may be the key to the Ranger’s last 50 games.

The Left Handed outfielders are Leonys Martin, Joey Butler, and David Murphy. Leonys entered the season battling Gentry for the starting centerfielder. His solid play in the field and at the plate has solidified him as a key part of the outfield. Joey Butler, 27, is coming up with modest expectations. He’s not seen as a long-term solution and most likely a platoon guy like Craig Gentry. David Murphy has followed up a great 2012 with a very poor 2013. Murphy has not been able to turn things around as of yet but as a proven player, will be given every opportunity the last 50 games.

So there you have it. This is your Texas Rangers outfield. Don’t bank on any amazing acquisition happening. The Rangers simply need one or two of these guys to step up - but is even that too much to ask for?

Who do you think will step up?

Do the Rangers have a chance?

Do you have questions or comments regarding Dallas area sports? Email Reid at [email protected]. You may be included in the next weekly mailbag. Follow Reid on twitter @ReidDHanson

Tags: Biogenesis Craig Gentry David Murphy Engel Beltre Jeff Baker Leonys Martin Nelson Cruz Texas Rangers

  • John Hedric

    Brad Hawpe was recently released from the Angels. He has played in the world series, and in the all star game. He can play right field and he can hit. His home is in Fort Worth, and he would love to play for the Rangers. Go get him.