Spring training generally has few real stories or surprises. It’s not like most players haven’t already made the squad and no their positions.
“Oh, I hope Joey Gallo does well enough in spring that he gets called up to the majors” won’t happen.
But this year is a little unusual. The Rangers go into spring not really having a center fielder. They have a lot of center field candidates but nobody’s name is carved in stone there.
Sure, it most likely will be Danny Santana. He was a center fielder for the first few seasons of his career. But he’s not a lock there, especially because he can play everywhere around the diamond and the Rangers have major deficiencies everywhere around the diamond.
Santana gets center field by default. They moved last year’s to right field. Traded away his backup. Kicked the tires on Jerrod Dyson and Billy Hamilton before each signed elsewhere. And, surprisingly, had no discussions with the best center fielder available in Kevin Pillar.
So, spring will be used as a testing ground for Nick Solak out there. Or to see if Scott Heineman can handle it.
Why even toy with Solak in center? This notion that’s popular in the current game of moving players all over the field really weakens a team’s defense.
Yes, a super utility player like Ben Zobrist is valuable. But good ones are rare. Solak is a second baseman. Unfortunately he’s blocked there.
And as for Santana, yes can help at so many positions. But here’s a novel idea. Next time, fill those positions first and let your center fielder be your center fielder. And if you didn’t really want him to be your center fielder, you should have gotten one.
It’s kind of an important position to most teams.