Ben Zobrist Lite.
That’s not a backhanded compliment to describe newest Ranger Matt Duffy. It’s to say he is one of those Swiss army knife players that adds value all over the field.
His lifetime OPS+ is 98 after five seasons, meaning offensively he’s a tick below average, so temper any expectations accordingly. But he did finish second in Rookie of the Year voting in the National League in 2015 while with San Francisco. It was his best season.
But, he is a utility player who plays second and short, so now the Rangers have a reliable backup for Andrus when he needs the occasional day off. Offensively, he runs circles around Kiner-Falefa, who may be seeing his time as a major leaguer come to an end, another Jon Daniels draft pick that didn’t pan out.
Duffy has also logged a lot of time at third.
Weirdly, the more Duffy plays, the better he is. He got into 149 games in that 2015 season, driving in 77 runs, hitting .295. He got into 132 games in 2018 with Tampa Bay, batting .294 but driving in only 44 runs on the “strength” of four home runs.
He has little power and limited productivity but can add some offense.
As of right now, the starters look to be Guzman, Odor, Andrus, Frazier, Calhoun, Santana, Gallo, Choo, and Chirinos. That leaves four bench players. Expect Duffy, Solak, and, unfortunately, Jeff Mathis, the worst Ranger of all time. That leaves the last slot between Heineman, Kiner-Falefa, and Trevino.
In Matt Duffy, the Rangers have their backup infielder. Now if they just had capable infielders he could back up.