Speedster Drew Stubbs is back with the Rangers, signing a minor league deal. He could be huge defensively.
His days of offense are behind him but if he was signed to take over for Hamilton, defense is much more important at this time since the other two outfielders are DeShields and Choo, and neither one will sniff a gold glove unless they actually pick up someone else’s award and audibly draw puffs of air through their noses. Stubbs signed after Will Venable signed with the Indians because the Indians center fielder, Abraham Almonte, was suspended eighty games for a drug violation.
Expect Stubbs to be the everyday left fielder against right-handed pitching unless Mazara, Gallo or Brinson surprise everyone and appear to be ready to step in. Or unless…the Rangers sign Ian Desmond.
Texas is rumored to be sniffing around at Ian Desmond, the free agent shortstop who they reportedly want to turn into a left fielder. Desmond bats right, hits for power, drives in runs, and, what makes him Rangers material, is coming off his worst season. (Here are his numbers, courtesy of baseball-reference.com.) Surprisingly, this late into the free agent seasons, Desmond is still looking for a job. For this rumor to come to fruition, a lot of cosmic tumblers must line up, in no particular order:
One, Desmond has to agree to play left field. Or, better yet, Desmond plays short and either Stubbs, Mazara, Brinson, Gallo, or Profar man left. A man can dream.
Two, the Rangers spend the money to sign Desmond. All off-season they have said they don’t have the money, that the payroll could not stretch further than an extra five million dollars. But they made an offer to Yovani Gallardo for $15.8 million. Had he accepted, the Rangers would have either had to blow past that five million extra, or find a way to dump ten million dollars in payroll. They have the money. They choose to make sure they are spending it as wisely as possible before committing to it, which is the prudent thing go do.
Three, with the potential talent in the pipeline, it’s hard to see the Rangers offering Desmond anything beyond a one-year deal. Maybe he takes it to rebuild his reputation after such a down 2015, then he heads into the market next year ready to reap the rewards, and more valuable because he can play two positions. They call those one-year deals a pillow contract, meaning the player is simply finding a place to rest until next season. I call it a pillow deal because it’s a pipe dream that all three of these things happen and the Rangers sign Desmond.
Weirder things have happened, though.