Interesting what the Rangers did recently.
To acquire minor league pitcher Jason Bahr, who they feel has a lot of upside, and relief pitcher Cory Gerrin, the Rangers took on the salary of Austin Jackson. The Giants are in a pennant chase and were looking to unload salary to give them room to maneuver. (That’s how they unloaded Matt Moore to the Rangers in the offseason.)
The Rangers didn’t really want Austin Jackson. They feel Ryan Rua and Carlos Tocci have more long-term value.
Let that sink in.
Ryan Ruan and Carlos Tocci have more long-term value than someone else.
This is not Opposite Day. This is the honest to goodness assessment of the Rangers front office.
Thirty-one year old Austin Jackson, a local boy and runner up in American League Rookie of the Year voting in 2010 (behind Neftali Feliz), has played nine years in the major leagues. His career slash line is .274/.335/.734. This season with San Francisco he was at .242/.309/.604. Certainly nothing to write home about. Unless you are Ryan Rua or Carlos Tocci.
Twenty-eight year old Ryan Rua’s career numbers for five seasons are .235/.290/.688. He hit .193 in 2015, .218 last year, and is hitting .185 this season. In every offensive category, he is far inferior to Austin Jackson. And in every offensive category, he is trending downward in his career. Rua’s best years are behind him. And they weren’t good years.
Carlos Tocci is the reason they invented the DH. Unfortunately, he’s not a pitcher. He just hits like one. A bad one. In 39 plate appearances, he has two hits, zero home runs, one RBI, and a batting average so small (.061), NASA hasn’t invented a telescope powerful enough to locate it. The Rangers are desperately trying to invent phantom injuries to get him on the DL and out of the dugout. He is a Rule 5 guy and has to stay with the Rangers all year.
Tocci does have a reputation as a great defender. But with that skill set at the plate, why on earth would he be allowed to wear a major league uniform?
Austin Jackson has always been considered to have Gold-glove caliber defense. Of course, he had knee surgery two seasons ago and has lost a step.
Even though Jackson is on the downside of his career, his downside is still an improvement over Rua and Tocci. It’s hard to see any real future for Rua or Tocci with the Rangers. Unless the general manager is just too stubborn to admit an error in judgment.
Jackson might even be a better alternative to Delino DeShields for the next few years. He hits better and plays better defense. Even now.
With a roster this poor, it’s hard to believe there isn’t a place for Austin Jackson. And hard to believe they are willing to eat most of the $4.5 million dollars still owed to him.
But who is to question the front office of a team that declared it was all in and finds itself fourteen games under .500 and in dead last ?
Cole Hamels (5-6, 4.65) vs. Alex Cobb (9-4, 2.36)
Game time: 6:10