Center field roulette. 14 comments

Lost in the media hoopla and fan frenzy and pre-world Series parade planning over the Rangers bolstering their pitching staff with key additions of Mike Minor, Doug Fister, and Matt Moore, was the acquisition of a new center fielder in the Rule 5 draft.

The Rangers have their next Delino DeShields, who the Rangers plucked from the Houston Astros back in the Rule 5 draft in the winter of 2014..

The Rule 5 draft is a way to keep teams from hording too much talent that prevents deserving players from having the chance to make the major league roster, allowing them to make it with another team. A team can protect only 40 if its players. Everyone else is subject to be taken by another team

The wrinkle is, if you select a player in the Rule 5 draft, that player must be part of your 25-man roster the entire season, or he is offered back to the original team.

There have been a few gems plucked from Rule 5, most notably Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente. Others include Jose Bautista, Bobby Bonilla, Darrel Evans, Jason Grilli, Jeff Nelson, Alexi Ogando, Johan Santana and Joakim Soria.

DeShields played in 121 games in 2015, starting as a bench player but eventually taking over center field for light-hitting Leonys Martin. Ironically, that same Rule 5 draft year, the Rangers lost a center fielder to the Phillies, Odubel Herrera.

Herrera has been better for the Phillies than DeShields has been for the Rangers, making the All-Star team in 2016.

The new Rangers center fielder via Rule 5, from the Phillies, ironically, is Carlos Tocci, and his glove is what the Rangers were interested in. In 2017, Tocci combined to play in 130 games for Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley, hitting .294 with 19 doubles, seven triples, two home runs, 52 RBIs, a .346 on-base percentage and a .381 slugging percentage.

The Rangers, coincidentally lost the center fielder they had just signed, Anthony Gose, to the Astros in the Rule 5 draft.

So, if you are keeping score at home: Astros lost center fielder to Rangers. Rangers lost center fielder to Phillies. Phillies lost center fielder to Rangers. Rangers lost center fielder to Astros.

Maybe everyone should have just kept what they had in the first place.

The Astros had a hill in center field. The Rangers, it seems, have a revolving door.

Welcome to the carousel of center fielders, Carlos Tocci.