Raising Cain. 13 comments

The Rangers are reportedly interested in center fielder Lorenzo Cain.

It seems, once again, Delino DeShields is the Rodney Dangerfield of Texas. He gets no respect.

No matter how much he outperformed Leonys Martin in 2015, Jeff Banister was reluctant to make him the starting center fielder, burying the Rangers time and again with Martin and his anemic bat.

It wasn’t until Jon Daniels finally sent Martin down to Frisco that Banister, reluctantly, handed the starting job to DeShields.

Then, in 2016, DeShields was handed the job, but not for long. Six weeks into the season, he was sent to Frisco. He was batting .217, with an OBP of .294, pretty bad for a leadoff hitter. He never really gained traction, and when he was called up a couple of months later, he had lost his center field job to Carlos Gomez and played part time in left field.

Last season, he shared time in left to start the season, but since Jurickson Profar and Ryan Rua flamed out and DeShields, by default and not with glee from his manager it seems, Delino got the lion’s share of left field starts. His 2015 stats returned.

But you never got the feeling he was on solid footing.

A lot of it has to do with his defense. Defense has never been important to Jon Daniels. But maybe, if the reports are true about pursuing Cain, he is taking a different approach this season. Maybe he is realizing that with his starting pitching so bad, he has to do everything he can to help them.

Make no mistake, Lorenzo Cain would be a huge upgrade over Delino DeShields in center, and over Carlos Gomez.

To begin with, he is the ideal guy to begin with. The Rangers haven’t had a pure leadoff hitter for a while. Cain would be that guy. He hit .300 last year, with a .364 OBP.

Lorenzo Cain makes the Rangers better. But the Rangers desperately need starting pitching. So if they do end up signing Cain, expect Daniels to say they improved their pitching through center field defense, just like in 2016 when they desperately needed pitching at the trade deadline, and they picked up catcher Johnathon Lucroy instead, telling the fans this was the solution to their pitching problems.

It wasn’t.

Even so, Cain makes the Rangers better and they have plenty of money left to get pitching. Whether they spend it, or spend it wisely, is another story.