The weeding out is nearly done.
Little by little the Rangers have cleared out the deadwood that had dammed up this offense for far too long.
Gone are Ronald Guzman, Nomar Mazara, Rougned Odor, Isiah Kiner-Falfa, Willie Calhoun, and Nick Solak. Not too long ago, they were the centerpieces of the Rangers offense. Which explains why the Rangers were so offensively challenged the past few seasons.
The biggest centerpiece of all was Joey Gallo. He could hit home runs. Far. The rare times he made contact.
The Rangers finally tired of Gallo’s act and dealt him to the Yankees, where he has turned into a part time player who cannot even hit home runs with regularity. That trade might turn out to be new GM Chris Young’s Mark Teixeira deal, the trade that was so lopsided and brought in so much talent to the Rangers it put previous GM Jon Daniels on the map.
Last night, two of the four players the Rangers got for Gallo were on display. Glenn Otto started, went six innings, and got the win.
But the bigger story is Josh Smith. The Baton Rouge native made his major league debut last night. Smith hit the ground running in the big leagues kind of like he did in the spring, where he batted .600 with an other-worldly OPS of 2.014.
His spring performance, however, wasn’t good enough to crack the major league roster. So, Smith went to Triple-A Round Rock and did what he has done his entire minor league career: he hit.
Last night, he finally got his chance in a Rangers uniform. He made the most of it. The twenty-four-year-old third baseman went 3-for-4 and scored two runs. He didn’t seem intimidated. In fact, he seemed to be having so much fun. That kind of energy is contagious.
In a bizarre bit of trivia, the last two Rangers to collect three hits in their debut game were Nomar Mazara and Joey Gallo.
Smith’s arrival creates a logjam at third with Andy Ibañez and Charlie Culberson. Ibañez had been given a golden opportunity to start at third with the injury to Josh Jung. He hasn’t taken advantage of it. Culberson is the kind of veteran you bring in just in case an Ibañez-type needs help.
It appears help has arrived. His hame is Josh Smith.
Welcome to Arlington, Josh. Long may you hit.