As if the Texas Rangers could use another injury, they got bit by the bug on Sunday afternoon when the announcement was made that young infielder Jurickson Profar would miss 10 to 12 weeks with a a torn muscle in his throwing shoulder. Then, less than 24 hours later, the Rangers announced that catcher Geovany Soto would also miss 10 to 12 weeks with a torn meniscus.
The team already has to face almost half the season without left-hander Derek Holland and there are concerns about the long term health of guys like Colby Lewis, if he even makes the team out of spring training, Joe Saunders, who got lit up in just over an inning of work on Sunday, Matt Harrison, who is coming off three back surgeries in 2013, and Neftali Feliz, who not only was told he wouldn’t be the team’s closer going in to the season, but he may not be in the big leagues come opening day.
“I’ve thought about [whether the Rangers mishandled Feliz], for sure,” Daniels told Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. “I really don’t know the answer. I look around the league, and guys get hurt in all kinds of manners. The one thing I ask myself is: Are we doing it for the right reason? We’ve had success with other guys. [Feliz] got hurt. But if we feel like the chances are there for success, we’re going to take that chance more often than not.”
While this entire article could be about whether or not the Rangers made a terrible decision not only with Feliz, taking him out of the closer role a few years ago and trying to turn him into a starter, but also with Alexi Ogando as well, who the Rangers have also tried to make a starter but it seems to not have gone the way the organization thought it would, there’s no reason to look back and try to talk about what the organization did wrong by a few of these players. It won’t bring them back from the disabled list and it won’t correct what has happened to them to this point in their careers.
The question now becomes, how do you replace Profar or Soto until either are ready to return to the big leagues some time in June or perhaps in July depending on how extensive their injuries are? There are certainly those who would joke about bringing Michael Young back, and there are even those who joke about Ian Kinsler laughing his backside off after being traded to Detroit to make room at second base for a guy they won’t even be able to use for another three to four months.
As far as the catcher position, one would think J.P. Arencibia would now take over as the every day catcher and Texas may give Robinson Chirinos the backup role for the first few months of the season. If they don’t want to do that, there’s always the way of free agency where former Ranger Yorvit Torrealba currently sits.
You better believe the arguments of, “the Rangers should have traded Profar when they had the chance” will certainly be made by a certain circle of people. It’s easy to go back and drop the “what if’s” or blast the Rangers for not making a certain trade, or making a certain trade, when they had the opportunity.
There’s nothing anyone, or the Rangers themselves, can do about the situation they face right now. While general manager Jon Daniels could look back at his call sheets and his note pad and wonder why he didn’t pull the trigger on a deal that he had the chance to make, but that won’t do him any good at this point.
The decision in front of Daniels, and the rest of the front office, is who will take the short stop position when Opening Day comes around? Do they go with the next big name on their prospect list, Rougned Odor, who may not be ready for the big leagues at this point? Could it be Adam Rosales, who was passed between the Rangers and the Oakland Athletics like a hot potato? Or is there someone else on the Rangers’ depth chart that could be brought up to take a three-month assignment and allow the team to stem the tide?
While you’d rather have these injuries occurring at the beginning of the season than at the All-Star break or later, but you have to hope this doesn’t put the Rangers behind the eight ball in the AL West. You don’t want to be falling too far behind the Los Angeles Angels, who have the offensive firepower to put some space between themselves and the rest of the division early on in the year.
One has to wonder just how much Shin-Soo Choo, Prince Fielder, Adrian Beltre, and Alex Rios, just to name a few, can carry this team offensively and hope Harrison, Darvish, and Perez, along with Tanner Scheppers, who will be a starter for the first time in the big leagues, can keep Texas within striking distance until they can get Profar and Holland back.
I normally don’t have many concerns about the team in spring training or even breaking camp going into Opening Day, but with the season just over a week away, there’s no question there are plenty of concerns with this team.
The injury to Profar, as well as Soto, not to mention Engel Beltre and his apparent broken tibia, just made those concerns worse.