The Rangers were dealt one of the more notable early-season injuries. Star shortstop Corey Seager pulled up on a double during Tuesday’s night matchup in Kansas City. He was diagnosed with a Grade 2 strain of his left hamstring. That’ll cost him a month at minimum.
Seager had been off to a .359/.469/.538 start. Texas won’t be able to replace that kind of offense — Seager himself wasn’t going to keep hitting at that rate — but it’s an obviously tough blow for a team that projects as a fringe playoff club.
Manager Bruce Bochy quickly shot down the notion of sliding Marcus Semien over to shortstop (via Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News). The All-Star infielder has plenty of experience from his time in Oakland, but he’s primarily played second base over the past two-plus seasons. With Seager expected to return at some point during the season’s first half, the Rangers don’t seem keen on disrupting Semien’s rhythm at the keystone only to move him back there a few weeks from now.
Instead, it seems the Rangers will turn to a combination of less proven options to cover the position. Let’s take a look at the candidates.
Smith picked up the first shortstop start last night, plugging right into Seager’s customary No. 2 spot in the lineup versus Royals’ righty Brad Keller. As a left-handed hitter, he could pick up the bulk of the work against right-handed pitching.
A second-round pick of the Yankees in 2019, Smith landed in Texas via the Joey Gallo trade (which’ll come up again shortly). He made his MLB debut last season, appearing in 73 games. Smith struggled through his looks at big league pitching, hitting .197/.307/.249 over 253 trips to the plate. He demonstrated a very patient approach, walking 11.1% of the time while keeping his strikeouts to a lower-than-average 19.8% clip. Yet he didn’t do much when he put the ball in play, only picking up two home runs with a well below-average 28.6% hard-contact percentage.
Smith was much better in Triple-A. He’s been a productive hitter throughout his minor league career. That continued in 2022, when he put up a .290/.395/.466 line with six homers, a 12.6% walk rate and a 20.7% strikeout percentage over 55 contests for the Rangers’ Triple-A affiliate in Round Rock. Baseball America’s pre-2022 scouting report on Smith praised his exit velocities in the minor leagues, which he’ll need to carry over more effectively to be a productive MLB hitter.
Durán, a right-handed hitter, also began his career in the Yankees’ system. Signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2017, he joined Smith as part of the package sent to Texas for Gallo. (Glenn Otto and Trevor Hauver were also included.) Like Smith, Durán made his big league debut last season but didn’t perform well in his first crack, albeit with a different profile.
The 23-year-old Durán hit .236/.277/.365 in 220 MLB plate appearances. He was among the game’s most aggressive hitters, chasing nearly half the pitches he saw outside the strike zone and whiffing at more than 14% of total offerings. Durán walked at a meager 5.5% rate while punching out 24.5% of the time. He did more damage than Smith when he made contact, connecting on five home runs, ten doubles and a triple. However, he’ll need to rein in his approach to keep his on-base percentage at a suitable level.
Durán was better in Triple-A, hitting .283/.316/.531 in 33 games. His strikeout and walk rates there (27.7% and 4.5%, respectively) remained concerning, but he connected on nine long balls. Durán was a highly-regarded prospect — perhaps even more so than Smith — based on his power potential but he’s faced more questions about his swing decisions and ability to handle shortstop defensively. Durán spent most of his time at second base in the minors and played primarily third base at the big league level. He’s yet to log a single major league inning at shortstop, though Bochy named him as an option there after Seager’s injury.
There aren’t many alternatives for Texas at the moment. Brad Miller hasn’t regularly played shortstop since 2016. Prospects Luisangel Acuña and Jonathan Ornelas are on the 40-man roster but don’t seem on the radar for an immediate call. The 21-year-old Acuña has barely played above High-A and isn’t likely to play in the majors at all this season. Ornelas, 23 next month, could be a more realistic option for a midseason promotion after hitting .299/.360/.425 with Double-A Frisco last year. He has all of nine games of Triple-A experience, though.
Perhaps the Rangers will look to fortify the depth in the coming weeks. Didi Gregorius and Andrelton Simmons are still unsigned and would have to take a minor league deal if they wish to continue playing. Even then, neither would be ready to step right into a big league lineup. Maybe the Marlins would part with José Iglesias, who’s at Triple-A Jacksonville after signing a non-roster deal in Spring Training. Iglesias can opt out of that contract if he’s not in the majors by May 1; it’s not uncommon for teams to grant players in his position an early release or cash trade if another club is willing to give them an immediate MLB roster spot.
The Rangers aren’t going to make any kind of impact outside acquisition at this time of the year. That’s not necessary with Seager likely returning in late May or early June. Barring a veteran depth pickup, Texas looks set to rely on a pair of young players to man shortstop for the next few weeks.
The Seager contract was a huge overpay. A superstar contract for an extremely fragile player who averaged less than 3 WAR and less than 100 games played from 2018-2021 and never posted more than 4 WAR (and that’s rounding up) in that time.
You do understand what a horrific example it is to include 2020 stats and you posit them like they’re 162, right? Really horrible analysis right here. No idea. Corey Seager was a fine sign and a great pay for a big game performer. You don’t know ball.
“Attacking other posters is your thing, you pathetic idiot! I know that because I looked into your profile on Google for something to attack you over.”
-A poster who clearly doesn’t have attacking posters as “his thing”.
I understood it. You got overly upset steph criticized your assessment of Corey Seager. You couldn’t just attack him for that because that would be a huge overreaction. In order to do that you needed justification, so you went to google. You found a some old posts and thought that justifies your attack on them.
You see how pathetic that sounds? You could have just posted your rebuttal of facts and looked much better instead of the all caps and insults.
You all done breaking the terms of service of this website for today, lil guy?
@BeansforJesus – you absolutely get it. Ace_ is the problem with this site and deserves to be banned for repeated TOS violations and personal attacks when faced with facts that destroy their very wrong posts and opinions.
Saying “you dont know ball” is a fine insult, calling someone a “d-bag” and “idiot” violates TOS. Grow up – you are 9 years old, arent you?
@Ace, since Seager’s first full season in 2016 he has only missed 30 or more games twice. Once for Tommy John Surgery and the other for a broken hand from being hit by a pitch. By no means is a player who has suffered 2 serious injuries and one being caused by someone else “injury prone”. That is just an absurd notion or complete assumption on your behalf….
Ace_ isnt interested in facts, just racism. Totally worthless to this site. No value in anything they say because its pure reactionary nonsense, people like this are all the same – all arrogance, no facts.
Justin Turner overdrive has found another new username!
lol is that what you do? Call anyone owning you some other poster? LMAO
You are THAT owned, huh? You let anonymous posters live rent free? Or are you just that much of a hurt racist you dont like seeing it called out in public, huh? Do you really think there’s only 1 anti-racist poster on here? So dumb its incredible. Stay all the way away from me. Please mute. You are insane.
I will never let racism fly in front of me. If I see it in these comments I will call it out. Sorry if that offends you, snowflake.
Who reacts that way to a one liner? Jeeesh you write like you’re a troubled teenager.
Take a breath.
Go HOME, StephCurryRetiresWith8Rings! STOP RUNNING YOUR MOUTH!
Go HOME, StephCurryRetiresWith8Rings and STOP RUNNING YOUR MOUTH!
“I will never let racism fly in front of me.” Right, you’re like a modern day Michael X, aren’t you?? HAHAHAHAHA.
I’m smarter and know about baseball than you, I am also a better person IRL than you. All my hate-posts on here dont always focus 100% of the time on non-white players like you do, you absolute clown.
I write like I’m getting repeatedly personally attacked by absolute clownshoes racists who deserve to be banned for TOS violations, sorry you don’t know the difference.
Right, because Corey Seager is so black! HAHAHAHA.
I would have said that you’re the modern day Jackie Robinson, but Tim Anderson already claimed that one, so you can be the modern day Michael X instead. By the way, nothing I have ever posted has been in any way racist and do not claim otherwise ever again.
Would the Orioles consider trading Mateo?
It would open up the log Jam on the Orioles team
Putting Henderson at Shortstop and Urias at third
It would help, but then again
Mateo, IKF and Amed Rosario are big time SS trade chips, but it depends how long the SS is going to be out for. The other 2 are FAs at the end of the year and have experience at many positions. Mateo is better defensively than pretty much everyone, so he’s not the cleaner fit like IKR or Rosario are, as Seager is coming back this season and will likely go back to SS.
I’m moving Ramon Urias well before Jorge Mateo. The rule change was made for Mateo. He’s also a top 5 defensive SS in the game.
no Yankee fans suggesting Kiner-Falafel? especially when down 11-0 after 2 1/2…
He pitched a scoreless inning – may have just found a bullpen piece to replace Kahnle.
Kiner Falafel threw a few hummus on that mound.
Javy Baez would be a great option Chris Young. 🙂
Please take him off the Tigers hands.
Isiah Kiner-Falefa is a FA next year…bring him back.
Amed Rosario would be a smart add, but not sure if the Guardians would trade him to a fellow contender. Not sure who Texas would send to Cleveland either.
I predict Cleveland doesn’t view Texas as a contender.
Why would you think this? Texas is a contender in 100% of peoples eyes. They have deGrom ffs
Lol. Texas will win about 80 games. But I guess you’ll have your jaw on the floor when that’s all that comes.
No, anything can happen. But this team thats packed with superstars and lost like 50 1-run games last year makes me think you arent seeing the forest from the trees with them.
The Cleveland Guardians front office 100% views them as a serious contender, you are 100% wrong.
Tyler Freeman might be worth a look. He can serve as a utility guy when Seager returns.
They’re not going to do anything. Smith and Duran will be fine until Seager gets back.
Any way you slice it, None of those seem like particularly good options. I know hindsight is great but if I had Seager and wasn’t willing to move Semien over, I think I would of spent a couple of bucks on a guy like Andrus this off season. Just sayin.
You would have spent $3MM on one of the worst hitters in baseball!
I said ” On a guy like him”. Reading is indeed a skill after all.
Pretty poor example.
Give me the name of the guy you sign with all this hindsight? Because you had the benefit of hindsight and listed one of the worst hitters in the MLB right now. Josh Smith is better than some old washed up Andrus, Iglesias etc.
So ‘just like’ one of the worst hitters in baseball.
We got it. It’s still stupid. Just sayin.
“Just sayin” is stupid too. Just sayin.
I cannot imagine it would be that big of a deal to move Semien over to SS for a little bit, which could/would increase their pool of options to include someone like their 2B prospect Justin Foscue.
Actually, if it were up to me, I’m moving Semien over to SS, and then giving Foscue a look at 2B considering the all-around extremely solid season he had last year at AA, and his overall pedigree as an experienced college hitter and former first round pick.
If you aren’t going to give him a look now, when?? Semien ain’t going anywhere, and it could significantly boost his trade value if he were to perform adequately at the ML level for a few weeks.
Idk, then again, some teams look at it like they’d rather just worry about one player, than having to worry about having two new players at different positions..
I’m not entirely sure why, but clearly the Rangers must be perfectly content with Smith filling in and then having Duran as a fallback option if he falters.
The only problem is that Foscue is like the worst defensive option in the system and hasen’t really gotten going at AAA yet
Ohhh, I wasn’t aware he was so bad defensively. I know reports were he didn’t have a great arm, but didn’t know he had stone hands too lol
I was just thinking more along the lines for his bat, since Seager was such a pivotal part of their lineups success…
However, if he’s off to a slow start, AND he doesn’t play at least an adequate or average 2B, then I completely see why they didn’t go that route.
Thanks for the info..
They better be comfortable with those two though, if they aren’t going to move Semien over.
As the saying goes, you cannot win the division in April, but you certainly can lose it.
I’m curious, I’m not a Rangers fan, so I am admittingly not all that in tune with their 40 man roster and their internal options, but for those of you who are fans, how do you feel??
Are you comfortable or even optimistic about using Smith, with having Duran as your fallback??
Would you rather see them slide Semien over, and bring up Foscue for a brief showcase to man the keystone?
Is there a different internal move you’d rather see them make?
Or are you hoping they bring in an external, veteran option??
I am cool with Smitty for a few weeks. Like the article says, he has been a productive player in the minors and he is actually a better defender than Seager. These scenarios are how young guys breakout
That’s very true, look at the Braves and Michael Harris, Vaughn Grissom, and Soencer Strider last year.
Their callups were all the result of untimely injuries…
Hopefully Smitty is able to shake the nerves, and perform like he has in AAA.
I know one of the AAA leagues is known for being extremely hitter friendly though.. Is that the league that Texas plays in, or am I thinking of a different league in AAA..??
Yeah. Foscue is off to a poor start and has serious D questions. I think they roll with Smith and see where they are in a couple weeks.