Rangers looking at Lugo as possible utilityman

Leave a comment

According to MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan, the Rangers are already exploring external options as they seek to replace the released Khalil Greene in a utility role.
Manager Ron Washington said last week that the team would stay inside the organization and choose from Joaquin Arias, Esteban German and Ray Olmero to fill the void. However, Sullivan brings up the names of Julio Lugo, Augie Ojeda and Ramon Vazquez as other possibilities.
Sullivan confirms that the Rangers have discussed Lugo amongst themselves. The Cardinals could be willing to move the veteran after signing Felipe Lopez to a one-year contract last week.
Ojeda was someone Texas considered over the winter before Arizona chose to hold on to him. He might yet come available if the Diamondbacks decide they have alternatives to serve as a backup at short.
Vazquez played for the Rangers in 2007 and 2008 before turning in a disappointing season with the Pirates last year. Pittsburgh would almost certainly be willing to move him if anyone would take on his $2 million salary.
The Rangers may wait to make a pickup until they see how Arias performs in camp. German would be a solid reserve, but he can’t play shortstop. Arias might be able to, depending on how his shoulder is doing. Arm problems have taken a toll on his throwing, and he can’t match German offensively.

Why Ryan Zimmerman skipped spring training

Getty Images
Leave a comment

All spring training there was at least some mild confusion about Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He played in almost no regular big league spring training games, instead, staying on the back fields, playing in simulated and minor league contests. When that usually happens, it’s because a player is rehabbing or even hiding an injury, but the Nats insisted that was not the case with Zimmerman. Not everyone believed it. I, for one, was skeptical.

The skepticism was unwarranted, as Zimmerman answered the bell for Opening Day and has played all season. As Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal writes today, it was all by design. He skipped spring training because he doesn’t like it and because he thinks it’ll help him avoid late-season injuries and slowdowns, the likes of which he has suffered over the years.

It’s hard to really judge this now, of course. On the one hand Zimmerman has started really slow this season. What’s more, he has started to show signs of warming up only in the past week, after getting almost as many big league, full-speed plate appearances under his belt as a normal spring training would’ve given him. On the other hand, April is his worst month across his entire 14-year career, so one slow April doesn’t really prove anything and, again, Zimmerman and the Nats will consider this a success if he’s healthy and productive in August and September.

It is sort of a missed opportunity, though. Players hate spring training. They really do. if Zimmerman had made a big deal out of skipping it and came out raking this month, I bet a lot more teams would be amenable to letting a veteran or three take it much more easy next spring. Good ideas can be good ideas even if they don’t produce immediately obvious results, but baseball tends to encourage a copycat culture only when someone can point to a stat line or to standings as justification.

Way to ruin it for everyone, Ryan. 😉