Julio Borbon’s lack of production at the plate and inconsistent defense in center field had him falling out of favor in Texas even before injuring his hamstring in mid-May, but now the fall is complete and he’s landed back in the minors.
This afternoon the Rangers activated Borbon from the disabled list and optioned him Triple-A, where he last played in mid-2009.
Since then Borbon has 745 plate appearances in 215 games for the Rangers, including back-to-back Opening Day starts in center field, but he’s hit just .275 with a terrible .308 on-base percentage and punchless .342 slugging percentage in 169 games since a strong half-season debut in 2009.
What’s particularly interesting about the Rangers demoting Borbon to Triple-A is that the guy they’re now turning to as the primary center fielder is 33-year-old Endy Chavez, whose current .415 batting average in 12 games doesn’t hide his .315 career OBP or the fact that he hasn’t gotten 300 plate appearances in a season since 2006.
Convincing the Rangers that he’s a better option than Chavez is doable for Borbon, largely because Chavez will do a lot of that work for him, but by the time Texas is ready to move on in center field they may decide to turn to $15 million Cuban signee Leonys Martin rather than give Borbon another shot. Martin is hitting .319 with good plate discipline and power at Double-A.