Errors in the Outfield: Three Ways the Texas Rangers Fix the Julio Borbon Issue
Julio Borbon is second in all off baseball in committing errors thus far in Spring Training. The league leaders in errors typically are infielders who have many more opportunities than outfielders. Borbon has five errors this Spring, he has a total of seven errors in his career in the regular season.
The Rangers in recent years have been proponents of competition amongst players, however with Julio they have broke away from that tradition. Manager Ron Washington stated early in the off-season that Borbon is going to be the opening day center-fielder, which left no room for competition, or any urgency for Borbon to play his best all-around ball to WIN his roster spot.
Behind Borbon there really is no true center-fielder, according to the Rangers that is. The Rangers want Borbon to be "the guy" so bad they're forcing it on him.
Texas is so enamored with Borbon's potential that it seems they do not want to look into any recourse for center-field. However I find it necessary to look at Borbon's alternatives, so here's three options the Rangers could execute in search of the best fit for the team in center-field.
Slide Josh Hamilton Over to CF and Insert David Murphy in LF
The image above is from October 19th, as in the playoffs. The Rangers went with this outfield often when the games mattered most.
Why not go with your best line-up as often as you can?
With giving David Murphy three times as many at-bats as Borbon in the playoffs they basically admitted they're better with Borbon on the bench (or AAA in this matter.)
The only issue with this is the Rangers of course are reluctant to play Hamilton in center-field over the long haul. The Rangers' brass seem to think it's not just coincidence that Hamilton routinely gets injured while in center, but not as often in left.
Hamilton prefers to play center and the Rangers have a knack for letting a player play where he wants (unless you're the team's all-time hit king.) They let C.J. Wilson start and may let Neftali Feliz do the same because that's where they preferred to play.
Send Borbon to AAA Round Rock To Refine His Glove
If Borbon goes down, who's going up?
It would mean Murphy would become an everyday player, and would leave the fourth outfielder spot open for someone.
Endy Chavez, who is largely known for his glove, is probably the opening day center-fielder....... for the Round Rock Express. Wash loves defense first guys (not sure why he defends Borbon though) and if Chavez could make the roster it's likely he'd become a Wash fave rather quickly.
Craig Gentry could also fill the fourth outfielder void, but he got off to a slow start because of injuries and is currently just 1-11 this Spring. Chavez is more likely to get the call before Gentry.
Chris Davis, the "Spring Fling" or is it? With Davis leading the Cactus Rangers at the dish it may be hard to send him to AAA. In fact, Davis said it would be a "slap in his face" to do so. In this scenario, Davis would be at 1B, giving the Rangers possibly the best defensive infield in the game, and Mitch Moreland would become what David Murphy has been, filling in at the corner outfield positions.
JD Gets Wash a Center Fielder
The Rangers certainly have the chips and dollars to make a move for a center-fielder. A few things to take in consideration is that Engel Beltre is looked at to be the center-fielder of the future, possibly as early as 2012. So whoever they go after would need to move to another position at some point, or someone who would not be tied to the Rangers too long-term.
Some guys who might make some since for the Rangers are Marlon Byrd, Matt Kemp, Felix Pie, Grady Sizemore, B.J. Upton, Mike Cameron or Alex Rios. Some of those players would clearly cost more than others, but those are some center-fielders that could get the Rangers attention.
Julio Borbon may or may not be included in a trade for one of these players, because some teams would be making a trade from depth and not need a center-fielder in return and may ask instead for Chris Davis, Matt Harrison, Michael Kirkman or if the Rangers are lucky, Michael Young (not likely).
So what do you think is the best move for the Rangers in center-field?
Should they stick with Borbon, slide Hamilton over, call-up someone or trade for someone?