Rangers President of Baseball Operations Jon Daniels sat down with the media this morning to answer a few questions, one of which was a bit eye-opening.
Daniels was asked if Guzman had any extra considerations of making the team since he is out of options cannot be sent to the minor leagues without first clearing waivers.
A comparison was made to the same situation the Rangers were in, in 2008 when it was apparent that Nelson Cruz was not going to make the Opening Day roster.
Daniels’ response was what made me take pause. He admitted that having no options left would play into the final roster decisions.
Guzman had an outstanding winter, winning the league MVP after hitting .360 with a .973 OPS and 5 HRs in the Dominican. That carried over to the playoffs when he continued to lead his team. This has left the Rangers with quite a conundrum if Guzman and Nate Lowe play the same during the spring. Daniels admits that Guzman being out of options would be considered. Guzman has also taken it upon himself to get some work in the outfield to give him more opportunities. He is more valuable as a first baseman than in the outfield. However, if he hits as he did in the winter, then his bat may be the most valuable asset he has.
Daniels also had an interesting story about Nelson Cruz in 2008. Recognizing that he might not make the team, the staff talked and discussed if he possibly had value as a pitcher. He had a strong arm, and this might be a way to keep him. Apparently, everyone in the room was of the same thought. The story got funny when it came to who would approach Cruz with that idea. Ron Washington said, “I’m not asking him.” His position coach at the time also declined to do it.
Daniels knew then that it was his job to make the suggestion. He sat down with Cruz and asked him if he had ever considered pitching. He said Cruz shot his eyes over to him and rightly said, “No.” He then cleared waivers and went to Oklahoma City, where he opened his stance, and the rest is history. He is now in his 16th big league season and has 417 HRs.
Is Ronald Guzman the next Nelson Cruz? Nobody knows for sure.
The Rangers are the team that benefited from Cruz figuring things out. That is why Ronald Guzman will have some extra considerations if he and Lowe perform the same this spring. We must also consider that Lowe DOES have options and can be sent down to AAA. It’s not ideal, but it is an option that has to be considered.
The bigger problem comes if both play very well and deserve to be on the big league roster. This means a roster spot would be taken away from someone else who deserves to be in the big leagues. Leody Taveras has options.
What if he is the odd man out and needs to start in AAA because of the Guzman/Lowe situation? That’s why I believe that the first base competition may be the most important one of the spring.
It should be fun to watch it all unfold.
Featured Image: Kelly Gavin/Texas Rangers