Scooping the Rangers: I might have been wrong about Mitch Moreland

Scooping the Texas Rangers banner -- Mitch Moreland

Mitch Moreland stands at first base with his glove on his hip, while he laughs.
Hey, Mitch Moreland. Your lack of production is not a laughing matter. 

I might have been wrong on Mitch Moreland. To this point in the season, I might be willing to say that I was wrong about Mitch Moreland.

At least I’m willing to admit it.

I wrote about him in the past and talked about how, if given an everyday opportunity, he’d be able to show what the Rangers saw in him in the first place. He’d be able to prove people wrong about him and he’d be able to prove that he was a serviceable first baseman not only on the defensive side but also with the bat.

There have been several disagreements on this topic, and I’ve waited to say anything until I either saw a change for the better, or things began to look like they were never going to get where I wanted them to go.

For those who are reading this and wanting to drop the, “I told you so,” you can hold off on that for now because we’re only a month into the season. I don’t jump off the ship when I don’t know for sure that it’s sinking. There might be a little water coming into the boat, but I haven’t put the life jacket on yet – though I do have it in my hands, just in case.

At times, he’s looked absolutely lost at the plate — like a rookie getting his first taste of big-league pitching. Other times, he gets that smooth swing and shows off the upper-deck power he’s capable of.

Defensively, however, Moreland leaves a lot to be desired. There are plays not made that aren’t completely his fault, but, then again, he could make a better effort as well.

Maybe I should start comparing him to a certain pitcher who can never find consistency – or not.

Every time he steps to the plate, fans flood social media with comments. The majority of the time, well, 999 times out of 1,000, the assumption is Mitch Moreland isn’t going to do anything to help the team. Either it’s expecting a strikeout or, with a runner on first, grounding into a double play.

Needless to say, fans here are done with the Mitch Moreland experiment just like they were with Chris Davis when he continued to struggle with the Rangers every time he was called up from the minor leagues. Texas eventually traded Davis to the Baltimore Orioles, along with pitcher Tommy Hunter, for reliever Koji Uehara, in a deal that most saw as a “nothing for nothing” kind of deal.

In case you’re keeping score at home, Davis is currently third in the big leagues in batting average (.368), tied for second in home runs (eight), and second in RBI (24) behind another former Ranger, Mike Napoli (26).

Nothing-for-nothing deal? Does it sound like the trade that sent Adrian Gonzalez to San Diego? Not saying Mitch Moreland will turn into a Chris Davis or Adrian Gonzalez type stud, if or when he’s traded, but it does make you think a little, right?

I won’t be the one to sit here and say Mitch Moreland will be just fine, because I don’t know that for sure. The way it sits right now, it really doesn’t look like it will get any better.

One has to wonder just how long of a leash manager Ron Washington has him on. If the Michael Young situation is any indication, Wash might ride him until it’s far too late to turn back.

When July rolls around, if Moreland still hasn’t progressed, it might be in the best interest of the Texas Rangers to start looking around the trade market to upgrade the position. They can’t play Lance Berkman every day because of his knees and his age; they’ll need a guy who can improve them at the position.

I don’t mind admitting when I’m wrong. When it comes to Mitch Moreland and his ability, I’m hoping May will be a little kinder to him, and my bruised ego, then April was.

Nick Tepesch makes a radio guy look bad – I was listening to a clip of ESPN’s Randy  Galloway a week ago or so, and I heard him say that right-hander Nick Tepesch didn’t belong in the starting rotation. Not only that, but he said putting him in that position wasn’t the way a potential championship team acts. Through four starts, one of them cut short by an injury, Tepesch is 2-1 with a 2.53 ERA and a .244 BAA. I know it’s early, but Nick has held his own just fine. Maybe he does deserve it after all.

Rangers dominating bullpen – Robbie Ross, Joe Ortiz, Tanner Scheppers and Joe Nathan have been nothing short of dominant out of the Rangers bullpen. The four have combined to give up a grand total of four earned runs in 42 total innings pitched (.095 ERA).

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