Saturday, June 18, 2005
He currently leads the Rangers in Home Runs, 2nd in RBI’s, tied for the lead in Total Bases, 2nd in Slugging, and 1st in Runs Scored. He also has more errors than any player in baseball that doesn’t play shortstop, and for that matter, is 3rd in the big leagues in errors for anyone at any position. He, of course, is Alfonso Soriano.
He is the lightning rod of the Texas Rangers. Whether it is a talk show, a message board, or a conversation around the water cooler, he is the guy who Rangers fans share a love/hate relationship with. Is he the best 2nd baseman in baseball, or is he a dog who needs to be dealt?
Depends who you ask.
At the end of 2005, he will be eligible for arbitration. That means he will likely get a sizeable raise off of his $7.5 million salary. That means he may not be long for the Tom Hicks financially frugal plan. He isn’t home grown. He occasionally reminds people of Juan Gonzalez with his casual play and inconsistent concentration, and he also made it pretty clear he had no desire to play in the outfield here when the Rangers dealt for him last spring.
Can the Rangers invest the future in Soriano? Can they marry him to his beloved 2nd Base position? Many will say that this would not work long-term given his defensive liabilities, but if you don’t like his 11 errors, can you really be eager to give his job to Ian Kinsler who would be the next in line since he has 14 errors in Oklahoma City?
Does he get criticism from fans and media because he really has huge holes in his game? Or, is it perhaps a byproduct of him not being a home-grown son, like Blalock, Teixeira, and Young. Young of course was technically not home-grown, but he has never played an inning in another uniform. Soriano played for the hated Yankees, and seems to not be a stereotypical “Buck guy”. He has flare, he showboats a bit, and he blows the occasional routine play. These are not things his skipper cares for.
I write this today because I am not sure I know the answers. I watch him play, and I think he is a valuable middle-of-the-lineup guy who the Rangers should be discussing an extension with. I do concede that those conversations should include serious discussions about an Outfield or Designated Hitter assignment, and therefore should be held in the off-season so as to not rock the boat in mid-June. But, I read my email or the newspaper, and I am told that he is what is wrong with the Rangers. Is Fraley wrong? Is the Rangers Fan wrong? Or are my own eyes?
Look, I don’t like his defense, either, but I could live with one butcher in the infield, if he will occasionally make a spectacular play (see his throw on Friday night to the plate) and the rest of my infield is gold glove caliber. I could really live with him playing an outfield spot. His bat can carry you through many tough days even if his “Runners in Scoring Position” average is down this year. He can flat-out rake. If he would settle for a 4-year/$40 million dollar deal, I would sign it tomorrow morning.
But I sure get the feeling that I am on my own on this issue. I’ll be interested in your comments.
The Boys Blog tackles Witten’s place amongst TE’s …
Forsberg ready to get back to NHL …And of course, we will need hockey back first, Pete…
The Tattoo I am strongly considering for Tuesday …
Speaking of said tattoo, Did you ever wonder who had the “G” first? Grambling, Georgia, or Green Bay? …Your answer is obvious since it is on my blog…
And now, some humor:
Posted by Sturminator at 9:32 PM