Amid all the buzz from the segment of the Progressive Field crowd backing Ohioans Derek Holland, Ryan Rua and Jared Hoying, I proposed the following question: Who is the greatest person — not player — ever from Ohio?
I went with Ulysses S. Grant, the great Civil War general and the 18th U.S. president who, according to one of his biographers, wasn’t the drinker he has been cast to be. Another reporter went with Thomas Edison. Yet another went with John Glenn.
That’s a pretty solid threesome. The great Ohioans, not the reporters.
Eight Ohioans have been president, and the natives here were quick to point out that one of them was Warren G. Harding, who is probably the most corrupt president in U.S. history. Two of the shortest serving presidents were also from Ohio, William Henry Harrison and James Garfield.
Garfield, who was the second president to be assassinated, was replaced by Chester A. Arthur, for whom the middle school in Die Hard: With a Vengeance is named.
John McClane, of course, is the greatest New Yorker ever, though Donald Trump would disagree.
Anyhoo, the Ohio guys who played Monday for the Texas Rangers had a pretty good Memorial Day.
Here’s some Rangers Reaction from a 9-2 holiday victory over the Cleveland Indians.
1. Ian Desmond has arguably been the Rangers’ best player this season, playing so well at a completely new position that center fielder Delino DeShields was sent to Triple A Round Rock and hitting so well after a miserable start that only Nomar Mazara has a better batting average among lineup regulars.
And it’s close after he homered and doubled in his first two at-bats Monday. Mazara later added a three-run homer, another monster shot.
Based on two months of evidence, the Rangers would be crazy to at least not try to re-sign Desmond, who can be a free agent after the season. At this rate he won’t come cheap and won’t want to miss out after missing out in free agency last off-season.
It won’t be easy for the Rangers to pull off, either. The big contracts of Prince Fielder, Shin-Soo Choo and Elvis Andrus continue to be obstacles when it comes to how much money the Rangers will have in free agency, and the Rangers probably want to take a shot at extending Yu Darvish if all goes well in his comeback season from Tommy John surgery.
That won’t be cheap, even for a 30-year-old coming off Tommy John surgery.
It’s not like the cupboard is bare in center field, with Delino DeShields and prospect Lewis Brinson. Desmond, though, has made an impression from the second he set foot in the spring training clubhouse and is really making an impression as arguably the Rangers’ best player this season.
Maybe the Rangers can sneak a half-cent tax hike onto the ballot in November.
2. Does anyone really, seriously want Derek Holland to lose his rotation spot?
His ERA continues to be high at 4.78, and entering Monday he had lost three straight decisions before pulling his record back to .500 at 4-4. But those who want to banish him to the bullpen in favor of A.J. Griffin or Cesar Ramos need to examine the big picture.
It’s a nice picture, except that it was photo-bombed earlier this month by that 11-run outing at Toronto. Take away that start, and Holland’s ERA is 3.06 after allowing one run in six innings Monday. He has six of the Rangers’ 34 quality starts.
The Rangers aren’t complaining.
Holland said that he was taught when coming up through the minors that a starter is going to have 10 starts with his best stuff, 10 with so-so stuff and 10 with nothing. The key is learning how to survive without his best stuff.
Looking at his game-by-game stats and knowing that Holland is a perfectionist, he’d probably say that he hasn’t had his best stuff yet this season. Maybe the best yet to come.
3. A question posed on the Twitter asked about the likelihood that Jurickson Profar stays on the roster when Rougned Odor gets out of baseball jail and Hanser Alberto is optioned to Triple A.
That doesn’t seem too likely to me for a few reasons.
Profar missed all of 2014 and 2015 and probably around 1,100 at-bats. Including his time at Round Rock this season, he’s still shy of 200 at-bats. He still needs to play every day and gain the experiences he missed while dealing with a shoulder injury.
Is he a better hitter than Alberto? Yes. Is he a better fielder? No. Is he a more versatile defensive player? No.
Remember how Profar sputtered in 2013 as a super utility player? He would just be a utility player if he stayed on the roster.
Profar is in a tough spot, an MLB-caliber player whose path to the majors is blocked by a high-paid veteran and a quick-to-the-punch future All-Star.
The Rangers are in a good spot, with a tradeable commodity who will play every day in the majors some day soon, possibly for them. If not, quality depth, as was hammered home in 2014, is a wonderful thing.