Texas Rangers

Rangers Reaction tries to explain why Willie Calhoun was passed over yet again

Jake Diekman struggled in the eighth inning Tuesday, surrendering the Rangers' lead in a 3-2 loss. Manager Jeff Banister took the blame for how he managed the bullpen.
Jake Diekman struggled in the eighth inning Tuesday, surrendering the Rangers' lead in a 3-2 loss. Manager Jeff Banister took the blame for how he managed the bullpen. mfaulkner@star-telegram.com

The biggest day of the year for the Do It for Durrett Foundation has arrived.

If you haven't read the story about the family receiving the annual $50,000 donation, you really must.

Tickets for DIFD Turns 5 are no longer available, but there is still a way to help support the foundation Wednesday at Globe Life Park.

Simply buy a ticket to the finale between the Texas Rangers and San Diego Padres, head to the Hyundai Club in center field, and take a shot at some of the 38 lots available in the silent auction.

The best item? The autographed Willie Mays jersey, courtesy of longtime DIFD supporter Derek Holland.

But there won't be a stink out there, and after winning it, you'll have a sweet souvenir and the sweeter sensation of helping families who are affected by the sudden loss of a parent.

Stefan Stevenson will be covering the game for the Star-Telegram while I sell, sell, sell.

DIFD thanks you in advance for supporting the cause.

Here's some Rangers Reaction from Tuesday's 3-2 loss.

1. Ryan Rua returned to the Rangers for his fifth stint with them this season, and in a week, he will likely be optioned off their roster for the fifth time.

A week is when Ronald Guzman can come off the seven-day concussion list, where he landed Tuesday after taking a knee to the head Monday night. The Rangers wanted to wait to see whether he could pass out of the MLB concussion protocol, but they also didn't have the luxury of waiting on him with Joey Gallo and Nomar Mazara playing on gimpy left hamstrings.

And the question after the move was made, as has been the case the past couple of times Rua was recalled, was, "Where's Willie Calhoun?"

He was at Triple A Round Rock, going 1 for 4 with a two-run double in a 3-2 victory as the Express' designated hitter. After a nice stretch earlier this month, Calhoun is batting .225 over his past 10 games and hasn't hit any of his six homers.

But point taken. Calhoun has more of a future with the Rangers than Rua and would seem to fit nicely into the Rangers' plan of focusing on development.

Manager Jeff Banister pointed out that the Rangers need versatility off their bench, and Rua can play first base, left field and center field. Calhoun can't.

Banister then closed his answer to the why-not-Calhoun question by noting that it's only seven days.

The time before that, it was only a couple of days. Same with the time before that.

Bringing up Calhoun for only a few days is not helping him develop. That's the reason Rua keeps getting the nod.

(Here's a better question: Why do the Rangers continue to complicate matters by keeping Carlos Tocci on the active roster? I know the Rule 5 implications, but it would be an upset if he weren't to make it through waivers and if the Philadelphia Phillies wouldn't work out a trade so the Rangers could keep him.)

If something were to happen that would give Calhoun extended playing time, like an injury to Gallo or a trade of Shin-Soo Choo, he would be up in a flash. Until something like that happens, which no one should be rooting for, Calhoun is going to keep playing every day at Triple A.

With the Rangers focusing on development, that's better for him than bringing him up to sit on the bench.

2. Development or not, the Rangers, as Herm Edwards would say, play to win the game. On Tuesday, their manager admitted that his bullpen decisions in the eighth inning might not have allowed them to do that.

The Rangers were up 2-0 in the eighth, riding solo homers from Rougned Odor and Robinson Chirinos, when Jake Diekman entered and quickly issued a leadoff walk to Travis Jankowski.

Diekman wanted that back.

"Yeah, and then all the crappy pitches after it," he said.

Manual Margot popped out, though it took him 13 pitches to do so. It was pretty clear Diekman didn't have his good slider to put hitters away.

The next pitch was a hanging slider that Eric Hosmer knocked for a single.

Only at that point did Jose Leclerc begin to warm. By the time he was brought into the game, the Padres had scored three times.

Banister explained things thusly (wait for it):

"There were a couple guys out there I wanted to stay away from, Leclerc being one of them, Martin being another one. Usage with Leclerc and Chris Martin coming back from the knee. ... We were willing to turn it over to a guy that had been extremely effective for us. The inning set up well for him, and there are times that it just doesn't happen. If I go get Deke there for Leclerc, we're probably still playing. That's on me."

3. The Padres' rally gave Choo one last chance to extend his on-base streak to 39 games after going hitless in his first four at-bats. The last of those four came in the seven with the Rangers up 2-0.

He took advantage of his ninth-inning at-bat, delivering a single just over the shortstop. In addition to having the fourth-longest single-season on-base streak in club history, he also has a 10-game hitting streak.

Choo, though, wishes the Rangers had a two-game winning streak.

"After the fourth at-bat, I just wanted to finish a nice clean ballgame and win," he said.

But the extra chance wasn't lost on him. His faith in the baseball gods has been restored, but even then he still had to execute against the reliever who might be the hottest bullpen commodity on the trade market, left-hander Brad Hand.

Once Choo got ahead 2-0 in the count, he said that he was looking for one pitch — a slider. That's what Hand threw after getting back in the count at 2-2, and Choo deposited it onto the outfield grass.

Folks continue to wonder whether Choo has turned himself into a trade candidate. He would make most contenders' lineups better, but his contract situation (around $52 million through 2020) is nearly unmovable without the Rangers eating a significant portion of it.

Even then, there might not be enough contenders with the money to make a deal.

Besides, it's not like Choo is a bad player. Not just anybody can reach in 39 straight games, and a team in development mode needs veterans around to help the young players learn how to play the right way and how to be professionals.

That's one reason the Rangers might try to hold Adrian Beltre, though the belief is a team will come along and try to knock their socks off.

Maybe that will happen with Choo, as long as the Rangers are motivated enough to gobble up a big chunk of what's left on this contract.

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