At least Carlos Tocci is guaranteed of having a highlight from his rookie season.
Tocci, the Rule 5 pick who is clogging the Texas Rangers’ bench, recorded two outs as a pitcher Monday night in the eighth inning of a 15-3 loss. He’s an outfielder.
The Venezuelan is batting .105 this season, though he collected his first career extra-base hit (a triple) Saturday. Things are looking up for him.
Of course, things aren’t looking up for the Rangers or Cole Hamels.
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Here’s some Rangers Reaction from a 15-3 loss to the Oakland A’s.
1. Rangers Reaction has a sense of humor, believe it or not, and is under the impression that all the tweets suggesting Hamels is tanking to avoid a trade — or the tweets flat accusing him of a tank job — are all in good fun.
Hamels knows what he has accomplished in his career and believes he is still capable of pitching that way. It drives him crazy when he spits the bit like he has in his past five starts, and he is driven to figure it out.
Now, it is true that he doesn’t want to be traded. He has said that. But I can’t possibly imagine that he would sacrifice his legacy so that he could spend two more months with a team that is headed nowhere.
Hamels also has no intention of retiring after this season. Like everyone else who is staring at free agency (the Rangers hold or a team that acquires him will hold a $20 million club option for 2019 with a $6 million buyout), Hamels doesn’t want to hit the market coming off a poor season.
This stretch is, well, as bad as it’s been for him.
“This is the probably the worst of my career so far,” he said. “It’s the tough part about baseball. You don’t let it define you. You have to learn from it. You try to discover it quickly. Unfortunately, it’s been going a little bit longer than I had anticipated.
“What I’m doing capable of being able to do out there is not showing. It’s a serious disappointment, and the frustration can kind of boil over a bit, especially when it carries over into multiple outings.”
Hamels is 1-3 with a 10.23 ERA over his past five starts. He said that he’s allowed a season’s worth of runs during the stretch.
And he hates it, even if it means he won’t be traded.
The guy is a competitor, even if he doesn’t look like the same competitor he once was.
2. Hamels wasn’t the only left-hander to struggle, as Matt Moore followed with 1 2/3 miserable innings (six runs) and Alex Claudio was also not very good (two runs, two outs).
With the Rangers’ 40-man roster full, with three pitchers likely to return this season from the 60-day disabled list, and with the possibility that Triple A outfielder Scott Heineman will be added to the 40-man for a September call-up, something is going to have to give.
Something will really have to give if the Rangers also promote left-handers C.D. Pelham and Jeffrey Springs, relievers who will be exposed to the Rule 5 draft if not added by November. Heineman falls into the same category.
Moore might not make it Game 162 if the Rangers need room for those young players later in the season.
Can they find 40-man spots without cutting ties with him? Sure. They could trade Hamels for one, Keone Kela for another and Jake Diekman for a third, assuming none of the players coming in return are on the 40-man roster at time of the trades.
The Rangers could call up catcher Jose Trevino, who is out for the season after surgery last week on his left/non-throwing shoulder, and place him on the 60-day DL for yet another spot.
There are probably a couple players on the 40-man who probably aren’t as big a piece of the future as the potential September call-ups.
And then there’s this: Moore could, you know, start pitching better.
It’s tough for him to be the long man after starting his entire career. Work is spotty, which makes keeping everything sharp.
In fairness to him, he had been better until his disaster against the A’s, and he was back in the conversation for joining the starting rotation again.
But a numbers crunch is coming, and it’s probably in his best interests to get going.
3. A break in the action for some good news: Elvis Andrus hit his first home run since being activated from the disabled list, and the two-run shot registered as the 1,500th hit for the shortstop.
Andrus has a five-game hitting streak that has lifted his average to .262 after it cratered at .247. That’s a far cry from his .302 in 2016 and .297 in 2017, but he didn’t miss 59 games in either of those seasons because of a broken right arm.
He appears to have more timing at the plate than at any time since he came off the DL on June 18. As a result, he is driving the ball more.
It wasn’t just his home run that was driven Monday. Andrus flied out to deep center field in his first at-bat and roped some line drives foul in his third at-bat.
More good news: Right-hander Chris Martin (knee) could be on a rehab assignment this weekend. He threw a bullpen session Monday for the second straight day and throw live batting practice Thursday.
Should he rehab with Triple A Round Rock, he will get to meet Chris Rowley, who was received on a waiver claim from Toronto. Rowley, 27, became the first Army graduate to pitch in the majors last season. He has spent almost all of this season at Triple A Buffalo, where he posted a 3.30 ERA in 17 starts.
Maybe he’ll be in the Rangers rotation soon. What could it hurt?