It was a touch day on the injury front for the Texas Rangers, as both Shin-Soo Choo and Prince Fielder were placed on the disabled list.
The Texas Rangers have announced that both OF Shin-Soo Choo and 1B/DH Prince Fielder have been placed on the 15-day disabled list today. In a related move, Delino DeShields and Hanser Alberto have been called up to replace Choo and Fielder on the roster.
Shoo seems to be fighting some lower back inflammation, according to team officials; however, the organization expects him to be back to full health when his 15-day stint ends. “Full health” is the last term you can apply to the 33-year-old OF this season; however, as Choo had only played in 33 games this season (.260/.372/.472 with 7 HR and 17 RBI in 145 plate appearances).
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The news on Prince Fielder looks to be much worse, as the team announced that Fielder is battling herniated disk in his neck, for the second time in his last three seasons; however, this is a different disk than the one that forced him to have surgery and miss a huge part of the 2014 season. Regardless, the impending neck surgery would likely end the 32-year-old slugger’s season, and could have a real impact on the Rangers postseason run.
Fielder, who was acquired with cash from the Detroit Tigers in a 2014 trade for Ian Kinsler, has run into some awful injury luck in the past few years. His run in Texas has not gone the way the Rangers would’ve liked, as he has hit just .269 with 34 HRs and 158 RBIs since 2014. Kinsler, by the way, has tallied a .286 average with 46 HRs, 220 RBIs and 34 SBs for the Tigers during this same stretch (and has provided Gold Glove level defense at 2B).
Fielder’s issues in Texas began with a bulging disk that he tried to play through in 2014; however, in just 178 plate appearances he was slashing .247/.360/.360 with 3 HR and 16 RBI, in his first injury-shortened season. So far in 2016, the “hefty lefty” had slashed .212/.292/.334 with 8 HR and 44 RBI in 370 plate appearances, so it was easy to tell that Fielder “wasn’t right” at the plate this season.
Unfortunately, the injury woes have plagued him yet again; however, before we label him “injury plagued” let’s remember that from 2006-2013 Fielder played in all but 13 games! He also played in all 162 regular season games four out of five seasons in 2009-2013 for the Milwaukee Brewers and the Detroit Tigers. The Rangers sure hope he gets back to his “work horse” playing days, as he is still owed $96 million over the next four years from Texas; although, the Tigers have been kind enough to pay $6 million each year, from 2016-2020, in order to facilitate the Fielder-Kinsler swap.
The injury to Fielder would seemingly open the door for guys like Mitch Moreland, Jurickson Profar (who has been used at multiple positions) and perhaps even Joey Gallo to get more at-bats at 1B and/or DH. Plus, we have heard multiple rumors about the Rangers being active in trade talks, so it wouldn’t surprise anybody to see a temporary option at 1B come back to Texas in a trade.
While Prince Fielder is the bigger name of the two injured players, I would opine that Choo may be the bigger loss, due to having slashed .260/.361/.428 with 42 HR and 139 RBIs–numbers which outperform Fielders–in his three seasons in Texas. Plus, Choo is a reliable on-base weapon at the top of the lineup (team-leading .372 OBP this season), paving the way for hitters like Adrian Beltre, Rougned Odor and Ian Desmond to drive in runs.
While the Rangers have been seemingly obsessed with trading for Tampa Bay Rays starting pitchers, or with the Milwaukee Brewers for Jonathon Lucroy, they may end up having to deal Profar or Gallo (which they had previously been reluctant to do) in order to secure some more MLB-proven talent in the lineup.