August 16, 2013, marked the 36th anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death. While many of us were not alive to experience his impact on society, we tend to remember young Elvis and fat Elvis. The 2013 Rangers have both and this is a time to reflect.
His smile and the way he moves his hips sends young female fans into a tizzy. Whether he flashes leather or ropes a double into the gap, it’s not sexy, it’s pornographic. Coming off his best offensive season of his young career, Andrus signed an eight-year, $120 million contract extension. Before his 16-game hitting streak in July, Elvis was hitting .242/.300/.280 on the season. In Twitterverse, there were murmurs of him not living up to his contract and Wash even kicked him down the batting order.
“It’s going to happen; that’s baseball,” Andrus said back in April. “The offense will come through. We just have to worry about winning games right now.”
“He’s been struggling for quite a while,” Washington said in early July when he dropped Elvis to eighth in order. “I just want to take a little pressure off him.”
Elvis recognized that he was pulling the ball too much during his slump…
“I’m not the guy that goes deep in the stands,” Andrus said. “I just need to put a good swing on it. When you see me hit that many ground balls, especially to third base, shortstop, something is wrong.”
Since July 19, Andrus is hitting .296/.377/.389 with 12 stolen bases during this 28-game stretch. The Rangers are 17-11 during this time and reclaimed the division lead. Despite his early season struggles, he is the fourth most valuable position player (2.2 rWAR) on the team. Elvis has us “All Shook Up” with his recent play.
The Rangers’ Fat Elvis is not abusing pain medication or is an expert in karate, but he does have significant man boobs and his 2013 season is polar opposite to Andrus.
“If I do decide to retire my next move is going to be to enroll at Rice and to be a student assistant for the baseball team,” Berkman said. “My knee is not 100 percent, nor do I think it ever will be, barring some sort of a pretty intense program that can only be undertaken in the offseason.”
“Like I told the (St. Louis) Post-Dispatch, if you put a gun to my head today and asked me what I was going to do ‘I’d say I’m not going to play anymore’, but certainly I deserve the right to change my mind on that.”
Berkman began the season hitting .329/.452/.487 through May 1 helping the Rangers to a 17-10 record and first place in the AL West. From May 2 until his last game played (ever?) on July 6, he hit .220/.307/.327 with only 21 walks in 43 games (18 in previous 22 games).
There is talk of Berkman coming back once rosters are expanded on September 1, but this is what he had to say about his situation a few days ago:
“I did some things I have to do if I’m going to be a positive piece for the team,” Berkman said. “But only some of them. There are concerns about competing at the level I think I am capable of. If I can’t do that, I’m not sure, I can be a positive piece for the team. There is no doubt I can compete. I just don’t know about the level.”
He sounds more like the guy the Rangers’ brass had to coax out of retirement this past offseason. If Berkman was to come back, Wash loses his flexibility with resting his infielders several days a week. Profar has been able to get consistent playing time over the last several weeks and though it has not led to offensive success for the kid (.236/.288/.309 in August), he provides solid defense at third, short and second base. Tying up the DH spot for the month of September to a guy who hasn’t contributed since early in the season is not something the Rangers need to do.
So much like Presley’s career, let’s remember young Elvis on your 2013 Rangers ballclub and not the other one. While Andrus’ continues to “Love Me Tender,” Berkman sends me to “Heartbreak Hotel.”