Rangers Near A Deal With OF Justin Ruggiano
The Rangers are reportedly close to signing a right-handed outfield bat – but not a name that most of you wanted, know, or dreamt of.
A former Texas A&M Aggie, Justin Ruggiano is believed to be the next member of your Texas Rangers. Ruggiano, a seven year MLB veteran, split time last season between the Seattle Mariners and the LA Dodgers. Ruggiano is expected to split time in left-field with Josh Hamilton.
While Ruggiano may not be the sexy name that everyone was hoping for, when you understand what Jon Daniels is going for, you can see why this move makes sense and why this move will work well for the Rangers. Ruggiano can be a poor mans Mike Napoli.
Ruggiano had a .948 OPS vs left handed pitching in 92 at bats last year. He slugged five of his six home runs, six of his eight doubles and had 11 of his 15 RBI vs left handed pitching in 2015. Combine those numbers with Hamilton’s numbers against right handed pitching, and you have yourself a very nice platoon option in left field on the (very) cheap.
Ruggiano’s best year came in 2012 when he appeared in 91 games and hit .313 with a .909 OPS, 13 home runs and 23 doubles. He also had a 1.129 OPS vs left handed pitching and posted a 2.4 WAR. He plugs in well as a platoon player. The kind of platoon player that JD loves to pair with Josh Hamilton – who the Rangers are playing approximately $0 this season.
Ruggiano and Hamilton are far cheaper than someone like Jason Heyward who is slated to make at or above $200M and could very well outperform Heyward too. So while the names may not be impressive, the money and production is going to work out in the Ranges favor.
This is exactly what would have happened had the Rangers signed Napoli. The OF experiment would have been grueling and more than likely downright terrible so this move at least makes the defense acceptable.
This is going to be another Jon Daniels special that, by the end of the year, everyone will be praising him for while criticizing him now.