I'm unique among the WFAA baseball blogging staff.
Really, I'm unique in a lot of ways, but the pertinent one is that I'm a crossover writer. I covered the Cowboys last season, and I've covered the Rangers since the inception of the Baseball Texas app (available now at your local app dispensary. You should go download it now, because it's one of the raddest apps available). Believe me, I'm not bragging about this (saying “I covered the 2013 Dallas Cowboys” is something you brag about surviving, not doing. The closest analogy I can think of is alien abduction.).
I say this because I was up close and personal with the destruction of injuries wreaked on the Cowboys last year, particularly to the defensive line. I remember thinking “This is something I'm going to describe to my grandkids one day, that I was there when the Cowboys used twenty defensive tackles by November!,” which would sound crazy because by the time I have grandkids football will probably be played by robots or Avatar-like artificial beings that are designed to be immune to concussions.
I don't believe that was particularly notable anymore; because now I'll be bragging about the 2014 Texas Rangers and their mystifying injury plague. The latest to fall victim being Mitch Moreland.
There's really no point in quantifying it. I could add up all the dollars that are on the DL, or the WAR lost, or the games lost, or construct a functional team out of the injured players, but it feels pointless. I once got sucked into a back-and-forth with a former major league pitcher on twitter about the value of sabremetrics (particularly the value of WPA and the derivatives of such) and his sign-off was 'Why do I need a stat to tell me what is obvious and right in front of me?' It would just be beating a horse that already has some kind of back injury that's going to keep it out for the two months.
Speaking of which, how is Rangers Captain staying on two legs? Somehow three-fifths of the projected Opening Day rotation and the entire right side of the infield is out but Captain and Knoxie are still going strong.
There's no real answer on the farm, either. Jim Adduci might be able to come back and plug in, but that's expecting a lot of a 29-year-old with 47 MLB plate appearances, aside from the fact that it's assuming his hand is back to functional. Likewise, vets like Brent Lillibridge or Adam Rosales could come up. Lillibridge has a career .599 OPS, which makes Rosales’s .622 look... well, it still looks like a utility man's OPS, to be honest with you, not a first baseman's.
Maybe Michael Choice can plug in there. Choice has never played first, though, and Ron Washington's claim to Hollywood fame is stating how incredibly difficult playing first is. And he was saying that to Chris Pratt, and Chris Pratt played a Navy SEAL.
The scary thing is, behind Lillibridge and Rosales and Aducci, the cupboard is even more bare. Brett Nicholas isn't surviving the Pacific Coast League (.695 OPS in 208 plate appearances to date). J.P. Arencibia could possibly come up and reconfigure the catching situation to allow one of him, Chirinos, or Gimenez to play first; but Arencibia was very bad earlier in the year and catcher seems to finally have settled with the two men handling it right now. Ryan Rua is a name, from Frisco (who may or may not be on his way to Round Rock in the next day or so). He might have the highest ceiling of the options listed yet (which is probably that of a right-handed four-corner guy, or maybe a second-division starter at third). I don't think anyone in the organization would tell you Rua's ready to face MLB pitching with any kind of success, though; even success defined as a Lillibridgian .599 OPS. Other options would be minor league vet Jake Smolinski (357 AAA plate appearances, .890 OPS in Frisco this season) or Tomas Telis (a catcher by trade, but a switch-hitter with a possible future as a second-line MLB catcher).
There's an elephant in the room, and I mean that in an almost literal sense, as giant Joey Gallo was promoted to Frisco almost immediately following the announcement of the Moreland injury. Undoubtedly, there will be people who hear about his 21 home runs this season or the fact that he hits as many home runs as he does singles or the fact that he's 6'5'' and still probably growing and look at the sizable hole at first base and deduct that the twenty-year-old Gallo should get the call to fill the spot.
I shouldn't have to enumerate why that's a bad idea, and I'm sure others will step up and devote words to doing just that. I'll preach the Gospel of Gallo to anyone who will listen, but the key lesson to take away from it is patience.
The thing about unprecedented situations is there's rarely an easy solution, and this injury thing feels pretty unprecedented; even after Jerry Jones made weekly trips to day labor centers every Monday last fall to find a one-tech or a seven-tech. The best solution is just going to be the least terrible solution. Welcome to the 2014 Texas Rangers.
You can witness Joseph Ursery have occasional back-and-forths with current and former Major Leaguers on twitter every day by following him via @thejoeursery. Not that he talks to major leaguers every day; it's more that he's on there almost every day, talking Rangers, minor leagues, Game of Thrones, and jokes about the Spin Doctors.