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I don’t know what the Rangers are going to do with Joey Gallo. Eventually (we hope), Adrian Beltre and Josh Hamilton will be ready to return from injury. So, where does that leave Gallo?

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First of all, this is not a problem, just a puzzle. A team has never lost because they have too many good options.

Second of all, I’m a firm believe that these things sort themselves out, be it because of injury or results.

Third of all, I’m not about to answer anything definitively.

But, for a second, let’s assume it doesn’t sort itself out and the Rangers are left with decisions to make. What can they do?

Well, they can always send Joey Gallo down to the minors. Who knows how well he will be hitting when the time comes to make the decision, but right now he has an OPS near 1.000 and it seems hard to justify a team trying to win sending down a guy contributing at that level. With that said, it also makes no sense to keep him up if you can’t get him regular at-bats. I think they can.

Who are the pieces a part of this puzzle?

Joey Gallo, Josh Hamilton, Delino DeShields, Ryan Rua, Leonys Martin, Shin-Soo Choo, and Adrian Beltre.

The first step in solving this puzzle is to break from the thought that a player playing every single day is a good thing. I’ve spoken to several baseball people–managers, coaches, front office executives–and almost all of them agree that a player playing 162 games is just not a good thing anymore. Especially for a team that plans on playing beyond September, or, even a team that plans on playing big games in September.

While there isn’t a scientific optimal number, I’ve had those same people tell me that, in an ideal world, these guys play around 145-150 games, using the others as extra days of rest to stay fresh for the grind that is a baseball schedule. There’s a reason why many believe that Major League Baseball might actually shorten their season and that is because of that grind.

So, with that said, if a team has capable depth, why not use it? For first baseman and designated hitters, maybe this doesn’t apply as much because those positions aren’t as physically taxing as others, but if the players in those roles have an injury history (Mitch Moreland) or are coming off a significant injury (Prince Fielder), why not throw them in the mix, too?

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This applies especially to older players (Adrian Beltre) and outfielders, and even more so for both (Josh Hamilton).

At the end of the day, if you have the depth–which the Rangers do–use it. Keep these guys fresh. Especially when these guys include…

Mitch Moreland–history of injuries
Prince Fielder–coming off a major injury
Adrian Beltre–mid 30s.
Josh Hamilton–fragile, fragile, fragile
Ryan Rua–coming off a two-month injury
Delino DeShields–hamstring issue for a guy who runs is not the best.
Leonys Martin–centerfield is the most taxing non-catcher position on the body
Everyone–the Texas heat can wear you down, same with their ridiculous AL West travel.

I would love to live in a world where Adrian Beltre can play everyday and be as healthy in September as he was in May and in June. But that just doesn’t exist. Not for a guy in his mid-30s. And, from what I’ve learned from medical staff members of baseball teams, not even for guys in their mid-20s.

There’s just no reason why these guys need to play seven games in a week. And for some, like Hamilton, they don’t even need to play six.

I want these guys fresh in August and September.

Now, with that said, let’s ride the hot hand. If a guy has a hitting streak, keep him in the lineup. But, on the same merit, let’s give a struggling hitter an extra day.

I also acknowledge that explaining to Adrian Beltre that he’s better off playing six of every seven games might be a challenge.

The Rangers don’t need to commit to a decision, nor do fans. Josh Hamilton is still a couple weeks away and Adrian Beltre might not return until after the All-Star Break. Who knows about DeShields. Hamstrings are tricky. And, the reality is, someone else might get hurt along the way. Who knows?

My point in this to start or continue the discussion about guys playing everyday. It doesn’t need to happen. I don’t want a guy playing 162. I’d love for guys to play at a rate proportional to 145.

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