It doesn't happen very often, but every once in a while, you'll write a post advocating something in particular (say, a transaction, a specific course of action by a player or coach, or the death of #cookietalk), and it will almost immediately come about, and you'll look like a genius. Such, I suppose, is the case right now, as word filtered from the Twittersphere a few minutes after last night's dramatic extra-innings finish that the Rangers had purchased the contract of Mike Olt from Double-A Frisco, and had cleared space for him on the 25- and 40-man rosters by optioning Brandon Snyder to Triple-A Round Rock and placing Colby Lewis on the 60-day disabled list, respectively.
I feel like this was a roster move that you could kind of see coming, and, with that being the case, I'm not exactly floored by Olt getting the call to the majors ... but then I look at it again and think, yeah, I actually am a little bit floored. I've been increasingly vocal in pining for a reduction in Michael Young's role and playing time on this team (as you would figure to be the case when you're talking about one of the very worst-performing players in baseball), and I was hoping that the Rangers' meritocratic approach in handling Yorvit Torrealba and Roy Oswalt would presage such a role reduction in the very near future, but I hadn't quite convinced myself that they would actually pull the trigger on it.
And while the organization hasn't come right out and stated that Young will lose any sort of playing time to Olt, you have to figure that will end up being at least a minor component of the fallout stemming from the Olt promotion. I don't think the Rangers are initiating Olt's service time clock and bringing him up to the majors just so that he can function as a Brandon Snyder replacement -- that is, as somebody who hardly ever plays, who sees 20-30 plate appearances per month. I can't imagine that they would make this move if that was his intended role. Olt isn't being called up so that he can ride the pine 80-plus percent of the time. Olt is being called up so that he can play. He's going to play. The specifics of the plan for Olt haven't been clarified yet, but he's going to play.
I already laid out my own proposal yesterday afternoon on how you can distribute the playing time so that Olt plays at least 50-55 percent of the time, and hopefully the real-life distribution ends up approximating my proposed distribution by the time we're closing in on the end of the regular season. With that said, though, I do suspect that the number will be closer to 30-40 percent in the shorter run, with more at-bats and a expanded opportunity to inflict offensive damage following closely behind if he should end up performing well from the outset of his major league run.
And after thinking on it a little more, I don't believe it's very realistic to expect that Young will immediately lose one out of every three plate appearances to Olt. I'd like to see that happen at some point, and perhaps it actually will happen if Young continues to stumble around helplessly in the low-to-mid-.600 OPS jungle down the stretch, but I'll be shocked if that ends up transpiring right away. Regardless, though, it's time. Olt is here, he's hungry, he's talented enough to make this work, and if you're an underperforming and/or slumping regular, the pressure is on. It's time to either ride or die.