What if some enterprising reporter asked Arte Moreno, "What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul?" Have you ever thought about it?
● We're deep into that waning stage of the regular season where the proximity of the playoffs tends to heighten public sensitivity towards outcomes that normally wouldn't move the needle all that much, and now, after much clamoring for Martin Perez to get the start over Scott Feldman last night, we have the former reeling from a pretty underwhelming effort in a pitchers' ballpark against a subpar offense, and the latter coming off a strong long-relief effort that helped Texas stay in the game until the late innings. I imagine that the Rangers will be taking at least one of the two to war in the ALDS as a long-relief security blanket, and it was getting a bit easier to exclude Feldman from the first-round roster mix after Seattle KO'd him a week ago ... but, yeah, things change quickly late in the season, and, at this point, I think you can construct a reasonable case in favor of either of them.
● Not a real good look from Michael Young last night, who did drop a single in a 1-for-4 effort but also struggled from a WPA standpoint -- due in large part to a couple of GIDPs -- and endured what felt like one of his worst nights in the field in a long time, as Adrian Beltre's absence from the lineup prompted Ron Washington to pencil Young's name in at the hot corner. That's the thing about playing Young at a middle-infield position or at third base: some nights, it won't matter one whit because he won't see a single tough defensive chance and he'll handle his responsibilities with aplomb and ease, and some nights it'll all go horribly wrong.
Last night didn't irk me quite as much as it probably should have because (a) I've been at a state of peace with Young's defense for a while now and (b) Young, in a perfect world, shouldn't have to play 2B/3B/SS in the post-season at all, but I do wonder about the state of Beltre's overall well-being, and with Mike Olt's status going forward being a major question mark, I imagine that we'll be getting more Young at third base if Beltre should end up missing any additional time in October. I am not looking forward to that possibility, and if that should come to pass and Beltre simply can't warrior himself into the starting lineup on a given night, you hope it happens on a night where Yu Darvish is on the bump and he can minimize the workload for his defense by missing lots of bats.
● On the opposite end of last night's offensive spectrum, we had David Murphy (3-for-4, HR) churning out the highest WPA (+.385) of any player who participated in last night's game, and after having never posted a single major league season above 2.0 fWAR, he's now sitting at four wins above replacement for the first time in his major league career. This is hardly the first time a fourth/fifth-outfielder type for the Rangers has experienced a huge offensive surge around that age 29-31 window, and I'm sure it won't be the last; with that in mind, though, I don't think the Rangers are going to view his 132 wRC+ this year as his new offensive baseline and throw a multi-year deal at him on that basis. I love what Murphy's giving this club in 2012; I'm just skeptical about how long it can last.
● Alexi Ogando got jacked on a high 3-2 slider by Miguel Olivo of all people (yes, he of the sub-.600 OPS) to hammer home the final nail in the Rangers' coffin last night, and in light of his recent biceps tightness and difficulties on the bump (three 'meltdowns' in his last five appearances), there's a resurgence of speculation about what, exactly, Ogando's role is going to be in the post-season, and whether he'll even be trusted ahead of Koji Uehara in October. On the one hand, Ogando's struggles become even more disconcerting when you consider that Mike Adams has been very iffy of late and down this season on the whole; on the other hand, though, Uehara possibly jumping ahead of Ogando isn't such an insult to Ogando, because Uehara's been sensational this year, and Joe Nathan and Robbie Ross are both about as good right now as you could reasonably expect them to be in the month of September.
That's five relievers with relief skill sets that range between very good and elite, and you have three of them in good shape, one in somewhat iffy shape (Adams), and one in iffier shape (Ogando). Yeah, it'd be great if all five were humming along at maximum effectiveness right now, but that's never a realistic hope or expectation to cling to. The late-game bullet chamber could be in better shape, but I just can't bring myself to fret too much about the kind of shape that it's in right now.
Time -- or, more specifically, time to write, and not just write, but write what I want to write -- is a difficult commodity to come by these days, and you never really appreciate its scarcity until time begins to run short on you. There's also something to that old axiom about how "absence makes the heart grow fonder," because my urge to watch this team and write things about this team is expanding even as the time for me to do so dries up.
And, in the interest of that, I wanted to drop a few words on something that's been gnawing at me lately.
Last September, I made it a point to talk about just how much fun the 2011 Rangers had been to watch (of course, there may have been some recency bias creeping into that assessment, given that they had just capped their 96-win campaign with a torrid 14-2 run to close out the season), how silly it was to claim that finger-pointing would ensue if they fell short of the ultimate prize, how we really couldn't ask for anything more than every man on that roster playing their hearts out for their manager, and how I was going to be at peace with that team regardless of what the post-season outcome looked like, because that would go down "as one of the very most special Rangers teams you ever had the privilege of watching ... [and] we're not always going to be this lucky."
Well, some of that proved true, and some of that didn't. They did fall short of the ultimate prize, and finger-pointing did ensue (primarily at Nelson Cruz, Neftali Feliz, and Darren Oliver, all of whom sadly became a part of "one more strike" lore), and as for being at peace even after that outcome, yeah, I'm not sure how many people actually managed to achieve such a state of mind after such a tormenting finish to a final seven-game series that all but belonged to Texas. And now the thing I'm wondering about is how we're going to reconcile this emergent "Texas has to win it all this year" line of thought with the likelihood that the Rangers won't win it all this year.
There are two things relating to that which have particularly stuck with me. First, there is the post-season probabilities table at PlayoffStatus.com, which lacks transparency as far as its methodology, but does offer results which conform with my rough expectations ... and over there, you'll find that no team in baseball is currently projected as having a better than 19 percent chance of winning the World Series. The Rangers are second in baseball, at 16 percent. That number will naturally tick upwards a bit as the month progresses and the hangers-on at the fringes of the playoff races drop out and as the wild-card playoffs are played to completion, but those numbers do strike me as just about right for where the Rangers and the rest of the league are at this point in time.
And if you're thinking that that number is far too low for a team that's 26 games over .500 in early September, the other thing that has gnawed at me is this bit from Baseball Prospectus's Russell Carleton, in which he elucidated just how difficult it really is for the best team in the league in any given year to actually win the World Series:
I don't know if this is sabermetric thinking or just two minutes of critical thinking aided by a calculator (same thing?), but let's assume that there was a team that was so good that if they played a billion games against other playoff teams (i.e., those that are actually good), they would win 60 percent of their games. On the 162-game scale, that would be 97-65... again on a schedule entirely devoid of cellar dwellars and mid-packers. This would rank as one of the greatest teams in major-league history.
Using a simple binomial function, in a five-game series, our amazing team has a 68 percent chance of winning the first best-of-five round, and a 71 percent chance of winning the best-of-seven LCS, and then the best-of-seven World Series. This means that our ridiculously good team has a 34 percent chance of winning all three rounds... better than any one of the other teams, but not better than all of the rest combined. But let's flip it around the other way. Two-thirds of the time, in a field containing a downright amazing team, some team that is not the best will come through to win the trophy.
If there's something that sabermetrics has shown us, it's that over small sample sizes (like, say, five games), there's a lot of luck involved. It's an odd irony that in a country where success is presumed to be the result of hard work (and hardly of luck) that its national pastime should be so affected by the ever-tinkering hand of chance. It's un-American not to conflate the result (winning) with the input (being the best team). But for all the little edges that sabermetrics has granted those who embrace it, there's another lesson that's true, but oh-so-hard to swallow: Sometmes you do everything right, and the ball doesn't bounce your way.
And that, of course, is the reality that a superteam, or a team capable of destroying other teams with playoff-caliber quantums of talent, faces -- a one-in-three proposition of winning it all. The Rangers are very good, but they're not a superteam on this level, and this is where it all becomes really difficult for me to work through. If nothing less than a world championship will suffice this year for you, then you're far likelier than not to be consumed by bitter disappointment sometime next month, and/or to regard another season where the Rangers won 95-96 games as a failure. Are you prepared to accept that? Or can you possibly achieve a state of peace about what this team does in October, be it sink or swim? Is that even possible after the heartbreak of last year?
I don't know. The realization that this team could easily be blown out of the post-season tournament by the whims of luck and small sample size is sickening to say the least, but it's the reality of the Rangers' current position. They could do everything right the rest of the way, they could win 96-plus games, they could storm into the post-season with a white-hot aura about them ... and, much like last year and the year before that, they could fall short again.
That, I think, is why it's such a bad idea to go into the post-season with a nasty leftover taste in your mouth and with a "they have to win or ... or ... or ELSE!" mindset consuming your baseball fandom. It is, objectively speaking, a terrible idea, because there's a great chance that you, as a fan, will fail to get that which you covet so deeply, and that you'll dismiss what was otherwise a great season as a huge disappointment because your team didn't emerge victorious from the post-season gauntlet. That strikes me as a really bleak way of looking at things.
But for many Rangers fans, that's going to be the only way of looking at things this year ... and for everyone else, it's going to be a lot tougher to swallow another year without a championship if they don't catch all of the right breaks.
Today, we pour one out for the greatness that is Michael Clarke Duncan, celebrate the continued ascendance of one of our own, and revel just a bit more in the fact that baseball in North Texas is no longer rendered irrelevant by the opening kickoff of the Cowboys' regular season:
● I've expended vast quantities of virtual ink in the last 30 days writing about Yu Darvish, the steady deterioration of his performance from good (before the All-Star break) to wobbly (coming out of the All-Star break) to just downright cruddy (late July through early-mid August), and the dawning realization that he might not be able to get the cart fully back on the tracks in 2012, much less break through to the next level of major league success ... and, you know, we get how small samples work. We know better than to assign an undue amount of predictive value to short-run success. And, as such, we know that it's a bad idea to look at what Darvish has done lately and boldly declare "yeah, the ace has arrived."
But good grief. That's a cumulative pitching line over his last three starts (at Toronto, versus Tampa Bay, and at Kansas City) that reads 21.0 IP, 6 R/ER, 12 H, 26 K, 4 BB, and 1 HR, a period during which he has looked and acted and pitched like the legitimate front-line pitcher that the Rangers thought they were getting, and the exclamation point on his recent stretch of dominance was appended yesterday when he carved through the first 17 Royals he faced without hesitation, with Royals batter No. 18 -- Johnny Giavotella -- working his way back from a 1-2 hole to a 3-2 count, and then somehow laying off a filthy 84 mph slider that grazed the outer boundary of the strike zone for ball four.
After a BABIP'd single lofted just beyond the reach of Elvis Andrus into short center field, the no-hitter was gone as well, and then the unfortunate sequencing persisted moments later as Darvish was victimized by a frustrating triple-double combo, and, with that, what had been a perfect game in progress moments earlier had devolved into a 6-3 game. I'm a bit hesitant to just chalk it all up to unlucky sequencing, given that the triple was cracked on a pitch that caught the middle of the plate and had some velocity behind it (or at least enough that Nelson Cruz couldn't run it down), but three runs allowed in seven innings undersells Darvish's effort when you consider that he allowed only four baserunners in those seven innings, and was pure filth otherwise.
Yeah, I feel like it's pretty safe to say that he does have it figured out right now, and if you're going to figure something out while playing for a playoff-bound team, September is the right month for everything to click ... but, still, it wasn't all that long ago that public opinion on Darvish was quite gloomy, and there are five more starts between now and the ALDS where, hopefully, we can develop a more advanced understanding of exactly what it is that we'll be getting out of Darvish over the next couple of months.
● For what this is worth (which may be nothing), Darvish's last three starts have been the first three starts where he's been paired with Geovany Soto, who has taken over as the club's everyday catcher during Mike Napoli's injury-induced hiatus, and who initiated yesterday's five-homer barrage (Soto, Josh Hamilton, Adrian Beltre, Nelson Cruz, and Michael Young) with an early-game three-run blast. On a tangentially related note, Napoli still isn't ready to embark upon a rehab assignment and there's still no clarity on his recovery timetable, and now the thing you wonder about is whether Napoli will make it back into the lineup quickly enough to get his feet back underneath him and possibly establish any kind of rhythm at the plate before October rolls around.
● The ninth-inning events that arose from the Cruz blast had little bearing on the outcome of the game itself, but they served as adequate groundwork for what may well end up being further tension in this series, as Cruz was drilled in the hip during his ninth-inning plate appearance -- apparently because the Royals took umbrage when he spent too much time admiring his earlier home run -- and triggered a benches-clearing incident when he began shouting and walking towards the offending hurler, one Louis Coleman:
Cruz admitted that he might have taken an extended look at his 420-foot homer in his previous at-bat to spark what he believed was an intentional hit by pitch. [Royals catcher Brayan] Pena, Cruz's teammate in the Dominican winter league for several season, said it wasn't intentional.
Both benches and bullpen cleared, and everyone met at home plate as Cruz and Pena jawed.
"[Pena] was lying to my face," said Cruz, who was ejected Friday for slamming his bat to the ground after striking out at Cleveland. "I knew they hit me on purpose. They can say whatever they want. I'm not going to do anything. I just told them that’s BS."
This led to a rather amusing sequence on the FOX Sports Kansas City side when Royals play-by-play man Ryan Lefebvre -- who criticized Milton Bradley on the Royals telecast back in 2008, and then nearly got to meet him face to face after the game -- proceeded to blast Cruz for his earlier actions and for nearly instigating a full-fledged brawl, and then, as Young launched the next pitch 420-plus feet over the fence, proceeded to praise Young for running out his home run the right way and not showing up the pitcher, even though Young apparently stared down Coleman as he ran down the first base line and then reportedly shouted a few choice words at Coleman moments later.
You may be tired of seeing Young in the lineup everyday, and you may fear the consequences of playing him everyday in the post-season, and you may even want to see him playing somewhere other than Texas in 2013 ... but that moment, the moment when Young exacted his revenge on the Royals for the perceived injustice against his teammate by murdering a fastball and then strutting around the bases, was just pure, unadulterated awesome, and reminded us all of a time when it was still fun to watch Young ply his craft at the plate. Ron Washington recently talked up how Young was going to do something "grand" before all was said and done this year; regardless of whatever else happens, I do hope Young has a few more moments like this left in him.
In his uproariously funny tell-all of his experience covering the 1973-75 Rangers, Mike Shropshire recounted a time when the old Arlington Stadium press box was equipped with open bar access, when he often required liberal quantities of Jose Cuervo to overcome his recurring case of writer's block, and when such imbibing might result in a standard-fare and wholly insignificant Dick Allen homer being described as "a celestial comet, streaking across the night prairie sky while earthlings in the cheap seats quivered with reverence and awe."
The backdrop on Sunday didn't dovetail with Shropshire's vivid imagery, as the setting was an overcast afternoon draped over a sparsely attended Progressive Field rather than a starry night in North Texas (idle thought: I wonder if the real diehard Indians fans ever embraced the overtly corporate "Progressive" moniker over "Jacobs"), but that's the passage that immediately sprang to mind when Jurickson Profar went yard in career plate appearance No. 1 yesterday. It wasn't a just-enough fluke that whizzed just above and beyond the outfield wall. It was a photogenic, soaring hammer shot, on a middle-in fastball that Profar attacked with aplomb and purpose.
It was, for the lack of a better term, a "celestial comet" that rebounded off Profar's bat, wielded by the kid with a future as bright as the baseball that streaked across the Cleveland sky. I realize I'm lathering on the hyperbole pretty thick here, but if you're not going to overreact to the No. 1 prospect in baseball clubbing a gorgeous home run in his first major league plate appearance (and doing so as the second-youngest player in recorded baseball history * to homer in his first plate appearance), well, when the hell are you supposed to overreact? You might as well burn through your right to be totally and unabashedly irrational sometime, and right now is as good a time as any.
[* Incidentally, per Baseball Reference, there have been 14,273 players from 1901-present who have obtained at least one major league plate appearance, and, therefore, had at least one chance to homer in their very first time to the plate as a major leaguer. Only 528 of those players debuted at the age of 19 or younger, however. Per ESPN Stats & Info, Profar is also the youngest player to homer in any major league game since Adrian Beltre in 1998, the youngest player to hit a homer and a double in any major league game since Andruw Jones in 1996, and the youngest Rangers player ever to homer in any major league game. You know, just in case you cared.]
And, of course, as I just mentioned in that fully italicized paragraph, Profar also looped an opposite-field double in his second major league plate appearance, then whacked a couple of 1-0 fastballs for fly outs in his third and fourth plate appearances to round out a massively successful debut where he exhibited the look and poise and two-way skills of a future superstar. Those last three batted-ball outcomes aren't what we'll remember when we look back upon this day some years down the line, either. What we'll so fondly remember is Profar murdering a 1-0 fastball off an unsuspecting Zach McAllister, and his enthusiastic half-sprint around the bases, and the unmistakably giddy response of a dugout that is clearly ready to embrace him as one of its own, and the million-dollar smile:
What does this one game change? Well, realistically speaking, not a whole lot. Profar doesn't start yesterday if not for Ian Kinsler being a late scratch with lower back stiffness, and, in all likelihood, Profar goes back to riding pine far more than his growing legion of fans would prefer; I said a few days ago that Profar might get 2-3 starts in the field over the final month of the season, and I don't know that it would be especially wise to back off of that guess right now, seeing as how the Athletics are still lingering just three games back, and seeing as how Ron Washington is going to want to continue putting what he believes to be his best lineup on the field until the division is won.
But, on the flip side of that, you also realize that Washington -- and probably every other manager who has ever lived -- is open to changing his preconceived notions/position on a player if that player can hit the ground running and produce right from the outset for him. He hasn't exactly been afforded the consistent playing time that might have been necessary for him to really get comfortable and enter a groove, but Mike Olt (.160/.281/.200) hasn't done a whole heck of a lot with his sporadic opportunities, and that isn't going to inspire much trust from the manager when the team is in the position that it's currently in. The hour is still incredibly early with Profar, but he's producing early, and if he can keep producing in this microscopic early sample, that's going to buy him some much-needed capital that he'll end up cashing in sooner or later.
Profar is here, and Elvis and Kinsler are also here, and, at some point, you figure that one of the latter two will be gone. I've grown less fond of the notion of moving Kinsler to a corner outfield spot as time has progressed, and Profar isn't going anywhere, so if you're out on the idea of shuffling guys around to ensure that all three have a position in Texas, that leaves you with the options of (a) dealing Profar, which isn't going to happen for a whole bevy of reasons, (b) dealing Kinsler, which could conceivably happen but probably won't happen, or (c) preparing your good-byes for Elvis, be it via trade in the next 16 months or free agent after 2014. And if it's (c), that's absolutely going to kill us.
Right now, though, it isn't so much about Profar. He's the hero this team deserves, but not the one it needs right now. They don't have to ride or die based upon whatever Profar contributes in the next two months, nor should they have to. His day will come, and I'm even more excited about it arriving today than I was yesterday, but the next couple of months are going to be much more about the present than they will be about the 19-year-old future of the franchise.
Since I'd rather not have the comments section devolve into a needless discussion on the picture I posted here earlier, here's a fox reacting to tonight's Rangers game:
Thanks to your thoughts and support and courage, I've survived the first night that followed my very first random death threat. The proper authorities have been involved in the matter and all of that, and after finding some initial (and very uneasy) humor in that voice message, now I just find the entire thing incredibly sad. I don't know what circumstances led to such a hateful and vitriol-filled message being directed at someone (and then, of course, being misdirected towards me), but intolerance is a cancer, and succumbing to it is such a waste of human potential. Of course, with all of that said, there are some men who just want to watch the world burn ...
● We're getting to that point in the regular season where the wins are expected more than they are cherished, where we're all peering about a month down the road as much as we are focusing on the present, and last night's win felt like one of those wins -- Texas "only" won by a 5-3 margin, but they were in control of the win expectancy graph from virtually the outset of the game, and it was one of those games that played out just the way you hoped it would play out. Ryan Dempster pitched very well again, further assuaging the concern that rapidly developed after his immediate post-trade struggles, and the offense was carried by another spectacular performance from Adrian Beltre, and ... yeah. I don't want to downplay the significance of any win, but it was a game the Rangers should have won, and a game that they did win, and that's really just about as much as you need to say about it.
● In a tangentially related development, the lineups for the second game of this weekend set have dropped, and, as you also should have expected, Jurickson Profar (and Mike Olt and Leonys Martin) is riding pine, with Michael Young getting another start at shortstop while Elvis Andrus -- who's coming off the rare two-error night -- gets a night off from the field at DH. There is, realistically speaking, nothing that should surprise you about this, as Ron Washington has made it abundantly clear that Profar's role over the next month will be very limited in scope; he could see the odd pinch-hitting/running opportunity here and there, and he might, might get 2-3 starts in the field down the stretch, but if you were expecting anything more than that, you were destined to be disappointed.
Washington, for the record, made this statement last night with respect to Profar possibly nabbing the odd spot start in place of Ian Kinsler or Elvis Andrus: "I’m going to write Elvis (Andrus) and Ian (Kinsler) in the lineup until I decide to give them days off." Well, here's the day off, and here's Young out at shortstop again, which serves as a pretty strong indication that the No. 1 backup at both second base and shortstop in the post-season is going to be Young. And while this is looking pretty far down the road, it's an idle thought that has crossed my mind: what happens if the Rangers make it to the World Series and face a right-hander in a National League park? The answer, in all probability, is Mitch Moreland or Ian Kinsler sitting, with Young playing first or second base.
If that all drives you crazy to think about, well, at least you still have a while yet to try and fully wrap your head around it.
The longer-range future of the franchise at shortstop hasn't been decided as of yet, but the future is here in one form or another, because, per Gerry Fraley, the Rangers will formally purchase the contract of one Jurickson Profar from Double-A Frisco once rosters officially expand, and he will presumably join the active major league roster tomorrow in Cleveland for the second game of the Rangers' three-game set against the Indians. The organization has not yet publicly disclosed any further call-ups or promotions, but I assume those will begin to drop in the near future as the ballclub finalizes which minor leaguers will get the call during the month of September.
Profar, of course, may be the single most luminous prospect in all of baseball right now, as he netted recognition as the No. 1 prospect in all of baseball from several eminent baseball writers at the mid-season mark (including Keith Law and Kevin Goldstein; Baseball America as a whole pegged Profar at No. 2, behind only the Orioles' Dylan Bundy), and has received expectedly high marks across the board for both baseball tools/skills (which are heavily intertwined, of course, but are not one and the same) and his high-caliber makeup, with the general consensus across the board being that he possesses the qualities of a perennial All-Star and possibly even a legit superstar, as well as far less flameout potential than what you would usually see with a 19-year-old shortstop.
And here, for the record, is how Profar has fared from a production standpoint across his three years of pro ball up through now:
The Profar situation has sparked considerable debate that has spanned the divide between traditional and "new" media, with several mainstream writers -- notably, Jean Jacques-Taylor -- arguing that Profar could provide immediate benefit to the ballclub by functioning in a utility role over the final month of the regular season and onward into the post-season, and noting that even if Ron Washington isn't on board with playing Profar, he would reap developmental rewards from being allowed to splash in the major league pool and being acclimatized to this environment sooner rather than later.
Washington, meanwhile, has created a stir by conveying a rather chilly attitude towards the idea of actually playing Profar, telling FOXSportsSouthwest.com last week that "the only way Profar would be playing for [Texas] is if would be playing for us is [the Rangers] were 10-15 games out." There has been some rational thought that Profar, even with his young age and the fact that 19-year-olds are going to make mistakes, is the overall best choice for the Rangers as far as filling their still-vacant utility role, but it remains to be seen whether that's a legitimate possibility, or if Washington will even utilize Profar beyond tossing him a token late-game PA or two down the stretch.
And yes, thanks to the quirky nature of baseball's post-season eligibility rules, and the fact that you can swap out any player in your organization for a guy on the disabled list and automatically render him eligible, Profar could occupy a spot on the post-season roster, even though he won't officially be added to the 25- or 40-man rosters until September 1st. With that said, though, I still harbor considerable doubts as far as Profar actually acquiring an October role -- I've already written my far-too-long treatise on the issue, but, really, the important question you have to ask is, "would Washington take Profar to war in October if he hardly uses him in September?" And the answer, as far as I see it, is "no, probably not." Perhaps I'm totally off base with that assumption, but ...
Update: In other September 1st-related news, Drew Davison of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that the Rangers are also recalling left-hander Martin Perez, outfielder Leonys Martin, utility man Brandon Snyder (who isn't really a true utility man, given that he can't play up the middle), and right-hander Yoshinori Tateyama from Triple-A Round Rock, as well as placing Robbie Ross on the 15-day disabled list with a left forearm strain and recalling right-hander Tanner Scheppers, purchasing the contract of Tyler Tufts and adding him to the major league disabled list, and designating the mercurial left-hander Miguel De Los Santos for assignment.
There aren't too many surprises here, I don't think -- Perez, Martin, Snyder, and Tateyama all make abundant sense as depth guys, De Los Santos has gone backwards in an injury-marred season (unfortunately, Jason Cole believes that De Los Santos will be snapped up on waivers and/or traded and be lost for good), and adding Tufts to the major league disabled list affords Texas additional flexibility as far as its post-season roster (as I mentioned a few paragraphs above), while the otherwise curious Ross disabled-list assignment boils down to another bit of roster manipulation.
Under ordinary circumstances, there is no tangible benefit to putting a player on the disabled list after rosters have already expanded; doing so in this case, though, allows the Rangers to bring Scheppers back to the majors immediately, as opposed to waiting for another five days for his 10-day cooldown -- the 10 days that must pass before a team can call a player back up that it just optioned, which the Rangers did with Scheppers last Sunday -- to expire. That explains the procedural side of it; as far as the severity of Ross's injury, though, I have no idea what's going on, and that's going to be something that merits very close watching as we move forward.