THE NEWBERG REPORT — May 7, 2008
According to multiple local reports, Jason Botts has
cleared league-wide waivers and has been outrighted to AAA Oklahoma.
As we discussed last week, the odds that Botts remains a
Ranger past 2008 are less likely now. If
he plays his way back to Arlington this season — not impossible though it’s a
near certainty that Nelson Cruz (and Brandon Boggs, if in fact he returns to
AAA) would get opportunities before Botts if an outfielder is needed, and if a
first baseman is needed the Rangers might decide to give Nate Gold a look or make
the bold move of purchasing Chris Davis’s contract — then the club can’t push Botts
through waivers and outright him a second time without his permission. (He can’t decline today’s outright assignment
but will be able to turn down any subsequent outrights.) And if he’s not on the 40-man roster as of mid-October,
he’ll be able to leave the organization as a six-year minor league free agent
(as will Cruz and Gold).
This has to be a disappointing development for Botts, who
would have been a big leaguer if claimed and instead is a RedHawk for a fourth season. He’ll presumably work in with Gold at first
base, as Cruz and Kevin Mench (who can leave if not in Texas as of June 1) and John Mayberry Jr. –
and possibly Boggs at some point — are commanding corner outfield starts. As Joaquin Arias gets more defensive work,
some DH at-bats will free up, and so Botts’s immediate role isn’t clear, but
he’ll probably get back into rhythm pretty quickly and go back to terrorizing
Pacific Coast League pitching, which, like Cruz, he unfortunately hasn’t shown the
ability to do consistently at the big league level.
More in the next Newberg Report.