SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Drew Stubbs' long wait is over. He agreed to a Minor League contract with the Rangers and joined the club for their workouts on Saturday.Other prominent outfielders, including David Murphy, are still looking for employment in the first weeks of Spring Training. This has been a tough
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Drew Stubbs' long wait is over. He agreed to a Minor League contract with the Rangers and joined the club for their workouts on Saturday.
Other prominent outfielders, including David Murphy, are still looking for employment in the first weeks of Spring Training. This has been a tough offseason for free-agent outfielders.
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"The supply far out-weighed the demand," Stubbs said. "There are a lot of good players still unsigned. That's the way it goes sometimes."
The Rangers' need for outfield depth increased with the revelation Josh Hamilton will have to miss the first month of the season due to soreness in his left knee. When that news came out, the Rangers were bombarded with calls from agents looking to find jobs for their clients. The calls and rumors are unlikely to subside with Stubbs' arrival.
The Rangers have had continued contact with Murphy, but so far nothing substantive has transpired. There was a rumor that the Rangers might sign free-agent infielder Ian Desmond, but doing so would require them to forfeit the 19th overall pick in the Draft.
"We are content with the players we have here," Rangers assistant general manager Thad Levine said. "We recognize there are some unsigned free agents on the market who are good players. We'll continue to do our due diligence, but we are content with what we have in camp."
Part of the reason Stubbs was attractive to the Rangers was his ability to play center field. The Rangers need depth at the position as much as they need candidates to play left field. Stubbs is an outstanding defensive player with speed, who the Rangers used as a late-inning replacement in center at the end of last season.
James Jones, acquired from the Mariners in the offseason, is the leading candidate to be the backup in center. But if he earns more time in left, the Rangers want to have another outfielder who can play center. Stubbs split time with the Rockies and Rangers last season, hitting .195 with a .283 on-base percentage and a .382 slugging percentage.
"You start at a simple level," Stubbs said. "I'm on a non-roster contract, so I have to make the team. Once you make the team, you see what opportunities are out there. I am coming off my worst year so I have a lot to prove."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.