In one of the most flawed ideas in recent memory, the Texas Rangers have been dead set on moving Josh Hamilton out of center field to help preserve his fragile body by taking him out of what is perceived to be the most physically demanding position in baseball with the exception of catcher.
Hamilton spent much of 2011 in left field, where he broke a bone in his shoulder and missed more than a month at the beginning of the season. See how well that worked out?
Hamilton is the team's best centerfielder, without a doubt. He's one of the best centerfielders in the game and should be playing in center field while perhaps taking a break once a week or so and playing in left field or DHing.
The prevailing thought has been to help preserve Hamilton for the long term, but does the long term still matter to the Rangers? After another public alcohol relapse this offseason and some displeasure with some comments Hamilton made in the wake of those, the Rangers might be thinking Hamilton will be playing elsewhere in 2013. If that's the case, why preserve him?
It's clear the best outfield alignment for the Rangers in 2012 will be Hamilton in center field, David Murphy in left field and Nelson Cruz in right field. Murphy has always been the club's fourth outfielder at the expense of protecting Hamilton, but Murphy deserves a chance to be an everyday guy, and putting Hamilton in center makes that possible.
Craig Gentry and Julio Borbon have both proven they are not everyday players in the bigs, making it seem like an easy decision to put Hamilton in center.
Hamilton has been making starts in center this spring and we're eight days away from finding out what the team's plans will be in the regular season.