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Martin Losing Grasp on Starting Job

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Ed Zurga
    KANSAS CITY, MO - JUNE 7: Leonys Martin #2 of the Texas Rangers hits a RBI single in the seventh inning against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on June 7, 2015 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

    The Texas Rangers have longed for Leonys Martin to take the starting center fielder job and run away with it ever since they gave the Cuban prospect a pretty nice, healthy deal before he'd ever played a big-league game.

    Keep in mind, Martin's signing with the Rangers in 2011 came before clubs started forking over big money to Cuban players like Yasiel Puig, Jose Abreu, Rusney Castillo and more. He was given a healthy, not ridiculous, five-year deal worth $15.5 million and was seen as a toolsy player with just about everything in his bag except for plus power.

    Nowadays, about the only thing we can count on Martin for is his power arm in the outfield as he racked up another outfield assist on Sunday to add to his league-leading total.

    But Martin isn't stealing bases after he had 36 in 2013 and 31 last year. This year, he has just 13 and has been in a running cold spell as of late. That's probably because he just hasn't been on base. He's 3-for-39 with 15 strikeouts and one walk over his last week-plus worth of games.

    It's gotten so bad, the Rangers put Joey Gallo in center field over the weekend in Toronto. The same Joey Gallo who had never previously played center field — at any level — and is in quite a slump of his own at the plate.

    Delino DeShields had seemingly moved ahead of Martin in the center field pecking order, but DeShields was injured a couple of weeks ago and is now out on a rehab assignment. Josh Hamilton is set to return early this week from the DL and could play in center after he manned center field during his rehab assignment, even though it's a considerable risk given Hamilton's fragility and his reckless style of play.

    Things are getting bad for Martin, and it's starting to get a point of wondering if the Rangers see him in their future at all with him set to be eligible for arbitration this winter.