Endy Chavez had four hits on Thursday to lead the Rangers to an impressive comeback win over the Indians.
The outburst jacked Chavez's average up to .415 since he came up to replace the injured Julio Borbon on the roster and juiced up a debate that's been picking up steam during that period. What should the Rangers do with Borbon once he's healthy enough to return to action?
The obvious choice would be to send down Craig Gentry and keep Chavez on the roster. The problem with that is that it would leave you with a bench of David Murphy and Borbon/Chavez. All are lefty swingers, limiting Ron Washington's flexibility more than any manager would like.
Option #2 would be to send Chavez down to Triple-A. The problem there is that he would have to clear waivers in order to remain in the organization and, given his hot start and general veteran dependability, there's a decent chance he wouldn't make it.
Next up is sending Borbon to Triple-A so that he can play every day while Chavez remains in the lineup. Two big problems with this one. First up is the fact that Chavez had played long enough in the big leagues to make it pretty likely that this streak is going to end soon and be followed by a cold streak that would chill all of Texas.
The other is that Borbon isn't likely to benefit all that much from more minor league seasoning. That's not to say he can't get better, just that there isn't going to be a totally different Borbon down the line. It would also sink whatever trade value he might have assuming, of course, that he actually has any.
There are other options. You could trade Murphy, but his bat is a better long term play than either Borbon or Chavez's off the bench. You could move Josh Hamilton back to center and hope he doesn't kill himself. You could stick Michael Young out there.
Sound ridiculous? No more so than letting him play second base.
Looming in the background of this entire situation is Leonys Martin. The Rangers didn't spend $15.5 million on him to be anything but a starter in center, but the time frame for his ascendancy is very unclear.
That's why, for now, reinstalling Borbon as the starter makes the most sense. The Rangers need to take an extended look at him and decide what, if any, future he has with the organization. If the All-Star Break comes and goes without a sign he can do the job, then look to Martin. If he's also not ready, you'll probably need to look outside the organization.
If that means losing Chavez, so be it. You know what he is and it is more important to find out about the unknown quantities at this point in the season.