The Texas Rangers are coming off a season where not a lot was expected but in some ways they did show up. No one saw Mike Minor and Lance Lynn becoming one of the best 1-2 punches at the top of the rotation. Joey Gallo’s first half was more than All-Star and Elvis Andrus stepped into a leadership role that some fans wondered if it was possible for him to do. Other than that, the 78-84 season is one to forget. Almost all of us knew that 2020 and the new ballpark were the target.
Well, 2020 is all but here. The New Ballpark in Arlington is well on the way to being ready for opening day. Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred took a tour and loved what he saw. Even hinting that Arlington could be getting and All-Star game sooner rather than later.
The roster is not quite ready yet. There is still time to put it together, and maybe vets are the way to go. The “Jung” talent is not just ready to go yet, but it is coming soon. Vets give a chance for the youth to come up slowly and not be put in a situation they are not ready for. Where to start?
I am a firm believer that a team will only go as far as the rotation will let it. Minor and Lynn were great last season. A move indoors this season should help them considerably. However, after Lynn the next pitcher in wins was Ariel Jurado with seven. Garrett Cole is the top of everyone list for good reasons. I would also look at guys like Ivan Nova who is a ground ball pitcher and Michael Pineda coming off the final part of a drug suspension for performance enhancing masking agents that could be bargain arms that would be a nice 3 or 4 for the rotation. Tanner Roark would also be a very nice arm to add if the price its right. He is a Colby Lewis type pitcher. Goes out every fifth day and eats innings without blowing you away with speed.
The Bullpen could use an arm or three and another former Astro comes to mind here. If Wade Miley was willing to take a role in the pen to concentrate his talent to 2-3 innings he could be a huge piece to the puzzle for Texas. His left arm also adds something that is felt missing all season, options for Chris Woodward. Daniel Hudson will grab some attention with his power and spin rate.
The Lineup is still too left handed for my tastes. While that played into the jet stream in the old place, that will be gone when the roof is closed in the AC.
Anthony Rendon and Josh Donaldson would look good at third, but they may be out of the price range for the Rangers with Jung, a first round draft pick, on the way at some point. However, if they can get a shorter deal year wise for more money it maybe worth a shot to try.
Catcher needs to be addressed as soon as possible. Yasmani Grandal would have been a great get, but he signed with the White Sox. Jason Castro is now at the top of my list here. He is the type of player I would lock up on a four to five year deal. He brings a bat and the smarts behind the plate to know when the runners is moving and not. Texas has had no answer at the position for way to long. Either grab Castro now or get ready for another hole at the position.
All of this is assuming of course that Odor and DeShields figure out their offense woes and Choo and Elvis can find a way to push father time back a few more months. First is still a problem, but the amount of players on the roster that are DH/1B/OF at some point they need to go somewhere.
This is not a make or break season for Jon Daniels. However, a good off season here would make the fans feel better about filling up the new place while remembering good times from the old one.