The 2016 Texas Rangers season had it all. What it didn’t have was the long playoff run that many expected. Jon Daniels put together a team that was posed to win it all. But, poor coaching down the stretch ruined any change the team had to finally get their World Series. Baseball fans will remember this Rangers season for the punch heard around the world. For those not familiar, Texas Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor punched Jose Bautista igniting a huge rivalry between the two teams. That bench clearing brawl seemed to set the tone for the Rangers season. The Rangers showed the rest of the league that they weren’t going to back down from anything or anyone.
Before The All-star Break
Going into the season, the Rangers rotation was arguably one of the best in the league. With the return of Yu Darvish on the horizon that argument became more valid. It didn’t take long before the injuries started to show up. Colby Lewis, AJ Griffin, and Derek Holland all missed significant time this season. Jeff Banister, did his best to fill the holes with Nick Martinez, Chi Chi Rodriguez, and Cesar Ramos. But it was evident that there was a hole in the rotation. Injuries weren’t the only issue that hindered pitching. The Rangers started the season with Shawn Tolleson as the closer out of their bullpen. After blowing several saves in a row Banister decided to make a change. That change would be the best move he would make all season. Sam Dyson became the new closer. He wowed fans and teammates as he captured save after save. Dyson would go on to finish the season with 38 of the team record 56 saves.
The Rangers offense got off to a hot start. Led by newcomer Ian Desmond, rookie Nomar Mazara, and veteran Adrian Beltre. Whenever the Rangers needed a hit someone in the lineup stepped up, and made it happen. Well, everyone except one player.
It became evident towards the end of May that something was wrong with Prince Fielder. Fielder was struggling to even get hits. He struggled through the first half, and before the All-Star Break the team put him on the DL. He would remain there until August when he would go on to announce his retirement.
As the first half closed the Rangers were in a bad slump. Their double digit lead dwindled down to only a couple of games over the rest of the division.
After the All-Star Break
Coming out of the All-Star break, many fans wondered if the injuries and sloppy play were going to bleed over to the second half. Ranger’s general manager Jon Daniels had already started to work on finding a way to make sure that didn’t happen. At the trade deadline Daniels pulled off two huge trades. He acquired Jonathan Lucroy and Carlos Beltran for a handful of minor league players. Both players were not only upgrades to the lineup, but they were also upgrades at their positions.
The rotation got much needed reinforcements. Griffin, Lewis, and Holland all returned from injury. The bullpen went from being one of the worst in the league to one of the best. It wasn’t all good news for the pitching staff in the second half. Cole Hamels started to struggle. In September, Hamels gave up 18 earned runs in 5 starts, and only recorded one win. His one start in the playoffs didn’t fair much better. It seemed to be contagious as the rest of the rotation struggled the rest of the way too.
At the end of the regular season the Rangers found themselves with the best record in the American League. Many predicted that the Rangers and the Chicago Cubs were favorites to meet in the World Series. However, the Rangers ran into their old nemesis, the Toronto Blue Jays. The Blue Jays made quick business of the Rangers sweeping them. Putting an end to a somewhat promising season. Although the season didn’t turn out the way the team or fans wanted it to there were plenty more positives than negatives. Daniels is not done building this team around a young core of players. Look for the Texas Rangers to have another successful season in 2017, and long playoff run.