The Texas Rangers were 78-84 last year in the AL West. This year, they look to improve upon that number and once again be in the mix for the playoffs. Here we take a look at last years ups and downs, key losses and additions and a prediction for this year.
Positives: Last year’s offense was very solid, ranking as the number five offense in baseball. Last year, the starters gave good innings, and the offense did its part. The Rangers have made signings that will hopefully impact the team including Trevor Plouffe, Bartolo Colon, and Edinson Volquez.
Negatives: The bullpen struggled mightily to close out close baseball games. They ranked in the bottom half of the league in most categories. The Rangers also had mediocre defensive play on the right side. Joey Gallo was the one who trotted out there most of the time, but his career fielding % is .921. They failed to resign Yu Darvish, after trading him to the Dodgers, who signed with the Chicago Cubs. They also lost Carlos Gomez, Andrew Cashner, and Dario Alvarez.
Can the Rangers find a Seasoned Veteran Starter?
One of the big questions for the Rangers this year is whether or not they can find a reliable veteran starter. They failed to resign Yu Darvish, who became a free agent this offseason and signed with Chicago. They have been heavily linked to signing Jake Arrieta, a Texas native. Also left on the market is Alex Cobb, and a couple other vets. If they didn’t want to go that route, they could try to trade for a starter. Having an anchor to the rotation could be key to getting them back to the Fall Classic.
Will All the Lesser Value Signings of Pitchers = Success?
The Rangers have made a lot of small moves to bolster the mound presence. Big names don’t always equal wins either. So the question begs to be answered is if the Rangers can provide the magic they did in 2011. That year they had multiple below average pitchers, and unfortunately blew a World Series lead to the St. Louis Cardinals. Only time will tell if these small signings equal a huge splash for this team.
Is a Rebuild on the Horizon?
Due to the lack of big-time signings for the Rangers, some may fear that they’re under par for the division. This is the same division that contains the defending WS champion Houston Astros, the up and coming Seattle Mariners, the hopeful Los Angeles Angels and the rebuilding Oakland Athletics. Some may think that the Rangers have no shot to make the wildcard with how stacked the AL is in general. We may very well see them trade off players like Beltre, Odor, Andrus or Gallo to needy, contending teams in return for prospects.
All in all, this season the Rangers are currently favored as one of two spots, either the Wildcard 2 spot or under .500. It all depends on the predictor(s) himself. We may very well see the Rangers back in playoff contention, losing the wildcard game, or withering away in the basement of the AL West with the Oakland A’s. But hey, it’s baseball, anything can happen.
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