The Texas Rangers beat the Chicago White Sox on Sunday by a score of 7-2 giving them a series win. It also ended a grueling stretch in which they played 21 games in 20 days (one was a doubleheader) without a day off. They ended up posting a 12-9 record in those games and improved their record to 42-36 on the season. They still continue to exceed expectations. There were at least three games that they could have won if not for the poor pitching from starter Drew Smyly who was eventually moved to the bullpen before finally being designated for assignment.
Texas Rangers Facing Tough Roster Decisions
The Rangers find themselves still in second place and just 6 1/2 games behind the Astros for first place in the AL West. They are also a half-game behind Cleveland, who they split a four-game series with last week, for the second wild-card spot.
One key to the success has been the offense which has stepped up with outfielders Joey Gallo and Hunter Pence on the injured list. Both are having All-Star worthy seasons and are both expected to return this week. Their returns mean that the Rangers have decisions to make with their roster.
Fans have long clamored for Rougned Odor to be sent down due to the fact that he has two options remaining. The problem with that is that he has now accrued five years of service time and can deny the option and choose to become a free agent. One candidate to be sent down is DeLino Deshields, however since being called back up from triple-A Nashville he has slashed .355/.425/.403/.828. Add in the fact that Deshields is a threat on the basepaths and that leads the team to think somewhere else. That means they could feasibly option Willie Calhoun and keep him in the minors as protection if another outfielder injury arises.
Then there’s Ronald Guzman. He’s still young. He has power. He has great defense at first base. It’s his lack of plate discipline this season that is worrisome. He’s currently hitting .213 with .299 on-base percentage.
Finally, there is third baseman Asdrubal Cabrera. Cabrera started out hot this season but has struggled mightily on the road. Yes, he has hit eleven home runs but they have all been at home. He also, statistically, one of the worst defensive third basemen in the American League. He is also beginning a three-game (it was four before the appeal) suspension for throwing equipment on the field after an ejection last week. That means Texas will likely rotate veteran Logan Forsythe and Danny Santana at third. It also means that the team could part ways with Cabrera, leaving an open roster spot.
The second key to the winning ways has been the starting pitching. Mike Minor and Lance Lynn have delivered a great one-two punch at the top of the rotation. And then there’s the surprise success from Adrian Sampson and Ariel Jurado. For now the Rangers have moved reliever Jesse Chavez into the starting rotation, taking over Drew Smyly’s role.
Due to the unexpected season reports have come up that the Rangers look to be buyers at the trade deadline. Their first goal is acquiring a controllable starting pitcher. If they are going to make a move it will not be for a rental pitcher i.e. Cliff Lee in 2010. One possible target is Detroit’s Matthew Boyd. They also need to upgrade the catcher position. Jeff Mathis is a great defensive catcher but he’s only hitting .153. He was mainly brought in to mentor the young Isiah Kiner-Falefa. Surely there are better options available.
Whatever happens, the front office will be busy at the trade deadline and this unexpected fun season will continue.
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