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Texas Rangers State Of The Union For 2016

The Rangers rose from the AL West ashes in 2015 and won their first Division Title in 4 years. It came off the heels of 2 injury riddled seasons that plagued any chance to make the playoffs. The club has about $140 MIL worth of salaries to pay in 2016 but should consider spending out another $10 - $15 MIL. They have a need for a Starting Pitcher and could use a breakout campaign from either Joey Gallo or Jurickson Profar to add depth for mid year trade to acquire a proven playoff Starter to add. The club will also hope Yu Darvish can come back at full strength. While they have 5 of the top 46 contracts of ALL - Time on their salary, 3 of them came via trade where the former team is picking up some of the dough.

The Rangers rose from the AL West ashes in 2015 and won their first Division Title in 4 years. It came off the heels of 2 injury riddled seasons that plagued any chance to make the playoffs. The club has about $140 MIL worth of salaries to pay in 2016 but should consider spending out another $10 – $15 MIL. They recently filled their need for Starting Pitching and could use a breakout campaign from either Joey Gallo or Jurickson Profar to help the cause.  The club will also hope Yu Darvish can come back at full strength.

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The Rangers have done a decent job in adding depth in the last few days to the Starting Rotation.  The club has brought back fan favorite and 17 game winner for them in 2015 – Colby Lewis on a 1 Year deal worth $6 MIL.

Then John Daniels agreed to sign A.J. Griffin to the Pitching Staff even though he hasn’t pitched in the Majors of the last 2 years in recovering from Tommy John Surgery.

These are small moves in the grand scheme of things, but should help make sure that Yu Darvish can come back from his own Tommy John Surgery in his own good time.

You also have to factor that Derek Holland has faced a multitude of health issues over the last 2 years, most notably his spinal injury in 2015.  It is a good thing the club traded for Cole Hamels last year.

Cole Hamels was picked up at the Trade Deadline by the Rangers in 2015. He fashioned a 7 - 1 record with a 3.66 ERA and a WHIP of 1.191. This move was a perfect idea with the club's pending loss of Yovani Gallardo, coupled with the uncertainty of staff ace Yu Darvish coming back in time for the 2016 season from Tommy John Surgery. Including a subsidized stipend of $8.5 MIL from Philly this year, the LHP will earn just around $84 MIL over the next four years with the club. His playoff battled arm was put to the test again in the 2015 ALDS. He pitched to a 2.70 ERA in 2 Game Starts. Hamels can lead a rotation into a postseason.

Cole Hamels was picked up at the Trade Deadline by the Rangers in 2015. He fashioned a 7 – 1 record with a 3.66 ERA and a WHIP of 1.191. This move was a perfect idea with the club’s pending loss of Yovani Gallardo, coupled with the uncertainty of staff ace Yu Darvish coming back in time for the 2016 season from Tommy John Surgery. Including a subsidized stipend of $8.5 MIL from Philly this year, the LHP will earn just around $84 MIL over the next four years with the club. His playoff battled arm was put to the test again in the 2015 ALDS. He pitched to a 2.70 ERA in 2 Game Starts. Hamels can lead a rotation into a postseason.  He has a 7 – 5 record in playoffs, with a nice 3.03 ERA and 1.032 WHIP in 11 total series.

Martin Perez and Chi Chi Rodriguez (one of baseball’s better names) could round out the rotation to at least begin the season in 2016.

Nick Martinez and Tanner Scheppers also may pull duel roles in the Relief Core and as Starters if they need to go past 6 deep in the Starting Staff.

I also love the trade of Leonys Martin for Tom Wilhelmsen.  This ensures that the cub has a second option to close games should Shawn Tolleson need a break.

Jake Diekman is also capable of lugging some late inning appearances for the squad after fancying a 2.08 ERA – with A 0.92 WHIP and 20 SO in his 21.2 frames worth of work once he landed in Arlington.

Young RHP Keone Kela was also great in his rookie year, and may see an increase role in the 2016 year.  He held a 2.39 ERA with 68 SO – covering 60.1 IP in 2015.

Sam Dyson was also a workhorse in 2015 appearing in 75 Games for rookie skipper Jeff Bannister. Dyson had a respectable 2.63 ERA, with 71 SO and 1.14 WHIP in 75.1 Innings lugged last year.

Texas has a deep roster of Bullpen arms to draw from.

Speaking of the depth being better in 2016, Jurickson Profar will look to play in the bigs after suffering from shoulder injuries in the last 2 years.  He is now buried behind Rougned Odor and Elvis Andrus, but could see enough Innings as the 2B/SS and 3B base backup.

Profar may be looked upon in a more favorable light by other clubs than he even is in Texas right now.  It is tough to believe he will just turn 23 in the next year.  He still has 4 years of left of Team Control starting in 2016.

The bulk of the starting position players will all be with the club past 2016 – with the exception of both Adrian Beltre and Mitch Moreland being on the last year of their deals or Team Control respectively.

Beltre has finished in the top 15 of AL MVP Voting for all his 5 years in Texas, authoring a .309/.358/.514 3 Slash Line with 135 HRs and 459 AB in his 5 years thus far.

This guy is still a premiere Infielder.  The franchise has talked about extending the future Hall of Famer.  I think it would be a great move to ensure he registers his 3000 hit with the franchise.  A 2 – 3 year extension at similar money to what he is earning now ($16 MIL AAV) is realistic.

Moreland had a great 2015 campaign, with 50 Extra Base hits and 85 RBI in just 471 AB.  He may still work better with a small platoon situation.  He is a .797 OPS hitter career vs Righties while just .650 vs Lefties.

Perhaps a Utility player like Steve Pearce would be perfect for the club in this capacity.  He has crushed LHP to a tune of a .824 OPS in his career, while he is just at a .714 clip vs Righties.

Rougned Odor brought in a great speed element with Texas in accordance with Delino Deshields and Elvis Andrus.  The Rangers ran for 101 thieved bags in 2015.  Expect even more in 2016 with full years from Deshields and Odor.

Profar’s injury in 2014 opened up the door for Odor and he has made good on the opportunity despite a rough start in 2015 – that included a demotion.  He piled up 45 Extra Base Hits and a .781 OPS in 426 AB last year.

Sure Elvis Andrus in overpaid at $15 MIL a year for a guy who is routinely in the .660 range for his OPS – but he is a still a great defender and brings a speed game from the bottom of the lineup.  He is still just going to turn 27 himself, so maybe there is some internal improvement still coming forth.

Delino Deshields also won a starting spot of Leonys Martin in 2015 – to the point where they felt comfortable in dealing the latter to Seattle in order to free up a spot for him.

83 Runs Scored in 425 AB is outstanding production from a top of the lineup hitter.  Deshields also worked out 53 Walks and a respectable .344 OBP in his rookie year.  I expect this guy to be better in 2016.

His dad, Delino Deshields Sr.  was one of the great leadoff hitters in the game for a few years stretch.  He thieved 463 bags over a 13 year career.  He also carried a lifetime .352 OBP.  I am almost in disbelief that SR never plated 100 runs in a season ever.  I think JR. has a chance to do this in 2016.

The corner OF slots and DH positions will also be responsible for a ton of the Rangers power next year.  A combination of Joey Gallo and Josh Hamilton will man the LF corner – while Shin-Soo Choo holds down the reigns in RF.

How many games can we expect out of Hamilton in 2016 – 50? 60?  Gallo should have ample chances to show off his light tower power in 2016.

Choo had a nice bounce back season in 2015 after a disastrous 2014 season.  He is capable of cracking 20 HRs, going .270/.370/.450 for the next couple of years – which is still slightly below his career numbers, but he featured an .838 OPS and scored 94 Runs in 2015.

As long as Choo stays healthy, that big $132 MIL contract wont look as atrocious as it did in 2014.

Finally Prince Fielder took some sage advice and moved to a permanent DH in 2015.  He responded with a .305/.378/.463 3 slash line.  Maybe another year removed from his neck surgery will bring some more of his power back.

This pesky Rangers squad will be in the mix for the Division Title and a playoff Wild Card Spot in 2016 as long as the injury bug doesn’t come back to bite them.

I truly think this year is the club’s best chance to win a title, with Fielder, Beltre and Choo still being productive – and Moreland still on the team.

I also see Jon Daniels being able to pull off some trades – and acquire players from this lot of expiring contracts to further the cause.  Texas has a pile of extra Bullpen arms, and a few extra bench player to pull the hammer on a deal.

I am sure Texas management is just relieved the big guy appeared in 158 Games in 2015 - after just 42 contests in 2014. Fielder should remain productive in Texas for at least the next few years. Maybe 30+ HRs can be attained, but first and foremost the club needs him to drive in runs and hit for his nice 3 slash line. I am sure Fielder would love another chance to hit in the playoffs. He didn't give his detractors any reason to have faith in him during the postseason - hitting just .150 with no Extra Base Hits against Toronto in a series loss. He has a .189/.276/.311 3 slash in 164 AB - with just 5 HRS and 12 RBI. That was a big reason why Detroit fans grew weary of him.

I am sure Texas management is just relieved the big guy appeared in 158 Games in 2015 – after just 42 contests in 2014. Fielder should remain productive in Texas for at least the next few years. Maybe 30+ HRs can be attained, but first and foremost the club needs him to drive in runs and hit for his nice 3 slash line.  I am sure Fielder would love another chance to hit in the playoffs. He didn’t give his detractors any reason to have faith in him during the postseason – hitting just .150 with no Extra Base Hits against Toronto in a series loss. He has a .189/.276/.311 3 slash in 164 AB – with just 5 HRS and 12 RBI. That was a big reason why Detroit fans grew weary of him.

*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com and their partners***

I am happy to be back at the helm of the MLB Reports, after completing my record 224 Games in the MLB Trip in 2015.  It was the 4th time I have seen all 30 MLB Parks since 2008. 

During that time away I was fortunate to do 100 Media Interviews and be named the Baseball Blogger Alliance President.

Interview on CSN Philly during the month of July.

Interview on CSN Philly during the month of July.

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Posted on December 23, 2015, in MLB Teams State Of the Unions and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Texas Rangers State Of The Union For 2016.

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