Texas Rangers State Of The Union For 2017: Jon Daniels Must Counter To Houston/Seattle’s Early Moves

The Texas Rangers won an American League best 95 games last season - to win their 2nd AL west Division. and to make the playoffs for the 5th time since 2010. The winter has not gotten off to a good start, as they have watched the Astros and Mariners all add depth to their teams - while Texas has lost players from their year end roster. The team has to get involved right now to change the course of this offseason. The time to win is now with Yu Darvish and Jonathon Lucroy in walk contract years - while their ALL - Star Veterans like Cole Hamels and Adrian Beltre become another year older.

The Texas Rangers won an American League best 95 games last season – to win their 2nd AL west Division. and to make the playoffs for the 5th time since 2010. The winter has not gotten off to a good start, as they have watched the Astros and Mariners all add depth to their teams – while Texas has lost players from their own year end roster. The team has to get involved right now to change the course of this offseason. The time to win is now with Yu Darvish and Jonathon Lucroy in walk contract years – while their ALL – Star Veterans like Cole Hamels and Adrian Beltre become another year older.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer/Part Owner) 

The Rangers have been one of the better teams in the MLB since the 2010 season.  Back to Back AL Pennants, and now back to back AL West Division wins have seen them reach the playoff 5 times out of the last 7 campaigns.

For those who like pitching – the franchise has 2 number one aces for at least one more year in Yu Darvish and Cole Hamels.

Simply put, the development of all of their Draft Picks, domestically or international, coupled with the management’s keen eye for talent, have the club still in the conversation for another few years.

Here is the thing though….The Astros and Mariners have been the two busiest clubs in acquiring talent thus far in the winter.  Both of these teams have closed or narrowed the gap on Texas already,

Houston has signed Free Agents Josh Reddick and Carlos Beltran – with also dealing for Brian McCann.  This will not affect their 2017 squad as both didn’t require anybody from the Major League Roster to get it done.

Seattle has not made as big of a splash like Houston, but has shored up some depth, and have nicely added Jean Segura (who was an ALL – Star and top 15 NL MVP in 2016 – without losing anything of note.)

Texas has signed Andrew Cashner and lost Beltran for sure…yikes..

Ian Desmond was an integral part of the offensive kickstart for the club back in May. Despite a horrible start - and tailing off at the end as well, the 31 Year Old Free Agent effortlessly shifted to CF, racked up 107 Runs - amidst his .782 OPS and 54 Extra Base Hits.

Ian Desmond was an integral part of the offensive kickstart for the club back in May. Despite a horrible start – and tailing off at the end as well, the 31 Year Old Free Agent effortlessly shifted to CF, racked up 107 Runs – amidst his .782 OPS, 54 Extra Base Hits and 21 Stolen Bases.  Desmond was a perfect top of the order bat (along with Choo).  Texas should have been involved in inking this man to a 5 – 6 year deal. The guy signed with Colorado for 5 YRs/$70 MIL this past week, to play 1B.  Desmond has been a solid offensive performer for the majority of his career, and still has good speed.

Ian Desmond, Mitch Moreland, Colby Lewis and Carlos Gomez were all on the open market guys that ended the year on the Postseason Roster for the Rangers in 2016.

(Update) Moreland signed in Boston, Desmond in Colorado, and Gomez did re-sign with Texas. The club then traded for Tyrell Jenkins -who may compete for a spot at the end of the rotation.

With the Winter Meetings now past us, it is time for the brass and ownership to get serious for 2017!

This franchise also does not have Prince Fielder in the middle of the lineup to start the season.  This is a tough story to follow based on my like for Fielder as a player for his career, yet his sudden retirement still gives the club some more money to dole out on contracts going forward, since they will recoup some dough in insurance.

For the payroll under the current roster configuration, the organization looks to be on the hook for about $128.2 MIL  Lucky for Texas, the new CBA should dissuade the Yankees, Red Sox and Tigers from blowing past the Luxury Tax Threshold, so the competition for the upper echelon teams in the Junior Circuit is actually a path less of resistance than before.

It is time to start spending some money fellas!

Yu Darvish is in the last year of his contract, and Texas should not re-sign him afterwards in my opinion. Coming back from Tommy John Surgery last year - the Japanese star showed flashes of his previous form. Based on many International chuckers hitting a wall in past 3 or so seasons in the MLB, the Rangers may just arm up for a 2017 playoff run, before waving adieu to Darvish.

Yu Darvish is in the last year of his contract, and Texas should not re-sign him afterwards in my opinion. Coming back from Tommy John Surgery last year – the Japanese star showed flashes of his previous form. Based on many International chuckers hitting a wall in past 3 or so seasons in the MLB, the Rangers may just arm up for a 2017 playoff run, before waving adieu to Darvish. The 4 year Veteran has logged exactly 100 Game Starts – toting a 46 – 30 record, 1.183 WHIP and steady 3.29 ERA – considering he pitches in a tough home ballpark on pitchers.  Darvish also yields a 11.3 SO/Per 9 IP ration.

Yu Darvish and Jonathan Lucroy are in the last year of their ‘incredible bargain’ contracts…Adrian Beltre is not getting any younger – as is Shin-soo Choo or Cole Hamels.

Many of their young stars like Rougned Odor and Nomar Mazara are not even Arbitration Eligible yet.  This won’t be the case in a few seasons.

To their credit – the powers that be are kicking the tires for players such as Edwin Encarnacion sitll, and the urgency should now grow considering they still need to replenish some power from last year.  At worst, you can still play Deshields in CF…Speed will at least come to the table.

I firmly believe that Texas needs to land Encarnacion.  First Base/DH and an #4 /#5 SPare the biggest needs to address this winter.  The rest of the Infield is set with Beltre, Elvis Andrus. Odor and Lucroy manning positions.

Beyond the grass, Mazara will start his sophomore campaign.  The Desmond signing leaves the likes of Delino Deshields, Ryan Rua and Joey Gallo to be in the mix for playing time for AB as the 4th OF – and extra DH.

Other bench players are still Jurickson Profar, Hanser Alberto and backup Catcher Robinson Chirinos.  I would be okay with this.

The Lineup would perfect with Encarnacion balancing out the high Strikeouts from Odor and Gallo. Even with Striking out 138 times in 2016, that was the 1st time he had eclipsed 100 plus punchouts in 8 campaigns, but he also Walked 87 times for a career high.

Encarnacion is decent enough at First base not to hurt you  Besides around the horn with Beltre/Andrus/Odor and Lucroy all stalwart defensive acts, you can have just an average man over there.

(Projected Lineup) – Choo/Gomez/Encarnacion/Beltre//Lucroy/Mazara/Odor/DH like Gallo or Profar/Andrus and Gomez/Deshields.

The are just fine at Starting Pitcher for depth – although they always seem to find a deal with Colby Lewis, who won 17 games in 2015 (1.236 WHIP, 4.66 ERA in 204 IP), despite actually pitching better in 2016 (1.126 WHIP, 3.71 ERA in 1161 IP)  – and would be a welcomed returnee for 2017.

Yohander Mendez (The club’s number 1 Prospect and Starter) could also aid to cover some Innings in 2017 as well.

Texas still has a strong Relief Core anchored by Closer Sam Dyson, alongside flamethrowers like Jake Diekman and Matt BushKeone Kela and Jeremy Jeffress have also shown several flashes of brilliance in late inning Relief as well.

If I were in management’s shoes, all of the allocated dollars would go to the offense here.  A smart maneuver would may be to acquire a Starter at the midway point of the season – as to not pay a full year of salary to that guy.

By then, maybe a Joey Gallo or Jurickson Profar may have built enough value to be included in a trade.

Whether they end up signing Encarnacion – the Rangers have to start to land some roster improvements – or they will not win a 3rd Division Title – and possibly be bypassed out of the playoff race altogether in 2017.

Edwin Enarnacion would be just what the doctor ordered for the Rangers lineup. A guy that can mash big Homers, drive in plenty of runs. and also not strikeout that much compared to a roster that already does just that. With only Cole Hamels and Choo being on the books beyond 2018, Texas could find the financial wherewithal to dole out a 4 or 5 year pact in the $20 - $23 MIL AAV range.

Edwin Enarnacion would be just what the doctor ordered for the Rangers lineup. A guy that can mash big Homers, drive in plenty of runs. and also not strikeout that much compared to a roster that already does just that. With only Cole Hamels and Choo being on the books beyond 2018, Texas could find the financial wherewithal to dole out a 4 or 5 year pact in the $20 – $23 MIL AAV range. Playing 2017 at Age 34 EE has crushed 194 HRs and added 550 RBI over is last 5 seasons – including leading the AL with 127 RBI in 2016.

*** 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***

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A big thanks goes out to our ‘Chief Writer/Part Owner’ Hunter Stokes for preparing today’s featured post.

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About hunterstokes21

I Played NCAA Baseball at Liberty University in the 90's with Sid Bream's kid Sheldon. Once Hit a Home Run by hitting a hot air balloon that was coming over 2nd base (It was agreed that if a balloon was hit before game by the umpires and coaches - even though they were setting up in LF/CF Bleachers). I believe in the "Church Of Baseball". Come in for worship anytime.

Posted on December 5, 2016, in MLB Teams State Of the Unions and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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