The Texas Rangers didn’t focus on their pitching during the 2016 offseason and it shows just how much it affected this team as they are looking at taking an early vacation.
Not that most of the fans here in the Dallas/Ft Worth metroplex care at this point, especially with high school, college and the NFL already full into their 2017 seasons.
While the Ranger players are already thinking about where they will spend their offseason, there is still al to of work to be done in Arlington because this pitching staff needs to be overhauled. There are some who think the team needs to make another run at re-signing Yu Darvish. That might be the next worst idea since the six-year $49.5 million contract extension they gave Rougned Odor after he had one, single, good season.
Even Gerry Fraley said the exact thing that most of the Odor fans don’t want to admit.
“He’s had a brutally bad year,” says Fraley. “And he’s going the wrong way, and they should have stopped this earlier. Now, they’ve let it run a whole season. It’s going to be harder to make a course-correction. But it’s really got to start now, even though there’s only two weeks left in the season, but you’ve got to stop this approach of swing from the heels, swing at everything – he might be, no he’s not, he’s the worst offensive player in the majors.”
If you’ve followed the site, or Twitter, long enough you know I’ve been outspoken about how bad of an idea that was to sign Odor to a contract extension based on one good year. But it was the same boneheaded idea they came up with when they gave Elvis Andrus his 10-year extension.
The Rangers are where they are because of decisions like that. You can blame it on Jon Daniels if you want, or you can blame it on whoever you feel is at fault, but these decisions keep adding up to putting this team out of playoff contention.
Here’s what really makes me scratch my head. They let Nelson Cruz walk away in free agency but they thought a long term extension for Odor was brilliant, not to mention bringing back Mike Napoli and hoping he would be the guy they had during their World Series run back in 2011.
See where I’m going with this?
This front office has to change their mindset if they’re going to put a contender back on the field. I have no problem with the youth movement that they seem to be going after but where they need to spend the most money in overhauling the bullpen and the starting rotation. That’s been the biggest thorn in the side of the club in 2017.
Not only that, but it’s time to make a few moves that might be unpopular with a lot of the fan base. Moves that are necessary because it’s time to move on.
Let’s start with trading Adrian Beltre. I was against it this past trade deadline because I wanted to see Beltre get to that 3,000 hit mark in a Texas Rangers’ uniform and it would be an incredible disservice to trade him just to see him reach that mark in someone else’s uniform.
With the injuries that continue to come up, Beltre is at the downside of his career and could be only a few years away from retirement. As much as I would love to see the veteran third baseman be able to walk off the field for the final time in a Rangers’ uniform, it’s time for Texas to do what’s best for the long term of their club and not what’s best for the final years of Adrian Beltre.
This is a business and the Rangers need to treat it as such. Making moves like this is what reinforces that idea of not making it personal.
They may need to entertain the idea of moving Elvis Andrus. It won’t be a popular idea but you have to look at where his value is on the open market and what the Rangers can get in return. It’s a move this front office should have made three to four years ago but never did. Now that he’s coming off a good season, it might be in their best interest to see who would be interested in the veteran shortstop.
The other name that they may need to be open to moving is Cole Hamels. He’s not the ace he once was and he could still be valuable to a lot of teams out there not to mention the kind of return the Rangers could get to bolster their bullpen or possibly bring back a young starter or two. Something this team desperately needs for the future.
They need to move on from Mike Napoli because picking up an $11 million option on him could, by far, be the worst decision this front office can make. There are a lot more ways to use that kind of money than wrapping it up in a guy who didn’t really do a lot to help this team in 2017.
If you want a replacement first baseman to use that money on, how about Yonder Alonso who will be a free agent at the end of this season and who is coming off a pretty solid season with both the Oakland Athletics and Seattle Mariners.
Familiar names need to be the farthest thing from the minds of this front office. It’s time to start making the unpopular decisions and not base them off what the fans might thing. The rotation and bullpen needs a complete overhaul and there are trades that need to be made in order to move this team into the future and into the best position possible in order to be a contender in 2018 and beyond.
The Rangers were never in the race for the AL West, not by a long shot. The Houston Astros were too good and built too well to give up any ground to a Rangers team that never looked like a playoff team since long before the All Star break.
When this season comes to an end the business side of the organization needs to kick into a high gear. It’s the decisions that they’ll make over the three to four month offseason that will tell the entire story about what the Texas Rangers will look like in 2018 and beyond.