Today we will look at the Ranger relief corps. These are the names that would be on my big off-season white board.
Derek Holland- I purposely left Derek Holland off the starter list on the starter board because if the Rangers don’t move him this off-season, I think Holland will be our long relief guy. Some Ranger writers have suggested that Scott Feldman will be back. I do not. While he was effective through mid-season out of the pen, he was rocked as a starter and ineffective in relief after that. Feldman had his own version of the yips and I believe Daniels and Company will see it as such. Keeping him on board is not an answer.
Tanner Scheppers- Scheppers had a decent second half of the season. He carried a 2.21 ERA and seemed to have harnessed his closer like stuff. He still gave up too many base runners via hit (.321 BA), but walked six while striking out 19 in 20 innings. He’s still learning, but at 25 has certainly earned a shot with the big league club this spring.
Robbie Ross- Ross was very good before the break and not very good after. Ross ended up being used in very specialized situations in the second half as well as opposed to often before the break. At 23, it was a lot to take in and you would hope that he learned as much, if not more, after the break than he did in before. He will be in the mix for a spot in the pen and I wouldn’t rule out his name being in the mix as a dark horse candidate for the back end of the rotation.
Joe Nathan- Nathan was one of those closers, before the All Star break, when you just knew you had the game in the bag. What happened to that guy? After the break and especially in September he appeared to be laboring a lot more than even July. Was it the Texas heat? Was it his surgically repaired arm? Whatever it was, it was a regular fright fest when he entered the game in a save situation. This is where the inner circle has more information than those of us catching the game on TV. If that was the new normal, we may have been watching Mike Adams replacement while we search for a new closer.
Not a lot of a sure thing there with Alexi Ogando moving into the rotation. Neftali Feliz will be out most of the season recovering from Tommy John surgery. A look at the free agent market has some possibilities, but no easy answers. Let’s put these names on the Big Board: Mike Adams (probably expensive and showed some wear and tear late), Jonathan Broxton (nightmarish end to his season), Joakim Soria (wants to be a Yankee), Rafael Soriano (looking for big payday). All but Adams are former closers and still leave holes in our pen. Also throw on the board the names with less curb appeal, who can get the job done. Jeremy Affeldt, Jason Grilli or Kyle Farnsworth. There are others. If we’re reloading, we certainly need to add some names from the outside to make our pen stronger. It won’t look near the same as 2012. Next up, our over-stocked infield.
Tags: Alexi Ogando Alexi Ogando Tanner Scheppers Derek Holland Jason Grilli Jeremy Affeldt Joakim Soria Joe Nathan Jonathan Broxton Kyle Farnswort Mike Adams Neftali Feliz Rafael Soriano Robbie Ross Sports Texas Rangers