This season has been disastrous for the Texas Rangers to say the least. The Rangers have an extremely high payroll for being in last place in the AL West and, yes, two full games behind Houston; however, this is not necessarily cause for alarm. The Rangers do have the right personnel on board; they just all happen to be on the disabled list. Therefore, the Rangers are doing the right thing by selling off their soon-to-be free agents and receiving prospects in return. I would imagine that Jon Daniels has in mind to restock this off season and create some roster depth. This is the right direction for the Texas Rangers. Now take a look at how the Rangers are 24.5 games back in the AL West.
Let’s start off with the starting rotation. Going into the 2014 season, I could see the Rangers rotation looking something like Yu Darvish, Derek Holland, Matt Harrison, Colby Lewis and Martin Perez. Notice that only two of those are currently active. Yu Darvish is having another solid year, and Colby Lewis has struggled. Derek Holland has yet to have an appearance for Rangers this year, while Matt Harrison had a couple bad ones and went out for the rest of the season. Martin Perez was on the verge of a breakout year before having season ending Tommy John surgery.
As if this isn’t bad enough, the Rangers pitching depth followed suit and many others landed themselves on the DL. Pitchers like, Alexi Ogando and Tanner Scheppers. Both pitchers have been extremely valuable out of the bullpen; however, they both were asked to convert to a starting role which depleted the bullpen. Neftali Feliz is another pitcher who is recovering from Tommy John and trying to get back to form. With all of the health issues, the rangers were asked to call Nick Martinez up to the Major League level although he had never pitched in a AAA game. Though Martinez has done a great job, he is going through a lot of learning curves while being asked to contribute to a big league rotation. It’s quite obvious that pitching has been a huge issue for the rangers this season.
Now let’s take a look at the injuries within the Rangers lineup. When Jon Daniels made the blockbuster trade that sent Ian Kinsler to Detroit and bringing Prince Fielder to Texas, it opened up a starting spot for top prospect, Jurickson Profar. Profar injured his arm during preseason (where he looked very productive I might add) and has not played this season. He also will not play this season. Then Prince Fielder, who was not having a very productive season at the time, but was on the rise, had season ending neck surgery. Soon after, Fielder’s replacement, who was also the lead candidate for the designated hitter position, had season ending ankle surgery. The Rangers were then down to their third string first baseman and second string second baseman.
On top of all that, the starting catcher, Giovanni Soto, has had nothing but injuries all season. He missed the entire first half of the season before finally making it back to the field, until he started having hamstring issues and is now expected to miss the remainder of the season. Kevin Kouzmanoff is another veteran who played a big role for the club early in the season when Beltre had a stint on the DL. Kouzmanoff has been on the disabled list since late April.
Another player that many people have said hasn’t turned out is Michael Choice. Choice had a very difficult situation to come into and help contribute to a lineup that was almost completely depleted. It was ideal to have him get some at bats with people like Beltre, Rios and Fielder already in the lineup.
Many critics are calling the Shin-Soo Choo signing a bust. I still believe that Choo has a lot left to offer to this ball club. He has been dealing with some injuries of his own, on top of being asked to bat in the middle of the lineup on occasion. Choo doesn’t really fit the profile of a middle of the lineup kind of guy, so fear not Rangers fans! Look forward to a lineup next year that could consist of Choo, Andrus, Fielder, Beltre, Rios (hard maybe) and Moreland once again.
Though it looks bad now Rangers fans, it won’t always be this grim! Texas has a lot of pieces still that contributed to the AL Penates won in 2011 and 2012. Look for the Rangers to have another exciting off season where they might add pitching depth, and look for another slugger. It’s not rebuilding time, it’s restocking time for the 2015 campaign, where the Rangers can once again be favored on top of the AL West. Until then, Ranger fans, enjoy watching some of the young talent that is within our organization!