Must We Sacrifice A Chicken?
The Round Rock Express, ahem, the Texas Rangers, have not had an easy season by any means. The starting rotation has been decimated by injuries, Ron Washington has drawn much deserved dissension, the offense is mediocre at best and consistently inconsistent, but hey, at least we have a bald, reincarnated Manny Ramirez poised to save the day!
Strangely enough, despite a string of continuous tribulations, the Rangers sit just one game behind the Oakland A’s for first place in the division, which is a testament to the depth that the Rangers possess.
As the Rangers proceed past the long-desired All-Star Break, it is clearly evident what the team’s strengths and weaknesses are.
To little surprise, offensively, the Rangers are very mediocre. To date, Texas ranks 16th in all of baseball with a 96 wRC+, and 15th in team position player fWAR with 11.0.
On the pitching side of things, despite injuries to Matt Harrison (60-day DL), Alexi Ogando (15-day DL), Colby Lewis (hasn’t pitched in MLB since 2012), Neftali Feliz (hasn’t pitched in MLB since 2012), Joakim Soria (activated on July 7th) and most recently, Nick Tepesch (15-day DL) and Yu Darvish (15-day DL), Texas has faired very well. Obviously some of those aforementioned names are more attractive than others, but it does show the incredible strain that these injuries have pushed on the Rangers’ depth.
As of today, the Rangers rank 2nd in all of MLB in pitching fWAR with 14.8 (interestingly enough, the Rangers’ pitching has accumulated more fWAR than the offense has). Additionally, the Rangers’ pitching has posted the twelfth best FIP (3.79) and the tenth best xFIP (3.79)—notice the Rangers’ FIP matches its xFIP, which is pretty cool.
With additions from the DL, the Rangers would stand a strong chance to overtake and build a solid lead over Oakland for the division crown, but the Rangers’ odds in the playoffs would be less than desirable, mostly due to the offense. But then again, the San Francisco Giants have won two of the last three World Series’ with much similar teams to the one that the Rangers currently possess.
I am certain that the Rangers are shopping for a right-handed outfielder and perhaps another starting pitcher, given concerns of the durability/effectiveness over some of the pitchers returning from the DL, and as crazy as it sounds, the Rangers are in a fairly good spot. The Rangers are legitimate playoff team (where everything is a complete crapshoot) and have the necessary prospects and money to make an impact move.
Time is a precious commodity in this game, but damn, the All-Star Break is certainly a welcome sight.