The Texas Rangers have a big decision to make over the winter. Should the team keep lefty Alex Claudio in the closer role or sign someone in the off-season to take over the role in 2018?
The 2017 season has come to an end and the Texas Rangers have a lot of decisions to make over the next few months. One of the biggest decisions is who should be the closer on the Rangers in 2018?
In July the organization decided to give lefty Alex Claudio a chance in the ninth inning role. Before that happened they watched Sam Dyson’s horrendous efforts to lock down the role and hard-throwing Matt Bush could never find any consistency there.
The Rangers decided why not give Claudio a chance since they had nothing to lose. Lucky for the Rangers the move actually paid off and worked well for the organization. This season Claudio finished 4-2 with a 2.50 ERA in 70 appearances and collected 11 saves in 15 opportunities.
The bad news for Claudio is that he was never officially named the closer of the team. The Rangers never said Claudio was their ninth inning guy despite him getting a majority of the opportunities.
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The being said the Rangers will likely look for an experienced reliever to take over the role in 2018. At the very least the organization will attempt to bring in some veteran arms to help build the bullpen in Arlington.
It’s unlikely the Rangers automatically name Claudio the closer in 2018. He’ll need to earn his role just like everyone else, but regardless expect him to be an important part of the bullpen next season.
At the very least Texas knows they have a guy they can trust in the ninth inning even if they bring in other arms to cover the closer role next season.