Texas Rangers Must Get Elite Closer This Off-Season
By Andrew Webb
It’s no surprise that the Texas Rangers will be in the market for pitching this winter. They need to fill multiple rotation spots, and they must find someone they can count on in the ninth inning.
The 2017 season began with the Texas Rangers running Sam Dyson out there in the ninth inning. His 2.43 ERA and 38 saves in 2016 made Texas feel strongly that he was their “closer”, and they were wrong.
Dyson appeared in 17 games for Texas last season and was unwatchable. He went 1-6 with a 10.80 ERA allowing 20 earned runs in 16.2 innings. He failed to convert a save in four chances and was traded to the San Francisco Giants.
No Dyson means the Rangers were a team without an established closer. Hard-throwing reliever Matt Bush took over the role for a bit. He converted 10 of 15 saves and was taken out of the role after failing to show consistency.
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The Rangers then tried the opposite route and went with soft-tossing lefty Alex Claudio. Surprisingly he held down the role converting 11 of 15 saves and only blowing two games after the All-Star break.
It looks like Claudio could be a closing option, but he’s better fitted as a setup pitcher. The Rangers need to stop trying to make closers and just pay an elite reliever this off-season. Plenty of reliable options are available this off-season.
Most notably Greg Holland and Wade Davis, which would both be enormous upgrades for Texas. Both pitchers are likely going to be hunting for around $15 million a year. That’s a lot of money, but talent is expensive.
Yes, the Rangers need starting pitching, but it won’t do any good if they don’t have a reliable closer. The first step is acquiring an elite closer, so manager Jeff Banister doesn’t have to try to convert every reliever into one.
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It’s going to be an expensive commitment, but one the Rangers must make if they want to continue to contend. Reliable relief pitcher is necessary especially if you want any chance at all in October.