The Texas Rangers are in full rebuild but is the end goal of being competitive once again in sight for the organization?
In baseball, you hardly stay on top of the world for long. The amount of parity in the sport is pretty astounding. Some years the expected worst teams end up being the best and vice versa. Which really shows how impressive the period from 2009 to 2016–where they averaged 88 wins per season–was and it’s only that low because of the injury-ridden 2014 season. Heartbreak season after heartbreak season you quickly learn that the window for a championship doesn’t stay open for long, and sadly the Rangers window got slammed shut in 2017.
It’s been a little rough lately
The last two seasons haven’t gone so well, as things got stale very fast. The 2017 season started with the hope of building off of the 95 win 2016 campaign, and even with the talented roster things just fell apart. The following season was even worse, which ended in 67 wins and the eventual firing of former manager Jeff Banister. This caused their focus to shift to rebuilding. Multiple trades involving names such as; Hamels, Darvish, Diekman, and Kela were swapped for names like Calhoun, Hearn, Lacy, etc. The focus became building the core of the team around youth. So, this begs the question: When will they truly be competing again?
Winning in the future
The honest answer is who knows. It could be 2 years from now or even as early as this season if the young talent can take the next step, especially Mazara and Gallo. The big thing is the possible field of free agents in 2020. Not only that, it has been mentioned that the Rangers will be going after a big fish. Which would surely help make a jump into contention in the first season of the new stadium?
The hope was to sign Rockies’ superstar Nolan Arenado, but the recent massive contract extension put a damper on that pipe dream. Although, he isn’t the only big name free agent in the upcoming class as elite starters like Sale, Bumgarner, and Verlander are available along with talented hitters Castellanos, Donaldson, and Goldschmidt. If the Rangers could snag a few of those big names it could definitely expedite the process, and with improvements of Gallo, Odor, and Mazara they would be at the least a wild-card contender. The Rangers prospects are very good, but they are still in the lower leagues at the moment. Baseball Prospectus ranked the Rangers as 9th in farm system rankings.
While some other rankings had the Rangers lower, it’s understandable because there isn’t a ton of MLB ready talent other than Palumbo, Calhoun, and Hearn. However, with talented arms in the low levels like Hans Crouse getting another season in the minors, all of the rankings should go up by seasons end, but these guys are still too far away to make an impact. Realistically, relying on prospects alone puts the Rangers, at best, ready around the year 2022. A good mixture of both is ideal though.
It’s felt like far too long a stretch of not so great baseball when really it’s only been two years. At least this team has hope for the future and many young stars ahead. A few good moves later and who knows, in 2021 the Rangers could be hosting a playoff game.