The 2019 regular season is coming to a close. It’s about time to look to next year to determine which Texas Rangers are staying, and which ones are going.
The sweep of the Baltimore Orioles is not unexpected, but what can Texas Rangers fans expect as attentions turn to the 2020 season?
There has been a lot of talk of who is staying and who is going. With youth on the way from the minor leagues, and with so many players stepping between the white lines for the Rangers this season, the front office is surely in for a wildly active offseason as it attempts to formulate a strong roster for next year.
I think you will see a continued prospect push. General Manager Jon Daniels is going to create a prospect pipeline, something like what the Los Angeles Dodgers have that has led their organization to sustained success. A strong prospect base will give the Rangers a deeper bench, plus a larger pool of trade possibilities for when they want to make a push for the playoffs.
First and foremost, they need to decide which of their current players are worthy of a roster spot in 2020.
Shin Soo-Choo DH/RF: .265/.368 /.821 (AVG/OBP/OPS)
With one year and $21 million remaining on his contract, Choo is basically untradeable. So, there’s a great chance Texas has him play out what’s left of a seven-year contract while wearing red, white and blue. He will be the primary DH next season and he’ll play enough right field to stay happy.
Rougned Odor 2B: 204 /.281 /.704
The Rangers are in quite the quandary with Odor. He has four years left on a six-year/$49.5 million deal, and he’s not at all playing to his value. Furthermore, the 25-year-old does not have any options remaining, so Texas cannot send him to the minor leagues without his approval. Shoved into a corner, the Rangers will keep Odor around; however, playing time will no longer be guaranteed.
Elvis Andrus SS: .274 /.313 /.707
Andrus can opt out of his contract this offseason, but the veteran has said he would stay. He will be the face of the Rangers as they enter the new stadium.
Danny Santana 3B: .286 /.312 /.848
What a find for the Rangers! Santana has had a great year. He’s earned a roster spot next year, but the team must determine where to play him. There is currently a hole at third base, though he hasn’t spent much time there this season. Perhaps that will be his position of focus this offseason. Santana is not a free agent until 2022, so the Rangers have him under club control for a while.
Ronald Guzman 1B: .212 /.303 /.718
Guzman is a great defensive first baseman. I am hoping that his bat will return after some offseason work. He has shown us in the past that his bat gets stronger with consistent playing time; however, that was not the case this year. His past 30 games with the major league club show a stat-line of .211 /.323 /.368 (AVG/OBP/SLG) over 76 at-bats. Though, he’s impressed since rejoining the team, slashing .400 /.500 /.600 in his last seven games.
Jose Trevino C: .269 /.286 /.704
Trevino has been solid in short work with the Texas Rangers this season. He has hit well and performed well behind the plate. He’ll need to improve in key areas, such as nabbing attempted base stealers more frequently, but he’ll have a strong chance at being the starting catcher on 2020 opening day.
Jeff Mathis C: .161 /.213 /.440
Mathis is under contract for the 2020 season. The veteran catcher will help Trevino with his catching duties and go to a backup position.
Joey Gallo LF: .253 /.389 /.986
The big bat will return and be the king of the highlight reels. With injuries keeping him out of the home run race, he only has 22 right now. But if he stays healthy, we could see another 40, maybe even 60 next year. Gallo is certainly a candidate to lead the major leagues in homers.
Delino DeShields CF: .249 /.331 /.681
The speed, and with consistent playing time, I see his batting average rising. In his last 30 games, DeShields has 20 hits, and is slashing 215/.291/.301. He has a few tools that make him a nice roster piece, but he’ll have to start reaching base more consistently if he wants the Rangers to keep him in the lineup — and on the roster in general.
Hunter Pence: .297 /.358 /.910
Who has not enjoyed the comeback of Hunter Pence? The hometown boy’s story practically writes itself. Unfortunately, Pence is not part of the long-term plan for the Rangers. He will go to another team who could use his leadership.
Logan Forsythe: .227 /.325 /.678
He’s a free agent this year, and while Rangers fans have enjoyed him, I am sure another team is going to scoop up this veteran infielder.
Willie Calhoun: .270 /.313 /.854
The Rangers have been foreshadowing the trade of Calhoun for a while now. I believe him coming up is not to see how he will perform on the team but to show him off to prospective buyers. Calhoun could get Texas a couple of quality prospects in a trade. And we’re all aware of the team’s outfield surplus.
Nomar Mazara: .268 /.318 /.782
Mazara is a big question mark. He has been hurt, but even before that he lacked the speed to handle the outfield. His bat typically makes up for his pedestrian defense, but not so much this year. The reality is Mazara has not progressed at the rate the Texas Rangers had hoped for. His playing time has suffered, as he’s routinely on the pine when a left-handed pitcher is on the mound. The Rangers do not see him as a platoon player, but if that is his new projection, then there’s a good chance the front office opts to trade him for prospects.
Rangers fans will have to be patient, as the focus is on a long-term plan. This plan will take about two years, and the Rangers are not going to have a playoff team just yet. But after the pipeline has been established, I believe Jon Daniels and the Rangers organization will work on making a World Series contender.