Rangers' start to the season with injuries resembles 2014 disaster

Philadelphia Phillies v Texas Rangers
Philadelphia Phillies v Texas Rangers / Sam Hodde/GettyImages

Just a few months ago, the Rangers and their fans were at the highest of highs after winning their first World Series title in franchise history. Since then, though, it seems that the Rangers magic that helped take the team all the way to the World Series has evaporated, and the team has had to deal with the harsh reality of returning to earth.   

The primary obstacle so far this season that has given the Rangers a reality check is the amount of injuries they have already had to deal with only one week into the regular season. So far, since the Rangers reported to camp this February, Corey Seager, Adolis Garcia, Nate Lowe, and Josh Jung have all dealt with injuries. Jung is the newest member to join the Rangers' ever-growing IL after he fractured his wrist in the game on Monday, and it was recently revealed that he will be expected to miss at least the next six weeks. Additionally, starting pitchers Jacob deGrom, Max Scherzer, and Tyler Mahle remain sidelined due to injuries they have been dealing with since last season.

All of the injuries the Rangers already have had to deal with parallel the Rangers' 2014 season, which was a season in which the team suffered from myriad injuries, which led to them being one of the worst Rangers teams in recent memory.  

Texas Rangers' 2024 season could end up like 2014 nightmare

Going into the 2014 season, the expectations for the Rangers were pretty high. They were coming off a season where they'd won over 90 games for the fourth straight year. The Rangers were expected to be contenders in the AL once again and possibly make another run at the World Series, while setting their sights on the postseason at the very least. Unfortunately, numerous injuries quickly lowered the Rangers' high expectations for the season. 

The first injury, which probably should have foreshadowed the way the season would play out for the Rangers, is when starting pitcher Derek Holland somehow managed to seriously injure his knee while playing with his dog during the offseason, which kept him sidelined for the first half. Holland was coming off of a career year with the Rangers, where he started 33 games and finished the year with a career-low 3.42 ERA and 189 strikeouts. The Rangers were hoping that Holland could build off of his successful 2013 campaign and have another solid season near the top of the Rangers rotation. Unfortunately, Holland's dog got in the way of those plans, and caused the lefty to be the first domino to fall in what would result in a multitude of players spending time on the IL during the season.

Even though the Rangers had to begin their season dealing with the headache of Holland's freak accident, they were still optimistic about the year to come. They believed they could still have the success that the team and fans had grown accustomed to over the previous few years. Unbeknownst to the Rangers, they were in for a tougher season than they'd imagined, with another even more devastating injury right around the corner.

The victim of the devastating injury was young infielder Jurickson Profar, who was 20 years old and was believed to be the future of the Rangers at the time. During the offseason, the Rangers made a clear investment in Profar's future while sending a message that he was the team's second baseman of the future.

Texas traded away their longtime second baseman and one of the pillars of the team, Ian Kinsler, to the Detroit Tigers. Fans were upset that the Rangers traded away a fan favorite, but acquiring All-Star power hitter Prince Fielder in return, as well as harboring the potential Profar had of becoming a future star, helped soften the blow. 

After the Rangers took a huge risk on Profar, they received a poor return on investment almost immediately. Profar was put on the IL during spring training after he tore a shoulder muscle, and was expected to miss about the season's first two months. Missing the first two months of the season is not a huge deal, as injuries are the cost of doing business while playing in the majors, but what happened next was a huge deal and caused a pivotal turn in the trajectory of Profar's career. While Profar was healing from his shoulder injury, he followed Holland's lead and became a victim of a freak accident after he reinjured his shoulder while rolling over in his BED. That's right; the injury that led to Profars' entire career taking a negative turn was an injury he received while in BED. After reinjuring his shoulder, it was determined that Profar would have to miss the entire 2014 season, and it was eventually determined he would have to miss the whole 2015 season as well.

With Profar and Holland severely injured before the season even began, the Rangers started to get an inkling that things may not go according to plan. The inkling was correct, and things continued to go from bad to worse throughout the entire season for the Rangers. By the time the team got through August, they were 30 games under .500 and had dealt with a plethora of injuries from both pitchers and position players. The number of pitchers injured got so high for the Rangers that they were forced to use 40 different pitchers throughout the season, which became the league record for most pitchers used in a season.

Even after a miserable summer, the Rangers still had to deal with one more unexpected blow before the season could end.

The final blow of the season came on September 5th when it was announced that the Rangers' longtime skipper, Ron Washington, would be resigning effective immediately due to personal issues. During his tenure in Arlington, Wash led the Rangers to new highs, including two World Series appearances, while he also became the winningest manager in Rangers history. The loss of Wash was a gut punch to the Rangers and their fans, as Wash became an endearing figure in the DFW due to his charismatic personality and his infectious passion for baseball.

Thankfully, the Rangers' nightmare of a season eventually came to an end with Texas finishing with an abysmal 67-95 record, which was the Rangers' worst record since 1994. The team was able to put the nightmare of the season behind them, bounce back during the 2015 season, and return to the playoffs with new manager Jeff Banister at the helm, who won Manager of the Year in his debut season.

To compare the 2024 season to 2014 may be somewhat of an exaggeration, but the way this season is starting, it may not be too far off, which is slightly worrisome. 

Thankfully, the current Rangers have a lot more depth on their roster than the 2014 Rangers, and the odds of Bruce Bochy resigning towards the end of the season are slim to none. Overall, even as things seem to get worse and worse by the day for the Rangers this season, fans should keep in mind that things could always get worse, as the 2014 Rangers should be considered a cautionary tale on how bad things can truly get in just one season.