The past is the past, and the present is nothing like such a time period for the Texas Rangers; it’s time for the Rangers to start over and blow it up at the trade deadline.
This season, the Rangers have been one of the worst teams in Major League Baseball. Currently 35-46, they’re in fifth place in the American League West and are struggling in all aspects of their ballclub. Outside of being 11th in runs scored going into Tuesday night (352), the Rangers have been unable to consistently put runners on base. They’re a home run hitting team who doesn’t hit for average and is inconsistent in even doing that.
Going into Tuesday night, the Rangers were 27th in team batting average (.233) and 23rd in hits (623). Joey Gallo continues to watch his batting average hover around .200, is striking out way too often, and is still not much more than a home run threat at the plate. In fact, Gallo has recorded far more strikeouts (113) than Shin-Soo Choo has hits this season (Choo leads the Rangers with 86 hits). Second baseman Rougned Odor has been hit by the injury bug and is hitting just .233 — continuing his struggle to hit for contact, rather than just power. Outside of driving in 41 runs (which is encouraging), infielder Jurickson Profar is also hitting just .233. Odor, Gallo and the Rangers, as a whole, have been a power-hitting team in recent memory, but when that plate approach wears off, a collective struggle is inevitable — which is what the Rangers are now enduring.
Choo and Nomar Mazara are the two players in manager Jeff Banister‘s order who have been producing at the plate and been able to avoid injury. But overall, this is a lineup that is failing to provide run support for its starting pitching, although, that facet of the Rangers is underwhelming too.
Outside of lefty Cole Hamels (who owns a respectable 3.61 ERA), the Rangers have received little to no reliable production from their starting staff. Mike Minor and Doug Fister are surrendering a high number of baserunners, aren’t pitching deep into games, and likely aren’t part of general manager Jon Daniels’ long-term vision. The same goes for the 45-year-old Bartolo Colon and lefty Matt Moore — who currently owns an abysmal 7.63 ERA and 1.96 WHIP.
Shortstop Elvis Andrus, third baseman Adrian Beltre, and lefty Cole Hamels are players management should be shopping. Granted, Andrus has been a very good fielder, Beltre is one of the best third basemen in MLB history — and still playing at a high level at 39 — and Hamels is a legitimate top-of-the-rotation force, they’re not going to be enough to propel Texas to the postseason or, at the very least, keep them in the playoff hunt. At the same time, they can all get the Rangers a nice, or viable return in a potential trade.The @Rangers have had a great run in the last decade, but the past is not the present. @RPStratakos explains why Texas needs to blow it all up.Click To Tweet
The Rangers have players who can attract other teams; it’s just a matter of management actually going forth with the fire sale. It may very well be a long run back to relevancy, but the Rangers are a team with a confusing road ahead of them if transactions to either compete or rebuild are not made. Sure, trading away some long-time players such as Andrus and Beltre — who’s a free agent after this season — could be difficult to fathom, but the state of this team right now signals that taking a step back to go steps forward is necessary.
The Houston Astros are likely going to be an American League powerhouse for the next five years given their young, star-studded core. The Seattle Mariners are on the rise and can only get better; the Los Angeles Angels have one of the most dangerous lineups in the game, and the Oakland Athletics have been competitive this season. When you’re the fifth best team in your division both talent wise and in terms of future forecast, the fact that you won the AL West two years ago is meaningless. The only way Texas is going to get back in the playoff mix, or rise in the division, is by embracing the situation that’s at hand and making the right decisions — which starts with trading off some prominent figures for high-profile or intriguing young players.
There are some talented players in the Rangers organization who can be retained and built around going forward, such as Mazara (who’s on track to record 100 RBIs for a second consecutive season). But outside of the 23-year-old outfielder and select minor league prospects, this is a team in a dark place. The time has come for the Rangers to accept their fate and stockpile whatever assets they can via trade.