What about next season? What about the season after that? Do the Texas Rangers have the right foundation to build a championship contender? A team can be a lot like a house: it will not stand if it does not have a great foundation, frame, roof, flooring, everything.
In order to be part of the house, you have to be a somewhat young player or another that is making a huge impact in their prime that is in the team’s future. So let’s break this team down like a house, starting with the rock-solid slab foundation: Joey Gallo.
Joey Gallo is in the middle of a career year where he’s on pace to set career highs in batting average, walks, slugging, on-base percentage, and OPS (on-base plus slugging). He dealt with an oblique injury which almost cost him his first career All-Star appearance, but that hasn’t deterred him. He’s a power hitter learning to hit for contact more, and even BUNTING, yes bunting.
The ability to play center field at his size with a great arm really shows his athleticism at times, accumulating 7 outfield assists so far, just one shy from last season’s 8 assists. He’s slowly putting himself in the MVP talk, even though the league is set on giving the award to Mike Trout every year, and has taken HUGE steps to become a better player. Gallo is the perfect player to build a team around and will need to be extended before he walks away.
Next up, the framing. Nomar Mazara is the framework in this analogy. He has all the tools to be a star in this lineup, minus the speed. He has the power, the ability to work a count well and be very efficient at the plate. He’s a career .259 hitter and has averaged 20 home runs per season so far. He’s not the flashiest of players, but he is not been given the credit when it’s due at times.
Now the reason he’s the framing is his build and potential. A house can have a great foundation, but the framing has to be firm and steady. His 20 HR per season is the definition of steady, and his potential is definitely high. His value is somewhat medium, not high or low, and could be in the mix for an extension himself if the Rangers play their cards right.
The roof, the roof, the roof is on fire! Well, kinda, because the roof is Elvis Andrus. He’s hitting over .300 for the season and has been strong throughout his entire career as the shortstop for the team. The roof, no matter what, protects the top of the house and bears the most wear on a house. Rain, snow, ice, and whatever is thrown at it has to be able to be absorbed and dealt with. Shortstop tends to get a ton of work with so many right-handed hitters in today’s game and bears a lot of defensive responsibility for the defense.
Elvis over his career has a 97% fielding percentage and is a .277 hitter, but has never earned an All-Star appearance, particularly due to the fact of playing in days of Carlos Correa, Jorge Polanco and Francisco Lindor who have proven to be top tier year in and year out. Asphalt shingles, used for this comparison for the sake of time, last anywhere from 12-20 years. Elvis has played for 11 years, and we see young shortstops on the horizon with Anderson Tejada and Chris Siese waiting for a chance to be a strong roof for this organization.
The flooring, is well, Rougie Odor. Let me explain. When building a house, flooring isn’t one of the top priorities to the contractor. But will listen to bids for products at the best value that looks the best. Well, Rougie put his bid in with back to back seasons with over 30 home runs, and the contractor, the Texas Rangers, bit hard and bought high. In reality, instead of a high quality product at a high price, Odor has proven to been an overpriced second baseman that has no patience and strikes out a TON at the plate, such as leaks, cracks and faults if you will.
Odor has to agree to be sent down due to his 5 years of MLB service, and there’s no way he’ll take a pay cut to ride buses in 100-degree weather. Under contract for the next 3 years, 2023 contains a buyout that the Rangers will have a serious look at if nothing changes. With a low quality flooring, the team has to find a way to either replace the product, or deal with it until the contract is out.
Willie Calhoun is interesting because he hasn’t been able to completely be an impact the entire season due to an injury. But let’s call him the wall and sheetrock. He’s solid and stable when healthy. Every once in a while, the paint will chip, or it’ll need a quick fix, kind of like Willie. His body type isn’t that of Mike Trout or Joey Gallo, but he’s a great hitter that is consistent. As long as he stays healthy, he can be a part of this team for a long time.
The electrical side (sigh) has been the entire pitching staff. A trade that everyone looks for that are so important to the house, has been iffy for the organization.
Mike Minor and Lance Lynn represent the nice fixtures in the living room, the huge chandeliers, the concave lights, and the fancy ceiling fans. But behind all that shine, lies a pitching staff that has been tied together with rubber bands and electrical tape. Adrian Sampson and Jesse Chavez have done well for what they’ve been asked for, but coming down a stretch against strong playoff teams, they have floundered.
Jose Leclerc has not been what the team had predicted he would be, which is a no-doubt top 10 closer in the league. He has struggled in pressure situations and has lost confidence. Most recently he opened the game vs the Twins and went 1.2 innings with 3 hits and 1 earned run in his outing against the playoff contender. The bullpen has been bad, and it’s falling apart slowly as the season goes on. It’s only a matter of time until this front office conducts a complete overhaul of this electrical system, and gets quality help in to help this team survive for the future.
The plumbing has been the catcher’s group, since they have been playing like, well, do I really need to say it? Isiah Kiner-Falefa had underperformed before he got hurt and has struggled to take on the part-time catching position. Jeff Mathis has been nonexistent at the plate and has almost become an automatic out. Tim Federowicz has actually been somewhat of a bright spot, just enough to keep the water flowing in the house.
There you have it, foundation and structure of the house that the Texas Rangers are building.
This house has stood longer than many have expected, but we all see the weak spots and faults of this team and we know what needs to be done. Now, what would you fix first if you were the contractor?