The trade deadline came and went and the Rangers did not do much. Keeping Minor, Lynn, Santana, Mazara, and Pence is what the front office decided is what is best for the organization going forward. While the team did move Chris Martin for a prospect starting pitcher, Rangers fans were expecting a little more.
If they were not going to sell, some form of buying was expected. Rumors of a controllable starting pitcher or a middle of the lineup right-handed bat would have helped this team going forward. Since none of that is possible, the next time the Rangers can make big-time moves will be in the offseason. There will be a lot of pressure to put a good product on the field with the opening of the brand new ballpark. This will be a critical offseason for the Rangers and these are moves that are a must.
Make a Move for a Starting Pitcher
Trading Chris Martin for Kolby Allard was taking a step in the right direction, but it will not be enough to get this team into contention. A starting pitcher should be priority number one for this team. Trading neither Mike Minor nor Lance Lynn is telling us that they are the two guys who are going to be in the front end of the rotation for the next two seasons. Their production this year has been outstanding and hopefully will carry it into 2020. Those two guys need help behind them though. Big-time names like Madison Bumgarner may be off the table, but Gerrit Cole is someone the Rangers should be going after. He would help the Rangers in two ways by subtracting from Houston (though it may not matter as much because of Grienke). Since moving from the Pirates, Cole has been the Astros second-best pitcher and would bring ace type stuff to the rotation.
If you’re passing a Cole, there are other big names like Chris Archer and Jake Arrieta that have team options but cannot bank on being available. A name that pops out is current Cincinnati Reds’ pitcher Alex Wood. Wood has missed most of 2019 with a back injury but would be a great addition to the pitching staff. Wood is a guy who can help you in the bullpen but mainly is a starter. Posting a 3.68 ERA in 2018 and a career 3.30 ERA, Wood would be a starter for years to come for the Rangers.
Figure out One of or Both of the Corner Infield Positions
If Ronald Guzman is the future, then fine. He is the future. He has major questions right now though. What really needs to be figured out is what third base is going to look like in three years. Post Beltre, Cabrera has been alright. 2019 never was about contending and for that, Cabrera has been solid. If you want to go down the free agency route, Anthony Rendon is a perfect player. He would offensively thrive for the team and be solid at the hot corner. Inside the organization, you have a couple options. Isiah Kiner-Falefa was sent down to AA Frisco and is playing a little bit of third base. He has developed more into a catcher and he may hold down the fort until 2019 first-round pick Josh Jung is ready for action.
These two positions will continue to frustrate unless a big-name free agent signing is made. Jung will not be ready until late 2020, most likely 2021. Guzman needs more time to develop and the growing pains may be on the Major League roster.
Decide the Future of Willie Calhoun
Is he a part of the future or not? If yes, he needs to be on the Opening Day roster in 2019 and playing a corner outfield position or be the designated hitter. If not, he needs to be flipped for somebody that can help this team right away. Most people will argue he has proved his worth this season, slashing .300/.336/.536. He has only gotten 30 games in the big leagues this season and some thought he would have a good chance to prove himself for the rest of 2019 post-July 31. Now that Mazara and specifically Pence are still on the team, it may not be as much as we expected.
Calhoun could come into 2020 as one of the best players for the club. Middle of the lineup with Elvis, Gallo, a fixed Mazara, and Calhoun would be something exciting for a brand new ballpark. If the front office do not see him being used the next season, a top priority should be moving on from him in the winter.