Every once in a while I want to know what everyone else is thinking. I figured I would open things up to you. Let’s do a Q&A from Twitter or Facebook.
Let’s get after it.
Ben Ponce (Twitter): Anyone getting called up for the starting rotation?
The Recliner Nerd (TRN): As it stands right now, yes. The Winter Meetings begin this Sunday and the Rangers are rumored to still be looking for more starting pitching. But with the current roster, there are two rotation spots open.
My guess is that Palumbo, Burke, and Allard are competing for those two spots. Arial Jurado and Taylor Hearn are outside candidates, however, the other three seem to be ahead of them. If the Rangers sign another starting pitcher then those three would compete for that last spot. If I were a betting man, Palumbo is the front runner. All three have proved why they should be considered for the rotation. Palumbo seems to have better stuff.
When I say that, I mean his swing and miss stuff. Palumbo pitched 16.2 innings and struck out 21 hitters in the major leagues. Burke pitched 26.2 with 14 K’s, while Allard struck out 33 in 45.1 innings. Palumbo dealt with some minor injuries last year and really never got the innings he needed. Even if there is only one spot in the rotation, I think two of them make the major league staff. The Rangers still seem to like using the opener. Burke or Allard could easily fill that role while getting spot starts when needed.
Arnie Nelson (Facebook): Is there still talk about eliminating some of the minor league teams?
TRN: The short answer is yes. This all stems from the cry for higher pay for minor league players. While cities or towns run their minor league teams, the major league organizations pay the players. Most minor league systems have too many teams within an organization. It goes Rookie Level, Short Season, A, High A, AA, and AAA. Those teams have 25 man rosters. Add that up and there are 150 players needed to fill those rosters (That doesn’t include the Dominican League).
Most major league teams really only have about 60 to 75 players they see as potential big league talent. But they still have to pay those other 75 to 90 players. The easy answer for combatting higher pay is to eliminate some of the teams and levels. The current CBA between players and ownership expires in 2021. There is going to be some sort of solution addressed in the new one.
J.C. (Twitter): Koby Allard, Joe Palumbo, Brock Burke. Choose 2 for the 4 and 5 spots in the rotation.
TRN: See the answer above for Ben Ponce. But the quick answer is Palumbo and Burke.
Chev Chelios (Twitter): Does Rendon sign with the Rangers before or during the Winter Meetings?
TRN: I wish I knew the answer to this question. Everything with me would be pure speculation at this point. My guess is that this is done at the Winter Meetings. Rendon and Boras seem to also think this will go quickly. If I had to put the odds on Rendon signing with Texas, it would be about 51-49 he does (Honestly, 50/50 is so cliche).
I feel like he wants to be here. But there is always some outside element that could change his mind. Maybe his wife insists they go somewhere else or some team not talked about shows up. Sorry, it’s the best I can do.
BJ (Twitter): What do you think about trading Odor? I can see Odor with Cora. (Boston) They need a second baseman and are looking to shed some payroll. Then go after Whit Merrifield from K.C and Rendon.
TRN: (I’ll answer both Christopher and BJ together) Rougned Odor’s future with this team will most likely be settled at the end of next week. If he were to get traded it would most likely happen at the Winter Meetings. A lot of people are suggesting Boston as a potential match since they are trying to shed some payroll. The name most often mentioned is David Price. If I were to even contemplate a move with Boston it would not be for Price. He is owed $96 million over the next three years and that is too much for lackluster production when it counts. I might consider Nathan Eovaldi in a swap. His numbers are not flashy but he is only owed $51 million over three years.
With Odor’s $34 million leaving and Eovaldi’s $51 coming, that is only adding $17 million to the payroll over the next three years. Plus the Rangers get another starting pitcher. With all that being said, I think Odor goes into spring training penciled in as the starting second baseman for the Rangers. If he were to open the season as the starter he would be on the shortest leash of his career. He would not be allowed to start off like he did last season. Not with Solak and Santana on the roster. (Both of whom would the Rangers pick over Merrifield from K.C.)
Jaime Stovall (Facebook): Looking back, who is one player we should have kept, but let go?
TRN: This is actually a great question with a lot of potential answers. It’s really easy to play armchair GM and second, guess moves or free agents leaving. But let’s give it a shot. Sammy Sosa has to come to mind. Especially with the return only being Harold Baines for one year. Adrian Gonzalez to the Padres for Eaton and Otsuka. Gonzalez ended up a five-time All-Star. Letting Kinsler go has to be up there. Especially since Prince Fielder only lasted a short time before having to retire with an injury.
I would have to say the biggest blunder is Ranger history was trading away their first-ever MVP Jeff Burroughs for Roger Moret P, Carl Morton P, Adrian Devine P, Ken Henderson OF and Dave May OF in 1976. Who are they you ask?………. That’s my point. Burroughs went to Atlanta and hit 41 HR’s his first year. He ended up playing another 10 years before retiring in 1985.
Coby Mote (Twitter): What is your favorite uniform that was revealed?
TRN: Do you even need to ask? I’m very excitedly about the powder blue that Gallo was wearing. The Rangers are sticking to a strict uniform code this year. That means there will be uniforms assigned for certain days of the week at home. These are not up for debate. I am also a big fan of the Rangers being put back on the home jersey. The hat for the Friday night home red is also very cool. I like adding the X to TX.
Mike Lapine (Facebook): What is the plan for Solak?
TRN: The more I see Solak, the more he reminds me of a right-handed Willie Calhoun. Calhoun came up in the Dodgers system as a second baseman. Although he could hit a ton, his defense was a bit suspect. When the Rangers got him in the Darvish trade they moved him to the outfield. Solak hits a ton also. However, he isn’t thought of as a great defender. He came up as a second baseman also. The Rangers moved him over to third towards the end of the year. He struggled a bit there. He has also played some outfield in AAA. The plan is unclear.
If he continues to hit like he is now he will play. I would guess he could platoon with Odor at second if he struggles. He can also DH. The Rangers need right-handed hitters and he is one. He has the potential to be a good one. So as of right now, he is probably slated as a utility guy/DH.
Kevan Patrick (Facebook): How long of a leash do the Rangers have no Odor if he continues to perform poorly?
TRN: I answered a similar question above, but I’ll go ahead and tackle it again. If Odor was to leave spring training as the starting second baseman, he will not be given a long leash. Should he start out like last year, he would be benched by May if not released. Unless he would agree to a minor league assignment which he can’t be forced to do. They expect to compete for a wildcard. He will not be given much latitude.
I think he may surprise some people. He looked good at the end of the year. But what he said was more promising. He had a lot thrown at him with the new coaching staff and technique. He was figuring things out in September. He said after the last game that he was listening to the coaches and starting to figure out their plan. (It showed on the field the last month) But remember that he is also a streaky guy.
Garrett Waggoner (Facebook): What minor league prospects are we likely to see make their way through the ranks this season?
TRN: Depends on what you mean by making it through the ranks. If that means making it to the major leagues. The most likely candidate is Demarcus Evans. In fact, he might make the opening day roster. Sam Huff has an outside chance. I imagine he starts out at Frisco. Should he hit there and keep playing good defense, he might get a look. Especially if Mathis or Trevino struggles. Leody Taveras is also a player who ended the year at Frisco and played well. Being a center fielder, he could end up in Arlington.
If you mean young kids who shoot up to High A or AA after being heralded as top prospects, then you have to think of names like Cole Winn, Hans Crouse, Ricky Vanasco, Josh Jung and Davis Wendzel. Other names to watch are Blaine Crim and Ryan Garcia. Both are college players. Crim had a great 2019 and was MVP of the Northwest League. Garcia was ace for UCLA who didn’t throw much in pro ball after the long college season. ￼
Alan Corscadden (Facebook): Is it possible we see Huff after the All-Star break?
TRN: I talked about Huff earlier, but yes. But a lot will have to happen. He will have to continue hitting like he has with power and average. Plus he would need to continue playing well behind the plate. Trevino and Mathis would also need to play bad. Not just one of them. Both would need to play horrible. They wouldn’t rush Huff if they are getting the adequate play out of the catching position.
That’s it, folks. Thanks for the questions. I hope I got to everyone.
We will do another one and answer on the Podcast. Follow on Twitter at @rangernationpod for quick answers to questions. Nerd Out!