ARLINGTON- Coming into the offseason, the biggest storyline for the Texas Rangers was who the new manager would be. Those questions were laid to rest when president of baseball operations Chris Young and owner Ray Davis hired three-time World Series champion Bruce Bochy as the 20th full-time manager in Texas Rangers history.
In his introductory press conference on Monday, Bochy said he could “see and feel the want to bring winning baseball back to Texas” and referenced the “tons of potential” of this club.
While Bochy did mention bringing a championship to Arlington for the first time, he also mentioned the “work that needs to be done”. Chris Young went on to say that the preparations for next season will begin in the coming weeks.
The Rangers’ need for a new coaching staff and many new players will keep them busy this offseason so let’s take a look at three storylines to watch for this offseason.
1. Which starters do they go after?
The number one need for the Rangers this offseason is pitching, specifically starting pitching. Both Owner Ray Davis and president of baseball operations Chris Young have mentioned being active in the starting pitching market. Newly hired manager Bruce Bochy also alluded to this in his introductory press conference. When asked what work needs to be done, Bochy said “Build the pitching”.
It’ll be interesting to see if they can really land deGrom but I’d have to say that’s a long shot. Is this the year the Rangers finally pry Clayton Kershaw away from the Dodgers? Who really even knows at this point? I think Carlos Rodon will probably be the best bet as far as a big-name starter goes. I also think that Texas will go after some starters that are not quiet superstars but are still solid big-league pitchers. Some of those names would include Michael Wacha, Madison Bumgarner, or Jamison Taillon.
If I had to predict a starting rotation for next year it would be something along the lines of
Dane Dunning/Glenn Otto
Now, you also have to think about the possibility of a big trade for someone like Corbin Burnes or Shane Beiber. Texas certainly has the resources to make something like that happen
2. How will the farm system look after the winter?
As a result of that big trade that I just referenced you have to think that some changes will be coming to the Rangers’ farm system this winter. Part of the reason that you build up the farm system is to trade some of it away. I think a good starting point is realizing that the Rangers are going to have to trade away some really good prospects. Let’s take the top ten, for example,
there just is not room for Justin Foscue, Luisangel Acuna, Even Carter, and Dustin Harris, all on the same team. No to mention that five of your top ten prospects are starting pitchers (Jack Leiter, Owen White, Brock Porter, Kumar Rocker, and Cole Winn). Now, I’m not suggesting that every single one of these guys will be a hit because that’s just not true. However, what I am suggesting is that it’s gonna be tough to find room for all these guys meaning a big trade could be coming.
3. Which middle-of-the-order bat will they grab?
The other thing that both Ray Davis and Chris Young have mentioned adding is a middle-of-the-order bat. Now, this player is most certainly going to be an outfielder and will probably fill that left-field position. The question that remains is which player will they pick up. Some names I would watch out for would include Andrew Benintendi, Jorge Soler, Michael Brantley, Joey Gallo, or Andrew McCutchen.
If I personally had to choose, I think that Benintendi would be my first choice. The left-handed hitting outfielder is very solid at the plate and would be able to hold down the middle of the Rangers lineup very well. However, I would not be surprised if they end up going for a cheaper option and spend more on starting pitching.
No matter which players you think the Rangers are gonna pick up and or let go this winter, there is one collective shared idea and that’s the fact that winning baseball will be brought back to Arlington sooner rather than later.