The Texas Rangers’ season may be over (thank goodness) but some very large decisions loom for GM Jon Daniels. This team was built for the playoffs, yet had almost everything for it go wrong on their way to one of the worst records in baseball.
So on to 2015 we go, as Daniels and his staff have already begun to look at moves to improve the team next season. Healing up from injuries would help (hello, Prince Fielder), as would more development from prospects who are looking to break into the majors.
Here’s a look at several things that Daniels should do to begin the road back to respectability.
Hire Tim Bogar
I don’t care how loose the team was with zero pressure on it; Texas won 13-of-17 at one stretch with Bogar as interim manager and went 7-0 in one-run games during that sequence (a positive sign in a game where one managerial move can make the difference in a tight contest). And the Rangers were able to play spoiler against some good teams that were fighting for the playoffs. It’s pretty clear that the players enjoy playing for him and he has a stellar reputation around the league. Plus there’s a good chance that Mike Maddux sticks around as pitching coach, even though he’s a candidate for manager in his own right. Maddux and Bogar have a good relationship.
Daniels will do his due diligence but this one’s easy. Bogar’s the man.
Address the Pitching Staff
Yu Darvish and Derek Holland are set as your No. 1 and 2 pitchers next season (unless Holland’s dog gets loose again). Who’s next?
Word has it that the Rangers still like Colby Lewis and hope to bring him back. Martin Perez is recovering from Tommy John surgery and not expected back until mid-season. Matt Harrison? Don’t consider him an option until he proves it.
The free-agent market is deep with starting pitching, including Max Scherzer, James Shields and Jon Lester. The only guy I can see coming here from that group might be Shields. But I’m betting no.
The most realistic free-agent starting pitcher to possibly sign? Maybe the Cardinals’ Justin Masterson.
Nick Martinez and Nick Tepesch each got forced into duty in 2014. While the first five months were rough at times for both, they each did well in September, which is a great sign. They learned how to pitch through valuable MLB experience. One or both may have to hold down the fort until Perez is back.
Sign Nelson Cruz
Alex Rios’ option won’t be picked up. Plus we really need to add “The Boomstick” back to the concession lineup at Globe Life Park.
Another option might be veteran Torii Hunter to a one-year deal since the Rangers have some decent hitting prospects in the minors.
Find a Second Catcher
Robinson Chirinos has proven himself as a piece to build on in 2015. J.P. Arencibia won’t be back and Tomas Telis probably needs more time at Triple-A before he is ready.