Looking Ahead To 2018 (Rangers)
Writer: Michael Bier
As of Tuesday, August 8th, the Rangers are 53 - 58. They place 4th in the AL West and stand 4 games out of a very tight AL Wild Card race. The team recently traded their ace, Yu Darvish and catcher Jonathan Lucroy, which means by the looks of it, 2017 isn’t the year for them. Just because they traded two of their biggest impact players, it doesn’t exactly mean this team is done. Similar to the 2014 - 2015 transition, the team has been in a slump, but they still have the assets to be a championship caliber team ― that is, with a little bit of help.
Here are some potential free agent signings (this offseason) that could turn the Rangers into contenders come 2018:
- Jake McGee / Tony Watson
Let’s face it, the bullpen is nowhere near where the Rangers wanted it to be. The 15+ blown saves along with countless losses is the main reason the Rangers are in the position they’re in. The only reliable lefties they currently have in the pen are Alex Claudio and Jake Diekman, and Diekman hasn’t pitched all year. That being said, the Rangers need another lefty in the pen. Jake McGee and Tony Watson would fill that void. Both are groundball pitchers with ERA’s in the 3.00 - 3.50 range, but I’m taking McGee over Watson only because McGee has experience in the American League (TB 2010 - 2015).
- Wade Davis
Now, if the Rangers are crazy enough to spend big bucks in free agency, this would be the man to do it on. Davis is a straight-up, shutdown arm out of the back end of any bullpen and would probably serve as the Rangers’ closer. While I’m not too crazy about Wade Davis in a Rangers uniform (because of the cost), it’s something I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Rangers do.
- Yu Darvish
Along with the bullpen, the need for a better rotation should be near the top of the Rangers list, and who better to headline it than Yu Darvish? There are multiple positives that come out of this. The fan base would be happy to see Yu back, the Rangers get to plug an ace into the rotation, and Yu gets loads of money… Oh wait, did I say loads of money? Yeah… that might be the only thing holding the Rangers back from a Yu Darvish reunion. I personally would love to see Darvish back in a Rangers uniform, but I think the next option suits the Rangers much better both on the field and financially.
- Alex Cobb / Lance Lynn
Signing both of these guys would probably suit the Rangers much better than to go out and spend big bucks on a frontline starter. As mentioned earlier, the rotation needs help, and if Texas goes out and gets two arms such as Cobb and Lynn to plug into the middle / back end of the rotation, they’ll be set with starting pitching. Alex Cobb (3.80 ERA) is a guy the Rangers have been looking at for a very long time, and because he’s set to be a free agent, now is the time to act. Lance Lynn (3.12 ERA), on the other hand, is another reliable arm who I can see performing exceptionally well near the back end of the rotation.
Based upon these predictions, here’s how the pitching would look in 2018:
LHP - Cole Hamels
RHP - Andrew Cashner
RHP - Alex Cobb
RHP - Lance Lynn
LHP - Martin Perez
RHP - Keone Kela - MRP
LHP - Jake Diekman - MRP
RHP - Jose Leclerc - MRP/SU
LHP - Alex Claudio - MRP/LRP
LHP - Jake McGee - SU
RHP - Matt Bush - SU
RHP - Wade Davis - CP
Now, if you ask me, that looks pretty good!