Given everything that’s happened this season in Arlington, it’s easy to see why the Rangers are dead last in the AL West.
The Rangers have dealt with injuries, Adrian Beltre has missed every game to date this season, but atrocious performances by several players have made matters worse. Jonathan Lucroy, Mike Napoli, and Rougned Odor all rank among the worst performers in the league at their respective position; Jurickson Profar made left field a black hole until they finally sent him back to the minors; and the Sam Dyson-led bullpen caused more late-inning implosions in April than you could possibly count without getting nightmares.
Many of those negative circumstances won’t last. Even if Napoli’s nearing the end of the road at age 35, Lucroy and Odor should rally soon, given their track records; Delino DeShields Jr. is a massive upgrade in left; and the bullpen’s performed a lot better lately, dropping Dyson to low-leverage work and getting strong results from Matt Bush, Jose Leclerc, and others. When Beltre does return, Texas will have a terrific problem on its hands, figuring out where to slot the beastly Joey Gallo when he has to move off third base.
Still, three major problems remain. First, math works against the Rangers, with this slow start requiring them to play elite baseball for the next four-and-a-half months straight if they hope to make the playoffs again. Second, losing Cole Hamels for eight weeks with an oblique injury will test a thin rotation. Also, they’ve done all this losing despite playing the easiest schedule in baseball. If you like to wager gummi bears on sporting outcomes, a deadline trade of free-agent-to-be Yu Darvish looks like a better bet than a third straight division title.