Expectations Are High For Rangers Going Into 2020

Chris Halicke

Last decade saw the Rangers win their first American League pennant – and then win another one. The Rangers' run from 2010-2016 was inarguably the best stretch in franchise history. In this day in age, keeping a window open for seven seasons is quite the accomplishment. 

Very few teams in professional sports can maintain a high-level of success forever. For the Rangers, their run came to a halt quicker than expected. A couple of failed trades, some injuries, and some internal let downs sent the Rangers into a rebuild. 

As with most teams that are rebuilding, the Rangers lowered payroll and allowed their younger players to take stock of what they had internally. After three losing seasons and a managerial change, the Rangers had a good opportunity to see who was going to be a part of their core going forward. 

Now, it's time for the Rangers to contend again. They have a good core at the Major League level, with a mixture of young, homegrown talent and veteran players. One thing the Rangers have done very well throughout this rebuild is finding veterans on discounts and getting fantastic production out of them, most notably Mike Minor, Lance Lynn, and Danny Santana.

Elvis Andrus, who was a key part of the rise of the Rangers' success last decade, is now coming off three straight seasons for the first time in his career. It's not anything he's used to and recognizes the urgency to get back into the postseason again. 

"Expectations, not only the team or the fans, but for myself, they're really high right now," Elvis Andrus said at the Rangers' Winter Caravan this weekend. 

Andrus suffered a broken elbow in 2018 that derailed his season after maintaining a superb bill of health throughout his career. 2019 was a bounce back year in the health department, but still were below expectations in terms of production. Andrus slashed .275/.313/.393 with 12 home runs and 72 RBI's in 2019 while his defensive numbers were the worst they've been since 2014. 

Andrus looked a bit slimmer to reporters at the Rangers Winter Caravan on Saturday, which made it's latest stop at the Dr. Pepper Ballpark in Frisco, Texas. 

"I've put a lot of work on it in the offseason right now," Andrus said. "I've been losing some weight and getting a lot lighter, being able to get my range and everything back."

Expectations aren't high for only Andrus. Ownership and management have made significant additions to this team, which is going to elevate the Rangers' 40-man payroll north of $150 million, with the team remaining active in possibly making more additions to the roster. 

The Rangers have rebuilt their starting rotation with the additions of Kyle Gibson, Jordan Lyles, and two-time Cy Young award winner Corey Kluber. They've also brought in a solid third baseman in Todd Frazier and reunited with Robinson Chirinos. 

If the Rangers can remain healthy, their current roster is significantly better on paper than its 2019 counterpart. If the Rangers are able to land a player like Nicholas Castellanos in free agency, that would significantly help balance out the lineup, giving the Rangers a very solid roster overall. 

The confidence level of this team is rising as expectations continue to rise. When the Rangers open a new a ballpark in a couple of months, they'll look to kick off this new era of Rangers' baseball with a run to the postseason. 

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Follow our Rangers insider Chris Halicke on Twitter: @ChrisHalicke

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