After playing games for 19 consecutive days, the Texas Rangers are getting a much needed day off before they begin a four-game series on Thursday with the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park.
The Rangers currently sit at 18-20, and have played above expectations through the first 38 games of the season. With still over 76 percent of the schedule unplayed, it is still unknown how long this young and inexperienced team can sustain a near-.500 record.
Thank you, Rangers fans, for submitting your questions for the latest Rangers Mailbag here on InsideTheRangers.com.
What are the chances these young Rangers develop enough to play spoiler in September?
-Joe S., Bedford, TX
Will Khris Davis lead us to the playoffs?
This is my favorite type of question. And I think many in the Rangers organization would love to see it too. It means this young team is creating excitement among the fanbase, and that maybe this rebuild won't last too long.
However, this is where I come in and — by no ill intention — spoil the day. Of all the accomplishments that the Rangers are capable of achieving this season, making the postseason is likely not one of them. They lack enough pitching that can provide a high number of innings over the course of the season, and though they are hitting well now, these younger hitters will be tested more and more as the season rolls along.
Now, I dare not tell anyone on the Rangers they can't make the postseason. The confidence this team has in each other is off the charts. They carry the attitude of a championship team. They just lack the experience and talent to compete with the higher quality teams this season. Let's not forget, these Rangers were swept by San Diego, the Chicago White Sox, and San Francisco.
What pieces do you think we'll need to shop or trade for in order to be able to contend? Any idea when we might see Josh Jung?
-Nathan S., Irving, TX
If the Rangers defy the odds and find themselves in contention in July, starting pitching would likely be the first thing Jon Daniels and Chris Young try to acquire. But they won't go after a rental. They'll go for a guy with more than a couple years of club control. There are no shortcuts with rebuilds.
I don't want to rule out a run at Trevor Story either. If the Rangers could somehow pry him away from Colorado at a minimal cost, they could make a two-month pitch to Story before he enters free agency in the winter.
Josh Jung is still recovering from his foot surgery and likely won't see game action in the minor leagues until the end of May or the early part of June. That could really delay his timeline to the big leagues.
So the team is doing well. Do you think we need to trade for a big bat or arm to make a possible run for the postseason? Or do you think that a possible call up of Jung and Huff can make that happen?
-Daniel F. Starkville, MS
Similar type of question as the last one, but I'll reiterate that no matter where the Rangers are in the standings, they should only acquire players that could be part of the next contending team. Parting with prospects for rentals or players with only one more year of control doesn't do much for where the Rangers are right now. Development and growth remains paramount.
As for Jung and Sam Huff, injuries may severely delay their timeline to the big leagues. If I were a betting man, I'd still bet Jung makes his big league debut, but it might not be until rosters expand to 28 in September. It could be earlier if Jung destroys Triple-A pitching and shows he is ready to play with the big boys.
Regarding Huff, he is not as polished of a hitter as Jung and Rangers management isn't even sure when or if he can catch this year after his knee surgery. I don't want to rule out Huff making a trip to Arlington at some point this year. However, what was once thought to be a foregone conclusion is now very murky, at best.
What kind of return might we expect the Rangers to get in a Joey Gallo trade? Has his value increased enough this season to warrant a significant yield?
-Sean D., Texarkana, TX
If the Rangers pull the trigger on a Gallo trade this summer, I wouldn't anticipate the humungous haul that some fans might anticipate. We've all seen the player Gallo is and what he is still capable of, but he's not yet been able to make the turn down 'Superstar Lane' just yet. It could come this year. But it hasn't happened yet.
I think getting a pair of a club's Top 15 prospects would be a major win, and of course, that is relative to the quality of trading club's farm system. He only has one more year of control and will then likely test the free agent market. Clubs are less likely to part with a big haul nowadays, especially for a player they might not be able to extend.
Bottom line, don't expect another haul that Jon Daniels got for Mark Teixeira in 2007. But, you could see something a bit better than the Lance Lynn/Dane Dunning trade from last winter.
With all of the bright moments we’ve seen from the team this season, what moves do you think we see by the trade deadline or this offseason? Who do we keep/extend vs who do we move or go after? Instead of a team built around Gallo, is Isiah Kiner-Falefa the new face?
-Chris T., Tyler, TX
Since I've already discussed the trade deadline plenty, I'll go with what the Rangers may do next winter.
From sources I've spoken with, corroborated by several national reporters, the Rangers are planning to make a play for Trevor Story. There will certainly be a long list of clubs wanting to pounce on arguably the best shortstop class we've ever seen in free agency. The Rangers will have to outbid some clubs, and contrary to what the "ownership is cheap" crowd believes, if the Rangers think they are on the cusp of contending in a year or two, they'll offer the big bucks.
If the Rangers do land Story or one of the other shortstops, that kind of raises the question of what to do with Isiah Kiner-Falefa. He is under club control through 2023. Do the Rangers keep him at shortstop and ask a big money free agent to change positions? Does Kiner-Falefa willingly go to second or third base? If so, what of Nick Solak or Josh Jung? These are questions that remain to be answered. And that is why I'm not the general manager of a baseball club.
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