It's a big week for the Texas Rangers — one that will give us a better indication of when the rebuild may come to an end and the club puts it foot on the gas towards contending for a championship once again.
Of course, just that notion of contending again seems like a lofty, or maybe even an improbable goal, given the current state of the team. They are 30 games under .500 and in a complete free fall since the All-Star break.
Naturally, many Rangers fans have questions. Now we'll do our best to provide some answers.
Do you think the rebuild may deter some big name free agents from heading to Texas this off-season? Money is obviously a large factor, but guys also want to win. Also, which free agents might Texas target?
-Sean Daniel (Twitter: @LuckyGuy2017)
I think it really depends on what the Rangers do with Joey Gallo. If the Rangers sign him to a contract extension, they are telling free agents they believe they can win while Gallo is under contract. If not, it's hard to see the Rangers spending high dollar for talent if they aren't going to win while making that investment.
If the Rangers do extend Gallo, I still believe Trevor Story is in play. On the surface, it may not look like the Rangers could compete soon, so why bother? Well, the Padres signed Eric Hosmer before they were deemed "ready". Two years later, they were competing.
2023 seems to be the year the Rangers are thought to start making a move toward competing again. That's two years away.
But to reiterate, this all depends on what happens with Gallo this week.
With a lot of Trevor Story rumors to the Yankees going around, if he is dealt, who are some other shortstops can the Rangers go after this offseason?
-J (Twitter: @JR_Gaut)
Trevor Story will become a free agent at season's end regardless of where he is traded. The only way that won't happen is if he signs an extension with a club or accepts the qualifying offer at the end of the season. Both seem very unlikely.
But in case the Trevor Story pursuit doesn't pan out, there are a few other top-tier free agent shortstops, including Corey Seager, Carlos Correa and Javier Báez. Correa may require the most amount of money, but for good reason. He's a proven player having a good year.
Eric Homser may be traded. The Rangers should drop on it. We need a guy on this team that can help.
-Travis Garrity (Twitter: @garrityv_t)
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I don't know how much sense it will make to add a veteran first baseman that is owed $59 million over the next four seasons. He blocks off the development of Nathaniel Lowe and Curtis Terry — two guys where the Rangers need to see what they have. This season has been dedicated to evaluating internal talent. Next season could very well be the same type of season. Adding an aging veteran just to add wins during evaluation years is chasing after fool's gold.
But, to play devil's advocate, the Rangers did say they are open to "baseball trades" this week. If the Rangers believe they can land a Trevor Story-type player this winter and extend Joey Gallo, maybe the Rangers take on a guy like Hosmer if the Padres eat some of Hosmer's $20 million salary next season. After that, he has three straight seasons with a $13 million player option. If he hits in his mid-30s, that may not be a bad investment as long as the Rangers are competing in 2023 and beyond.
Overall, I don't see that scenario playing out.
IF Chris Woodward does get let go this offseason, who would you like to see take his place? Also what’s your favorite moment been of this season?
-Adam Noel (Twitter: @NoelC_Adam)
It's difficult to say. In all honesty, I probably couldn't put a name on it. However, I would think it would be a similar type of hire they've done with Ron Washington, Jeff Banister and Chris Woodward. No, all three hires were not the same, but I wouldn't see the Rangers going after a big name manager. No matter how ugly things get this season, I think Chris Woodward is the manager of the Texas Rangers in 2022.
My favorite moment has to be Elvis Andrus' return to Texas. Not only was it great to see and talk to him again, but to see how the fans embraced him. It was a special moment in a very difficult season.
The next night is a close second when we got to see Sergio Romo drop his pants while getting checked for illegal substances. That was the icing on the cake after seeing all the stuff that happened with Max Scherzer earlier that night. It is by far the most fun I've ever had on Twitter and the hardest I've laughed in a press box in my short career in journalism.
We all expect Josh Jung up this season but does it really make sense? I would much rather see him continue to develop on a team that seems to have a winning mentality.
-John Rozell (Twitter: @JROZ_AF)
I really don't think Josh Jung sees the big leagues this year. The injury cast a serious cloud of doubt over that from the start. Then seeing the way the season has played out, I agree. It doesn't make much sense to rush his development. I think he could get a call-up to Triple-A before the season is over, but I don't think he gets a call to Arlington this season.
Next year, barring any injuries, I predict a June call-up at the latest.
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