End of Season Texas Rangers Mailbag: Moves for the Upcoming Winter, Next Year's Draft
For Texas Rangers fans, watching their team finish with the second-worst record in baseball is not ideal. What makes it worse is circumstances that required them to watch it in two dimensions; not with an ice cold beer or ballpark hot dog in hand at the Rangers' brand new $1.2 billion stadium.
Before I answer your questions, I wanted to thank all of you for not only submitting your questions, but for following along this season. We appreciate each and every person who comes to SI's Inside The Rangers for coverage and analysis of your favorite baseball team.
What do you predict to be the headliner for the Rangers' offseason?
-Sean D., Texarkana, TX
I didn't anticipate there to be any big name or "headliner" in free agency this winter. Rangers GM Jon Daniels confirmed that in his Tuesday end-of-season presser with the media.
Two positions that Daniels did say they could add via free agency or trade is starting pitcher or left field. Could they re-sign Mike Minor after flipping him at the trade deadline? Possibly. Could they re-sign Corey Kluber at a cheaper rate? Maybe.
Any potential acquisition will likely be in the mid-to-lower tiers of free agency. They could also add good character guys to help guide the younger players as they develop at the Major League level.
With how the Rangers ran out the youngest starters by age ever do you see them doing the same next year or do they elect to bring some veterans in to try to compete for playoff spot?
-JB, College Station, TX
As I mentioned in the previous question, the Rangers may add one veteran so the Rangers don't have to rely so heavily on the younger arms. Youngsters like Kolby Allard, Kyle Cody, Wes Benjamin, and maybe even Taylor Hearn could find themselves starting at some point in 2021, but the Rangers need depth to get through the season, assuming we're back to normal.
But as for Daniels potentially building the rotation in a similar way he did last winter in an attempt to compete for a playoff spot, I wouldn't expect that. Hypothetically, the Rangers could reunite with either Minor or Kluber, but most likely not both. After all, if the Rangers are going to focus on their youth, the pitchers can't be excluded. They need to get the younger arms some significant innings next season to see what they have.
The Rangers will likely take a pitcher with their top pick. Who will that pitcher likely be? Best guess?
-Joseph E., Frisco, TX
I would recommend pumping the brakes on the Rangers automatically taking a pitcher with the No. 2 pick next summer. The consensus top prospect is Vanderbilt's Kumar Rocker, who would likely go to Pittsburgh at first overall. Baseball America currently has Texas selecting catcher Adrian Del Castillo out of the University of Miami (Fla.) in their first 2021 mock draft.
However, I recommend keeping some perspective here. The draft is over nine months away. So much can happen between now and then. What does high school baseball look like this spring? What about college baseball? Regarding Vanderbilt's Jack Leiter, who I'm seeing as the consensus pick among Rangers fans on social media, does he do enough to prove himself as a can't-miss option at second overall? Or does a hitter like Del Castillo become a bat that you can't pass up?
A lot can happen between now and next summer's draft. While I am very intrigued by Jack Leiter, it's just too early to tell.
Why does management and Woody keep up the pretense of Rougned Odor “having to earn” his position when they clearly aren’t enforcing that? Do they really think fans are THAT stupid? Tired of it. Time for some honesty—and thus, credibility.
-Linda T., Fort Worth, TX
Rougned Odor played 38 games this season out of 60. Some of his 22 games missed was due to a right eye infection, some of that was due to him losing his everyday role on the club. Losing their spot in the lineup doesn't mean they'll never play. And Elvis Andrus being shut down gave Chris Woodward less options at second base, hence why Rougned Odor played so much in September.
Here's something else to consider: Who else on the field did enough to automatically supplant Odor from second base? Nick Solak actually had a lower bWAR than Odor in 2020. I would concede on Anderson Tejeda, but as I mentioned previously, he was needed at shortstop when Andrus was shut down for the season.
If someone buys a used car and it vastly underperforms, it's not a stretch to say most people would not move on from it quickly. If there's still a lot of money left on the note, the owner will likely do whatever they can to get the car to perform up to standards. However, once the owner gets to a point where the financial loss is minimal, or they can find the right kind of trade, they could finally move on from it.
I believe we're getting to that point with Rougned Odor. Jon Daniels said Tuesday both him and Elvis Andrus are not guaranteed spots next season. To your point, I do believe what the Rangers inevitably do with Odor and Andrus will have an impact on the "youth movement" the club is heading towards. From my perspective, I think there's enough room for one of them next season, but not both.
Do you think we will lose Elvis, Odor and Gallo?
-Amanda Snow (Twitter: @snowsworld01)
As I mentioned in the previous question, I believe there's room for either Andrus or Odor, but not both. I would lean toward Andrus, but would expect him to be willing to play other positions. The Rangers are heading toward the youth of the club being the priority. That means underperforming veterans either have to take a back seat or somehow find a way to move on from them.
Regarding Joey Gallo, I specifically asked Jon Daniels about how the club values him after a promising 2019 campaign and a step backward in 2020. He mentioned the possibility of having discussions with Gallo's party on a contract extension this winter. Daniels did discuss Gallo with other clubs at the trade deadline, but Daniels said they "felt like there was still more there."