With a record of 95-67, the Texas Rangers finished first in the AL West, 9 games ahead of the second place Seattle Mariners. They also made the playoffs. But in the ALDS, the Rangers were eliminated by the Toronto Blue Jays in 3 games. At the trade deadline, they acquired star catcher Jonathan Lucroy from the Milwaukee Brewers, to improve their squad. If they want to make it to the ALCS or further in 2017, GM Jon Daniels needed to play it smart in the offseason. Let\’s see what Daniels did.
Key additions: 1B Mike Napoli, SPs Andrew Cashner, Tyson Ross, Dillon Gee, 3B Will Middlebrooks, OF Travis Snider.
Key subtractions: OFs Ian Desmond, Carlos Beltran, 1B Mitch Moreland, RP Shawn Tolleson.
Biggest move: The Rangers offseason is on the bad side more than the good, with star outfielders Ian Desmond and Carlos Beltran leaving. They signed an old friend to replace 1B Mitch Moreland, who also left. That is Mike Napoli, who was signed to a 1 year, $8.5 million deal. He hit 54 homers in two seasons with Texas (those years being 2011 and 2012). He can hit some bombs in 2017.
X-factor: In 2016, Carlos Gomez had an awful start with the Houston Astros (he had a .210 average and 100 strikeouts). He was released there, and went to the Rangers. He hit .284 with the Rangers. With the Rangers\’ outfield declining, Gomez needs to step up.
Biggest bounce back: Andrew Cashner was a big prospect. But, in 2016, he was the opposite of good: REALLY bad. He had a 5.25 ERA in 132 innings with the Padres and the Marlins. He signed a one year, $10 million deal with Texas in the offseason. He needs to bounce back.
Biggest breakout: In 2016, former number 1 prospect in the league Jurickson Profar played for the first time since 2013. He wasn\’t amazing, with a .239 average and 5 HRs in 272 ABs. He will play a super utility role in 2017. Expect him to make the most of that opportunity.
Guaranteed star: There\’s a couple guys who I considered putting here. They have 2 solid pitchers in Cole Hamels and Yu Darvish. But, I\’ll put 23 year old 2B Rougned Odor here. Odor hit 33 HRs and stole 14 bases in 2016. He will dominate the league for years to come.
The Rangers\’ lineup should look like this.
1. CF: Carlos Gomez
2. 2B: Rougned Odor
3. C: Jonathan Lucroy
4. 3B: Adrian Beltre
5. 1B: Mike Napoli
6. RF: Nomar Mazara
7. DH: Joey Gallo
8. RF: Shin-Soo Choo
9. SS: Elvis Andrus
Their rotation will probably be this.
1. Yu Darvish
2. Cole Hamels
3. Andrew Cashner
4. Martin Perez
5. A.J. Griffin
CF Delino DeShields, C Robinson Chirinos and 3B Jurickson Profar will be on the bench.\\
Sam Dyson will be their closer, with Jeremy Jeffress and Matt Bush setting him up.
Finally, for my prediction, I think the Texas Rangers will win the AL West, and the ALDS, but be eliminated in the ALCS.