Texas Rangers fans who checked their email boxes Thursday morning were greeted with something that's become fairly typical among local sports teams as they've made attempts to target their marketing: an end-of-the-year survey about the fans' experiences and what they might like to see moving forward. While about 80 percent of the survey is what you might expect, a full page of the poll came as a surprise.
After questions about how many games the participant attended in 2017 and what it might take to get him or her to attend more in 2018, the poll pivots to a chart filled with names of Rangers' players.
As you can see, the Rangers want to know fans' feelings with regard to 17 players. While we have no idea why the Rangers care how the fans feel about individual players — the team's media relations department didn't return a request for information or an interview about the survey — there are a few interesting things to note about the list.
1. With two exceptions, each player on the list is set to return next year.
Of the team's free agents, only Andrew Cashner and Carlos Gomez are on the list. Fan favorite first baseman Mike Napoli isn't after a dismal 2017. If the team is asking fans about players for marketing reasons, it's interesting because Cashner and Gomez aren't sure things to be on the Rangers' roster next year. Maybe the survey makers know something.
2. Willie Calhoun made the list.
Calhoun, acquired from the Dodgers for Yu Darvish at the trade deadline, isn't exactly a household name among casual fans; he played in just 13 games for the Rangers in 2017. That aside, the Rangers included him in a list of the team's highest-profile players, potentially pointing to a bigger role for next season.
3. For some, the choices available to evaluate the players weren't adequate.
Lone Star Ball contributor Christopher Fittz will be in bad shape if third baseman Adrian Beltre, again the Rangers' best player in 2017, ever leaves the club.
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4. Rougned Odor better hope fans weren't paying attention.
Coming off a breakthrough season in 2016, second baseman Rougned Odor regressed, and then some, in 2017. He got on base just more than 25 percent of the time, didn't make up for it with an average .400 slugging percentage and led all MLB second basemen with 17 errors. "Very negative" doesn't do Odor's season justice.
5. Sam Dyson and Jonathan Lucroy are absent from the list.
No recap of the Rangers 2017 season can be complete without noting the disastrous campaigns of former closer Sam Dyson and former catcher Jonathan Lucroy, both of whom had the worst half seasons of their careers in 2017 before they were traded to the Giants and Rockies, respectively, at midseason. Maybe the Rangers were scared the number and ferocity of "very negative" responses, especially in the 10.80 ERA-sporting Dyson's case, would've crashed the survey.
While it's exceedingly unlikely that Rangers General Manager Jon Daniels is going to take advice about the bevy of roster decisions he'll make this winter from a fan survey, one can never be too sure. The survey can be found here if you want to make sure your voice is heard.