After floating around the edges of contention during much of the 2019 season, the Texas Rangers endured a 2020 of near-historical ineptitude. The pitching was horrendous; the offense was somehow worse. Ultimately, the Rangers finished the first season in their gleaming new ballpark with the second-worst record in the league. Now, newly announced general manager Chris Young and his fellow execs are entering the offseason with a strategy that is guaranteed to excite fans: cut costs. Here’s a better idea: burn it all down.
Burn it like Khaleesi destroying King’s Landing. Burn it like Shosanna Dreyfus turning her Nazi-filled theatre into scorched kindling. Enough of the half-assed “skinny rebuild” whereby the brass try to field just enough talented players to keep butts in seats through August. Instead, Young, Jon Daniels and co. should go full Astros, minus the cheating, fraud and general fuckery. It’s time for a full rebuild, y’all, which means hard moves must be made, fan faves will be lost, and there won’t be very many butts in seats come August. Yet from the ash and rubble, something resembling a semi-competent baseball team just might emerge.
To that end, here are five moves the Texas Rangers should make this offseason.
1. Get Rid of Roogie
Given second baseman Rougned Odor’s general lack of productivity, this might take some general manager sorcery. Back in 2017, Odor signed a six-year, $49.5 million contract that also included two quarter horses. At the time, it seemed like a smart move. Now, the contract is an albatross. The Rangers should do everything they can to ship off Odor, even if it means eating some of that contract and sending a treasure trove of Boomsticks to whoever takes Odor off their hands. The Yankees might need a new second baseman, and the thought of New York fans fuming over Odor’s inability to field, hit or draw walks is worth some more horse-trading.
2. Sell High on Gallo
Earlier this year, Rangers manager Chris Woodward compared slugger Joey Gallo to God-esque players Mike Trout and Mookie Betts. Please. Gallo is closer to Adam Dunn or, daresay, Chris Davis. Translation: He strikes out too much. However, many teams undoubtedly will be enticed by his solid glove, his home run potential and his owner-friendly (read: cheap) contract. The Rangers should bundle Gallo with someone like pitcher Lance Lynn to land a horde of prospects.
3. Pilfer the Yankees and Dodgers
Speaking of prospects, guess who has a lot of them. The Dodgers. The Yankees have a number amount, too, and both of these evil empires (aka well-run teams) will be chasing championships for the foreseeable future. Plus, both teams would probably love a relatively cheap pitcher like Lynn, who is quietly one of the game’s best starters. Seeing Los Angeles coast to a World Series trophy with help from a kid from our backyard was helpful, especially considering our prospect pool looks pretty sparse. Young would be wise to get some young guns in the minors and start developing the starting rotation of 2025.
4. Get Kim
Even if you’re rebuilding, you can still spend a little, right? Even if “a little” means something in the ballpark of $40 million over five years. That’s what young Korean infielder Ha-Seong Kim is likely to command from an MLB team this offseason. Longtime shortstop Elvis Andrus is the kind of high-energy leader you want in your clubhouse, but he’s clearly nearing the end of his fun if not underwhelming Rangers career. Furthermore, some baseball writers have compared signing Kim to landing a Top 100 prospect which, as mentioned above, the Rangers clearly need. Inking Kim would bring an exciting combination of youth, experience and talent to a roster that needs all three.
5. Bring Home Josh Bell
Before landing in the baseball purgatory that is Pittsburgh, Josh Bell played high school ball at Dallas Jesuit. The Pirates converted Bell to a first baseman, but he’s originally an outfielder. The Rangers need both of those things, but more important, they need bats in their lineup. Based on the standard he set in 2019, Bell is coming off a lackluster season. But the ceiling is still high, the contract is still low and the rebuilding Pirates have a track record of making ill-advised trades. Can the Rangers land Irving’s own Josh Bell for a few middling prospects and players? A fan can dream.