The last day of 2018. The season couldn’t have ended soon enough. In fact, it pretty much ended December 14 of 2017 when the Rangers, trying to bolster their rotation, traded for Matt Moore.
So, enough of 2018. Enough of the season that derailed before it started. Enough of the 95 losses, of Bartolo Colon and Martin Perez, of endless striking out, of Jeff Banister’s head scratching decision-making.
So long to old bad memories. Time to create new ones.
As T.R. Sullivan pointed out on MLB.com, the Rangers still have a lot more work left to do to get ready for the season. He calls attention to five areas in particular.
They need to complete the rotation. Right now it’s Lance Lynn, Mike Minor, Drew Smyly, and Edinson Volquez. And Smyly and Volquez are coming off Tommy John surgery, so they are a crap shoot.
They need to complete the bullpen. This seems to be a yearly occurrence but bullpens are fickle. One year a guy is unstoppable, the next year he can’t get anyone out. About the only sure thing they have is Jose Leclerc, and you really don’t need a closer when you are planning on losing 95 games or more. In this quest to stockpile pitching prospects, Leclerc is the most valuable piece to dangle in a trade. Find another closer when you are ready to compete in four or five seasons.
They need to figure out the catching situation. Jeff Mathis hasn’t been a full-time catcher since the Rangers were good, back in 2011. His backup, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, is still learning the position. This current front office has never developed a catcher. Chances are they will carry three catchers, which shows you just how challenging this roster is going to be.
They need to find a third baseman. It seems to make perfect sense to move Gallo to third. That will free up the outfield of Calhoun in left, DeSheilds in center, Mazara in right, with Choo as the DH. But the Rangers have said Gallo won’t be their third baseman in 2019. Mike Moustakas would be a great addition. He would bring a solid major league bat and much needed veteran presence. And he’s been around the game long enough not to be freaked out by having to replace a legend.
Figure out centerfield. Is it going to be DeShields? Gallo? Someone from their system? Right now the Rangers have a glut of outfielders who all bat from the left side. They need balance.
Spring training is six weeks away. The Rangers still have a lot of work to do. They have a lot of holes to fill.