Jon Daniels told T. R. Sullivan that the emphasis this offseason will be on pitching and not on upgrading the club’s lineup. “From a position-player standpoint,” he explained, “we are of the mindset to give all of our guys that have been here or knocking at the door a true opportunity this year.”
That means the plan is for Delino DeShields to play center and Willie Calhoun to play left.
One thing that’s true of Daniels, and really of all GMs, is that what they say and what they eventually do are never one in the same. It’s GM-speak.
What he does with the lineup will be determined by two main factors.
One, can the Rangers land Ohtani? This will do two things. It will free up money they need to earmark for the two quality starters they still need. Getting Ohtani means they will need only one more quality starter. Since he will be cheap, they will have money to get a great defensive center fielder. Defense has been an afterthought for the Rangers front office for too long and it needs to be addressed. Also, if they get Ohtani, he needs to hit somewhere in the lineup. That means they will not, indeed, be going into the next season with the current mix of position players.
Two, can the Rangers unload Choo’s contract? As it is right now, Ohtani or no Ohtani, the Rangers offense needs improvement over last year. Yes, they had major addition by subtraction by letting Mike Napoli and Carlos Gomez go. They lost a whole lot of swings and misses. But they still have Rougned Odor and Joey Gallo. Odor struck out 162 times, Gallo 196. So, they are still running out two major rally killers. If they can unload Choo (granted they’d have to eat a lot of his salary) they would save a bit of money to apply to hitters who make contact.
Daniels has far too many holes to fill. But I don’t buy the notion that he is going into next year without addressing the offense. He is, if nothing else, competitive. He could not compete with the offense he had last year. He cannot compete with the offense he has next year.