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2 Changes the Texas Rangers Should Make Before Spring Training

It is still only December, but the 2015 baseball season is rapidly approaching as pitchers and catchers will be reporting to camp in less than two months.

That gives the Texas Rangers plenty of time to make any changes necessary to be successful in 2015. First-year manager Jeff Bannister will have his work cut out for him to restore a club that lost 95 games last season. It also looks like he will head into next year with most of the same guys who were a part of the franchise’s worst season in 11 years.

It is still unknown how successful this team can be with a healthy roster. Players like Prince Fielder, Martin Perez, Derek Holland and Matt Harrison all missed significant time on the disabled list with different injuries. Handfuls of other players missed most of the 2014 season or large stints during the campaign. The injuries really exposed the lack of depth in the organization, which general manager Jon Daniels began addressing last season when he traded Joakim Soria to the Detroit Tigers.

Texas received two of Detroit’s top pitching prospects in the exchange.

Pitching is still an area that needs significant improvement, especially in the rotation. That is one of two changes the Rangers need to make before spring training commences in February, and it will start with pitching.


Profar Must Move to Third Base/DH

Yes, Jurickson Profar must move to the hot corner occupied by one of the best in Major League Baseball.

If Profar is able to come back and prove that he has been worth the wait, then that is what he must do. He is currently rejecting surgery in order to play in the upcoming season according to Calvin Watkins of He will begin the year in the minors but will most likely make a quick comeback to Arlington. It should give him some time to work out at third and develop some decent fundamentals at the position.

If the Rangers decide to keep him at short or second, which is highly likely, then his return should be in the DH spot. Most of his value lies in his swing, so keeping him off the diamond would not be a bad option.

Why does this need to happen? Because Rougned Odor isn’t going anywhere, and jobs around the horn are hard to come by in Arlington.

Adrian Beltre, the current third baseman for the club, will be 36 years old in early April and is entering his 18th season as a big leaguer. Even though he still has one of the best arms in the game, it’s safe to say he has lost a step or two defensively.

In fact, according to Fan Graphs, Beltre’s UZR/150 has dropped dramatically since joining the Rangers 2011. That year, his rating was 16.9 but was followed by a 14.2 in 2012, -1.4 in 2013 and rose back to a positive 5.3 last year.

Giving Profar a shot at third would still allow Beltre to hit as the DH. If Profar lives up to the hype while playing every day, it could give this lineup a boost in the run-scoring department.


Trade for or Sign a Free-Agent Starting Pitcher

Although the Rangers are doing themselves a favor by staying quiet this offseason, it would still benefit the club to trade for a starting pitcher.

The Rangers were able to get Ross Detwiler from the Washington Nationals during the 2014 winter meetings. However, he spent the entire 2014 season in the bullpen for the team and has struggled for the majority of his career in both the pen and the rotation.

Detwiler, no matter what the stats say, still gives Texas a solid flex option on its staff. But that doesn’t solve any problems within the rotation, which currently has Yu Darvish, Derek Holland and Colby Lewis occupying spots. One spot could be taken care of with an internal candidate, but the spot available in the front end of the rotation must be found elsewhere.

Max Scherzer and James Shields are most likely not on the team’s radar, but other viable pitchers still remain on the open market. The Rangers have been in contact with multiple teams with the availability of some of their players, including the New York Mets and San Diego Padres according to T.R. Sullivan of

Martin Perez and Matt Harrison are the reasons Texas can’t go into next season with multiple young arms in the rotation. Bother lefties will most likely be out until at least July, and the youngsters who took over for them in 2014 struggled mightily.

If the club is looking to contend after a two-year hiatus from the playoffs, its pitching staff must be improved.


All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference unless otherwise noted.

You can follow Trey on Twitter @treydwarren.

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Grading the Texas Rangers’ Offseason Post-Winter Meetings

All remains fairly quiet for the Texas Rangers this offseason, as the 2014 winter meetings have now come and gone.

The club re-signed veteran right-hander Colby Lewis and made a trade with the Washington Nationals for Ross Detwiler, per Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan (h/t MLB Trade Rumors). General manager Jon Daniels said pitching was a priority this offseason, and he has certainly made his rounds trying to acquire it.

For a team that lost 95 games last season, however, the Rangers have yet to improve. Lewis was a part of last season’s pitching staff that had the second-worst ERA in all of baseball. He himself had a hefty ERA of 5.18 during his 29 starts. Detwiler wasn’t much better, posting an ERA of at least 4.00 for the second consecutive season.

Other than that, Texas has yet to show it is willing to spend in order to compete for a playoff spot in 2015. Whether it is prospects or money, the team seems content with the players it currently has on the roster two months before spring training.

It should be, and so should the fans.

The club is getting a C for its work, or lack thereof, so far this offseason. The Rangers didn’t get anything higher strictly because they haven’t improved their pitching staff but merely added depth. But since they haven’t shipped off any big-name prospects or opened up the checkbook for any high-profile free agents, Daniels still gets a passing grade.

Nobody has forgotten the historic amount of injuries that plagued the Rangers in 2014. They used more pitchers and players altogether than any other team in history. It isn’t the only reason the franchise lost more than 90 games for the first time since 2003, but it did play a factor.

With an improved pitching staff, a healthy roster and players playing to their capabilities, this team can contend for a playoff spot.

Staying quiet this offseason will be good for the players in Arlington. There will be competition out in left field, with players like Mitch Moreland, Ryan Rua and Jake Smolinski all duking it out for the position. It also provides competition for the designated hitter spot.

The club is in need of another catcher and upgrades to the rotation and bullpen. And currently, young studs like Joey Gallo, Jorge Alfaro and Alex Gonzalez are still with the organization.

It may not be the offseason many fans were looking for, but Daniels has done well waiting for the right deal to come along. There is still plenty of time for this team to improve on the pitching side and possibly add power to the right side of the plate.


All stats courtesy of

You can follow Trey on Twitter @treydwarren.

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Kansas City Royals Take Game 3, Lead Series 3-0 over Baltimore Orioles

The Kansas City Royals are one game away from the World Series after downing the Baltimore Orioles 2-1 in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series.

The Orioles jumped on top in the second inning when Steve Pearce and J.J. Hardy hit back-to-back doubles, Pearce scoring off of Hardy’s hit. It was the first time this series that the O’s had a lead in a game.

It didn’t last long as the Royals loaded the bases in the fourth. Alex Gordon hit a grounder to second base, scoring Lorenzo Cain on the fielder’s choice. Kansas City would take the lead in the sixth on Billy Butler’s sixth sacrifice fly of the postseason.

Jeremy Guthrie started the game for the Royals, going 5.1 innings and allowing just one run on three hits. It was his first start in the playoffs in his 10-year career. He also got some great defensive help all around the diamond.

Guthrie did well but it was a collective effort from the club’s entire pitching staff. Guthrie, Jason Frasor, Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland all helped retire the final 16 batters of the contest. Holland recorded his fifth save of the postseason in the process.

In the preview we mentioned that the Boston Red Sox are the only team to overcome a 3-0 deficit in a best-of-seven series. The Orioles must do the same if they are to reach the World Series and two of those wins have to come in Kansas City.

On the other side, the Royals are one game away from their first World Series appearance since 1985.

Game 4 is scheduled for Oct. 15 at 4:07 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on TBS. You can follow along here on the Bleacher Report for live scores and highlights.


All stats courtesy of 

You can follow Trey on Twitter @treydwarren.

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San Francisco Giants vs. St. Louis Cardinals: Live Score and NLCS Highlights

Keep it right here for all the live updates of the much-anticipated Giants vs. Cardinals Game 1 NLCS matchup. Who will draw first blood? We’ll be the first to let you know!

SCORE Update: Giants 3 – 0 Cardinals, Bottom 9th

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Texas Rangers’ 2014 All-Prospect Team

It has been a difficult season for the Texas Rangers (54-89), who are now 35 games under .500 and without Ron Washington, their manager of eight years.

Injuries have ravaged the roster, forcing the club to make so many moves that they set a record for most players used in a season (60). That happened on Sept. 2 when Derek Holland made his first MLB start of the year.

However, many of the team’s best prospects provided bright spots elsewhere in the organization. Their High-A affiliate Myrtle Beach finishes the Carolina League Championship Series on Sept. 9. The Pelicans have had a relatively stacked roster for most of the season.

With so much success in the minors, we are going to put together the Rangers’ All-Prospect team. This team will be based mostly off of individual statistics. There will be one player for each position, including one starting pitcher and one reliever.

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Texas Rangers: Ron Washington’s Best Moves of the 2014 Season

The 2014 baseball season hasn’t been the kindest to Ron Washington and his Texas Rangers.

After all, they have led the big leagues in trips to the disabled list, and at one point, they had 16 players on it for one injury or another. And with 13 players currently on the DL and sitting 26 games under .500, the club is just hoping to finish the rest of the season unscathed.

Washington has had next to nothing to work with for most of the season. He was forced into converting two relievers into starters and platooning a handful of players at second base, and his lineup cards soon became filled with prospects and minor leaguers.

And although the Rangers are tied with the Colorado Rockies for the worst record in baseball, Washington has done a decent job with the roster he has.

The eighth-year manager isn’t going to be taking home any awards this year, but he continues to show an ability to lead this team.

Here are his best managerial decisions of the 2014 season. They in no way rank with his back-to-back trips to the World Series, but they do carry some significance considering the team’s current standing.

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1 Bold Prediction for Texas Rangers at Trade Deadline

With the 2014 MLB trade deadline rapidly approaching, it should be safe to say the Texas Rangers are going to be spectators while any sort of madness unfolds.

The club in Arlington is tied with the Colorado Rockies for the worst winning percentage in baseball (.404) and is 21.5 games back of the AL West lead as of July 22. Texas has by far the worst run differential in the big leagues (minus-108) and stands to miss out on the playoffs for the second straight year.

That is why the boldest prediction for the team concerns the possibility of losing three players at most come the July 31 non-waiver deadline.

With the exception of a few players, depending on the day, the Rangers are fielding what amounts to a good-looking minor league ballclub. Young guys like Rougned Odor and Michael Choice continue to play despite their struggles at the big league level, and lack of depth allows Colby Lewis and Nick Tepesch to continue to start on the mound.

Only three guys come to mind as trade candidates this July for the Rangers. One is possibly overachieving while the other two can provide decent return value.

If none of these three players go, then no other Ranger is on his way out.


LHP Neal Cotts

Here is the one guy who continues to overachieve and is still with the club based off a career season with Texas in 2013.

Neal Cotts had a career-high 1.11 ERA last year, the lowest of his career since 2005, when he posted a 1.94 ERA with the Chicago White Sox. Last season was the only time he kept his ERA under four and the only time in his career he held a WAR of more than two (2.6).

Obviously the southpaw and his 3.48 ERA doesn’t hold as much value this season, but he still carries the potential to bring back a young prospect in a deal. Cotts is showing that a slow start can have an overwhelmingly large effect on statistics down the road, having posted a 5.91 ERA by the end of April.

The Illinois State alum is still showing signs of dominating stuff, currently holding a strikeout rate of 10.7 per nine innings.

But at 34 years old, the Rangers should be moving on from Cotts as they did from Jason Frasor, whom the club dealt to Kansas City several days ago in exchange for minor leaguer Spencer Patton. A quality prospect may be out of the question when it comes to dealing Cotts, but starting depth on the mound is something the club should be seriously considering.


RHP Joakim Soria

Joakim Soria has been good for the Rangers but is not the long-term answer at closer.

The 30-year-old is 16-of-17 in save opportunities this season, which is nothing to brag about. After winning the ninth-inning job at the conclusion of spring training earlier this season, Soria has become somewhat of a surplus arm at the end of the game.

While the rest of the bullpen has combined for one total save, Soria has the fourth-highest ERA (2.59) of any reliever with at least 13 saves. Out of that select group, the Mexico native has pitched the fewest amount of innings 31.1.

Soria could bring back higher quality in terms of a prospect but not much more than Cotts. The club needs to seriously consider its other options in the ninth and sell the right-hander while it can.


OF Alex Rios

The last guy to possibly be dealt has seen interest from the Kansas City Royals and has a club option that could be a large payday for the right fielder.

Alex Rios has the chance to make $13.5 million next season if the Rangers decide to keep him, per The buyout is just $1 million for Texas and is growing more likely than ever.

The 33-year-old is having one of his better seasons, slashing .302/.330/.435 with four home runs and 42 RBI. He also leads the American League in triples with eight.

All it took for Rios to end up in Arlington was a middle infielder (Leury Garcia) from the Rangers in an August 2013 waiver deal. The 19th pick from the 1999 draft won’t bring back much more than that but still provides an opportunity for the team to build a stronger farm system.

Although he has been one of the better hitters for Texas, Rios isn’t much more than a veteran getting his hacks in. The Kansas City Royals have shown interest in the outfielder, according to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman, but it remains to be seen if the Rangers will elect to hold on to him.

After all, he has only had two years of production that would be able to match this season’s numbers.


All Stats courtesy of and

You can follow Trey on Twitter @treydwarren

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Offseason Moves Texas Rangers Should Have Made Going into 2013

The offseason that followed the 2012 season could have cured some of the problems the Texas Rangers have faced since the start of the 2013 campaign.

The club in Arlington seemed to be a front-runner to sign almost every high-profile free agent that winter, but nothing happened. More housekeeping was done—buying players they needed rather than wanted. For example, signing A.J. Pierzynski was arguably the best move the organization made that offseason, solidifying the weakest position on the team.

Looking back, the Rangers surely could have opened up the checkbook and now be in a different situation than they are. It is easy to speculate about what could have been at this point in time, but one can’t help but wonder if Texas would have closed on some of today’s premier players.

There are a few big names, in particular, that could have changed the course of the team’s recent struggles with pitching and injuries.

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Stock Up, Stock Down for Texas Rangers’ Top 10 Prospects After Week 5

Many of the Texas Rangers’ Top 10 Prospects continue to shine with their respective minor league affiliations now that the season has hit May.

The players’ season stat-lines can be deceiving as many have improved their numbers since the last time we looked at their stock reports. Pitching prospects come at a minimum for the Rangers but they continue to give the strongest performances this season.

As mentioned in the last report, the prospects that follow are from my pre-spring rankings. Their stock reports over the upcoming months will affect new rankings that will be presented after the conclusion of the Triple-A All-Star Game.

Michael Choice will be substituted with the No. 11 prospect because of his involvement with the Rangers.

Their stats from the previous week (April 29-May 5) will accompany their season stats and whether their stock has risen, fallen or remained the same. Their stock is determined by each player’s performance throughout the season.

All stats courtesy of and

You can follow Trey on Twitter @treydwarren

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How Arizona Diamondbacks Can Right the Ship in Los Angeles

Starting the season off with a 4-8 record is probably not what Arizona Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson had in mind.

The team began 1-7, marking it the worst start in franchise history, with one more loss in the first eight games than the club’s inaugural season in 1998. And after finishing the past two seasons with an 81-81 finish, winning one game in eight tries is going to start raising concerns.

That is why Major League Baseball has a season that is 162 games long. The Diamondbacks can get going at any point and turn things around in the NL West. After all, the club has won three out of its last four, including its first series win against the San Francisco Giants.

However, there are a few things that must vastly improve if the Diamondbacks are going to compete in this division and for a playoff spot. Arizona is falling behind in some major categories that will keep it shackled at the bottom of the West.


The Starting Rotation

The Diamondbacks rotation took a hit when Patrick Corbin was forced to undergo Tommy John surgery a couple of weeks ago.

As good as Corbin was in 2013, he couldn’t have helped this staff get off to a better start. The rotation has a collective 6.57 ERA and one fewer strikeout than the bullpen in 20 more innings pitched. The staff as a whole has an ERA of 5.86, good for second worst in all of baseball.

This chart shows the early season statistics for the starting rotation.

The offense is scoring runs but it won’t do the club any good if the rotation can’t go deep into ballgames. Josh Collmenter needs to be considered for a move back to the rotation, and Mike Bolsinger, currently pitching at Triple-A Reno, needs a shot in the big leagues.

Giving them a shot against the Los Angeles Dodgers would be a good start. The Dodgers have a team batting average of .251 and do most of their damage against strictly finesse pitchers.

Wade Miley pitched well against the Dodgers in his first start but only went five innings due to the odd scheduling. With help from his offense, Miley should have a longer leash and shut down an L.A. team that is hitting just .198 against left-handed pitching.


The Bullpen

The bullpen is also to blame for the team’s misfortunes.

After tying the Houston Astros for most blown saves in the bigs last season (29), the Diamondbacks have already managed to blow three saves in seven opportunities this season.

Five relievers have a WHIP of at least 1.500 and free passes have come at an overwhelming rate. In 43 innings, the bullpen has given up 23 walks and 23 earned runs. Collectively, the bullpen has a 4.81 ERA and a WHIP of 1.512.

As previously mentioned, the rotation needs to go deeper into ballgames. Not only will it take pressure off the offense but it will also take pressure off of the bullpen which has already made 41 total appearances in 12 games.

The series against the Dodgers could be a good opportunity to build confidence, though. The Dodgers are hitting just .195 against relief pitching and have scored just eight runs during the final three innings.


Clutch Hitting

The club has one of the more potent offenses in baseball, but timely hitting has been an issue.

It isn’t as if the D’Backs aren‘t scoring runs, considering they average 4.25 runs per game and have scored at least five runs seven times this season. It is when they aren’t scoring that has been the issue. The chart below breaks down the innings where Arizona has been most successful.

Through the first 12 games, the Diamondbacks are hitting .212 with runners in scoring position, including just five extra-base hits and 24 strikeouts. That batting average drops to .125 with RISP and two outs, which is good for fifth worst in baseball.

They won their first extra-inning game of the season on April 10. Scoring runs late in games with a shady bullpen will be imperative to keeping pace with the rest of the division.

The offense ruined an eight-strikeout performance by Wade Miley in the first game against the Dodgers in Australia and mustered just two hits against Hyun-Jin Ryu in the second game. The Diamondbacks have a collective .302 batting average against the South Korean and need to live up to it to give their staff support against the Dodgers’ productive offense.

Although stout, the Dodgers bullpen is prone to giving up walks (19) and home runs (4). The Diamondbacks can improve their clutch-hitting numbers in Los Angeles if they can work the count and take advantage of pitches up in the zone.


All stats courtesy of

You can follow Trey on Twitter @treydwarren

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