The baseball season is back and the Texas Rangers look to move on from one of the worst seasons in franchise history. Last season was a disaster from the jump. The team was so obviously awful last season’s preview was titled Misery By Design. The Rangers tanked and lost 102 games despite breakout performances from Kyle “Ace” Gibson and Adolis Garcia. If not for these two, they would have lost over 110 games. Gibson was offloaded to the Phillies at the deadline. That is where he will pitch this season too. Garcia was built around this offseason and will be a mainstay of the 2022 Rangers.
They are actually trying this year: After years of ostentatiously painting garbage rosters as playoff worthy, the Rangers finally decided to spend some money. Former Yankees owner George “The Boss” Steinbrenner would have been proud of the Rangers this offseason. They targeted two “name” guys that will “put fannies in seats,” two of the bosses’ favorite expressions.
The best middle infield in baseball: Former Dodger star Corey Seager was signed to a 10-year megadeal that is more binding and serious than the average marriage. Seager will continue to play shortstop. He is above average offensively, holding a career 131 OPS+ (100 is always average, higher is better, the stat is era and and ballpark adjusted.) His defense is average. Frankly, this deal sort of feels like the A-Rod deal. Except Seager is not the best player in baseball like a young A-Rod. Seager missed significant time in 2018 and 2021 with LA. This is a significant concern for the callow Jim Breur doppelganger. The biggest concern is, well, is he good enough for a contract like this? 10 year deals are almost never worth it. Seager is 28, and his deal is frontloaded.
Most of the time when a 8+ year deal is given out, it is to established S class players like Bryce Harper or Mike Trout. These are guys you expect to be top 10 players every season. They are marketable and fun to watch. They appear on all the season ticket packages. They adorn billboards. As restrictive as long deals like this are to a team salary-wise, they are actually great for marketing. Having an established star on your team that plays over 150 games a season like Harper is compelling enough to, as The Boss said, put fannies in seats.
But is Seager on that level? One could argue he was hidden amongst the wealth of talent out in LA. So what sort of numbers does Seager have to put up to make the deal “worth it?” Slash line (batting average/on base/slugging) of .300/.400/.500 with 150 games played would be a good target. 40+ doubles, 33+ homers and cutting down on strikeouts would round out an exceptional opening campaign. This first year is very important for Corey. The team is not likely to make the playoffs, but if he stays healthy and puts up good numbers the notoriously relaxed Rangers fans will embrace him. The chances of him getting hurt are far greater than the chances of him being below average though. Seager is “The Franchise.” The Rangers will go the way of Seager. He is the anchor of the team and middle infield for the next decade. It is hard to imagine a reality in which he falls off and the Rangers succeed. Conversely, it is hard to imagine the Rangers hoisting a World Series trophy in the next decade without Seager being in the middle of the celebration. With a 10 year ultra-commitment including a no trade clause binding the two parties, Seager is now that dude, for better or for worse. Ranger fans better learn to love Seager. A-Rod put up god tier numbers in his first 3 seasons with the Rangers. Then he was traded to the Yankees for scraps and the Rangers suffered for years because of it.
The Seager deal is sort of like going all-in in Texas Hold Em with Pocket Jacks. Yeah, the Jacks are good, but they are not the best and do you really want to commit everything with Jacks? Jon Daniels and Chris Young ripped in 300 big blinds on Pocket Jacks this offseason.
The other middle infield signing: The Rangers signed former Blue Jay Marcus Semien to a 7-year, 175 million dollar deal. Semien is 31 years old. He is a patient, sturdy player who Rangers fans will remember best from his 6 year career in Oakland. In the last 2 full MLB seasons Marcus has played all 162 games and finished 3rd in MVP voting. He has been extremely durable throughout most of his career. He plays exceptional defense from both shortstop and second. He won a gold glove at 2nd base last year with the plucky Blue Jays. He has pop and a good eye. Here is what the Rangers are hoping for from Semien this year: .270/.330/.440, 40 doubles and homers and another gold glove. The Rangers success for the next few seasons will be predicated on these two new stars playing up to their ability and staying healthy. These two will likely bat on either side of each other nearly every game. They will develop chemistry together turning the double play. This is the main difference between last season and the 2022 season: Isiah-Kiner Falefa and Nick Solak, two dudes who cannot hit, have been replaced by All Stars.
Isiah Kiner-Falefa won a gold glove a couple years ago for Texas. He is a kind man who now plays in the den of adders known as New York. IKF will be the Yankees everyday shortstop after they spent all last season trying to fill that void with Gleyber Torres. He was originally traded to the Twins for Mitch Garver. Then the Twins shipped him to NY for vacuous strikeout machine catcher Gary Sanchez. The Yanks wanted IKF, the Rangers needed a catcher, but knew Sanchez was a joke and did not want him. Thus the quick 3 trades were executed. Gary Sanchez is one of the most worthless and one dimensional players in all of baseball. The Rangers dodged a bullet not trading for him. Mitch Garver, a beefy catcher with pop, will try to become the intellectual successor to Mike Napoli (the 2011 version.) Garver has injury problems and cannot stay healthy. The Rangers will try to get the most out of his bat by putting him in the middle of the lineup with Semien and Seager. The Rangers have had trouble at catcher since Napoli and Benjie Molina left. The likes of Robinson Chirinos have forgetfully passed through DFW without leaving a single trace. The Rangers traded affable Latin catcher Jose Trevino to the Yanks for 2 pitchers. Trevino will never hit and is a career backup. The Rangers basically had to decide between Jose and Jonah Heim for backup. Heim has more pop and potential, so they went with him. Both IKF and Trevino were loyal soldiers and good people in their time in Texas. They are both defensive focused players, an archetype that has fallen out of favor in the current MLB metagame.
They join former Ranger slugger Joey Gallo in New York, where they will almost certainly be boo’d at home. After years of underachieving and being the least awful player on the Rangers Joey Gallo will spend an entire season striking out for ungrateful New York fans. Hopefully he will be so downtrodden after the year of booing he will sign with the Rangers for cheap. Gallo fits perfectly for the Yanks: he strikes out 50% of the time and has pop. That is the only qualification for being a Yankee apparently.
The Yanks will win 88 games with the Rangers drippings. They will disappoint their fans again and fail to win a pennant again. They have not won a pennant since 2009. In 2010 the Rangers, led by Josh Hamilton, Iron CJ Wilson, and Cliff Lee, embarrassed the Yanks and they have never been the same since.
The Yankees decade+ of ineptitude has been written off by lying stooges like Michael “Yankee Boy” Kay and Brian Cashman. Yankee Boy Michael Kay pronounced the 2010 ALCS “over” after the Yanks comeback in Game 1 of the set. The Rangers went on to win 4 of the next 5 to take the series.
Yankee Boy tows the party line and parrots every ostentatious, dim talking point Cashman blurts out. Cashman hilariously proclaimed the Yanks were screwed out of a championship in 2017. This was the year the repugnant cheating Houston Trashtros banged the trash can to tip pitches. The Yanks scored 3 runs in 4 games in Houston, proving the lack of consistent hitting (read ‘having an entire lineup full of walk or dong power hitters against pitchers with elite breaking stuff’) was more important than the other team duplicitously stealing signs. Yankee Boy PR Stooge Michael Kay (who has a radio show in the prime afternoon drive slot in NY and does commentary for YES) would have you believe every Yankee loss was due to bad luck. Both the Yankee fanboys and the Trashtros bandwagoners should be disregarded with extreme disdain. They are the lowest of the low. Repugnant subhumans looking to defile the legacy of their betters.
Corner infield: 1st round top prospect 3B Josh Jung tore up his shoulder severely a few weeks ago. He will be rehabbing for months. In the meantime, replacement level prospect Andy Ibanez will fill the void. Ibanez is average at the plate. If he can play defense, he can hold the line for future star Jung.
Nick Lowe retains his spot at first. He was a butcher defensively last season. He hit a tick above league average last season. Because of his defense he was nothing more than a replacement level player at a deep position last season. It is time for Nick Lowe to shed the “Tampax First Baseman” moniker and hit like a man. Being average simply won’t cut it, as the Rangers have a heavy flow of runners on base for Lowe. The “I don’t play on a team anyone cares about” listless mindset Lowe displayed last year will be put to the test this season when he is expected to excel with lineup protection and men in base in front of him. Lowe will need to be average defensively and increase his OPS+ by 10 points.
The Outfield: Adolis “El Bombi” Garcia should start every day in the outfield. The electric Cuban ranked #2 to Michael A Taylor in Defensive Runs Saved (the most important defensive stat) amongst outfielders. Garcia has a power bat, electric speed, and never-say-die attitude. He could easily become the heart and soul of this season’s team. His Achilles heel is that he strikes out too much. This problem will be mitigated by lineup protection on either side of him.
Garcia can play Center, Left, or Right. He is a S class defensive player. Former Angel lefty Kole Calhoun was signed to play right field and hit with pop. Calhoun has a hose (big arm) and will be an asset to the outfield. Nick Solak is being moved to the outfield too. Solak was exposed last season as a chump diggity who can only hit the fastball. He spent much of 2021 in AAA and was a disgrace.
Willie Calhoun has been a player the Rangers have relied on since he was traded for Yu Darvish. He has been a disappointing joke since the trade. He constantly gets hurt and plays sloppy defense. He is also obsessed with the low-brow FPS game Call of Duty, a repugnant low-skill shooter that saps his focus and concencentration worse than a 1980’s hooker. Calhoun can hit if he stays healthy, which he has not through his entire career. This “MLB ready” prospect has failed to play in over 100 games in his entire career. This is the make or break season for Willie. Another sub 100 game disappointment should spell the end of his career, considering he cannot play defense.
The other outfielder is former Phillie Brad Miller. Miller is an above average hitter. The backup outfielders are speedy Eli White and lefty pitching-crushing Charlie Culberson. Culberson will also double as a utility man. He can hit lefties well and nothing else.
The pitching: The Rangers new ace will be former Rockie Jon Gray. Gray is above average and has a nasty breaking ball. Gray will be followed by Martin Perez, an awful, disappointing disgrace who was the Rangers top prospect in 2011. Perez never developed and stands as a repugnant effigy to what could have been. The fact that the Rangers chose this joker really says it all about their recent player development. They cannot predict who will be good. Perez is a pathetic joke and fans should be armed with hard liquor for his starts.
Taylor Hearn, the native Texan, will start the Home Opener against the Jays. Hearn is a hard-throwing southpaw that needs to master his control to become a legitimate starter. Dane “Stunning” Dunning and Spencer Howard round out the rotation. Stunning was above average last season. Howard is a plucky youngster. If the rotation performs, this could be a solid team with a winning record.
The Pen: The Rangers bullpen is full of live, young arms. Albert Abreau, former Yankees heralded arm, was traded for Trevino and looks to lock down lefties. He struggled with control but will have more chances in Texas than in New York. Fiery lefty Brett Martin will come out of the pen this year too. He is joined by fellow fireballing Rangers Josh Sborz, John King, and Spencer Patton. All 3 throw hard and are young. If these dudes overperform, the Rangers could be looking at 87+ wins.
Brock Burke and Joe Barlow look to be steady names in the pen this season. They are joined by fiery Vets Greg Holland and Matt “MFB” Bush. Holland was part of one of the best bullpens of all-time, the 2015 Royals. Holland was electric with that team. Hopefully Holland can find his old form with Texas.
Former 1st overall pick, Matt “MFB” Bush is one of the most interesting and compelling stories in MLB history. Originally drafted as a shortstop first overall in 2004, Bush took a windy road like Josh Hamilton to Rangers stardom. Bush has had arm troubles the last few years. But he is a warrior deserving another shot, considering his S class 2016 where he posted an ERA+ of 184. Bush is a fiery junkyard dog, a man who truly had to work for everything after pissing away his initial opportunity. Bush is a warrior, a man kicked while he was down over and over only to return to throw insidious cheese on the paint. Bush should be revered and cheered for in the same way Neftali Feliz or Joe Nathan was. MFB is one of the players who could find their stride to hard-carry the team. This is especially true considering closer Jose Leclerc and setup man Jonathon Hernandez are coming off of blown out elbows. Both of those cats could post an ERA+ of 150.
That is to say, if the Rangers can get past the first 2 months with a winning record, they could be a real threat going into the stretch drive. This team has a hard-throwing, young bullpen. It lacks solid starting pitching depth. This will probably prevent it from being a playoff threat. The lineup looks sharp, the pen looks decent, and the starters look like the major weakness.
What to expect: The Rangers took significant steps in the offseason to go from a joke team to a competitive team. The Rangers went from an offensive disgrace to a solid lineup. The bullpen went from jokish to decent. The rototation… well, is still sort of wack.
Last season the Rangers were a joke. An unwatchable disgrace. This season they boast a solid lineup and an exciting bullpen. They are miles above where they were last year. If you did not follow the team last season, now is the season to start. With offensive pop and a young pen they could limp into the 3rd playoff spot with 87 wins. The Astros will probably win the division. But the Angels and Mariners are flash in the pan without pitching depth. The A’s are tanking. The Rangers could realistically peel off a 83+ win season. The more likely scenario is a 72-82 win season due to lack of starting pitching. If the Rangers add an ace and a #2 man next offseason they could be a legit playoff threat. Last season they were Misery By Design, this season they are Exciting Despite Lack of Pitching Depth. Prediction: 75-87.