The Texas Rangers have had a solid offseason in 2018 that should improve them from their 78-84 mark in 2017, Moore specifically in starting pitching (See what I did there?).
Texas acquired Matt Moore and future considerations from San Francisco in exchange for a couple of right handed prospects in Sam Wolff and Israel Cruz in order to bolster the rotation behind Cole Hamels and Martin Perez.
In addition to Moore, the Rangers also signed Doug Fister and Mike Minor.
Yes you read that correctly. The Texas Rangers signed Mike Minor to resurrect his career as starter.
Minor’s starter career isn’t much to talk about. When he was in Atlanta, Minor usually hovered in the four earned run range after his disastrous rookie season in 2010 when he posted a 5.98 earned run average. Minor did post as low as a 3.21 ERA in 2013.
Shoulder problems derailed two years of his playing career as he never appeared in a single game from 2015-2016.
In 2016, Minor signed a contract with the Kansas City Royals and made his Royals debut in 2017 as a late-inning reliever.
Minor was outstanding in that role posting a 2.55 ERA in 77.2 innings pitched and limited opponents to a .204 batting average while going 6-6 with six saves in nine opportunities.
The question to ask is, why is Minor back in a starting rotation? When the Rangers announced the signing, general manager Jon Daniels said, “Mike has a history of starting and some of the characteristics we have been focused on: strike-thrower, makeup, flexibility on the roster. The guy has upper-rotation ability … there are a lot of things on the list he ticked off that we like.”
Well at least he acknowledged that Minor is flexible on the roster just in case his little pitching experiment doesn’t work.
In addition to signing Minor as a starter, Daniels also signed two-time Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum to compete for the club’s closer role.
The Rangers have a good pitching staff. The question is whether the pieces that they have are being used the right way?
Offensively, the Rangers feature more of the same with Joey Gallo at first, Rougned Odor at second, Adrian Beltre at third and Elvis Andrus at short.
Texas will try their hand with Willie Calhoun in left field. Calhoun was one of the pieces Texas got in return from trading RHP Yu Darvish to the Dodgers.
Calhoun was a September call-up for the Rangers producing a .265/.324/.353 slash line in 13 games.
Overall, the Texas Rangers have the ability to produce a better record than last year’s 78-84 but they aren’t contenders to anything competing with one of the most complete teams in the MLB, the Houston Astros and the greatly improved Los Angeles Angels in their division.
The best case scenario is that they hover around the .500 mark which will be good for third in the AL West.
The worst case scenario is that the ‘experiment’ doesn’t work and Calhoun along with the infield don’t produce enough to make it that they barely survive falling into the cellar separated by a couple of games with the Oakland Athletics.
Texas opens up on March 29 hosting the defending World Series Champion Houston Astros at 3:35 p.m. EDT.
Mike Ricchione is a baseball enthusiast and is building his media portfolio. Catch his radio show “Rounding the Bases” Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6 p.m. – 7 p.m. on 107.7 The Bronc. You can also follow him on Twitter @MikeRicchione.