Baseball season is right around the corner and for Texas Rangers fans the mixed amount of emotions start to kick as the team looks to answer the lingering questions fans have been dying for.
The Texas Rangers kick off the 2018 Major League Baseball season on Thursday and for Rangers fans, the time could not come soon enough. Like every season, the team enters the baseball year with tons of questions:
First off, will the team go with a five or six man rotation?
Other questions fans hope are answered: Has the done enough this off-season to fix their pitching woes? and can the Rangers overcome the postseason slump?
While not every question will be answered, there are solutions to help make this season a success and improve on from years past.
Five Texas Rangers Solutions
1. Go Find a Back up Catcher: Right now the Texas Rangers only have one true backup catcher and that is Juan Centeno. The Puerto Rican ball player has only appeared in 101 games since the 2013 season. In 268 bat appearances Centeno has posted 68 hits, along with 22 runs and 32 runs batted in (RBIs). This alone does not account for his fielding statistics as Centeno has had just 11 errors in 95 games. While the backup catcher has not had much MLB experience his battings numbers and in game appearances prove he is not ready to take over the plate if something were to happen to Robinson Chirinos.
2. Get a second leading pitcher: Everyone knows Cole Hamels is the teams leading pitching for the season, but after that it is unknown who the next big man is. After Hamels, the remaining starting pitchers include team newcomers Doug Fister, Mike Minor, Matt Moore, along with Bartolo Colon who is expected to take over as Martin Perez recovers from his elbow injury. Of the pitchers listed above, only Hamels posted a winning record. Colon came the next closest to posting a winning but that does not say much as he is not a full-time starter and his job security will be on the line throughout the season.
3. Find a True Motto: Last Season, the Texas Rangers’ team motto was “You Can’t Beat Me.” The year before that the team slogan “Never Ever Quit” appeared on t-shirts and Twitter hashtags. This season the motto is unknown and whatever the team chooses, they must stick to it and prove that their motto/slogan is something they take to heart. Coach Jeff Banister must rally the team around their new catchphrase.
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4. Fix the Jurickson Profar situation: Profar has been a member of the organization since the 2012 season. His best season came during the 2016 campaign when he took over for Roughned Odor for a small amount of the season. Two years ago, Profar posted a .239 Batting Average (BA) to go with 65 hits and 35 runs. Last year, the most coveted Ranger took a drop as he lost playing to outfielders Ryan Rua and Delino DeShields Jr. Profar is expected to be the future of the team and if he truly is the chosen one, then he must get the playing time he deserves or the team must move on from their young product.
The time must be now to see if he truly is the really deal and in a crowded infield the problem does not get easier.
5. Sign Jose Bautista: As much as it hurts me to say this, one key solution could be signing nemesis, Jose Bautista. While the heavy hitter may not be the same player from years ago, he has proven he can still hit even at 37 years old. Last season, Bautista continued to break the 20 home run mark, something he has been doing since the 2010 season.
The Texas Rangers have been known to sign/trade for veteran hitters in the past. Big names have included Carlos Beltran, Vladimir Guerrero and Prince Fielder. Bautista is no different and signing the Ranger enemy could make a difference in terms of win percentage this season.
No matter how this Texas Rangers season turns I am sure every baseball fanatic is excited to hear the words “Play Balls” this upcoming week and for the next couple months.