Now that it seems as if the punishments are done for those involved in the 2017 Houston Astros investigation, we will take a look into how it potentially helps the Texas Rangers, among others in the AL West.
The Texas Rangers are a team that should be improving from their 2019 record, as they have added the likes of Corey Kluber, Jordan Lyles, Kyle Gibson, Todd Frazier, and Robinson Chirinos to their roster. Those additions, plus others that they could possibly make before the off-season ends, could potentially help boost the club into playoff contention in 2020 and beyond.
Now onto the Astros fall-out. The manager and general manager for the Astros have been suspended from baseball for the season, and fired, while the team has been stripped of their first and second round draft picks in 2020 and 21, as well as received a fine of $5 million (max fine allowed).
Let’s be real though, the impact that the punishment the MLB placed on the Astros likely will not impact them the same way that losing Gerrit Cole would have on them. The Astros won 107 games, and the AL West by ten games. Even with the players that they lose to free agency, the casualties from their punishment, and being watched closely to where they will not be able to cheat in 2020, they’re still going to be a favorite to not only win the division, but also to return to the World Series.
The Oakland A’s will likely gain the most from this out of the playoff teams, as the gap between them and the Astros will close to the point where the division could potentially be a toss-up between the two, especially if the A’s can pick up where they left off from their red-hot second half.
The LA Angels are another team that has a lot to gain this season, as they have added Jason Castro and Anthony Rendon to their offense, and Julio Teheran to their pitching staff. They only won 72 games last season, but with their additions, they should be able to close the gap significantly, especially in the wild card race.
At the moment, it seems like the Seattle Mariners are likely in a rebuilding mode, and probably won’t be trying too hard to compete. The Texas Rangers should also be able to gain some ground on the Astros and in the wild card gap. 18 games is quite a steep hill to climb just to make the wild card for the Texas Rangers, but with the great additions they have made to bolster the team, there is a good chance that they can close the gap, but they will likely need some help of regression from the A’s or Tampa Bay Rays.
For the Texas Rangers to truly take advantage of what happened to the Astros, what they will need to do is be the reason for their regression from 2019 to 2020, and that would start by taking back the Silver Boot. Another big issue with the Texas Rangers in 2019 was their struggle with teams over .500, as they posted a 31-53 record against those teams.
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The Rangers recipe for success to overtake the Astros in the west will likely be the same strategy that the Angels and A’s will partake in as well, as everyone in not only the division, but in baseball, would love to see the Astros fail, given all that has gone on with them over the past few weeks.