Not even a week after in-state rival Houston Astros hoisted the Commissioner’s Trophy after winning their first-ever World Series title, the Texas Rangers got to work on sculpting their 2018 roster.
The flurry of moves announced Monday were headlined by the team opting to decline an $11 million option on DH/1B Mike Napoli.
A third stint with the Rangers wasn’t a charm for the 36-year-old slugger as he hit a career-low .193 with a ridiculous 163 strikeouts in 124 games. Now a free agent, a return to the Rangers is highly unlikely for Napoli.
On the pitching side, the Rangers also declined a team option on reliever Tony Barnette. Only Alex Claudio and Matt Bush appeared in more games than Barnette among Rangers pitchers in 2017. Barnette was a major part of a bullpen that its major ups and downs throughout this season. In 50 games, Barnette posted an uninspiring 5.49 ERA in 57 innings.
In the starting rotation, Texas passed on offering veteran Andrew Cashner a $17 million qualifying offer. While a return is possible, the Conroe, Texas-native might be more likely to find a multi-year offer from another team before getting one from the Rangers.
Texas’ main focus this offseason will be improving its starting rotation behind Cole Hamels and Martin Perez, who had his $6 million option for 2018 picked up by the club Monday. While big-name options like former Ranger Yu Darvish, Texas native Jake Arrieta, and Alex Cobb are possibilities, it’s more likely the club will opt for several low-cost, high-risk/high-reward options and hope a few stick like they did with the likes of Tyson Ross, Cashner and A.J. Griffin this season.
While that didn’t exactly yield the greatest results, it’s a smart economic decision while the club waits for some internal prospects to possibly develop into contenders for the starting rotation over the next couple of seasons. Spending huge money on one starting pitcher wouldn’t be the best option for a club that has several holes to fill.
A good rundown of all the Rangers moves announced so far this offseason was provided by 105.3 The Fan’s Jared Sandler on Twitter today.
ICYMI: Here is the Rangers news from today plus quotes from JD and Banny regarding the news, the off-season, and more pic.twitter.com/ID9gWLTvHg
— Jared Sandler (@SandlerJ) November 6, 2017
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