I want to welcome everyone to December. We’re one month away from waiving 2020 goodbye and saying hello to 2021. It’s a season of giving, but also a time where kids fill out their Santa Claus lists for Christmas time. I decided to make a personal list for the Texas Rangers and ask Santa for four specific things to strengthen the Rangers’ 2021 season. So Santa, if you’re listening to me, I’m sending my letter out to you. Here’s is my wish for the 2021 Texas Rangers.
1. Packed home Stadium
Honestly, this is an item that all thirty teams covet along with other franchises outside baseball. It’s the one piece that I miss listening to when watching NFL games in 2020 or even college football games. Globe Life Field got its first taste of fan entry during the NLCS and World Series with a little Rangers red and blue shown, but the feeling of Rangers baseball with human spectators (not flimsy cardboards) never happened in 2020. “I understand, and I accept it. I don’t like it, but I accept it,” Rangers’ manager Chris Woodward said before the season-ending about no fans during the closing series against the Astros. It’s a wish list item we all need and are awaiting in sports.
— Bally Sports Southwest (@BallySportsSW) November 25, 2020
2. A set infield core
The Rangers have a few question marks regarding some infield positions in 2021. First is where will Gold Glover Isiah Kiner-Falefa play? In 2020, IKF played 46 games at third base and 14 at shortstop. Will Texas anchor him to one spot or continue to split the time? Next is first base. Ronald Guzman ended 2020 strong, but is he the front runner for first base in 2021? Whispers linger around about the middle of the infield. Elvis Andrus’ 2020 was short and that paired with Rougned Odor’s history equals to lack of clarity for the infield direction. A suggestion is Nick Solak playing second, but Chris Woodward feels Solak’s better spot is left field, “I think he probably grades out as a better left-fielder than a second baseman, but I don’t mind him at both.”
If you're not a member of the Nick Solak Fan Club then wyd? pic.twitter.com/P1Gdq4HA8o
— Texas Rangers (@Rangers) August 15, 2020
3. A complimentary catcher to Jose Trevino
The Rangers acquired Aramis Garcia less than a week ago from a waiver claim, but Garcia’s major league resume is short. Texas got a look at a future stud in Sam Huff but entering 2021, Huff’s fate is likely AA or possibly AAA unless the Rangers cut to the chase. I think Texas needs a veteran backup catcher to assist with a young pitching staff. Now I’m not saying to go out and get a JT Realmuto or a Kurt Suzuki, but I think a small pocket veteran catcher will help the “young core transition process” in 2021.
4. Protection for Joey Gallo in the lineup
Joey Gallo’s 2020 offensive production wasn’t ideal, and honestly, the only person that could accurately answer the “Why” question is Joey himself. However, lineup protection for a power threat like Joey is ideal, and the Rangers didn’t have much to offer. Todd Frazier provided a week-long spark, but he got cold. Willie Calhoun got decimated with injuries and therefore couldn’t get much consistency going. When I look at the Rangers lineup currently, there are limits on who could provide that protection, whether it’s the fourth or fifth spot in the lineup. Right now, Willie makes the most sense based on his 2019 performance. The Rangers could insert Solak into the fifth spot, but the four-hole isn’t ideal for Nick. The Rangers’ have some rearranging to do in 2021.
You got to be quicker than that 🎣 😅
— SportsDay Rangers (@dmn_rangers) August 13, 2020
Free agency is just beginning, and the Rangers do hold the second overall pick of the 2021 draft. Texas got a great look at what they have in their farm system and hopes to see progress in the Arizona Fall League. It’s a combination that will take time but provide worth in years to come. It’s a frustrating process, but maybe the baseball gods will fasten it, or possibly Santa can. Trust me, I feel confident I didn’t make Santa’s naughty list.
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