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In the thick of October, an early Texas Rangers Opening Day roster prediction

In the thick of October, an early Texas Rangers Opening Day roster prediction

We all love projections, don’t we? This offseason, the Rangers are one of the most intriguing teams considering their reported amount of financial resources and their aspirations to make a playoff push perhaps as soon as 2023. It’s almost like that Hey Arnold episode where the kids found a big bag of money and no one claimed it, so now it’s on for a big shopping spree (yeah, I know that’s not exactly how the episode went). Well, the Rangers have money to spend, and with a 100 loss season in 2021, it’s time to make some changes, or maybe not entirely. So here’s my first roster prediction as we are less than five and a half months until Opening Day.

Projected Starters (and projected Opening Day Lineup)

Pos. Player Bats
3B Isiah Kiner-Falefa R
SS Corey Seager L
RF Adolis García  R
1B Nathaniel Lowe L
DH Jorge Soler R
LF Willie Calhoun L
2B Nick Solak R
C Jose Trevino R
CF Leody Taveras S

Projected Reserves

Pos. Player Bats
C Jonah Heim S
INF Andy Ibáñez  R
UTIL Chris Taylor R
OF DJ Peters R
INF Charlie Culberson R

There are a few things you’ll notice on here. I’ll get the quick ones out of the way. Eventually, the Rangers will want to bring in Eli White when he’s fully recovered ready to go. With White likely missing a portion of Spring Training or ready right at the start, he’ll likely ease in and start the season in Round Rock. Next, I think the Rangers will re-sign Charlie Culberson to another one-year minor league deal for his impact on the young players in this organization. I know some may ask about Ronald Guzmán. If Guzy rakes this Spring, he provides a left-handed pinch hit bat. However, I think the club may be reluctant to give Guzmán a spot in any other place other than first base. Therefore, I don’t believe Guzy makes the team on Opening Day.

Now onto the big boppers. I think Corey Seager ends up with the Rangers as either Carlos Correa stays in Houston or goes to the Yankees (the Yankees will offer a hefty and I mean HEFTY deal). The Astros may give in after what Correa produced in his seven years, especially if the Astros win the World Series. The Rangers may end up having to go with plan B (or Plan A-2 in my case) and go for Seager, who’s used to hitting well in this ballpark. By that, I think the Rangers go after another former Dodger, Chris Taylor, to add some versatility to the roster.

Then for a power righty, I’m going on a limb and saying Jorge Soler will come to Arlington. The Rangers lack power outside of Lowe and Garcia. Thus, Soler fills that void. Soler is 29 years old and somewhat regressed in 2021 compared to 2019. I think the price for Jorge will lower slightly (especially since he’s struggling in the postseason). At this point, I wouldn’t show any concern with the COVID-19 issues with Soler by the time free agency and the season opens up.

You may be screaming at me, wondering where the hell Josh Jung is. Look, in 2022, the Rangers still likely won’t be postseason competitive. So the club will take their time with guys like Jung, Sam Huff, Justin Foscue, etc. That said, I give it about around Memorial Day to see Jung make his MLB debut. He’ll get some ABs in Round Rock, but I think the Rangers want to be extra cautious, especially since he missed some time due to his foot surgery due to a stress fracture. Isiah Kiner-Falefa will start at third base and likely shift over to second base once Jung gets the call-up and fill in at shortstop or third if Jung or Seager has a day off or DH day.

Projected Starting Rotation

Throws Player
LHS Clayton Kershaw
RHS Dane Dunning
LHS Taylor Hearn
RHS Jordan Lyles
RHS Spencer Howard

Clayton Kershaw is on the backend of his career. Kershaw said publicly he wants to be closer to his family, coincidentally, that lives in the Dallas area. So why not head to the Dallas area permanently and end your career with the Rangers? Now with that said, if it’s between the Dodgers and Rangers, it may be a toss-up considering how rare players have a chance to end their career with only one organization. That’s the bad news. The good news is, I can’t see Kershaw going to anyone else outside the Rangers or Dodgers. Plus, you can’t argue with Kershaw’s opinions on Taylor Swift.

I think Jordan Lyles res-igns with Texas, like Culberson, on a quick one-year deal. If things go swimmingly and the youth starting staff comes up consistently, Lyles may get DFA’d later in the year. Despite guys like AJ Alexy and Glenn Otto getting MLB time, look for them to start the season in AAA Round Rock.

Projected Relievers

Throws Player
RHP Joe Barlow (C)
LHP John King
LHP Kolby Allard
RHP Josh Sborz
LHP Brett Martin
RHP Dennis Santana
RHP Demarcus Evans
LHP External

As I mentioned a week ago, the Rangers’ bullpen situation is a good one. They have some excellent options, so I think the club makes minimal traction in the offseason signing bullpen pieces. I believe the club signs one player (possibly a cheap lefty middle reliever). As for John King. I think eventually he’ll start getting innings to begin shifting to 5h3 rotation. The fun part is no projected innings limit on Dane Dunning. I’m not sure what the plan for Spencer Howard is; therefore, outside of the rotation, he’s the toss-up.

Credentialed Media Staff Writer covering the Texas Rangers for Dallas Sports Fanatic | 2014 University of North Texas graduate with a Bachelor's in Radio, Television, and Film. I talk about things. Find me on the tweeter @aplinckTX

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