The Texas Rangers are looking to bounce back from a disappointing finish in the 2017 MLB season. The Rangers missed the playoffs last season after finishing fourth in the American League West. It remains to be seen whether the Rangers have enough weapons to make the postseason this year.
According to Lorenzo Almanza of Sport DFW, the Rangers should address some needs in order to become a serious contender this season. Almanza suggested that the Rangers should make a run at Jose Bautista, who is still available on the market heading into the first day of the 2018 MLB regular season.
Signing Bautista might not sit well with most Rangers fans because he is considered a “nemesis” of the team. However, Almanza said that adding the veteran right fielder makes a lot of sense for the Rangers. While he is already 37, he proved that he can still make an impact, as he tallied 23 home runs for the Toronto Blue Jays last season.
While his numbers, particularly his 0.203 average last season, are far from his stats during his prime, the 14-year veteran is still getting interest as of late. According to Marly Rivera of ESPN, Bautista is in talks with “several teams” about a potential deal. The Atlanta Braves and the Tampa Bay Rays are among the interested teams.
It will not be a surprise if the Rangers are actually among the “several teams” courting Bautista. They are not afraid to take a gamble on veteran hitters, as proven by their previous moves to acquire Carlos Beltran, Vladimir Guerrero, and Prince Fielder. Almanza said that Bautista should be the next veteran they should take, expressing confidence that the Dominican Republic native could improve their win percentage.
Aside from signing Bautista, Almanza also suggested that Texas should find a backup catcher because they only have Juan Centeno at this point. Almanza believes that Centeno is “not ready to take over the plate” in case Robinson Chirinos goes down with an injury.
Almanza also added that the Rangers should get another starting pitcher for the upcoming season. He pointed out that Cole Hamels, who went 11-6 in 24 starts last season, is the only starter of the Rangers who posted a winning record last season. Doug Fister, Mike Minor, Matt Moore, and Bartolo Colon all had losing records.
Almanza also pointed out that the Rangers have to make a decision on Jurickson Profar, who is considered as the future of the team. He insisted that Texas should give playing time to Profar in order to determine whether he deserves a spot, or they can just move him to another team possibly for future assets.