Rangers general manager Jon Daniels didn’t mince words in telling reporters that he has no plans to embark on a rebuild, as T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com and Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram write. “This is not a rebuild,” Daniels told reporters. “We expect to win. We are always going to have that mindset.” Texas will face an uphill challenge in filling out a rotation that, at present, has only Cole Hamels and Martin Perez locked into spots. Daniels acknowledged that the Rangers “are going to have to remake half the staff,” and as Sullivan notes, that applies to the bullpen as well, where Keone Kela, Matt Bush, Alex Claudio and Jake Diekman look like the only set-in-stone options. Per Wilson, Daniels suggested that team payroll will be more in the $155MM range at which it sat in 2016 than this past season’s $165MM territory. While the Rangers may not pursue a closer, they’ll look to bring in at least one veteran bullpen arm.
A bit more on the Rangers…
- Daniels was also candid about the fact that his team will be firmly in the mix for Japanese star Shohei Otani if he is posted for MLB clubs to bid on this winter. “We are not hiding anything,” the GM said. “If the Fighters ultimately post Ohtani, you are going to have 30 interested clubs, of which we’ll be right there with them.” Of course, as Daniels points out, competition for Otani would be immense. International spending restrictions would largely level the playing field to acquire his services, making it difficult to predict any type of favorite for the young ace/slugger.
- Sullivan also writes that the Rangers are once again internally mulling the possibility of moving right-hander Matt Bush into the rotation. Texas discussed the move last offseason as well but ultimately elected to leave Bush in a role with which he was familiar. Daniels tells reporters that Bush has expressed interest to the team in working out of the rotation, which bodes well for the potential transition. “If it’s the player who initiated and wants to put the work in, I think you’ve seen success,” Daniels explains (possibly in a nod to C.J. Wilson). “When it’s players who are in between, probably best to leave him in the role he is in.” Sullivan runs down six prior cases of the Rangers moving a reliever to the rotation, including Wilson, and examines their success rates.