On the heels of another disappointing season, one that saw the Rangers finish 22-38 and extend their playoff drought to four years, general manager Jon Daniels spoke to media, including Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and TR Sullivan of MLB.com.
With their starters having ended 2020 with the majors’ seventh-worst ERA (5.32), Daniels said the Rangers are interested in bringing in a veteran rotation member during the offseason. The only starter on the team who provided high-end production across a large number of innings in 2020 was Lance Lynn, who’s only signed for another year and whom the Rangers could trade for a solid haul. Kyle Cody gave the team outstanding results, albeit over a small number of innings, and the Rangers traded Mike Minor to the A’s before the Aug. 31 deadline.
Texas has Lynn, Cody, Jordan Lyles and Kyle Gibson (he and Lyles had rough years) among their most proven starters going into next season. Two-time Cy Young winner Corey Kluber’s still on the roster, but as someone who missed nearly the entire season with shoulder troubles, he seems like a shoo-in to be bought out for $1MM (as opposed to guaranteeing him $18MM).
Turning to the offensive side, the Rangers aren’t planning on gifting starting spots to second baseman Rougned Odor or shortstop Elvis Andrus going forward, per Daniels. Frankly, neither player deserves one. Both players could be trade candidates in the coming months, and if that’s the case, the Daniels-led Rangers are confident they won’t have to eat any of their contracts. That may be wishful thinking, as Odor has two more seasons and $27MM left on his contract, while Andrus has $28MM over two years remaining.
Odor has three seasons of two-plus fWAR in his past, and he’s someone the Rangers signed to a six-year, $49.5MM guarantee entering 2017, but his production has been terrible of late. Despite 10 home runs in 148 plate appearances, the 26-year-old ended 2020 with a .167/.209/.413 line. His 51 wRC+ ranked second to last among 223 hitters who racked up at least 140 PA this season.
Andrus was even worse than Odor this year, as he logged a 48 wRC+ in 111 trips to the plate. Like Odor, Andrus looked like a cornerstone for the Rangers in his earlier days, which is why they extended him to an eight-year, $120MM contract in early 2013. However, his production has fallen flat over the past few seasons.