By Michael Bier

Following a disappointing 2017 season, the Rangers are looking to rebound with a much more successful one in 2018.

Source: Star Telegram

The Rangers were poised for success coming into the season, but inconsistent pitching killed off the club’s playoff chances early on. The bullpen posted an ERA of exactly 5.00 during the months of April and May, while also netting double digits in losses. On the bright side, the starting pitchers performed well. At one point, Rangers starters combined to lead the league in ERA, causing experts to consider their staff one of the best in baseball. Unfortunately, that didn’t last very long. The Rangers traded away their #1 (Yu Darvish) at the deadline, and the remaining starters combined for an ERA of 5.17 during the second half.

There’s no doubt that pitching should be the Rangers number one priority this offseason, even with the looming issue of defense in the outfield. The Rangers don’t have all the money in the world to spend, so trading and bargain buying will be a huge part of their offseason game plan.

Here’s a list of DO’S and DON’T’S for the Rangers this offseason, along with potential free agent signees…

#1 – Trade Shin Soo Choo

Trading Choo won’t be easy, and eating some of that humongous contract is something the Rangers are for sure going to have to do. The Rangers already have Nomar Mazara in RF, and far too many people to DH. Not only will trading Choo open up the doors for guys deserving of some at bats, but it’ll also give the Rangers a tad bit more money to spend, along with potentially bringing back something to help the pitching.

#2 – DO NOT Trade Jurickson Profar

Despite Profar’s request to be moved, trading him could be a hug loss for the team in the long run. Profar actually did pretty good while with Round Rock in 2017, and he wasn’t named the number one overall prospect for just any reason. Although Jurickson has seen both time and opportunity at the major league level, he still hasn’t really gotten his big break, and that could come if Rougned Odor struggles in 2018. Let’s say Odor isn’t struggling, and there’s no place for Profar. At that point, you trade him. For now though, you won’t be getting much for Jurickson, and if you trade him for a lot less than he’s worth, it’s going to look really silly on the Rangers part.

#3 – Avoid Jake Arrieta And Yu Darvish

There are two starters on the market this offseason that many consider to be of the elite. While they both have made a name for themselves, there’s no question they’re both overrated and soon to be overpaid. Those two starters? Yu Darvish and Jake Arrieta. Despite the Rangers desperate need for starting pitching, putting forth the dollar amounts for guys like Arrieta and Darvish could hurt them in the long run. Singing one of those two guys means no money to spend on more starting pitching, bullpen help, and future offseasons. No matter how tempting, (especially with Darvish) the Rangers CANNOT give in to emptying their pockets on a couple of risky starters.

#4 – Avoid Lorenzo Cain

Lorenzo Cain has been linked to the Rangers for quite some time now, and the reason why is because of his defense. Cain is expected to be one of the frontline players hitting the market this offseason, meaning he’s going to get paid. The money he gets is going to be more for the numbers he puts up on offense, rather than his defensive performance. Because the Rangers don’t really have any major holes with their offense, signing Cain is only buffing the already perfect offense, resulting in less money to spend on what the Rangers actually need; pitching.

Finally, here’s a list of free agent pitchers the Rangers should be targeting this offseason. I’ll come out with an article covering/analyzing certain ones at a later time.

RHP | Andrew Cashner

RHP | Tyler Chatwood

RHP | Lance Lynn

RHP | Alex Wood

RHP | Jeremy Hellickson

RHP | Addison Reed

RHP | Greg Holland

RHP | Pat Neshek

RHP | Steve Cishek

RHP | Bryan Shaw

RHP | Wade Davis

RHP | Joe Smith

RHP | Brandon Kintzler

RHP | Craig Stammen

RHP | Matt Albers

RHP | Brandon Morrow

RHP | Tommy Hunter

LHP | Jason Vargas

LHP | Jake McGee

LHP | Tony Watson

LHP | Fernando Abad

LHP | Mike Minor

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