Texas Rangers: 5 Players the Team Could Sever Ties With This Offseason
5 Players Texas Rangers Could Sever Ties With During Offseason
The 2013 MLB season turned out to be a huge disappointment for the Texas Rangers, as they went from leading the AL West at the end of August to getting knocked out of the AL Wild Card play-in game on the last day of September. In between this time the Rangers were one of the most inconsistent teams in recent memory, which led many people to call for manager Ron Washington's job.
Ultimately the Rangers front office decided to retain Washington for the 2014 season, but other changes are coming quick heading into the 2014 season. These casualties already include bench coach Jackie Moore and first base coach Dave Anderson who both were part of the coaching staff that led the team to World series appearances in 2010 and 2011.
In addition to these two coaches the organization has seen CEO Nolan Ryan announce his intention to step away from the organization. This departure will be alarming to outside ears as Ryan had a huge impact on the organization since taking over as President in 2008, mainly through his intention on stockpiling arms for the club. One must only look at the success of Yu Darvish, Alexi Ogando, Martin Perez, and Derek Holland as examples of pitchers on the 2013 roster who benefited from Ryan's presence.
Whomever takes over for Moore, Anderson and Ryan will likely want to have a huge impact on shaping the Rangers franchise going forward, which will likely include making significant moves prior to the 2014 season. These moves will likely include getting rid of deadweight via expiring contracts and attempting to move players that don't fit the organization's model going forward.
With this in mind we have taken a head start for the Rangers front office by looking at five players the team could sever ties with during the upcoming offseason.
5. Lance Berkman
At 37 years old one would expect first baseman/designated hitter Lance Berkman to break down somewhat physically, but few could have predicted just how badly he broke down 2013. During the season Berkman played in 73 games -- only four in the field -- as constant hip and knee injuries made him look like a turtle on the base paths. Meanwhile it was not as if offensive production outweighed injury issues, as a statistical line of .242/.340/.359 with 10 doubles, six home runs and 34 RBI was average at best. These injury and production issues will make it nearly impossible to justify picking up Berkman's $12 million option for 2014.
4. Joe Nathan
The 2013 season proved to be another great year for Joe Nathan, as he continued upon what has been a great ten year run as a closer for the Minnesota Twins and Texas Rangers. In 2013 Nathan appeared in 67 games, compiling a 6-2 record with a 1.39 ERA, 0.90 WHIP and 43 saves. This made the 38 year old arguably the best closer in all of MLB but could also help to lead to his departure from Texas. The reason for this is that Nathan will not want to step down from being a closer during the final years of his career, and the Rangers will have former closer Neftali Feliz returning from Tommy John surgery to take his job back. Moving on seems to be the right decision for both sides.
3. A.J. Pierzynski
At 36 years of age catcher A.J. Pierzynski had a solid 2013 season, putting up a statistical line of .272/.297/.425 with 24 doubles, 17 home runs and 70 RBI over 134 games played. This production was very important for the Rangers, but it seems to be too little for a guy that earned $7.5 million and will only be going down hill given his advanced age. With backup catcher Geovany Soto likely to produce similar numbers for much cheaper if retained and seven time All-Star Brian McCann available via free agency it is conceivable the Rangers could decide to move on from Pierzynski this offseason.
2. Nelson Cruz
The 2013 season was a great one on the field for right fielder Nelson Cruz, as in 109 games he put up a statistical line of .266/.327/.506 with 18 doubles, 27 home runs and 76 RBI. Unfortunately off the field Cruz was haunted by past connections to the Biogenesis Clinic that resulted in him being suspended for the final 50 games of the regular season. This absence -- and Cruz's unwillingness to appeal the suspension and thus play out the rest of the season -- had a crucial role in the Rangers collapsing down the stretch and alienated him from the team's fan base. Cutting bait at this point seems to be a no-brainer for the Rangers, as it will cut out any potential tensions both in the seats and clubhouse at Arlington Park.
1. Matt Garza
After acquiring Matt Garza midway through the season the Rangers expected to get an ace, but were utterly disappointed as he went 4-5 with a 4.38 ERA in 13 games. This will greatly discourage the Rangers front office from engaging in the looming bidding war for Garza, as dropping $100 million on a pitcher who just struggled for your franchise would seem to be a shocking move. Garza is all but a lock to leave town during the offseason.