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Know your enemy: Texas Rangers

The Rangers have fallen on hard times.

Surprise Stadium, spring home of the Rangers
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Texas Rangers had five playoff seasons in the seven years from 2010-16 and were in two World Series, losing both of them. They are one of seven franchises who has never won a World Series (Brewers, Mariners, Rockies, Padres, Rays, Expos/Nationals are the others).

Since they won 95 games in 2016, they’ve gone rapidly downhill, to 84 losses in 2017 and 95 in 2018. Remember when Las Vegas product Joey Gallo was supposed to be almost as good as Las Vegas product Kris Bryant? Gallo, who is almost two years younger than Bryant, has hit a ton of home runs — back-to-back 40-HR seasons — but you don’t hear much about him because he really cannot hit much otherwise. He hit .209 in 2017 and .206 in 2018 and in both years had more homers than singles. He walks a lot, but strikes out way too much (207 times in 2018).

The Rangers just seem to have a bunch of guys who are not quite good enough to be regulars, but have to be anyway. Rougned Odor is a decent player, and so is Elvis Andrus, but they’re just plugging away, not stars. There really isn’t a star player left on this team now that Adrian Beltre has retired. Plus, without Beltre, we are no longer going to see this:

Not only was Beltre fun, he was a great player who’s going to the Hall of Fame. Even at age 39 he was a 2.2 bWAR player and there’s an argument to be made that he was the best third baseman of all time.

The pitching staff? Well, there’s, uh... Mike Minor. Who was pretty good last year. And there’s, uh... Lance Lynn. Who is now on his third team since he left the Cardinals. And there’s, uh... former sort-of-Cub Drew Smyly. Who has not thrown a big-league pitch since 2017. This rotation is... not good.

The bullpen? Well, there’s Jesse Chavez, who got a nice two-year deal for $8 million off the two good months he had for the Cubs. He had literally never been that good, and likely won’t be again. I wish him well, though.

The 2019 Texas Rangers are not a good baseball team. They lost 95 games in 2018. They have a new manager (Chris Woodward) and coaching staff and are likely going to focus on development this year. They could be a 100-loss club in 2019.

The Cubs open the 2019 season visiting the Rangers in Globe Life Park. Opening Day is Thursday, March 28, and the teams will play again on March 30 and 31. The Cubs last visited Arlington in 2010 and went 2-1 in that series, and all-time are 8-7 against the Rangers in interleague play.