Texas Rangers: Predictions for the Next 3 Seasons

Trey WarrenContributor IIIDecember 10, 2013

Texas Rangers: Predictions for the Next 3 Seasons

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    Rick Yeatts/Getty Images

    The Texas Rangers have accomplished more over the past four years than they have since the team was moved from Washington in 1972.

    They made three straight postseason appearances, including two straight division titles and World Series appearances. Last season, Texas fell short of a second straight wild-card berth after losing to the Tampa Bay Rays.

    What is to come over the next three years? Can the Rangers continue to push for division titles and world championships?

    The answer is yes.

    Texas has become a contender, especially playing in a relatively soft division. Free agents are going to find Arlington much more appealing as the years roll on.

    So far, the team has made one major splash in the offseason, acquiring Prince Fielder from the Tigers for Ian Kinsler. The Rangers also re-signed catcher Geovany Soto, signed catcher J.P. Arencibia and traded outfielder Craig Gentry to Oakland for another outfielder, Michael Choice.

    Let’s look ahead and predict the next three seasons for the Rangers. Each season will include possible trades and free-agent acquisitions, as well as season outcomes.

    All stats and free-agent availability from baseball-reference.com

     

2014 Season

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Key Acquisitions: Prince Fielder, Nelson Cruz, Masahiro Tanaka

    Key Departures: Ian Kinsler, Joe Nathan, A.J. Pierzynski, Craig Gentry

    91-71; AL West Champions; Lose in ALCS

    The upcoming season is going to depend on the Rangers’ young guys and a new closer.

    General Manger Jon Daniels said, per Richard Durrett of ESPN, Jurickson Profar will have to win the job at second base, which will happen. Profar will prove he has been worth keeping around with the opportunity to play every day. Leonys Martin won’t have a breakout sophomore campaign but will improve on a subpar rookie season.

    The team has been spoiled the past few seasons with Joe Nathan and Neftali Feliz shutting the door in the ninth inning. Now that Nathan is gone, the job should be Tanner Scheppers’ to lose. Scheppers’ fastball can touch 100 MPH and has decent off-speed. If he can miss more bats in spring training, he will be the closer in 2014.

    Prince Fielder is going to enjoy hitting in Arlington and benefit from Adrian Beltre behind him in the order. Moreover, Beltre will continue his success as a Ranger when the team forgoes Shin-Soo Choo in free agency and brings back Nelson Cruz.

    Texas is also going to have a front-line rotation when Masahiro Tanaka is posted. Tanaka will come cheaper than Yu Darvish, who may also play a vital part in bringing the 25-year-old to Arlington.

    The Rangers are going to have a good regular season, winning 91 games. The AL West is going to be competitive with an improved Angels team and the defending division champion Athletics.

    The American League is going to be stacked this season. Although they take back the West, the Rangers will fall in the ALCS.

    1. Leonys MartinCF
    2. Elvis AndrusSS
    3. Prince Fielder1B
    4. Adrian Beltre3B

    5. Nelson Cruz

    DH
    6. Alex RiosRF
    7. Jurickson Profar2B
    8. Geovany SotoC
    9. Michael ChoiceLF

     

    1. Yu Darvish
    2. Derek Holland
    3. Masahiro Tanaka
    4. Martin Perez
    5. Matt Harrison

     

2015 Season

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Key Acquisitions: Victor Martinez, Carlos Santana

    Key Departures: Alex Rios, J.P. Arencibia, Derek Holland, Geovany Soto, Jason Frasor

    95-67; AL West Champs, World Series Champs

    The Rangers could be a highly experienced team in 2014 and really contend for a World Series title. However, 2015 is going to offer only a handful of appealing free agents to offer.

    The team will forgo the $13.5 million option on Alex Rios and put Cruz back into right field. That money could go toward a guy like Victor Martinez, who would take over the DH role. Although he will be 35 years old, he has a career .303 batting average and can still hit for extra bases. He had 36 doubles and 14 home runs last season.

    The one-year contract trend for catchers should end this season. Texas could look to free agency but could part with farm talent for a catcher with at least two years of control. Cleveland’s Carlos Santana is under contract until 2016 with a club option for 2017. Derek Holland and either Luis Sardinas or Rougned Odor would have to be included in the deal.

    He would be the team’s primary backstop while the organization’s top prospect, Jorge Alfaro, works towards being the everyday guy.

    Nick Tepesch and No. 10 prospect Luke Jackson would battle for the last rotation spot.

    This could be a big year for the club in Arlington. The lineup would be one of the most potent in the league. It would produce plenty of runs for a rotation filled with young veterans.

    Could this be the year the franchise wins its first World Series championship?

    1. Leonys MartinCF
    2. Elvis AndrusSS
    3. Prince Fielder1B
    4. Adrian Beltre3B
    5. Victor MartinezDH
    6. Nelson CruzRF
    7. Carlos SantanaC
    8. Jurickson Profar2B
    9. Michael ChoiceLF

     

    1. Yu Darvish
    2. Masahiro Tanaka
    3. Martin Perez
    4. Matt Harrison
    5. Luke Jackson

     

2016 Season

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Key Acquisitions: Jordan Zimmermann, Andrew McCutchen

    Key Departures: Nelson Cruz, Matt Harrison, Elvis Andrus, Carlos Santana

    87-75; Clinch Wild Card; Lose in ALDS

    The free-agent market in 2016 is sure to be one of the better groups in the past few years, containing plenty of young pitching and position players.

    On top of that, it may be the time the Rangers bring up Rougned Odor and move Profar to shortstop. Andrus would be the most likely to go considering his long-term contract and young age (27). This would create some open payroll to add Jordan Zimmermann to the rotation.

    Andrus wouldn’t be dealt without something good in return. Along with Harrison and Cody Buckel, Texas could get Pittsburgh’s Andrew McCutchen, who could be under controlled through 2018.

    Wouldn’t that be something?

    Carlos Santana should also be shipped out, giving Jorge Alfaro the everyday job.

    As long as Jon Daniels is the Rangers general manager, anything is possible. This team can contend year-in and year-out. This season is going to feature a few young players getting their first crack at the big leagues.

    The team will fall short of a third straight division title but still clinch a wild-card spot. Texas will also end its chance at being repeat champions after losing in the divisional round.

    1. Leonys Martin RF
    2. Andrew McCutchen CF
    3. Prince Fielder 1B
    4. Adrian Beltre 3B
    5. Victor Martinez DH
    6. Jurickson Profar SS
    7. Jorge Alfaro C
    8. Michael Choice LF
    9. Rougned Odor 2B

     

    1. Yu Darvish
    2. Jordan Zimmermann
    3. Masahiro Tanaka
    4. Martin Perez
    5. Luke Jackson

     

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