This is the more important question for a team like the Rangers: where do they go with their number selection from here?
Both Fangraphs and Baseball-Reference are fairly unanimous in their top three Rangers without a retired number. Both rank Ivan Rodriguez first, with 48.6 bWAR and 53 fWAR with the team. In Pudge’s case, I think it is not really a question of if, but when. They obviously won’t retire his number while he is playing (especially with other teams), but he is unquestionably a Ranger (13 of his 21 seasons have included time with them). On top of that, once he is retired, do they honor his number right away, wait until he’s in the Hall of Fame, or do something else entirely? Since I’m unfamiliar with how decisions like these are made, I cannot honestly answer that question.
Rafael Palmeiro and Buddy Bell are next, in both cases. However, there are other issues at work in both cases. Palmeiro’s 40.1 bWAR and 44 fWAR as a Ranger may not be enough to overcome his time with other teams (only 10 of his 20 seasons came with Texas) and his ties to steroids. I think he will be honored eventually, but it might not be until Hall voters get over their steroid aversion.
Bell has the “other teams” problem turned up to 11. He did play most of his seasons with the Rangers (barely, with 8 out of his 18 seasons in Texas, and 7 in Cleveland), but actually played in more games as an Indian. Also, seeing as he’s been retired since 1989, I doubt there’s significant momentum behind his case. He has 37 fWAR and 34.3 bWAR with the Rangers.