The Rangers are trying to salvage a season that has so far been considered disappointing by many. However, the team is still in the A.L. wild card race so you can file that under the “so you’re saying there’s a chance” category when talking postseason.
If they continue to stay in the hunt, the roster could look a little different as the summer rolls along.
Relief pitching has been a major issue for the lack of success. The Rangers’ bullpen has 17 blown saves this season and it’s only the first week of July. It might be fair to say there’s been plenty of Tums taken from the sixth inning on during games.
The Rangers did add some help in acquiring former All-Star closer Jason Grilli from the Blue Jays. The righty was actually with the Rangers in 2009 before hitting free agency. He’s getting a second chance in a Rangers uniform in more ways than one. Grilli struggled this season coming out of the Jays pen, which led to him being designated for assignment. The Rangers are hoping they get the “Grilled Cheese” that appeared in the 2013 All-Star Game for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
However, Texas may not be done.
There are now rumors that the team is open to possibly putting catcher Jonathan Lucroy on the trade market in order to help solve the issues with the bullpen. Lucroy was acquired last season in a deal with the Brewers that saw Texas give up a couple of top prospects and the All-Star catcher performed well down the stretch. He’s a free agent after the season and has struggled offensively at the dish while Robinson Chirinos has improved dramatically. Both are splitting playing time at the moment behind the plate.
If a move is made to send Lucroy packing, the Rangers could recall Brett Nicholas from Triple-A Round Rock to form the new catching tandem. Nicholas was recently named to the Pacific Coast League All-Star Game and is hitting .325 with six home runs and 35 RBI in 54 games. Nicholas has also seen some time in Arlington, appearing in 15 games last season with the Rangers.
The other big name on the team that will be a free agent at the end of the season is All-Star pitcher Yu Darvish. However, it would take an offer the Rangers couldn’t refuse in order for Darvish to leave Arlington. The Rangers believe they can resign the righty and likely will not part ways if there remains a shot at the playoffs.
The on-going struggle with the bullpen leaves the Rangers with some difficult decisions leading up to the trade deadline at the end of the month.