Jon Daniels: Rangers season so far a ‘mixed bag’
At their current pace, the Texas Rangers are tracking toward a 100-loss season.
No Rangers team has done that poorly since 1973, when the second-year Rangers lost 105 times. The inaugural Rangers club lost 100 games in 1972.
Not even the 2014 Rangers, beset by multiple season-ending injuries to key contributors, hit triple digits in the loss department.
That season turned into a tryout camp near midseason. Because of the early injuries so far this season, the Rangers have a similar look — maybe even worse — things aren't getting any better.
They might. They should. But a team that was built with little margin for error stands at 18-31 after Monday's 10-5 to the New York Yankees and with its season fate all but settled.
The fate of the coaching staff doesn't appear as dreadful, at least as things stood ahead of the three-game series against the MLB-leading Yankees.
General manager Jon Daniels isn't sharpening his ax.
"When we took the approach we took this off-season and on top of that you've got the number of injuries we've got, I'm not sitting here looking to blame the coaching staff for personnel issues like that," Daniels said. "From a coaching staff perspective, what we constantly talk about is just the development of our young players, some of which are going well and some of which are not."
The Rangers slipped to 12 games below .500 over the weekend after losing 3 of 4 weekend games to the worst team in MLB, the Chicago White Sox.
Daniels said that the coaches aren't to blame in light of the way he set up the club in the off-season, by not going all-in in free agency and with a focus on developing young players. The bevy of injuries has compounded matters by exposing the Rangers' lack of depth in the minors.
Those filling in have made contributions, most notably from Jurickson Profar and rookie Isiah Kiner-Falefa. Ronald Guzman, another rookie, is slumping but making the most of his hits while playing solid defense.
Daniels said that the coaches should create a blueprint for players to follow and an environment that allows them to maximize their talents.
"At the end of the day, it’s up to the players to go out and execute" Daniels said.
The Rangers' coaches have been doing as much teaching as coaching with the young players. They spend ample time before games doing early work — hitters worked on bunting Monday, for instance — and the young players are hearing how the game should be played in the majors.
"You get young guys to come to the big leagues, and the big leagues are all around them," Banister said. "There's still a major-league development process that needs to happen. Even when a young guy gets called up there's still that process. There's a lot of teaching and coaching opportunities for our coaching staff."
Daniels also isn't blowing up the phone lines of other GMs. He said that he would listen should they call, but for now Daniels isn't ready to declare that the Rangers ready to sell at the July 31 trade deadline.
He doesn't expect to complete any trades in the coming weeks, with teams deep in preparations for the First-Year Player Draft on June 4.
Daniels wouldn't speak about specific players who might be traded, but also said he doesn't have much interest in trading third baseman Adrian Beltre. Beltre, who is on the disabled list, would have to waive his no-trade clause if Daniels presented a trade to him.
"I don't really spend any time thinking about trading Adrian," Daniels said.
Left-hander Cole Hamels, scheduled to start Tuesday, could be another player whose name is floated ahead of the deadline, though his $20 million club option with a $6 million buyout for 2019 might dissuade teams from pursuing him.
For now, the Rangers aren't sellers, buyers or firers. They are developers during one of the worst starts in club history.
"You are always looking to get better," Daniels said. "Obviously, we are not in a great spot in the standings, That will influence things. You try and take a step back and look at things for this year, next year and the foreseeable future, where you want to be and what is the best way to get there."