PHOENIX -- This is going to take some time. Major rebuilding projects have a tendency to be that way, and that's what the Rangers are facing.The Rangers reinforced the obvious with five deals in July that saw Cole Hamels, Jesse Chavez, Keone Kela and Jake Diekman traded away. There was
PHOENIX -- This is going to take some time. Major rebuilding projects have a tendency to be that way, and that's what the Rangers are facing.
The Rangers reinforced the obvious with five deals in July that saw Cole Hamels, Jesse Chavez, Keone Kela and Jake Diekman traded away. There was also a trade with the Giants in which the Rangers absorbed the salary of outfielder Austin Jackson -- subsequently released -- to acquire two prospects.
In all, the Rangers acquired 10 players, and most of the haul was for the future. Right-handed relievers Cory Gearrin and Eddie Butler are the only ones on the Major League roster. Left-handers Taylor Hearn and Tyler Thomas, and right-handers Wei-Chieh Huang, Rollie Lacy and Jason Bahr will need more development in the Minors. The Rangers are also owed three players to be named, and none are expected to be Major League ready.
So the question is, how long will this rebuilding take and when will the Rangers be ready to compete again?
"I don't want to put a year on it, because I can't sit here and say 100 percent," general manager Jon Daniels said. "I think the more work we put in to developing young talent in the system, the faster it will come."
The last time the Rangers were at this stage was in 2007, the year that first baseman Mark Teixeira and reliever Ron Mahay were traded to the Braves for five players, including shortstop Elvis Andrus and pitchers Matt Harrison and Neftali Feliz.
The Rangers were 75-87 that year and built up to their first American League pennant in 2010. It was a four-year process, and even then it may have been quicker than anticipated.
"In the previous generation, we were probably in contention a year ahead of what we thought we were going to be," Daniels said. "We were in the mix and were a .500 club in '08, a year after tearing some things down and trading some guys. Year after, we were in the mix in '09 till the end, and obviously won the division in '10. We were ahead of schedule.
"So, I don't know. We're going to put in a lot of work to getting it up and competitive and playing a style of baseball our fans will appreciate and be proud of, as quickly as possible."
So, what's next?
"We've got a lot to do," Daniels said. "There's a lot in the system that we can do, just from an organizational structure standpoint. Taking a look at how do we get better, what programs do we have in place to help our players get better, what programs do we need to put in place to do the same. There's going to be a lot of focus on everybody, all hands on deck, how do we get the talent in this organization to reach their potential and help us win."
The Rangers have a talented group of young position players who are still in the process of establishing themselves as Major Leaguers. Some, like Nomar Mazara and Rougned Odor, are farther along than Joey Gallo, Jurickson Profar and Delino DeShields.
Others, like Carlos Tocci and Ronald Guzman, just got here. So did Isiah Kiner-Falefa, and the Rangers still need to decide if he is going to be a full-time catcher, utility player or potential front-line infielder.
Pitching will be the biggest challenge, as the Rangers try to achieve their elusive goal of developing their staff, especially starters. Right-hander Ariel Jurado, who relies mainly on a power sinker, is here now, and left-hander Yohander Mendez could be back before the end of the year. Hearn, acquired from the Pirates for Kela, is the farthest along among the new pitchers and is at Double-A Frisco, along with Jonathan Hernandez and Brett Martin.
Much of the best young talent is at various levels of Class A, including Hans Crouse, Tyler Phillips and A.J. Alexy. They have been joined by Bahr, Thomas and Lacy. Others are just getting started, including Cole Winn, Owen White, Mason Englert and Yerry Rodriguez.
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Much of the talent is in various stages of recovering from Tommy John surgery, including Cole Ragans, Joe Palumbo, Kyle Cody and Alex Speas. Those were major setbacks for the Rangers.
There are others not as highly touted, including Richelson Pena, Wes Benjamin and Edgar Arredondo. They and others have a chance to work their way into the Rangers' future. The need for pitching is great in this organization.
The Rangers went hard after young pitching in the weeks and days leading up to Tuesday's non-waiver Trade Deadline, and they have done a commendable job of replenishing the system. The challenge now is to develop it properly. That, more than anything, will determine how long the rebuilding is going to take and if the Rangers will be successful.
T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.