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Inbox: Should Rangers focus on lowering K's?

Beat reporter T.R. Sullivan answers questions from fans
MLB.com @Sullivan_Ranger

The Rangers need pitching help, but are personnel changes being contemplated to lower strikeouts and increase team batting average and on-base percentage?
-- Bill W., Amarillo, Texas

The Rangers had an astounding eight players with at least 100 strikeouts: Joey Gallo, Mike Napoli, Rougned Odor, Shin-Soo Choo, Carlos Gomez, Nomar Mazara, Delino DeShields and Elvis Andrus.

The Rangers need pitching help, but are personnel changes being contemplated to lower strikeouts and increase team batting average and on-base percentage?
-- Bill W., Amarillo, Texas

The Rangers had an astounding eight players with at least 100 strikeouts: Joey Gallo, Mike Napoli, Rougned Odor, Shin-Soo Choo, Carlos Gomez, Nomar Mazara, Delino DeShields and Elvis Andrus.

The hope is Gallo, Mazara and DeShields get better with age and experience. All three made significant improvement offensively last season. Napoli for sure and Gomez possibly won't be back next year. The Rangers knew Choo had high strikeout totals when they signed him, but they accepted that because he still had the potential for a high on-base percentage. Andrus had a career high in strikeouts but also in runs, home runs and RBIs.

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The Rangers' priority this offseason is pitching, pitching and pitching, but any offensive players acquired will probably be hitters who have a lower tendency to strike out.

What are your thoughts on the Rangers acquiring Marcell Ozuna from the Marlins with a package built around Mazara? I don't like the thought of giving up Mazara, but a piece like Ozuna would be worth it, in my opinion.
-- Brad M., Abilene, Texas

Ozuna is clearly a more productive player than Mazara right now. However, he is two years away from free agency, while Mazara is four away. Ozuna would also command a much higher salary through arbitration. Most important, Ozuna's numbers early in his career were quite similar to Mazara. Without breaking it down into detail, Mazara has a .742 OPS after two years in the big leagues. Ozuna had a .727 at a similar point in his career. Better to keep Mazara, focus on pitching and hope he raises his production to where Ozuna is right now.

Video: NYY@TEX: Mazara crushes a long solo homer to right

Since Jon Daniels likes to go with low-risk, high-reward pitchers, would the Rangers consider trading for Matt Harvey?
-- Garrett N., Carlisle, Pa.

Harvey might be low-risk if he was a free agent. But he is not. He is arbitration-eligible and expensive, the Mets would want a significant return, he has been hurt the past two years and he is a free agent after this season.

Nolan Ryan stepped down as Rangers CEO Oct. 31, 2013. On Feb. 11, 2014, Ryan accepted a position as a special assistant to Astros owner Jim Crane. In the three previous years, the Astros had lost over 100 games each season. Since Ryan joined them, the Astros have improved to win 101 games and reached the World Series this season. Since Ryan left the Rangers, they are barely a .500 team (82-80 avg. 2014-17). They had averaged 90 wins in the six years he was CEO of the Rangers. Was it a mistake to let Ryan walk?
-- Tommy L., Gaithersburg, Md.

Ryan walked on his own accord. There is no doubt Ryan is a major asset to any organization. But maybe Ryan has the same sixth sense that Phil Jackson had in the NBA of taking the right job at the right time.

What is keeping pitchers like Connor Sadzeck and Yohander Mendez from making the next step to the Rangers' roster. Is it just development time and innings?
-- Andy B., Roanoke, Texas

Both pitched at Double-A Frisco last year. The Rangers do not have a good track record of jumping pitchers up from Frisco without first getting more experience and development time at Triple-A Round Rock. They appear to have decided to slow down the pitching conveyor belt to the big leagues, at least among starting-pitching candidates.

Video: OAK@TEX: Mendez gets Lowrie swinging to end the 7th

Will the Rangers give Willie Calhoun, Drew Robinson or Ryan Rua a chance in left field?
-- Bryon C., San Antonio

To do so would mean a commitment to DeShields in center, and that hasn't been made yet. The Rangers could still bring back Gomez to play center. The Rangers have always been reluctant to earmark a spot for a young player without a veteran backup. So even if they were to lean toward Calhoun, Robinson or Rua, the Rangers will almost certainly bring in veteran depth to compete for a job.

Would we possibly consider trading Odor for pitching? Doesn't he have the most errors of any American League second baseman? And he strikes out a lot.
-- Amy W., Fort Worth, Texas

As John Steinbeck said in "East of Eden," Timshel! Thou mayest. But other clubs have probably noticed the same statistics and that Odor is signed through 2022.

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.

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