Inbox: What's in store for veteran hurlers?

April 29th, 2019

Looking down the road, Mike Minor and Lance Lynn have been fair and at least acceptable pitchers, both are 31 and have reasonable contracts. Let’s say they are pitching effectively come July, do you think the Rangers keep them? If not, what kind of prospect return should we expect?
-- Joe S., Bedford, Texas

Keep them. No more talk of rebuilding or not being “all in.” This team has an offensive lineup that is good enough to compete. The Rangers need to keep the pitching they have and not trade them for Class A prospects who are three years away. The Rangers need to find creative or financially acceptable ways to bolster the pitching. It’s not hard to think the position this team would be in right now if it had picked up Cole Hamels option rather than traded him to the Cubs.

Do you think it would help Rougned Odor if the Rangers moved him to the bottom of the batting order? A few years ago, they moved Elvis Andrus to the bottom and it helped him.
-- Cindy J., Fort Worth, Texas

Love getting questions from a fellow lover of dogs who has rescued two beautiful pooches in distress. Odor is a tough guy to place in the lineup because he has both power and speed, but also has a career .246 batting average and .294 on-base percentage that does not lend itself to a spot at the top of the lineup. Look, manager Chris Woodward knows the Rangers have made a major financial commitment to Odor. He is trying to find any possible way to maximize production out of him and if the No. 2 spot doesn’t work, yes, you could see him dropped in the order.

Out of the following three players, who has the best chance of being a Ranger come Opening Day next season: Hunter Pence, Logan Forsythe, Danny Santana?
-- Jonathan Ruff, McKinney, Texas

Great question. Is all of the above an acceptable answer? Probably not. First of all, the Rangers are getting a lot out of Danny Santana. Let’s see how that holds up. Second, Forsythe is a proven winner that can help any championship team as a utility player. If the Rangers had a utility player on some of their postseason teams of previous years ... that would have been a great thing. Pence? The guy has been an everyday player in the past and won’t be with the Rangers. But, as with Forsythe, championship teams have great role players and the Rangers may have a better bench now than they have in the past 10 years. If Pence wants to enjoy his golden years with his hometown team, there is a role for him on the Rangers.

Do you think the Rangers will go out and sign a free-agent pitcher to bolster the starting rotation and/or the bullpen?
-- Aaron F., Austin, Texas

Rotation? No. Drew Smyly will be back this week to go with Minor, Lynn, Shelby Miller and Adrian Sampson. The Rangers need to take an extended look at Sampson and not search for the next Bartolo Colon, Drew Hutchison or Chris Tillman. Kyle Dowdy is always an interesting alternative for the rotation.

As for the bullpen, all the long, middle and setup relievers aren’t going to help the Rangers if they can’t get Jose Leclerc right in the closer’s role. That is the No. 1 priority surrounding the Rangers pitching staff and whatever is the second question is far, far, far behind that one. The Rangers pitching story in May? Where is Leclerc?

What happened to Matt Bush?
-- Mark M., Little Rock, Ark.

Bush is working out in Surprise, Ariz., and threw a 25-pitch bullpen on Saturday. He had surgery on Sept. 19 to repair a partially torn ligament in his right elbow, re-signed with the Rangers in the offseason and the club hopes that he will be ready after the All-Star break. Right now, Bush is racing under a green light.

Was it simply the heat that made the Rangers retire Globe Life Park or were there other factors that made it undesirable? It still seems like a great place to me.
-- George S., Fort Worth, Texas

Sometimes it seems like the current ballpark never had a fair chance what with all the name changes, oversized bells dumped in the outfield and the ill-advised renovations in the early 2000s that turned it into an extreme hitters' park. The land around the park was never developed as promised yet there were constant construction projects going on nearby, whether it being the new stadiums or the highways. Plus all the unsightly metal and concrete barriers, chains in front of parking entrances and orange cones everywhere, it just seems like the ballpark never had a chance to flourish.