What are the odds of Jacob Arrieta signing with the Rangers? He grew up in Plano.
-- John K., Plano, Texas
Here is the problem with Arrieta -- who went to Plano East High -- and Yu Darvish, who many are keen on bringing back to Texas. The Rangers are looking for three starters, plus bullpen help and possibly a defensive center fielder. If Texas needed just one starter, Arrieta or Darvish would make much more sense. But they are the top two free-agent pitchers on the market, and they will cost the most. Since the Rangers must buy in bulk, they are better off putting either Lance Lynn or Alex Cobb at the top of their shopping list, unless they can pull off getting Shohei Ohtani.
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With little to no Major League-ready pitching, bad defense and an inconsistent offense (at best), are the Rangers destined for mediocrity for the foreseeable future?
-- Brad A., Topeka, Kan.
The Rangers committed 108 errors in 2017, turned 173 double plays and allowed 74 unearned runs. The 2011 team -- the best in Rangers history -- committed 114 errors, turned 164 double plays and allowed 70 unearned runs. The point is, it's easier to pick out isolated defensive or baserunning mistakes than it is to say, "This is a bad defensive team or a bad baserunning team." But it is much harder to be accurate in determining reality.
Offense? Yes, if Texas' young hitters -- Joey Gallo, Nomar Mazara et al. -- don't continue to improve, then the club is doomed to mediocrity or worse.
Pitching? Yes, that is a definite issue. The Rangers need at least one and most likely two years before their farm system is ready to produce Major League-ready pitching. Texas must make many wise pitching acquisitions in the next two years to escape mediocrity for the foreseeable future.
It seems like the fan base has given up on Rougned Odor. Isn't it more likely that 2017 was one bad season -- a blip on the radar -- of what otherwise could be a long and successful career? He's still only 23, and playing every day in 2017 had to have played a factor in his decline in production. Where does the organization stand on him?
-- Travis B., Atlanta
Readers have more Inbox questions on Odor than all other Rangers players combined. He obviously stands high in the organization because he is signed through 2022. There is no sugar-coating the kind of season he had in 2017, but baseball-reference.com lists 10 comparable players to Odor through age 23. The list includes four Hall of Famers: Bill Mazeroski, Bobby Doerr, Ron Santo and Gary Carter. Also on the list is Adrian Beltre.
Nobody is suggesting Odor is a Hall of Famer. The point is, the talent is there, and now it becomes about attitude, aptitude and adjustment. Those are significant topics.
With Greg Holland now a free agent, does this make him the prime target for the Rangers, or do they plan to go cheaper?
-- Matt M., Paris, Texas
Holland is going to be a big-ticket free agent. If the Rangers are going to use significant financial resources on anyone on the market, it will likely be a starting pitcher.
Should the Rangers trade Odor and Delino DeShields to Toronto for Kevin Pillar and a player to be named?
-- Laurence L., Midlothian, Texas
If Odor gets traded, it has to be for starting pitching. Pillar is a front-line center fielder, but if the Rangers are focused on starting pitching, their best bet on the free-agent market for a defensive center fielder could be Jarrod Dyson. Or they could take a leap of faith with DeShields.
What are the outfield dimensions for the new park? Will it be considered a hitters' park or pitchers' park? Will it favor left-handed hitters or those that swing from the right?
-- Tommy L., Gaithersburg, Md.
The dimensions have yet to be determined. What's interesting is, The Ballpark in Arlington, when it opened in 1994, was supposed to be a fair ballpark for both pitchers and hitters. It ended up getting a reputation for being a hitters' park because of some ill-planned renovations.
I know he had shoulder surgery and said he was going to retire, but any chance the Rangers might look into Christopher Wilson to possibly help out the bullpen? He could be a low-risk, high-reward choice.
-- Stephen E., Morgan, Texas
I have always said Rick Helling is the most underrated player in Rangers history. There is no doubt in my mind Wilson is far and away the most underappreciated. But he is comfortably retired.