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Offseason checklist: Rangers’ needs and moves

@Sullivan_Ranger
November 2, 2019

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers just finished their third straight losing season, with a record of 78-84. They have not been to the postseason since winning back-to-back American League West division titles in 2015-16. Manager Chris Woodward said that the Rangers' goal in 2020 is to win a championship as they

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers just finished their third straight losing season, with a record of 78-84. They have not been to the postseason since winning back-to-back American League West division titles in 2015-16.

Manager Chris Woodward said that the Rangers' goal in 2020 is to win a championship as they get ready to move into a new ballpark.

So what are the Rangers' biggest needs entering next season, and what moves have they made to address them? MLB.com is keeping track here. As the offseason continues, be sure to check back for updates.

BIGGEST NEEDS

Starting pitching
The Rangers will attempt to build a rotation around left-hander Mike Minor and right-hander Lance Lynn. They have three young left-handers they like in Brock Burke, Joe Palumbo and Kolby Allard, but the club isn't sure if anyone in that trio is ready to open the season in the rotation. Texas is also unsure if right-handers Jonathan Hernández and Ariel Jurado and left-hander Yohander Méndez are better suited for the rotation or the bullpen. What the Rangers really need is at least two proven starting pitchers who can go with Lynn and Minor.

Third base
The Rangers opened last season with Asdrúbal Cabrera at third base, but they released him at the end of July. That nice gift allowed Cabrera to sign with the Nationals and win a World Series. It also left Texas without a proven third baseman. Isiah Kiner-Falefa is more suited to a utility role, and Danny Santana and Nick Solak both seem out of position at the hot corner. The Rangers would love Anthony Rendon, but he may be out of their price range. Josh Donaldson, Todd Frazier and Mike Moustakas are other interesting free agents.

Positional depth
The Rangers have Delino DeShields to play center field and Ronald Guzmán to play first base. They have Jeff Mathis and Jose Trevino to catch. Texas professes to like all three, but it will likely look at alternatives this offseason. The club won’t be able to find major upgrades for all three positions, so it will have to decide which area commands priority. The Rangers could also use help as far as right-handed bats are concerned.

MOVES MADE

Oct. 31: Castillo, bonus money acquired; options declined on Kelley, Jones; Granite, Biddle outrighted
The Rangers acquired catcher Welington Castillo and $250,000 in international slot bonus money from the White Sox for Minor League infielder Jonah McReynolds. Texas made the deal to acquire the bonus-money slot. The club then declined an $8 million option on Castillo and pay a $500,000 buyout. This deal was all about getting the bonus money.

The Rangers also decided not to pick up reliever Shawn Kelley’s $2.5 million contract. Instead, they will pay a $250,000 buyout. Kelley pitched in 50 games for Texas this past season, and he went 5-2 with 11 saves, a 4.94 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP. He had a 3.09 ERA before the All-Star break, but he posted an 8.80 ERA in the second half while spending time on the injured list with a sore right bicep muscle.

Additionally, the Rangers declined a $3.75 million option on reliever Nate Jones. He was acquired from the White Sox at the Trade Deadline while he was on the injured list recovering from right elbow surgery. That deal was also made to acquire additional international slot bonus money.

Outfielder Zack Granite and left-handed reliever Jesse Biddle were taken off the 40-man roster and outrighted to Triple-A Nashville. Both are expected to become Minor League free agents.

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.