Injuries could force Rangers to rebuild 

May, 23, 2014
The storms of the obvious must first be weathered by the Texas Rangers. Yes, the Prince Fielder injury hurts their chances to compete (although he wasn't playing that well, and whoever replaces him could be better). Yes, Texas would be well-served to give complete physicals to any player it has acquired (and its knowledge of what to test for just increased). Sure, the Ian Kinsler trade looks bad (and nobody has any idea how effective Fielder will be when he comes back next season).

But the more important question the Rangers must address is: What's next?

Seriously, now that Fielder, Matt Harrison, Martin Perez, Jurickson Profar and others are out, what is next?

One answer would be to open the shop for business and retool for 2015. This organization, which has been in win-now mode for the past six seasons, twice made it to the World Series and came within one strike of winning a championship, could use this time to have a makeover, to gain more payroll flexibility, to add some young talent. The Rangers can find an opportunity in their misfortune, because they're in a position to send out a mass email to the other major league teams and inform them that they are open for trade offers.

It could be a seller's market, because there are very few teams willing to market players at this time of the season; most clubs will cling to the hope that they'll contend for a playoff spot. But the rash of injuries gives the Rangers a "get out of jail free" card. It's a logical course of action for them to trade some of their veterans in what looks to be a lost season.

They certainly have some players who could be attractive to other teams, such as:

Adrian Beltre, 3B: He's a future Hall of Famer who is closing in on 400 homers and 2,500 hits for his career, and while he's off to a slow start and some scouts say his defensive skills have regressed, he still brings a lot to the table. He's hitting .270 this season -- after batting .315 last season -- and he's nearing the end of his contract. Beltre is making $17 million this year, will make $18 million next year, and has a reachable vesting option for 2016 for $16 million. Texas could move him now while he still has value and before his decline -- a team like the Dodgers could be a fit -- and get a prospect or two in return.

Alex Rios, OF: He's making $12.5 million this season, and the Rangers hold a $13.5 million team option with a $1 million buyout for 2015. He's hitting .304 with 17 extra-base hits in 181 at-bats and a respectable .790 OPS. He'd be a great fit for the Kansas City Royals, given their current needs.

Elvis Andrus, SS: He's signed through 2022, and identifying his true value in trade talks could prove too difficult, but the Rangers' front office might as well have the conversations. The Tigers and the Yankees will be looking for shortstops.

Mitch Moreland, 1B: He's making $2.65 million, and he'll be more expensive next year as he gathers service time. At some point this season, another major league team will no doubt need to plug a hole at first base.

Joakim Soria, RP: He has been really good this season, with 21 strikeouts and two walks in 16 innings and a 2.25 ERA. The Rangers hold a $7 million option on him for 2015. As we get closer to the trade deadline, Soria will have more value to another team as a proven closer than to the Rangers.

The Rangers' preparation for 2015 can begin today, given all the injuries incurred by the team.

Here's this tidbit from ESPN Stats & Information: "It has been a rough year injury-wise for the Rangers. This month alone Martin Perez's season ended with Tommy John surgery. Fellow starter Matt Harrison hit the DL with lower back inflammation. Prized prospect Jurickson Profar has been shut down after re-straining his injured shoulder … and Prince Fielder's herniated disk in his neck may require season-ending surgery."

Most times using disabled list (2014)
Rangers 17*
Reds 13
Nationals 12
Dodgers 10
White Sox 10
Yankees 10
*Including Prince Fielder

And just when it seemed things couldn't worse, Jurickson Profar re-strained a muscle in his shoulder and has been shut down.