MLB: Disappointed Texas Rangers expect more postseason chances
ARLINGTON - General manager Jon Daniels expects more postseason chances for the Texas Rangers to pursue that elusive World Series title.
While the Rangers lost in the AL Division Series to Toronto for the second consecutive year, this time getting swept, Daniels said Tuesday that he doesn’t buy into any contention that there could be a shrinking window of opportunity for the AL West champions.
“If we’re doing our jobs right ... I don’t believe that there’s like an open-and-close period,” Daniels said. “I think good organizations, regardless of sport, find a way to win year in, year out. ... I don’t think of it like we’ve got X-number of years and then we’ve got to about-face or change plans. I think we can be nimble and adjust as we go.”
Daniels just marked his 11th anniversary as GM of the Rangers, who have made the postseason five of the last seven seasons. That includes the franchise’s only World Series appearances in 2010 and 2011, and Texas missed the playoffs in 2013 after losing an AL wild-card tiebreaker game.
While proud of what the organization has accomplished year after year, Daniels said the Rangers expect to keep winning.
“At the same time, you start over for next year,” he said.
The Rangers will go into 2017 with All-Star aces Cole Hamels and Yu Darvish at the top of their rotation, though both struggled in their ALDS starts. Third baseman Adrian Beltre will be back for his 20th major league season, and shortstop Elvis Andrus is the team’s longest-tenured position player after eight seasons and still only 28.
When asked Tuesday what this season’s team was missing, Beltre responded, “A ring.”
At 37 years old, Beltre knows he is running out of chances to win a World Series, even if the team keeps making the playoffs year after year. The four-time All-Star, 58 hits shy of 3,000 in his career, is signed through 2018 after getting two years added to his deal last spring.
“It hurts more because you do believe that you can do it, you do know you have the pieces to do it,” said Beltre, who thought this might be his World Series title season. “It’s what drives me.”
Daniels said Texas will pick up the $5.25 million club option on Jonathan Lucroy, the catcher acquired in an Aug. 1 trade from Milwaukee.
The Rangers have decisions to make on several pending free agents who played prominent roles: All-Star center fielder Ian Desmond, first baseman Mitch Moreland, right-hander Colby Lewis, outfielder Carlos Gomez and outfielder-DH Carlos Beltran.
“All of the free agents are guys that under the right circumstances we would welcome back,” Daniels said.
A primary offseason focus will be to bolster the rotation, while also determining what to do about center field and first base. Converted shortstop Desmond signed an $8 million, one-year deal last spring after turning down a qualifying offer with Washington, and Moreland is a free agent for the first time.
The Rangers had AL-high 95 wins this season, and would have had home-field advantage through the postseason. But at their home ballpark Tuesday, packing boxes were spread throughout the clubhouse. They were cleaning out lockers only a week after working out there while still waiting to see who they would play in the ALDS.
“We can look back in retrospect and think about the 95 wins, and how we got there, and the AL West championship,” second-year manager Jeff Banister said. “But really, truly the culture and chemistry of this group - one mission - and that was to win a World Series.”
And that will be the goal again when the Rangers get to spring training in Arizona next February.