Texas Rangers Focus on Improving Bullpen

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The Texas Rangers’ leadership, including general manager Chris Young and manager Bruce Bochy, went to the MLB’s annual winter meetings in Las Vegas this week, and just like in recent years, the team has a focused goal for its roster moves this offseason.

The World Series champs addressed the offense two years ago and stacked up their pitching, particularly the starting rotation, last offseason and throughout the regular season. However, despite some great individual performances during the playoff run, the bullpen became a clear weakness.

“I thought last year we felt pretty good about our depth,” Young told the media. “We did not address our bullpen much going into last season, and it thinned out very quickly. Some of the players we were counting on being contributors either underperformed or were injured, and it impacted that depth, and I think it exacerbated the quality of our bullpen. … That’s one of the things that we’re very focused on this year is fortifying our bullpen and our pitching staff as a whole.”

Those injuries occurred both in the bullpen and the starting rotation, causing a domino effect throughout the staff. Bullpen arms, like Dane Dunning, were thrust into the rotation due to critical injuries to Jacob deGrom and Jon Gray. While Dunning pitched well, it became evident that reinforcements were needed, and the team traded for Max Scherzer and Jordan Montgomery, solidifying its rotation while some injuries lingered.

The team also acquired players to bolster the bullpen, which finished the season among the worst relief units in the MLB, bringing in veterans Aroldis Chapman and Chris Stratton.

However, Josh Sborz and Jose Leclerc were the ones to emerge with solid performances in critical situations throughout the postseason. Still, the team needs more if it hopes to create a formidable unit that can contribute to its efforts to repeat as champions.

“They can be very volatile, and I think that’s one of the important reasons to have a lot of numbers and have depth and to have competition in Spring Training and to have non-roster invites,” Young added. “We’re going to take the 13 best of our pitching staff, so I think it’s an important aspect of building out our entire pitching staff.”

The winter meetings concluded on Thursday, and the Rangers made one addition to the bullpen, signing former San Diego Padres closer Kirby Yates, but will there be more?

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