Rock bottom: A temporary position
The Rangers and their fans woke up today to find themselves as the worst team in baseball, speaking in terms of percentage points. Nobody though they'd be in this predicament...nobody. It really can't get much worse, in terms of on-field performance as they have a plethora of minor leaguers playing, but it can get better. Will it? It has to. All-Star Yu Darvish (5.40 ERA, .274 opponent batting average over his last five starts) will not pitch like this all year and they'll have some sort of winning streak at some point. We just don't know when and how long it will take for signs of improvement.
The season is lost, but that doesn't mean there is no hope for the future. Derek Holland, Jurickson Profar, Prince Fielder and a number of others will be back next year, and the Rangers have a deep and talented farm system to keep things rolling in the future. People are jumping off of the bandwagon in droves and that's what sports have become. As Jamey Newberg stated in his Newberg Report Thursday morning, jumping off that bandwagon will be a mistake that people will regret next year and beyond.
Yes, it's frustrating and it is generally an unpleaseant experience to watch Texas Rangers baseball right now, but this is your team. This is not 20 years of mediocrity like the team across the street. The Rangers have won 90-plus games over the last four years and they have the potential to do that again in 2015 (with a few tweaks). Yes, it's a terrible season and not fun at all, but there are bright spots on the team even in this pit of darkness, like Rougned Odor and of course everyone's favorite Adrian Beltre.
We all know it's bad and the few silver linings of the 2014 season do not make up for the disappointment that the team and fans have experienced so far. But there are things to look forward to in 2015 and there are things that finishing deep in the standings provide. One benefit is that the Rangers will likely get a top five pick in next year's draft, which is protected. That means that the Rangers cannot lose the pick if they sign a free agent.
People scoff at draft picks, especially in baseball when there is not an immediate benefit to the Major League club. But top five draft picks can change a franchise, like these guys have or will: Stephen Strausburg, Justin Verlander, David Price, Manny Machado, Evan Longoria, Buster Posey and Matt Wieters, all of whom were draft in the top five in the last few years.
Another plus is that the Fox Sports television contract kicks in, which is worth an estimated $75 million a year, in addition to the $26 million they get from MLB for the national television contract, which gives the front office a little more financial flexibility.
It'll get better, I promise. It's just not going to get much better until 2015, so start looking at MLB mock drafts.
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