Rangers Main Goal After This Season: Resign Yu Darvish and Jonathan Lucroy
Following the 2017 regular season, both starting pitcher, Yu Darvish, and catcher, Jonathan Lucroy, are poised to hit the free agent market unless the Rangers reach an extension with one or both players prior to then. If an extension does occur, it would likely be prior to Opening Day though.
With that being said, the Rangers need to extend both players if they want to keep their window open and continue to stay in the thick of things within the AL West division. Both Darvish and Lucroy bring a lot of value to the team and are assets moving forward in virtually every point of view.
Despite having Tommy John surgery in March 2015, Darvish has put together four stellar seasons with the Rangers and has helped to solidify their starting rotation behind Cole Hamels. Since 2012 with the exception of the 2015 season, Darvish has posted a 3.29 ERA in 645.2 IP with 812 strikeouts and has surrendered 65 home runs and 249 walks over that span.
One of the benefits of Darvish is that he will turn 31 in August meaning that an extension for 2 or 3 years certainly would be worth it for Texas who lacks in the starting pitching department and needs a 1-2 punch to go along with the aforementioned, Cole Hamels.
On the other side of the coin, Jonathan Lucroy, who was acquired via the trade market at last year's trade deadline, is another player that is essential to the future of the Rangers. Lucroy is a great leader both on and off the field, does plenty of work in the community as seen during his days with the Brewers, and helps to provide depth at the catching position.
Without Lucroy, Texas would rely on Robinson Chirinos as their everyday catcher with Brett Nicholas serving as the backup. While Chirinos was the everyday catcher prior to Lucroy, he does come with a history of injuries and lacks the offensive numbers that Lucroy can put up in a single season.
Although Yu Darvish and Jonathan Lucroy are often overlooked, they are one of the best batteries in the game today and provide a ton of value for the Rangers who continue to seek a World Series championship. If that championship comes this season, has yet to be seen, but the Rangers number one goal should be to resign both Darvish and Lucroy.
Besides Darvish and Lucroy, Texas has a number of other players hitting the free agent market this coming winter as well in: Carlos Gomez, Andrew Cashner, and Tyson Ross. Mike Napoli also can become a free agent if his $11 million dollar club option is not picked up.
For now, the Rangers are hoping that the 2017 season brings them a lot of luck once again and is a year where they might finally be able to break the drought of a World Series title.
Regardless, Texas needs to keep their window open as long as possible and keep things alive in Arlington with Darvish and Lucroy before it's too late and they see their window close in the blink of an eye.