By: Josh Clark
DALLAS (105.3 The Fan) – The Rangers season came to a dramatic halt on Sunday night. The AL West Champions had the best record in the American League, but had one of the worst three game stretches of the season. The offense combined to score 10 runs in the series and their starting pitching had an ERA of 13.94.
Despite the shortened postseason, Texas did everything they could to rebound from last year’s loss to the Blue Jays in the American League Division Series. Rangers President and General Manager Jon Daniels made big splashes at the trade deadline by acquiring outfielder/designated hitter Carlos Beltran and catcher Jonathan Lucroy. Both players made immediate impacts on the club for the rest of the regular season, however, they couldn’t get anything going in the postseason. The club will certainly pick up Lucroy’s $5.25 million club option for 2017, and will most likely look to lock him up for a few more seasons this winter. Beltran will turn 40 years old in April, however, he can still hit. Beltran, a free agent, will have many suitors, but the club could look to bring him back as a designated hitter/fourth outfielder next season.
Reliever Jeremy Jeffress was a nice addition to the bullpen, although, he was forced to miss most of the final month of the season as he was in rehab dealing with alcohol related issues. Despite that, Jeffress had a good showing when he returned, and he should hold down a prominent role in the bullpen in 2017.
Another impactful acquisition that Daniels made during the final month and a half of the season was to bring in former Astro, Carlos Gomez.
Gomez had hit .210 with Houston over 85 games and 295 at bats. The former all-star and gold glove outfielder had played so poorly that he was released on August 19.
Having just lost outfielder Shin-Soo Choo to a broken forearm, Daniels and the front office took a flyer on Gomez the very next day. Gomez signed a minor league deal and immediately became Jeff Banister’s starting left fielder.
He would go on to hit .284 in 116 at bats over the course of the 33 games he played, becoming the lead off hitter for the team with the best record in the American League.
Even though Gomez struggled in the abbreviated Division Series against the Blue Jays, he showed the Rangers that he still had something left to give the game.
Speaking to 105.3 The Fan’s Ben Rogers after being eliminated Sunday, Gomez expressed his desire to stay in Texas and credits the club with saving his career.
“They already know it. They already know it. They give me this opportunity. It’s a big opportunity for 30 something games here. And I feel like I changed my career,” said Gomez. “I thought this year was my year, and I think, in my heart, that this is the best year that I’ve had in my career so far. And numbers wise, probably not. But they changed me and made me a better player, better person and a better human being.”
A question many wondered was how did this former all-star outfielder struggle so much in Houston and thrive with Texas? We always hear about how great the Rangers clubhouse is for players. Former teammates move on, but always say nothing but great things about the guys in the clubhouse after they leave. And it appears as if Gomez fit right in just like everybody else.
“It’s not a team. It’s a family. Everybody here treats everybody the same. They pushed us. That’s why this team is so enjoyable. That’s why this team is so special. It’s different here. It’s not you rookie, you veteran… you get in the box, they’re gonna give energy for you. You get on the mound, they’re gonna give energy for you. When we lose a game, we lose like a family.”
Gomez probably won’t command a big contract on the open market, but an advantage for him is that that this year’s free agent class is very thin on productive players. However, according to Gomez, money isn’t everything he’ll be considering this offseason when he decides where to play in 2017 and beyond.
“This month and a half changed my career completely. I can’t wait to get home and continue to make this approach to next year,” said Gomez. “Of course I want to come back. If I had (this much) fun, that I enjoyed it so much for like a month and a half… I can’t imagine it for 180 something days. I put this in God’s hands… and they know that I love it here. I’m very loyal, it’s not always about money. I have money. It’s about enjoying the job that I love.”
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