Back when Baseball Time in Arlington was still in existence, every week or two during the baseball season Joey Matches would post what he called "[Whatever that day was] Open Thread," which was basically him asking three or four questions to gauge how the fan base felt about certain topics. They were always fun. Brandon Land occasionally does the same thing, but I feel like paying my own homage to Mr. Matschulat with this piece:
1. Evan Grant has a cryptic article up on The DMN about the Rangers "exploring [the] trade landscape," listing Elvis Andrus, Alex Rios, Adrian Beltre, Joakim Soria, and Yu Darvish as potential candidates, to varying degrees. I have a hard time picturing Texas parting ways with Darvish, Belte or Andrus, because I still think most feel like the organization has its eyes set on competing in 2015. But for argument's sake, if we exclude Rios and Soria -- the two most likely to be moved, given their contracts -- whom of the remaining three makes the most sense to trade, and why?
2. In Jim Bowden's recent "21 hitters who could be dealt this summer" article, he mentions Alex Rios (duh), but his rationale is random enough to make you wonder if Bowden is the king of all insider information, or if he's just getting strung along by a sketchy source:
The Rangers think power-hitting prospect Joey Gallo could play right field in 2015, but for that to happen, they need to move Rios, who has a reasonable 2015 team option of $13.5 million.
But let's say it's legit. If right field, 3rd base, and 1st base as the three positions making the most sense, (a) where in the field will Gallo patrol in his first major league game, and (b) what month/year will he debut?
3. Since 2010, the Rangers are 2nd in MLB (behind Detroit) with +96.3 fWAR from its pitching staff. That's a healthy five-year sample. In that time they are 4th in the American League with a 3.92 ERA, and the only teams better -- Oakland, Seattle and Tampa Bay -- pitch in historically run-suppressive ballparks.
But with the benefit of hindsight, knowing how paper-thin the pitching staff is with all the injuries in 2014, which pitcher the Rangers didn't re-sign do they miss the most? Or, in other words, who do you miss the most? (Cliff Lee is not an option, you lazy bastards.)
4. This one is easy: whether it's a July trade or an offseason acquisition, whether it's through free agency or a trade of some kind, make one prediction about the Rangers. Should you choose to make a bold prediction, or decide to offer up a hot sports opinion, this would be the space to do it.