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We start 2021 with hopes that everything starts on time. Five weeks from now, pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report to their Spring Training facilities. According to Cheap Kyle Gibson Jersey, the Rangers representative to the Players’ Union, “There might be some details that are still up in the air. Our CBA lays out pretty clear the dates that MLB and the players have agreed upon to start Spring Training and the season. From what I’m seeing, I don’t think there’s any desire right now to move those,” Gibson said during the Winter Caravan chat Wednesday.

Therefore, we enter 2021 assuming things are on schedule. The Rangers have many questions entering 2021, but the main head-scratcher is how the rotation will look. I think it’s a more straightforward path to predict the infield, outfield, and bullpen roles for this club, but the rotation presents some inquires. Here’s a likely projection of the Rangers 2021 rotation.

Kyle Gibson
Unless the Rangers make a high strung splash before Opening Day. I think it’s safe to assume Kyle Gibson stands in at least the one or two spot in the rotation. If Gibson gets the opening day nod, it would be the first in his career. It’s doubtful the Rangers go out and get an ace that fits the opening day mesh. Therefore, it’s slim pickings on what they have to work with. Also, Kauffman Stadium ties for the most games Kyle has pitched as an opposing pitcher (13 games, 11 starts, and one complete game).

Kohei Arihara
I placed Arihara in the second slot because he’s known as an innings eater. Unless someone comes from out of the blue, I foresee Texas finishing in the bottom in MLB in innings by “starter” (look for a lot of opener usage in 2021). However, Kohei’s background shows as a breath of fresh air regarding traditional starter work. If Arihara dominates Spring Training, he may sneak to opening day, but it’s unlikely. Arihara seems like a solid four starter on any given club, but for the 2021 Rangers, I like Kohei in the two slot.

Dane Dunning
Cheap Dane Dunning Jersey was a piece the Rangers received from the Chicago White Sox for Lance Lynn. Dunning started seven games last season for the White Sox, including appearing in the final Wild Card game against Oakland. In his last two starts in 2020, he struggled, but overall, he positively impacted and threw three excellent games. An impressive start came on September 15th against a powerful Minnesota Twins lineup where Dunning allowed just one run over seven innings and struck out seven. Dane threw 102 pitches on that day in Chicago. There’s a chance that if Dunning excels in Spring Training, he could be an under the radar candidate for opening day in Kansas City.

Baseball America has their top 10 prospect list for the Cheap Texas Rangers Jerseys out today, headed up by Josh Jung, who they say “has a strong chance” of becoming a star. I was skeptical of the decision to take Jung in 2019, but the raves he’s gotten from BA and elsewhere have me eating crow on that.

Surprisingly high on the list is Cole Winn, who apparently turned heads at the Alternate Training Site this summer. Winn’s struggles in 2019, particularly early in the year, I know had folks down on him, and 2020 was inherently going to be a significant year for him. He’s apparently made some significant strides, though, and those of you who go see the Roughriders could get to watch him later in the summer.

Maximo Acosta and Luisangel Acuna also made the second half of the list, and one of the things to watch come May, when A and AA ball starts up, is whether one or both of them makes their stateside debut with Down East (which is low-A now, don’t forget).

Cheap Taylor Hearn Jersey

Out of all of the young bullpen/long relief guys the Rangers used in 2020, Taylor Hearn seemed like he has the arsenal and potential to fit the starter role. “Taylor expressed his desire to start. We’re going to try to get him built up,” Chris Woodward said. Hearn is a powerful lefty with a great combination of pitches and an excellent repertoire. Hearn did not allow an earned run in ten of his fourteen outings in 2020 (2.76 ERA in that span).

Biblically number 20 means “Redemption” personally I took 2020 as double redemption year for me and to be back healthy and competing again I couldn’t thank the Lord enough and I give him praise on credit for what he about to do moving forward! #TogetherWe @Rangers pic.twitter.com/69mUZ2kk1X

— Taylor Hearn (@thearn14) September 28, 2020

Cheap Jordan Lyles Jersey first then Kyle Cody/Wes Benjamin/Kolby Allard/Peanut Gallery
The fifth spot is an intriguing piece. I think Jordan starts the year in the rotation. However, toward the quarter mark, Chris Woodward may decide to push a starter into a long-relief role and allow guys like Cheap Kyle Cody Jersey, Cheap Wes Benjamin Jersey, and Cheap Kolby Allard Jersey some work. Remember, if we’re talking full season, we’re talking about six months. Once we get to that point, look for a lot of split starts. Remember, injuries to the pitching staff WILL happen (it’s, unfortunately, a reality). Texas liked what they saw from guys like Cody and Benjamin, so don’t show any shock if one of them gets the early role of opener or long relief man. To start the season, the fifth starter role is Jordan Lyles’ spot to lose.

Starter shuffling will be a thing for the Rangers in 2021 and most teams. The question is if these guys who showcased their talents in 2020 can take another step forward in 2021. It’ll also be interesting to witness how this group works with Doug Mathis and Brendan Sagara, the Rangers pitching coaches.

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With under a month-and-a-half to go before MLB has scheduled pitchers and catchers to report to spring training – the date of course could change but the line from clubs and the league is they are planning for an on-time start – it is a good time to check in on where the Mariners stand in terms their 2021 roster.

Drayer: New prospect rankings show how far Mariners’ farm has come

While the Mariners have not been involved in the few bigger deals made this winter, Jerry Dipoto has added both starting and relief pitching, his stated goal at the beginning of the offseason. On the Hot Stove Show this week, he indicated that we could see more additions.

“We’re still active,” he said. “We are checking in with agents, we are checking in with other teams, as possibilities present themselves we do intend to add.”

Dipoto listed another arm for the pen as the top priority while saying they were also open to adding another starter. A bat is on the list as well.

“We are even open to the idea if the right bat, part left-handed bat, fell to us,” he said. “Obviously we would need that bat to be versatile. Could be a little bit of infield, could be some left field, just find that left-handed bat, that’s what we would be shopping for.”

Dipoto’s comments would indicate that he and the Mariners are taking the approach to the offseason that the majority of baseball has taken this winter. Following the pandemic-shortened season, pocketbooks for the large part have not been opened and there has been a “wait and see what happens” approach to the market in general. Logic would dictate that has to change as teams will have to fill their rosters. The market will dictate the Mariners’ moves, but the market must first get going.

“Once you see some of what I would call the mid-range free agents, (cites Tigers signing Robbie Grossman as a positive sign) now you have the ability, some water will start to flow,” Dipoto said. “The top of the market really doesn’t break it up. The guys in the middle of the market that appeal to 30 clubs, they drive the market. I do think that we will be some form of player on the market this next month or so but when it happens, I wish I could give you that timing, I just know that when it happens, we’ll be there.”

Until then, a quick look with some notes on what we could see Opening Day 2021.

At this point, it is expected the special agreement rules for 2020 will not be in effect in 2021. This should be the first season of the 26-man roster. With the addition of the extra player came the stipulation that the pitching staff could contain no more than 13 pitchers, which ensures a four-man bench.

With the Mariners going with a six-man rotation this season, that will limit them to a seven-man bullpen if the rule stands. This will be different for the Mariners, who have run mostly with an eight-man pen in recent years. Part of the idea of going with the six-man rotation is that with the extra rest, the pitchers will have the ability to go deeper in games. Still, managing a staff with one fewer reliever could have its challenges.

Rotation (6)
• Marco Gonzales
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• Chris Flexen
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If another starter is brought in, then I would expect a position battle in spring training. There is some thought that Dunn could benefit from more time in the minor leagues. Regardless, if everyone stays healthy, a spot will be on the line at some point, perhaps even early on, with Logan Gilbert likely to make his debut.

Someone who should not be battling for a spot, at least early on, is Chris Flexen, who pitched in the KBO in 2020 and was signed Dec. 18.

“Maybe the most enjoyable things we did the offseason was going and looking under the rocks for guys we really thought had a chance to be part of the long-term with us,” said Dipoto. “You don’t get a lot of opportunity to go out and access 26-year-old free agents with the ability to start who have four pitches.”

Dipoto indicated that Flexen, who at the age of 22 debuted for the Mets in 2017, jumping from Double-A to the big leagues as an injury fill-in, may have suffered from the ups and downs between the big leagues and the minors that followed.

“He never quite got the runway to do what he needed to do. It was up and down, it was start and bullpen. And ultimately they ran him out of options at 25 and sold his contract rights to the Korean Baseball Organization. He went over and roughly did everything you can do to show forward movement.”

According to Dipoto, Flexen saw a slight increase in velocity in the KBO with his fastball sitting 92-93 while touching 95, 96 mph. His 82 mph slider turned into more of a 87-89 mph cutter that missed bats and created poor contact. His high-spin/low-velo (high 60s) curveball maintained spin as he took it to the low 70s and “really developed some teeth.”

“Flex fits perfectly well in what we are doing, we think there is still upside in it,” said Dipoto. “We think he grew in Korea.”

Regardless of stuff, a huge value Flexen should provide will be in the innings department. Cheap Marco Gonzales Jersey led the Mariners with 69.2 innings thrown in 2020 with no starter in baseball throwing more than 84 innings. Protecting starters while building them back up will be a focus across baseball, the Mariners should be in position to do so with both the addition of Flexen and the utilization of the 6-man rotation.

Bullpen (7)
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• ???
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The situation for the bullpen could get interesting if the 13-man pitching staff rule is in effect. While in the past I would assume that baring a disaster, the Rule 5 pick would be a lock for the staff, now I’m not so sure.

Ramirez, who can now be optioned to the minors, most likely is not inked into the mix as of yet either. Like the rotation, a big arm is expected to be added in season with Andres Muñoz who was acquired from the Padres in the Austin Nola trade, could return from Tommy John surgery as early as June.

“Our approach on trade, we were looking for what was the addition in this trade that gave it the opportunity to be a grand slam, Andres was the name we came up with, that if we were willing to gamble that players do come back from Tommy John,” said Dipoto noting that Muñoz topped out at 104 mph pre-surgery. “A 21 year old who throws the ball 100, with a wicked slider already with big league time, he’s made his progression, that’s what you are looking for. If we are able to tap into the upside he possesses and keep him in a healthy happy space, then we may have found an anchorman for our bullpen for years to come.”

Another addition that Dipoto is enthused about is Montero, who, if the season were to start today, would most likely fill the closer role.

“Over the last two years we feel like one of the real hidden upside guys in this league,” he said of the former Rangers closer.

Montero is a bit of a late bloomer, which Dipoto attributed to time missed due to Tommy John surgery and transitioning from starter to reliever, a role he ultimately found success in.

“The stuff was really off the charts,” said Dipoto. “97 with above average life, can really sink the ball. Outstanding secondary stuff including the changeup which you don’t see a lot from relievers. Throws strikes, misses bats and has been resilient in the pen.”

Infielders (5)
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• Dylan Moore
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Cheap Dylan Moore Jersey has stepped away from the bench.

“Dylan deserves the right to play every day,” said Dipoto. “Second base is the spot that we have that jumps out and is the best fit for him. He’s a good defender wherever he plays. His versatility is a strength.”

The versatility is what prompted Dipoto to bring Moore into the organization, signing him to a Major League contract before he had played a day in the bigs. What he did in 2020 with the bat is what has earned him a starting role.

“Last year he came in and he had more confidence, and he was sizzling the ball,” said Dipoto noting a slight swing change that helped keep the bat in the zone longer and led to better contact.

“Dylan makes contact whether it be 2019 when he hit 200 or last year when he was one of our best offensive players, he hits the ball hard. The worst case scenario for us is we have one of the best and most versatile utility men in the league. The upside is we have a regular player who can settle in at second and be a constant force for us who we think can hit near the top of the lineup.”

Outfielders (3)
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• LF *

Heading into the 2021 season, left field is open for a placeholder only. At some point, Jarred Kelenic will join the team and take over a full-time spot in the outfield. Until then, any number of players already in house could fill the role or Dipoto, as mentioned above, could find a left-handed outfield/corner infield-type player who could step in.

DH (1)
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The Mariners will look to get France everyday at bats with some coming at second and third base but the bulk coming from the DH position. The Mariners think that France’s best position is third base, although there is work to be done on defense with Perry Hill. The plan?

“We will give him everyday reps and keep him sharp enough defensively and working with Perry, working with Manny Acta, to develop his defensive skillset so when the time comes to play defense full time, he’s prepared to do it,” Dipoto said.

France has been a bat that Dipoto has been after for some time. Apparently he wasn’t the only one. On the Hot Stove Show, Dipoto revealed that in the short time between acquiring him from the Padres and the trade deadline later that day, he fielded four calls from contending teams that wanted the Mariners to spin him to them.

Bench (4)
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The Cheap Oakland Athletics Jerseys bullpen is going to need someone to step up in 2021. Lou Trivino may end up being the key to the upcoming season.
Chances are, the bullpen for the 2021 Oakland A’s will look a lot different than the 2020 relief corps. Four members of the bullpen, including closer Liam Hendriks, are free agents. While the A’s may be able to retain one or two of those arms, they are going to need to find a new closer while working out a bridge to the ninth inning.

As it currently stands, Jake Diekman is expected to be the A’s closer in the coming year. Although that is a bit of a gamble due to his walk rate, his dominant 2020 puts him atop that list. But the question remains – who will get the ball to Diekman?

The key to that bridge may be Cheap Lou Trivino Jersey. A potential option at closer should Diekman not work out, Trivino had a strong 2020 campaign in his own right. He posted a 3.86 ERA and a 1.114 WHiP in his 23.1 innings, striking out 26 batters with ten walks.

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That performance was in stark contrast to his 2019 campaign. Trivino struggled in his second season in the majors, posting a 5.25 ERA and a 1.533 WHiP in 60 innings. Although he still struck out nearly a batter per inning with his 57 strikeouts, he issued 31 walks and allowed 61 hits. His command made him a gamble for the A’s whenever he was called upon.

At this point, Trivino has had two solid seasons and that one difficult campaign in 2019. Considering the unique nature of the 2020 season, it is difficult to regard that as part of an answer as to whether or not he can be part of the A’s bullpen solution.

NEXT: A’s still have a strong core
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Lou Trivino is going to be a key part of the Oakland A’s bullpen in 2021. However, there is no guarantee that he will be the pitcher the A’s need him to be.

The MLB offseason has been slow so far, especially among the biggest names on the free agent market. The largest contract so far is a 4yr/$40m deal between the Mets and catcher James McCann, the 16th-best available name. Nobody else has scored more than two years or $20 million, but surely we’ll see some major money spent at some point this winter.

That money won’t come from the Oakland A’s, though, from the sound of it. They have a core of young stars and a real chance to compete in 2021, but they’ll have to be active on the scrap heap in order to reinforce a roster that’s been shredded by free agency. And in that regard, there’s no time to waste, because the best bargains are quickly drying up.

A couple weeks ago, I offered a list of a half-dozen relief pitchers who were non-tendered by their 2020 teams, and looked like promising gambles for 2021 who could be had for barely more than league minimum salary. All six were righties, and there was a lefty honorable mention at the end (Claudio). Let’s see how that list is faring so far:

Matt Andriese
Alex Claudio (LAA, 1yr/$1.1m)
A.J. Cole
Kenyan Middleton (SEA, 1yr/$0.8m)
Ryan Tepera
Nick Tropeano
Matt Wisler (SFG, 1yr/$1.2m)
That’s three outta seven off the board already, and it’s only been 16 days since I published that article. Worse, two of them went to AL West division rivals, and the other to the Giants. Middleton was the second-most popular name on the list, in our community poll of nearly 500 votes. (Cole was the favorite, at 35% of the vote.)

Of course, there are many other names available beyond these seven, so perhaps there are different cheap targets you prefer. But there’s no question that the A’s need to add somebody, because there are at least four or five open spots in their bullpen right now even after adding a Rule 5 pick — everyone else except Cheap Jake Diekman Jersey and Cheap J.B. Wendelken Jersey can be stashed in Triple-A to begin the season if needed. The only thing you can ever know for sure about your Opening Day bullpen is that it won’t be enough, and you’ll need as much help as possible for whatever unforeseen things go wrong, so it’s critical they beef up their depth chart this offseason.

There are great deals to be had on enticing, high-ceiling bullpen sleepers right now. If you want to build a contender on a budget, including finding an entirely new late-inning setup crew, then missing out on the rest of these cheap opportunities could be a costly mistake. So far they’re disappearing at a rate of roughly one every five days, so, don’t blink.