Rangers' offseason begins with staff meetings

Banister says hitting, pitching coaches to be evaulated

Rangers' offseason begins with staff meetings

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers will begin the offseason with meetings with the eight members of their coaching staff. The Rangers have given no indication what changes -- if any -- will be made to the staff.

"We are always looking to improve what we do and the process of how we do it," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "I'd like to think our coaching staff is growing in knowledge and how we get players better. There is always an evaluation of how the staff is structured."

In football, they look at offensive and defensive coordinators. In baseball, it's the hitting and pitching coaches. Rangers pitching coach Doug Brocail and hitting coach Anthony Iapoce are finishing their second seasons, having been a part of one division championship team and one losing season.

Offensively the Rangers will finish fifth in the American League in runs scored, mainly because they were third in home runs. There has been significant improvement by some of their young hitters, including Joey Gallo, Nomar Mazara and Delino DeShields.

Elvis Andrus and Robinson Chirinos had their best seasons, and Shin-Soo Choo was solid all year. The big disappointments were catcher Jonathan Lucroy and first baseman Mike Napoli, plus injuries to Adrian Beltre and Carlos Gomez. Rougned Odor seemed to regress and a high number of strikeouts handcuffed their offensive versatility.

Overseeing a pitching staff in Texas has always been one of the biggest challenges anywhere in baseball, and 2017 was especially so for Brocail. The bullpen imploded from day one, and the Rangers were never able to fix it. The rotation lacked depth or an infusion of young arms. Cole Hamels missed two months with a ribcage injury, and Yu Darvish was traded on July 31.

Perez's quality start

The bright spots were Martin Perez and Andrew Cashner showing significant improvement as the season progressed. The biggest disappointment was Tyson Ross.

Still, the Rangers were able to keep it together before it all unraveled in the final 10 days.

"As a team, we win as a team and lose as a team," Andrus said. "Everybody wants to do their best. There is no reason to point fingers. It just didn't happen this year. Even though we didn't have a great season, we were right there. A few weeks ago, we were close to the Wild Card even though we didn't play as well as we could."

Choo works at first base

The Rangers have been working out Choo at first base this week, a position he hasn't played since high school. This may not be a permanent move, but it could give him some flexibility beyond just playing the outfield and being the designated hitter.

"I don't feel it's new," Choo, 35, said. "It has been a long time, but I still feel it is there. I'm here for the team. At least I can try it."

First base will have to be evaluated in the offseason. The Rangers don't expect to re-sign Napoli, but it could be the spot for Gallo.

Rangers beat

Alex Claudio was selected as the Rangers Player of the Month for September. He had a 1.59 ERA for the month and four saves.

• Andrus batted leadoff on Sunday for the first time this season. He has batted in each spot in the order, the first time a Rangers player has done that since Billy Sample in 1983.

• Gallo is the fifth Major League player to hit 40 home runs this season and -- at 23 years, 315 days -- is the youngest of the five. He is the second youngest player in Rangers history to hit 40 home runs. Juan Gonzalez was 22 when he did it in 1992.

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.