Use whatever phrase you like, but Rangers are taking a step back in the next year or two

Gerry Fraley, Rangers beat writer for and The Dallas Morning News, answered questions about the team in a live chat Thursday. Here are some of the highlights.

Q: I don’t understand what the Rangers are doing with their pitchers. Signing so many rehabbing pitchers just makes them a destination for rehabbing pitchers. I get what’s in it for the pitchers but what’s in it for the Rangers? I don’t think any of the pitchers would want to re-sign with the Rangers if they have any competitive blood left in their system. I want competition back.

Fraley: Use whatever phrase you like, but the Rangers are taking a step back in the next year or two. They are not trying to win the division. They are trying to position themselves to contend again, as soon as possible. The window of opportunity that was open from 2010-16 has closed. In the interim, the Rangers need someone to pitch 162 games. They are not going to sign elite free agents. They are adding low-risk guys with a bit of an upside. If any of those guys hit, the Rangers will look to flip them to contenders for more resources: young talent and international signing bonuses. The next few seasons will be interesting from a different angle. The club will not contend, but it will be building. You can see the growth of young talent.

Q: How would you grade the Rangers’ signing of Michael Tonkin?

Fraley: A depth arm. Has always thrown hard but had inconsistent command. Like most of the guys they are signing, Tonkin is a low-risk guy with some upside.

Q: What do you think about the Rangers starting pitching rotation as of right now? Has it improved from last season?

Fraley: Hard to be worse than last season, and that was with Cole Hamels for four months. Still think a trade of Minor is possible. He has value to contenders. It’s hard to know what to expect from Miller, Smyly and Volquez. They combined for 16 innings in the majors last season, all by Miller. Each has some upside. It’s a placeholder rotation. Rangers are not building for the future around these guys. Those pitchers will be in the minors this season.

Q: What do you think about the Rangers agreeing to a deal with Shelby Miller?

Fraley: Rangers needed at least one more arm. Miller needed a spot to re-establish himself. If Miller pitches well into the second half, look for the Rangers to flip him to a contender. The question is what can Miller do. His last two years has been a waste because of injury.

To view the full chat, click here.