The slowest point of the sports year is finally over.

Now that the MLB All-Star Game has concluded, teams have resumed play and baseball is back on again.

This time is exciting, not only because it’s the ultimate time of grinding in the baseball season, but we are now seeing what the Texas Rangers are.

Entering play Thursday, I have the answer. They are average to below average, and they need to sell.

They started Thursday 45-49 and are ultimately out of the running for an AL West crown, as the Houston Astros are miles — and I mean miles — ahead with a 17½-game lead.

The Rangers are 3½ games out of the wild card.

The only problem is they aren’t the only ones in that position.

Texas is bunched up with eight other teams — Minnesota, Kansas City, the Angels, Seattle, Baltimore, Toronto, Detroit and Oakland — who are all within six games of the two wild card spots.

It’s time to sell.

The Rangers could make a run and get themselves into the playoffs, which in baseball gives you as good a chance as any to make a postseason push. But let’s be realistic here.

This is an average baseball team, and average doesn’t get you anywhere in the playoffs, even if you make it.

Do they spend what’s left in their farm system to upgrade at key positions in order to make a push? They shouldn’t.

The worst thing that could happen is Texas holding on to assets they could trade and waffling in the end.

They are likely to lose Yu Darvish, Jonathan Lucroy, Mike Napoli, Carlos Gomez, Tyson Ross and Andrew Cashner, among others, at season’s end.

If they try to upgrade or stand pat, and they end up not making a legitimate push, this season would have been a waste — and they would likely struggle to contend again for about three years.

If they do sell, they can restock a farm system that has been depleted by impact trades over the last few years, and it might not take them as long to contend again.

They have already been rumored to be willing to listen on Darvish and Hamels if things don’t go their way.

Well, things aren’t going their way.

For the future of the Rangers, you’d better hope the next time you see Darvish in a Rangers uniform is his last, and he shouldn’t be the only one.

Veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Previously spent time as sports editor at both the Hereford Brand and the Gatesville Messenger. Graduate of West Texas A&M University.

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