Rangers Need Tweak, Not Overhaul
The Texas Rangers were eliminated Friday night, in the new 1 game Wild Card game to the Baltimore Orioles. The Rangers choked away the AL West, causing them to even have to play in this 1 game sudden death. Now that the Rangers season is done, many are wondering why, and what needs to be done to fix it. The Bullpen became unreliable, the starting pitching faltered, and the timely hitting was gone. Bottom line, the Rangers just weren’t themselves. Some are calling for Manager Ron Washington to be fired, some want Josh Hamilton gone, and others want to break the bank for a new star player. I think the Rangers do need minor changes, but nothing drastic. This offseason will be interesting for Texas, they’ll either reload, or the great run might be over.
First, Ron Washington isn’t the problem. His way of doing things has done great the two previous years, so let’s not jump off the Washington bandwagon just because the Rangers only won 93 games. The Red Sox overacted last season in a similar situation, and now they’re worse off than ever. Many will point to Ron’s stubbornness, more specifically his insistence on keeping the line up the same. Even as Josh Hamilton struggled, Washington kept him hitting at #3 most of the year. Kinsler also struggled, but was kept in as the leadoff hitter. Others point to Washington’s spat with star player and free agent to be Josh Hamilton in Oakland. Hamilton laughed Washington off after he gave Ham a piece of his mind. Was this a sign that the players lost respect for their manager, or was this Hamilton’s way of handling an awkward moment?
Speaking of Hamilton, if you were watching at home thinking he looks disinterested in playing the last month of the season, you’re not alone. Hamilton’s apparent attitude showed on the field, as he went 0-4 in the wild card game, seeing only 8 pitches. Has he checked out? All he says is he’ll go “where god tells him”, but don’t be surprised if God tells him to take the most money. The question now is, should the Rangers pay up? He did still hit 43 homers, but again, his attitude might suggest that he no longer feels like a Texas Ranger. And what if the Rangers don’t sign him, couldn’t they use that money for an Ace, like say, David Price? The Rangers have beat Price several times in the playoffs, wouldn’t Price rather play with the Rangers, with a legit chance to win a World Series? Price, Darvish, and Harrison as your starting 3 looks very promising. And with Hamilton gone, who replaces him in the lineup? Does Gentry and Murphy get full time duties, or does Kinsler move to the outfield to make room for Profar?
Speaking of Profar, is he ready to be an all star quality 2nd basemen? Does a middle infield of Andrus/Profar, along with Beltre at 3rd and Moreland at 1st make Texas the best infield in baseball? Mike Olt, another star minor leaguer will soon need a spot in the lineup, does this mean Michael Young’s days a Mr. Ranger over? The Rangers have some young, serious talent in the minors, can 1 or more fill a hole of Hamilton leaves for free agency?
Another free agent is Mike Napoli, the 1st basemen/catcher. He still has real home run power, but do the Rangers feel he can be the everyday catcher? I say yes, you have to keep him, especially if Hamilton is gone.
All in all, the Rangers have many questions to answer this offseason. I do feel they also have a ton of options, so before all you Ranger fans jump off the wagon, let’s see what the Rangers do this off season. If they play their cards right, they might make all the right moves, and will be ready to make another run at an AL Pennant.