Rangers Look Within in 2013
The Texas Rangers had what some might call a disastrous off season. The Rangers were thought to be big players this off season, with so much young talent and depth to trade with, and some money to spend. It was even said that nobody at the winter meetings could make a move until the Rangers made theirs. Well, some are still waiting for that move, but not the other MLB teams. Division rival Angels snatched up Josh Hamilton, Mike Napoli went to Boston, and the Rangers traded their heart and soul Michael Young to the Phillies. Meanwhile the Rangers made no splash at all in free agency to replace them. The only off season signings were older stop gaps AJ Pierzynski at catcher, and New Braunfels native and Astros great Lance Berkman for the DH spot. And for the icing on what was perceived as a horrible off season, reports out of Miami indicate that Nelson Cruz was juicing up, and might even face a possible suspension. Is the titanic sinking, and will we call the iceberg the 2012-2013 offseason?
The Rangers really don’t think so, and they feel that their in house talent will step up and make another run at a World Series. GM Jon Daniels is either bluffing, hoping for more success next off season, or he really believes in the farm system and young talent he has will put it together. A few names that the Rangers are hoping step up are familiar; some will be new to the big show.
The Rangers are hoping Ian Kinsler, Nelson Cruz(if not suspended), Elvis Andrus, and Andrian Beltre can be the glue that keeps this once family like clubhouse together. All these players are all star type, but Kinsler and Cruz will need to have bounce back years to keep the Rangers on top. Andrus keeps getting better, and if he can bat around 300 and be dangerous on the bases he could very well be the team MVP. Beltre is a gold glove 3rd baseman, but will he miss Hamilton in the lineup protecting him? Pierzynski and Berkman should help, both solid hitters brought in to bring some pop to the lineup, but they might be past their prime.
As for the young players that hope to make 2013 year of the youth movement, Craig Gentry should get even more playing time, David Murphy will finally be an everyday player, and Mitch Moreland will get the first shot at being the 1st baseman. All are familiar names, but this year is the year they all will start every day, and their production will probably dictate how far the Rangers go this year. Also look for minor league stars Mike Olt and Jurickson Profar to make the roster half way through the season.
The entire pitching staff seems to have something to prove, and until Colby Lewis comes back someone will have to prove worthy of the #5 starter. Yu Darvish will be the Ace, time will tell if he’s worth the title and money. Matt Harrison is coming off a great season, can he put back to back solid years together? Texas is also banking on Derek Holland having a bounce back season, and become the stud left hander that won a World Series game in 2011. Alexi Ogando is back in the rotation, and it seems he’s here to stay. The #5 spot in the rotation is up for grabs, and will be a huge storyline going into spring training.
These Rangers might be the most interesting team in baseball, they’ll either continue their success, and look to be ready to contend for years to come, or they’ll look like the big losers of the offseason looking to pick up the shattered pieces of a once top team.