Even before the news came out this week that Ron Washington tested positive last season for cocaine, the expectations for him and the Ranger’s in 2010 were extremely high. During his three years at the helm of the Rangers, he has improved them every year, in his first season in 2007 they won 75 games. The next season in 2oo8 they won 79 games and in 2009 the improved to 87 victories claiming 2nd place in the A.L. West beating out the Mariners by 2 games.
So as every team in the west has improved, the Angels have not dropped off that much andthe Rangers had little money to spend this past off season, although the expectations for the team have increased. Nolan Ryan has been quoted as saying he expects 92 wins out of the 2010 roster. The Ranger’s do have a more of a complete 25 man roster than they did at the beginning of free agency in mid November.
Washington’s admission of cocaine use this previous season was somewhat of a surprise. I wonder where it happened, if the team was on the road or if they were home and he was partying with friends. I did not realize though that the coachs were tested for drug use, although that doesn’t come as a surprise considering how tough Major League Baseball has become on the percieveddrug problem. I understand why he came out and publicly stated that the test happened before the media released it and made the issue more of problem than it really was.
The next day when he admitted to drug use as a player came as somewhat of a shock for me considering people can forgive a coach who tried cocaine once, but it becomes an issue to them when they realize that a player used a drug. Most people look at drug use especially amphetamines and steroids as a form of cheating. Unfortunately the drug use as player happened many years ago, it will tarnish his legacy more than the slip up as a coach.
The Rangers upper management has stated that they appreciate his honesty, that his issues as a player where mistakes he made when he was young and that it should have no bearing on his life now. I do believe that once the time comes to either renew his contract or consider relieving him of his managerial duties, the drug use will be a huge factor. My hope is that the Rangers give him all of 2010 to prove what he is worth to the team.
In other news Derek Holland gave up three runs over four innings today against the Dodgers. Holland started Cactus League action late due to a sprained knee. Since it looks as C. J. Wilson and Matt Harrison are locks for the rotation, Holland is likely headed to the Oklahoma City rotation to remain stretched out as a starter in case of an injury at the big league level.