All of a sudden the rivalry with the Los Angeles Angels might be a fair fight. With the Angels shockingly adding Albert Pujols along with the addition of C.J. Wilson they may finally be able to stay in contention for the West.
The moves by the Angels have allowed the Texas Rangers to be part of every major free agent rumor now including but not limited to Prince Fielder, Yu Darvish, Gio Gonzalez, and Matt Garza. How many of these rumors are knee jerk reactions and how many are serious are questions that are up for debate, but the reality is that the Rangers don’t need a big name to continue to compete.
Ron Washington’s offense as it is looking right now is formidable, with only minor concerns at first base and in centerfield; both of these positions covered through viable platoons. Adding Fielder at first would obviously make the offense deadly, but, in the wake of Pujols’ enormous contract, Fielder may be pricing himself out of the Rangers’ budget. Should they sign Fielder, however, Mitch Moreland could then be used either to acquire another starting pitcher or as part of a DH platoon.
The expected rotation of Derek Holland, Colby Lewis, Alexi Ogando, Matt Harrison, and Neftali Feliz is sound, though a touch on the young side. A veteran starting pitcher would help to provide stability for the young guys; joining with special assistant Greg Maddux in doing so. Yu, Gio or Garza may make less sense than someone like Joe Saunders or Hiroki Kuroda, whose pricetags figure to be considerably smaller in terms of money with Darvish, or prospects with any trade partner.
Looking to be deadly will be a bullpen that is already stacked with the addition of closer Joe Nathan. Should the Rangers add a starter, Ogando could easily return to a set-up role; only serving to shorten the game even more.
All is not lost with Pujols going to the Angels. Just prepare yourself for a season-long fight. Go Rangers!