Both championship series are well under way and several of the teams currently playing have at least one ex-Ranger playing on their team. For example, the Boston Red Sox have 4 recent ex-Rangers which include Koji Uehara, Mike Napoli, Ryan Dempster and Jarrod Saltamacchia. The Los Angeles Dodgers have a fan favorite Michael Young. Young was in the topic of trade talks this year at least between the Rangers and the New York Yankees, but ultimately was traded from the Philadelphia Phillies to the Dodgers on August 31st. Also, another notable and impact player this postseason has been the Detroit Tigers Joaquin Benoit. Overall, many fans would love to see a World Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Boston Red Sox. This would give Rangers fans a chance to see their favorite ex-Rangers play and possibly win a World Series ring.
Below are listed the recent ex-Rangers currently playing in the postseason
Last year, Ryan Dempster was acquired by the Texas Rangers from the Cubs just before the July 31st trade deadline in 2012. Dempster was a good addition to the team to help fill the void that was left when Neftali Feliz and Colby Lewis were out for the season. Also, the experiment that was Roy Oswalt wasn’t working in Texas. Dempster didn’t have the best stats of his career in Texas but he did manage to go 7-3 for the Rangers during his stay. For the Red Sox this year, he has had the same mixed results with a 4.57 ERA, 157 strikeouts and 79 walks over 171.1 innings. For the postseason, he has been placed in the bullpen and has appeared in one ALDS game against the Tampa Bay Rays when the Sox were leading 12-2. Overall, Dempster wasn’t much of a fan favorite in Texas, and really hasn’t been one in Boston. But, if the Sox win it all, he’ll be another ex-Ranger that moved on and has a World Series ring.
5. Koji Uehara
Koji Uehara, another excellent relief pitcher who just last year played for the Rangers. Acquired from the Baltimore Orioles on July 30, 2011 for Chris Davis and Tommy Hunter, Uehara became a solid relief pitcher for the Rangers during his short stay with the Rangers. Uehara had a 2.50 ERA, recorded 66 strikeouts and allowed 4 walks over 54 innings in 2012 for the Rangers. The mid relief man helped keep the Rangers in the hunt during the second half of the season by having a ERA of 1.23. He was released as a free agent and was pick up by the Red Sox on December 18, 2012. Koji Uehara has been stellar for the Sox this year as their closer. He finished the regular season with 21 saves. At one point in the second half of the season, Uehara retired 37 batters that spanned from August 17 until September 17. He was just 4 shy from the record by Bobby Jenks. Through the postseason, Uehara has continued his success as the Red Sox elite closer. Even though he had a short stint as a Rangers, the time spent there will be remembered. With Joe Nathan looking to be gone now, Ranger fans would love to have Uehara as the closer. His time in Texas may have been too brief for Rangers fans to know and to appreciate what he brings to the mound. Bostonians may be seeing him lead their team to a World Series.
Saltalamacchia came to the Rangers on July 31, 2007 from the Braves. It might be one of the best trades John Daniels has had as the GM for the Rangers. Along with Salty were Elvis Andrus, Neftali Feliz and Matt Harrison. The Rangers gave up Mark Teixeira and Ron Mahay for the group. Salty caught for the Rangers until the midway through the 2011 season when he was traded to the Red Sox for some minor league players. He time with the Rangers ended on a strange note. In 2010, Salty started to develop some throwing issues that caused him not to be able to throw to the pitcher’s mound. At one point in 2010, he began to see a psychologist to help him get over the yips. The Rangers sent him down to work on it and really never felt comfortable with him back in the majors. With the Red Sox, Salty regained his confidence and now in 2013 has become the number one catcher. For the regular season he batted .273, which is the best he has done since 2007. He has further proved his worth this postseason by battling the Tigers’ Rick Porcello for a single which drove in Jonny Gomes for the walk-off win to even the ALCS at 1-1. Salty may not have been a fan favorite, and might barely be remembered as a Ranger, but if he continues to shine in Boston, many Rangers fans would love to have him back.
3. Mike Napoli
The Ballpark in Arlington hasn’t been the same this year with the absence of the cheers for Napoli. Napoli was only in Texas for 2 years, and proved to be an excellent acquisition from the Los Angeles Angels. Napoli came in to replace Saltalamacchia for the 2011 season and almost instantly became a fan favorite. With his beard and ability to crush the ball against the Angels, what Rangers fan wouldn’t? Napoli batted .357 against the Angels in 2011 and .442 in 2012. Napoli unfortunately spent a lot of time on the disabled list and apparently had hip issues that scared off the Rangers from resigning the bearded Angels killer in 2013. The Sox took a chance on him for a 1 year heavily incentive based deal and moved him to first base. While staying mostly healthy, Napoli has batted better this year than in 2012, but only comes in at a .259 batting average for the season. Also, Napoli is now the owner of the most strikeouts for a Red Sox at 182. But, even though his numbers are down for the year, he is part of the Red Sox bearded clam. Many Rangers fans will love him and he is another ex-Rangers that people would love to see get a ring.
Joaquin Benoit is one mean looking pitcher. With the solid poise and serious face, batters who face him are always expecting the nastiest stuff a pitcher can deliver. Benoit is another example of the Texas Rangers discovering talent at a young age. Drafted by the Rangers in 1996 at the age of 18 Benoit spent several years in the minors before making his Rangers debut on August 8, 2001. Benoit remained a Ranger until 2009 where he went to the Tampa Bay Rays for a bit, then to the Detroit Tigers. Over his 8 year stay, Benoit finished with an ERA of 4.79, a record of 30-26 and 538 strikeouts over 591.1 innings of work. So far for the Tigers, Benoit has been able to up his game. For the 2013 season, Benoit had a 2.01 ERA, recorded 73 strikeouts, and 24 saves over 67 innings. In the postseason for the Tigers, Benoit has recorded 3 saves, 8 strikeouts and only allowed 1 walk over 4.2 innings of work. Benoit has been excellent and will continue to the Red Sox trouble during the remainder of the ALCS. And possibly whoever he may face in the World Series if the Tigers manage to advance. Benoit is in the same group as Michael Young, he’s a long time Rangers, with a new team, who deserves to win a ring.
After the 2012 season, what some call the face of the franchise was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies. Many fans in Texas were upset when Young was traded away. Also several people claim the lack of his leadership in the clubhouse was the reason the Rangers had issues down the stretch. Part of the reason Young was considered the face of the franchise is because of his long tenure with the Rangers. Young debuted with the Rangers on September 29, 2000. He remained with the club for a total of 12 years, 2 months, and 11 days for a total of 1,840 games. Young won the Gold Glove in 2008 and appeared in 7 All-Star games. Young also owns several Rangers records such as most hits (2,230). Although, Young has been persistent with the Rangers over the years, he did start to decline in 2012. In 2013 with the Phillies he continued that trend, but has managed to do a little better with the Dodgers on his limited playing time. He batted .314 over 51 at bats for the Dodgers. For 2013 postseason, he has had limited playing time and from what Young has said, this will probably be his last year. Many would love to see the Dodgers go all the way and see Young capture that much deserved ring. If the Dodgers do win it all, Young will be able to show Skip Schumaker who gave Young a bit of taunting about who won the 2011 World Series.
With both the American and National League series looking like they may go to a game 6 or 7, there is still plenty of excitement and chances to watch ex-Rangers favorites. So, even though the Rangers are out of the playoffs, we can still watch the playoffs and cheer them on to win a World Series ring.