Spring Training is very fun to watch, but it always leaves me wanting real, meaningful baseball games. The good news is that real, meaningful baseball games for the Texas Rangers and all of baseball begin in just fourteen days. Yu Darvish will take the mound, Prince Fielder and Shin-soo Choo will take the field for the first time, and the journey of what the 2014 Texas Rangers will be will begin.
I know there are still some questions to be answered about the 2014 Texas Rangers. Questions like who will be the fourth and fifth starter? Who is going to make it on the bench? Who will the Texas Rangers closer be? I don’t have all the answers (I know you are all shocked), but what I do have is my opinion on what I have seen and what I think after talking to some Texas Rangers insiders.
I think at this point Alexi Ogando is going to be a starter come March 31st. I am not sure he will be the third starter, but he will be in the rotation in my opinion. I spoke with Jeff Wilson of the Star Telegram last night on the Ranger Report Podcast and he agreed.
“Right before the spring Jon Daniels had kind of said that it was an open case with Alexi, but then Matt Harrison got hurt, had that scare…so I think Ogando is going to be safe in the rotation, I know he has that 8.00 ERA but it’s a pretty small sample and he got lit up in his last start…but I didn’t think it was that bad because it all started when a blooper fell in that shouldn’t have fallen in and two batters later the Angels had scored five times…” Jeff Wilson on The Ranger Report Podcast
As far as the fourth and fifth starters go, Wilson said that he believes it will be Colby Lewis and Joe Saunders. I am not sure I totally agree with him on this point, My personal feeling it that Tommy Hanson will be in the mix as well as Tanner Scheppers. I do think that Scheppers and Robbie Ross will eventually wind up back in the Texas Rangers bull pen because I think that is were they are most needed, but they are both having a very good spring. So if you were to ask me today to describe the Texas Ranger rotation, I would tell you
1. Yu Darvish
2. Martin Perez
3. Alexi Ogando
4. Tommy Hanson
5. Joe Saunders
I don’t particularly like the spring that Saunders is having, but he has a proven track record and I believe that the Texas Rangers brought him in to be a starter on the big league club.
I still believe that Neftali Feliz is going to be the Texas Rangers closer going forward. Joakim Soria is having a great spring, but I still feel it is Nefti’s job to lose, and I don’t think he will lose it. He was an all-star closer, and I would not be surprised to see him return to that form in 2014. It should be a fun battle to watch going forward over the next two weeks though.
Lastly, who will be on the Texas Rangers bench. My gut tells me it will be Michael Choice, J.P. Arencibia, Adam Rosales and either Kevin Kouzmanoff or Engel Beltre. Not sure if the Rangers want to carry five outfielders or not, but Beltre is out of options so they would have to put him out there if they don’t want him on the big league club. I think at this point Choice is pretty much a lock, and Jeff Wilson said pretty much the same thing.
Fourteen days until the greatest day in sports every year. Fourteen days until meaningful baseball is played at Globe Life Park at Arlington! Fourteen days and all the speculation is over! In fourteen days, the Texas Rangers finally hear “Play Ball” for real!