Due to the pending ownership change, the Rangers are looking at the 2010 season with great optimism. It has already be quoted by Nolan Ryan that he expects no less than 92 wins this upcoming season. In 2009 the Rangers finished in second place in the American League West with 87 wins. Unfortunately this was not good enough to gain the American Leauge Wild Card and it was another dark October.
Since the Rangers moved to Texas in 1972 from Washington D.C. where they were known as the Senators they have only won one playoff game, which came in 1996. That is not one playoff series, but yes one game won against the Yankees. The Yankees went on to win the first of their four World Series Championships in five years after beating the Rangers in the American League Division Series. That was the first year that the Rangers won their division. They then went on to win their division in 98 and 99 before being beat by the Yankees both times. So out of the four championships the Yankees have won during the late 90’s, they beat the Rangers in the first round three out of the four times.
Since 1999 and before last season the best the Rangers have done was 3rd place in the A.L. West with 89 wins. So why now, with a limited payroll, and a 13 game winner traded away do the Rangers expect Washington to lead them to 92 wins and a playoff berth? The Rangers had a payroll last season at 73 million, the Angels whom won the A.L. West title had a payroll of around 118 million. The Angels have been weakened each of the last two off seasons with the loss of several key players, although they are still a strong team. Every other team in the A.L. West other than the Angels have an improved roster for 2010 compared to their 2009 roster. So in a sense with a limited payroll and slew of young players on the roster do the Rangers front office really expect 90+ wins out of Washington and the 25 man roster.
In some regards the Rangers have put Washington on the hot seat for 2010. If Tom Hicks were to still be the owner come the end of the season, it would be almost guaranteed that Washington would be in the dugout. Hicks does not have the financial ability to fire a manger in mid-season and be responsible for his contract and the money which would have to be given to his replacement. Unfortunately for Washington, Tom Hicks should not be the owner for very much longer. Chuck Greenberg who is leading the group to purchase the Rangers has said that he is going to put money into the organization. So if the Rangers begin to falter, it is very likely that they will replace Washington.
Since Washington came to the Rangers after serving as the hitting coach for the Oakland Athletics he has helped the team improve. He has been at the helm for three seasons and after showing a 75-87 record in 2007, the Rangers have won on average 5.5 games each of the last two seasons on the preceding season. This might be where Ryan is getting the number of 92 wins for the upcoming season. No matter how the Rangers finish 2010, Washington deserves great respect for what he has done for the Rangers over the last three seasons, and he should be managing the Rangers in 2011 or another team who is lucky enough to have his services.