After one of the oddest off seasons in recent memory, there are many questions surrounding the 2013 version of the Texas Rangers. I haven’t had a chance to spend any quality time with MLB Radio in the last month or two, so I was shocked when playing golf this weekend and the subject came around to baseball. I have friends who are Angel fans and one particular one was upset that his team wasn’t picked to win it all by one of the MLB Radio prognosticators. No I don’t expect us to be the chosen ones and as I wrote earlier, I think that is a blessing in disguise after just about everyone picked us last year not only to win the division but most, to win it all. It will be nice flying under the radar. But with several guys (according to my friend) picking the A’s to take the division, I think that is coming from the results of last season and not necessarily what propelled the Athletics to victory. They caught lightning in a bottle. The Rangers have been victimized by said lightning each of the last two seasons. But if you look at the Angels ability to hit the ball last year, there was a lot of good timing involved more than actual ability.
The biggest question facing this club and us as fans is what is the big picture goal of the front office right now? The insistence on not laying out long term cash for any free agents this year and bigger insistence in not moving Jurickson Profar and Elvis Andrus speaks to something bigger going on. But that’s the question. What? Do we think we can get a deal done for another front line pitcher or land Giancarlo Stanton or Carlos Gonzales.
Just compiling info as the guys arrive in Surprise and get busy this week, we see that Mike Olt says he’s ready to play right field. That’s good news since we don’t know if Nelson Cruz will miss a chunk of the season or not. We’re seemingly set in the infield except first base. We have someone to play there but can Mitch Moreland turn it up a notch or will we see the fragile Lance Berkman fill the spot most often. Outfield is where some of our biggest challenges are. Besides the Nelson question, can Murphy continue his step forward from last season? Will Ron Washington go to a platoon in center with Leonys Martin and Craig Gentry?
We appear to have a starting four for our rotation. But honestly it could just be three. Derek Holland took a giant step backwards last season and is not maturing the way he should. So we have Darvish, Harrison and Ogando locked and loaded. Can Holland lock down the fourth spot? Then for the fifth guy, will Perez or Grimm step up?
I said one of our biggest questions was outfield. The arguably biggest question is our bullpen. We have plenty of security (it appears) in the eighth and ninth innings. What about sixth (hopefully not often) and seventh? Losing Adams and the “good” Koji was probably second on the disappointment list after Hamilton.
It’s a scary and exciting time for Ranger fans. The one question I don’t want to even think about right now. Is it time to tap the brakes on expectations?