What the Rangers Don’t Need
By Ben Dieter
Feb 26, 2013; Surprise, AZ, USA; Fans of Texas Rangers starting pitcher Yu Darvish (not pictured) practice choreographed cheers near the bullpen as he warms up on the field before the start of a game against the Chicago White Sox at Surprise Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
During this Hot Stove season and with the Winter Meeting starting next week, I thought it would be fun to take a look at the opposite of what every Rangers writer in the world is looking at right now. You can go anywhere and read ad nauseum what the Texas Rangers need to do and what the Rangers need this off-season, but where else besides NolanWritin can you go to find out what the Texas Rangers DON’T need? Nowhere.
The world is focused on left field, catcher, fifth spot in the rotation, and designated hitter for your Texas Rangers, but that is not what this article is going to be about. Here is an extensive (okay, there are only so many positions so give me a break on the extensive thing) list of things that the Rangers don’t really need in 2014.
First Baseman. Come on, when you have a guy who is named after the son of a King who also is a power hitting left-hander, you are probably okay at said position. Prince Fielder fills a roll that the Rangers have been lacking on since the departure of Mark Teixeira. As we all know, the Rangers have used Mitch Moreland (whom they still have on the roster) there the last few seasons, and although he is not bad, it’s really good to have Prince. Plus, Tampa Bay may be interested in Moreland’s services, so it appears that they have two major league first baseman. So the Rangers are set there.
Second Base. You know that you are set at a position when you get rid of an All-Start at that position. Ian Kinsler has been holding down that spot ever since Michael Young took over the shortstop position many moons ago. Kinsler has been great, but the guy taking his place, one Jurickson Profar has the chance to be something very special. He is a plus defensive player, and studies show that he has figured it out at every level he has played at professionally so far. He can hit for power (remember his first ever at bat for the Rangers was a home run) and he has some speed. The Rangers also have a few other infielders in the minors, but I digress. Second is good.
Short Stop. Elvis Andrus has been holding down the shortstop spot ever since he took it over from, well, Michael Young. Elvis lacks power but he is a plus defender and has a ton of speed. Elvis is still very young and has a lot of playing left to do, if the Rangers play their cards right they can have a very long stretch of two premier shortstops playing side by side (Profar’s natural position is shortstop) for a very long time. Elvis has that spot secured for sure.
Third Base. Adrian Beltre has been the Texas Rangers third baseman now since, well, you guessed it, he took over the position from Michael Young. I’m starting to notice a pattern of great players that follow Michael Young at a position. We should have kept Michael Young and played him in every position so a great player could replace him. But once again, I digress. Adrian is one of the best third baseman in baseball still, even though he is getting older. He was the Rangers player of the year for the second season in a row. Adrian doesn’t have a lot of years left to be a premier third baseman, but for now he holds it down nicely.
Right Field. This one is only for one more season, so it was on the verge of being off my list, but I think Alex Rios is a pretty good guy to hold down that right field spot. I know technically, the Rangers need another outfielder, but not a right fielder so I am leaving it. The Rangers worked some sort of voodoo magic to get Rios last season after the trade deadline, and he’s very fast especially for his size. I feel like he is going to be a very good and very popular player for the Rangers in 2014.
Center Field. Even though out center fielder is apparently mixed up in a federal investigation where he was kidnapped and held for ransom, Leonys Martin was still very good for the Texas Rangers in 2013 and I expect him to be great in 2014. In fact, I look for him to be a very sucessful lead off hitter this up coming season. Leonys has the chance to be a great player, and I for one am looking forward to seeing what he will turn into this next season.
Starters One through Three. I feel really good about Yu Darvish, Derek Holland and Martin Perez. I want to believe that Matt Harrison will be healthy and ready to go, and I want to believe that Colby Lewis will have an impact, but the jury is still out on them. So I am leaving it at starters one through three. Feel free to tell me why I am wrong in the comments below.
The Pen. With names like Robbie Ross, Tanner Scheppers, Neftali Feliz, Jokaim Soria, and Jason Frasor how can you not be confident about the bull pen going forward. The pen may have tried a little at the end of 2013, but it was still one of the best in baseball. I feel great about this pen going into 2014, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Rangers did something to add more competition before it is all said and done, but that is not what we are talking about today.
Lastly and most kiss-up-ed-ly, Rangers fans. The Texas Rangers have had a lot of loyal fans over many years, and they have picked up many new fans since 2010. Some people dismiss what they call “fair weather fans”, but not us here at NolanWritin. We encourage you all to keep loving the team that some of us have loved for most of our lives. And for all you longtimers, well we like you too. there is nothing like the atmosphere at Rangers ballpark at Arlington during a Rangers game, and I for one love the energy that all of us bring week by week. Keep it up Rangers fans!
*Notable Omission – I feel like the Rangers are not done at the catching position, even though they missed out on Brian McCann and have named Geovany Soto as their starter. I believe that Soto will be the starter, but I think their work is not done there so I left it off my list. Feel free to comment away and thanks as always for reading.