The more I think about the Texas Rangers acquisition of first baseman Prince Fielder the more I am liking the move. Is he overpaid? Yes. Is almost every big name athlete overpaid? Yes but that is a different argument for a different time. In thinking about the Rangers new first baseman, I started to wonder if he can be a game changer while he is here in Arlington.
I see a game changer as someone that can, well, change a game anytime they come to the plate or mound. Some examples in my mind of former Texas Rangers game changers would include but are not limited to:
Nolan Ryan – every time he came to the mound you knew the Rangers had a great chance to win and you knew the defense would be bored because Nolan was fixing to strike a lot of batters out. Nolan was a game changer.
Ivan Rodriguez – Pudge was a game changer both at the plate and behind the plate. Players were hesitant to run on Pudge because he had such a powerful arm. He was pretty good at the plate as well, but he really was a game changer behind the plate.
Josh Hamilton – I know that we all despise him now (and for the record, I don’t despise him), but the Rangers don’t get to back to back World Series without the bat of Josh Hamilton. There were times during the 2010 through the 2012 seasons where DFW would collectively drop what they were doing just to watch a Hamilton at bat. He was that good and he did change the course of many Texas Rangers games during his time here.
Yu Darvish – I see Darvish as a game changer the same way I see Nolan. He is almost always going to give you a good chance to win and he is going to strike a ton of people out. He seems to be getting better with MLB experience as well. He will continue to be a game changer as well in my opinion.
There are many, many more Texas Rangers game changers, and I have just sited a very few examples (if you want to leave a comment for your favorite Texas Rangers game changers I would enjoy reading them), but that is the kind of player I am hoping that Prince Fielder turns out to be for the Rangers. The type of player we all stop whatever we are doing to watch a Fielder at bat, the kind of player we know can change a game at any moment because he consistently does it. If he becomes that kind of player with the pitching staff the rangers have as well as the other bats around him (such as Adrian Beltre and Alex Rios), then this could turn out to be a very special year indeed for the Texas Rangers. I know it is only December, but is it baseball season yet?