This was originally going to be an “Expectations” rather than an “Underdog” piece but then elbow soreness for Yu Darvish turned out to be oh so bad and oh so 2015 season missing.
With their uncontested ace now out of the picture, the Rangers season went from a sleeper bounceback candidate inspired by guys like Prince Fielder, Derek Holland, Shin-Soo Choo, Elvis Andrus, Neftali Feliz and more to one where the veterans on this ball club –particularly All-Star Adrian Beltre— will need to do something that is understandably probably difficult for a player that is just three and a half years removed from being #OneOutAway to embrace.
Photo Credit: Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports
I mean just look at those names above. Fielder, Choo, Andrus, Holland and Feliz all had trouble either staying healthy (Fielder/Choo/Holland), producing (Andrus) or bouncing back mentally (Nefty).
In an American League West that is without a defined powerhouse now that Oakland has taken a step back, the best team might be…Seattle? Safe to say, the division is wide open.
Now, without Darvish the odds that were already odd are stacked even higher against the Texas Rangers.
But for this team to do anything but finish in the lower half of the standings (can’t be as bad as last year, though!) in the AL West as well as the American League itself, they’re going to have to come to grips and also cherish the unfortunate but very, very real opportunity that lies ahead of them this year.
Like any properly built infrastructure, it starts with the most talented and most experienced players.
For the Texas Rangers, that is 35-year old 4-time All-Star Adrian Beltre.
Beltre’s first season with the Rangers was the #OneStrikeAway season and as fans we know there is hardly anyone as passionate about not just the game of baseball, but winning baseball’s ultimate prize, a World Series.
It may not be the role he had expected to be filling in year five of his lucrative six-year contract, especially with the horrid injuries of 2014 thought to be behind Texas, but alas it is the exact role we need our leader to embrace.
For if he can’t, it’s going to be another long season that could end with Beltre in another uniform.
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