Friday, March 2, 2012

Offseason Review: Texas Rangers

A New Hope
The Rangers are still going to be really good, but for the first time in 3 seasons, their hold on the division is in question. What's weird about that is that I think they are actually a better team than either of the past two years, but with the Angels sudden incorporation of acquired talent, Texas is going to have to step it up.

The brilliantly acquired future free agency tester Mike Napoli
The Texas Rangers are in a pretty interesting bind. After two years of domination over the AL West, they have relevent competition again. It's difficult to assess the effectiveness of the moves the Rangers front office has made because they involve gradients of untested talent. The Rangers invested a ton of money in to Yu Darvish, spending over $100MM combined between his contract and posting fee. While Darvish appears to be adjusting comfortably, it's worth mentioning that their are huge differences between Darvish's experience in Japan and how baseball is played here. The level of competition, the weather, even the size of the ball are all going to be things that will have to be adjusted to for Yu if he is going to succeed at a comparable level here. Also on the experimental tip, proven closer Neftali Feliz is being replaced by the aging Joe Nathan
Josh Hamilton's trouble makin' ass
Josh Hamilton and Mike Napoli, two major outlets of power in the Rangers lineup, are set to hit free agency at the end of this season. Texas had made whispers about an interest in Prince Fielder, but with their MVP outfielder poised to hit the open market, money became an issue. The blame for inaction was put on the front office's split mentality on who would be the better investment. Fielder signed with Detroit, and then, in what had to be a moment of humbling elucidation, Josh Hamilton relapsed.  It can't be overstated that Hamilton relapsing isn't funny. Any occurrence of an addict falling back on old habits is tragic. That being said, it's hard to feel bad for a dude who handles this shitty situation by telling reporters in a press conference that he's not going to give the team a discount because he doesn't owe them anything. Actually you do, you just relapsed in to a habit that isn't only harmful to your career, but your life. The Rangers resurrected Hamilton's career and assigned him accountability partners to help aid his struggle. I'd feel pretty set to watch this dude walk if I were Texas.
Shortstop Elvis Andrus just smilin' his little heart out.
On the plus side,  in a very un-Oakland Athletic's move, Nelson Cruz, Elvis Andrus and manager Ron Washington were all signed to sensible/deserved contract extensions. If I were a fan I'd be excited, if not a little nervous, for this season. If I had to guess, the Rangers eek out another division title and probably re-sign Mike Napoli if he is even close to his 2011 self.

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