As we pack away our winter gear, or in Texas, our light-weight jackets, baseball season is approaching fast.
Let’s face it, the Texas Rangers have had a pretty lackluster offseason. They lost their bidding war with Zack Greinke, they “missed” out on Josh Hamilton. They couldn’t get anything done to pick up Justin Upton from Arizona. But it’s okay.
There are things to be proud of this offseason. For instance, Jon Daniels and Nolan Ryan didn’t throw a lot of money at the injury-plagued Hamilton, just because he was a crowd favorite.
They didn’t offer a 6th year to Greinke, who will start the season with a minor elbow issue.
Daniels and company didn’t sell the farm to try and lure away Upton.
I know what you’re thinking, “So now what do we do?”
We watch the Rangers play baseball. Pure old-fashioned baseball.
The Rangers open the season without Hamilton, Mike Napoli and Kenji Uehara. For the first time since 2001, they will open the season without Mr. Ranger Michael Young.
The young crop may be unproven, but they can play baseball. Elvis Andrus is still here, Ian Kinsler is still here. David Murphy will be able to start, and Nelson Cruz is still crushing the ball.
You will be able to see the Rangers steal bases, and run the bases well as usual, disregard Kinsler’s propensity to be picked off.
They will focus on small ball. Without Hamilton and Napoli, who provides the power, Craig Gentry?
I think not.
We might feel as if we are watching the Oakland A’s out there sometimes, with a bunch of people we haven’t heard of before, but just a reminder, the Oakland A’s won the AL West last season, just saying.
Surprisingly, based on the old Rangers adage, the Rangers will have a strong pitching staff, maybe stronger than their lineup.
I know the rotation is still in need of a fifth starter, but they have a solid top-four.
Yu Darvish is an ace. Matt Harrison may look like sloth from the movie, “The Goonies,” but he can pitch now.
Derek Holland may need a few more love taps from Ron Washington, but somewhere inside him is the version of Holland who showed up in the 2011 World Series.
Alexi Ogando still surprises me every time someone doesn’t hit his fastball straight down the middle, but hey, it works.
And the fifth starter can be a platoon job until Colby “Cobra” Lewis returns to form.
At the end of the day, the Rangers will contend, and they will be a lot of fun to watch as usual.
Now if only we could figure out what Nolan Ryan is going to do…
Starting Thursday, I will break down the Rangers position by position heading into the 2013 season. Stay tuned for more.
BY MATT JOHNSON l SPORTDFW.COM
Follow me on Twitter: @MRJThunder