ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 13: Manager Ron Washington #38 of the Texas Rangers looks on as the Texas Rangers take on the Houston Astros at Globe Life Park in Arlington on April 13, 2014 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
You have every right to believe the Texas Rangers' chances of competing in 2014 are over and done with. In fact, you really wouldn't be able to blame the organization if they decide to throw in the towel for the final four months of the season, or as hard as it would be to swallow, even for becoming sellers and trading guys like Adrian Beltre.
But just hold on a second.
What if the Rangers could still make some noise in a seemingly wide-open American League? What if they could compete for a playoff spot in these final four months? It's not completely out of the questions. Here's why.
Where should we begin? Derek Holland? He'll be back within the next month, most likely. It's hard to say he'll immediately be what he was pre-dog trip, but he'll be huge for depth in the rotation as well as a confidence-boost. Another starting pitcher on the way back? Joe Saunders. Nick Martinez has been incredibly solid in his surprising big-league stint, and Nick Tepesch was stellar at Triple-A before his Rangers debut this year, and so far has a quality start and another one that was two outs short of one.
Robbie Ross and Tanner Scheppers will be in the bullpen, and after a rough start, the bullpen has become more stable in recent weeks. Ross and Scheppers will add even more stability to the bunch, and Joakim Soria has been fantastic as the closer, despite a low number of chances recently.
Of course, the big issue is with the offense, and you have to just hope guys can start performing better. Adrian Beltre is starting to get hot after a slow start. Mitch Moreland will look to turn everyday at-bats and no longer being a full-time DH into a more consistent year at the plate, and the return of Geovany Soto could add a boost offensively. If the Rangers end up pursuing free agent DH Kendrys Morales, that would be a big bonus and more than likely give them more than what Prince Fielder was before his injury.
The Oakland A's have all but run away with the AL West already, and they've proven to be the cream of the crop in not only the West but the entire American League, but other than them and Detroit, the AL is a jumbled mess. Texas is one game under .500 more than a quarter through the season despite having nearly 20 players hit the DL. That's an accomplishment in itself.
In fact, the AL has just two teams (other than Oakland and Detroit) who are at least four games over .500, meaning one of those two AL Wild Card spots is completely up for grabs. The Rangers are actually just 1 1/2 games out of a Wild Card spot right now, which again, considering everything is quite remarkable.
So yeah, the chances of this year's squad doing anything in September and October isn't great, but it's not out of the question either.