Since the Rangers failed to land really any of their off-season targets, there are several questions facing the team heading into spring training and the 2013 season.
Today's Question: How will the Rangers replace the lost power in the lineup?
There is no question the Texas Rangers' lineup is going to look a little bit different in 2013. Sure, Michael Young is gone. OK. So is Mike Napoli, one of the most beloved, yet overhyped, players in Rangers' recent history after his off-the-charts 2011. Oh, and there's that Josh Hamilton guy, who put up MVP numbers last season but left on a very sour note.
Hamilton and Napoli, alone, combined for 67 home runs and 184 RBIs. That's a lot of production to replace, most especially Hamilton.
So who are the candidates to help pick up some of that slack? Well, first of all, the Rangers' offense is likely to change a bit, relying more on speed and baserunning, assuming guys like Ian Kinsler can re-discover their game and get on base at a better rate than they did in 2012.
But even still, Lance Berkman is slotted to hit third in the Rangers' lineup, replacing Hamilton in front of MVP-caliber clean-up hitter Adrian Beltre. Berkman played in just 32 games because of injury in 2012 for the St. Louis Cardinals, but he was an MVP-caliber player in 2011 and probably still gives Rangers fans nightmares after his performance in the 2011 postseason.
Berkman hit .301 with 31 home runs and fell just shy of 100 RBIs that season, and the Rangers hope he can do something similar to that if he is indeed healthy now. Also, new catcher acquisition A.J. Pierzynski hit a career-high 27 bombs last season for the Chicago White Sox, but you can't expect him to do that again in 2013.
So yeah, the Rangers' offense is going to have to change if the club is going to be successful because there's no longer a universally feared hitter smack-dab in the heart of the Rangers' order. But look at the San Francisco Giants. If that lineup can win, the Rangers' definitely can.