The 2013 Texas Rangers roster looks quite a bit different than the 2012 version. We knew coming into the season that the offense would be different, and so far it's been a whole lot different, and worse.
Let's look at some guys who are no longer with us, what they're doing this season with their new teams and what their replacements are doing. A little Red Fever look at WAR (wins above replacement), if you will.
First, let's look at how the team currently stands. Heading into games on July 26, the Rangers are 56-46 and three games back of the first-place Oakland A's in the AL West while they are a half-game back of Baltimore for the second AL wild-card spot with just more than two months to play.
Heading into games on July 26, 2012, the Rangers were 58-39 and five games up on the A's in the West, but the A's had started their surge at that point, winning nine of 10 games. It was a cruel sign of things to come.
It's not fair to compare A.J. Pierzynski, who's been solid and very clutch this year, to Mike Napoli because Napoli's health will no longer allow him to catch. He's now played first base and DHing for the Boston Red Sox. So let's compare Napoli's numbers this season to the Rangers' everyday first baseman, Mitch Moreland.
Mitch Moreland: .250 batting average, .305 on-base percentage, .463 slugging percentage, 19 doubles, 14 HRs, 40 RBIs
Mike Napoli: .266/.349/.477, 26 doubles, 14 HRs, 63 RBIs
Verdict: Basically a wash. Napoli has more RBIs but has had more guys on base and plays in Fenway.
Let's move on to utility man. There's Michael Young, and there's Jurickson Profar. The Rangers traded Young to Philadelphia in the winter for Josh Lindblom to open up a possible spot for Profar to make the club.
Michael Young: .278/.342/.405, 18 doubles, 7 HRs, 31 RBIs
Jurickson Profar: .247/.321/.347, 6 doubles, 3 HRs, 11 RBIs*
*Keep in mind, Profar has only played in 45 games this year, nearly half of Young's total.
Verdict: Has to be Young, statistically speaking. Again, this is all hindsight, but having Young in this spot would be doing more for the offense than the young Profar has.
Now, on to the most controversial winter decision: The one to let Josh Hamilton walk off to a division rival and entrust the outfield to a bunch of unproven commodities and replace the bat with an aging, ailing veteran.
Josh Hamilton: .223/.278/.406, 19 doubles, 14 HRs, 42 RBIs
David Murphy: .224/.380/.379, 16 doubles, 11 HRs, 33 RBIs
Craig Gentry: .230/.324/.341, 7 doubles, 1 HR, 10 RBIs, 55 games
Leonys Martin: .275/.328/.409, 8 doubles, 5 HRs, 16 RBIs
Lance Berkman: .254/.355/.377, 10 doubles, 6 HRs, 34 RBIs^
^Currently on DL, rumored to be considering retirement
Verdict: This is a lot to digest, I realize that. But the main moral to the story here is that the Rangers totally made the right decision in letting Hamilton walk, especially for the five-year, $133 million deal the Angels gave him. He has the lowest batting average of the bunch, the lowest on-base percentage, and Leonys-freaking-Martin has a higher slugging percentage. That's insane to think about it, but it's totally true. Would Hamilton's numbers be better if he were still in the hitter-friendly confines of Rangers Ballpark? Quite possibly, but it's clear now that the Rangers made the right call on not giving the physically and mentally fragile slugger a big deal in the off-season.
What's all this mean? Who really knows? One thing is abundantly clear, the Rangers are better off without Hamilton. But they still need some help, as we all know now, if they want to make a run this year. Who would've thought the guy the Rangers might miss most would be Young, over Hamilton and Napoli? But it looks like that might be the case.
What do you think?