There were a few injuries that doomed the Texas Rangers before Prince Fielder hit the shelf and required cervical fusion surgery and was put on the disabled list for the remainder of the season back in May.
But it was Fielder's injury that kind of signaled the beginning of the end to the Rangers' 2014 season before it really had a chance to get going.
True, Fielder was underperforming in his first month and a half in a Rangers uniform, not at all living up to the expectations when the Rangers acquired him for Ian Kinsler to provide some much-needed pop in the heart of their lineup. In his 42 games this season, Fielder hit just .247 with three homers and 16 RBIs — hardly numbers becoming of a feared power hitter who had a career-worst year with Detroit in 2013 but still managed 25 homers and 106 RBIs.
He's going to be the reason the Rangers disappoint again in 2015 or bounce back and become pennant contenders again, and Fielder's recent presence in the Rangers' dugout this week has been promising to see, even if he's not on the field playing.
Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said on Tuesday that Fielder has begun swinging a bat and said if the calendar had worked out a little differently, and if the Rangers had something to play for right now, he might be on the field.
That's nothing but encouraging.
But we'll have to wait until April to see Fielder in a meaningful game again, and while we're waiting we're just going to have keep our fingers crossed he can get back to his old, home run-hitting self.