FanHouse continues its 2009 MLB Preview with a look at the Texas Rangers.
Connecting you to your favorite North Texas sports teams as well as sports news around the globe.
Did I mention that this is the last year of your contract?
Washington, manager of the Texas Rangers, might find it hard to put up enough wins to convince team president Nolan Ryan to keep him around.
The Rangers did not re-sign Milton Bradley, who last year hit 22 homers and led the AL in on-base percentage and OPS. But they won't lack for pop: Josh Hamilton drove in 130 runs last season, second baseman Ian Kinsler batted .319 and first baseman Chris Davis has great potential (42 extra base-hits in 295 at-bats).
And things seem to have smoothed over in the Michael Young department. Young took umbrage when the team told him he was moving to shortstop (where he won an underserved Gold Glove) to third base to open a spot for rookie Elvis Andrus. But Young is saying all the right things now.
In: Andruw Jones, OF (free agency); Kris Benson, SP (free agency); Omar Vizquel, SS (free agency); Eddie Guardado, RP (free agency)
Out: Gerald Laird, C (trade); Milton Bradley, OF (free agency)
Is There Enough Pitching? ...
Scoring runs isn't a problem for the Rangers. Giving them up is. Only once in the past six seasons has a pitcher made 20 or more starts for Texas and had an ERA better than 4.00 -- Kenny Rogers in 2005. With three guys in their mid-20s in the back of the rotation, and 79 big-league starts between them, it doesn't look to get better this year.
Just Joshing ...
Josh Hamilton's season peaked with his jaw-dropping performance in the All-Star Game's home run derby. After that, he had just 35 RBI in 63 games (after driving in 95 in 93 games before the break). Now that he's a star and has a full season in the Texas heat under his belt, can he put together an even better full season?
Young at Heart ...
When Young volunteered to move to shortstop after the acquisition of Alfonso Soriano, he was a team player. But he bristled when asked to change positions again for a rookie. He asked for a trade and then withdrew the request, but if things go south for the team or its relationship with him, the issue could come up again.
Elvis Rocks ...
On a related note, will Andrus play well enough to make the Rangers look smart? Acquired from Altalnta in the 2007 Mark Teixeira deal, Andrus last year had a .350 on-base percentage with 54 stelas at Double-A, and his defense is considered excellent (unlike Young's).
Why You Should Watch: Because you like offense. The Rangers last year led the AL with 901 runs scored, and even without Bradley they will have a strong attack.
What Defines Success: Contending. The Rangers have finished over .500 once since 1999. The Angels and Athletics seem to be the class of the AL West, and Texas' pitching will have to surprise to keep up with those two.