The Rangers' offseason has pretty much been universally labeled as a big whiff. Some have even gone as far as saying it is the worst in franchise history—although that is still debatable.
What is certain is that all the big-name free agents have been snatched up by other teams, leaving the front office with a lot of blank checks.
Basically, there is a lot of subtraction and little addition to the roster that won 90-plus games these last three seasons.
In terms of their pitching, the Rangers’ rotation has a chance to be better than most people might expect. They have three All-Stars in Alexi Ogando, Matt Harrison and Yu Darvish, plus Neftali Feliz and Colby Lewis returning from injury, and the ever-unpredictable Derek Holland. This group is at least good enough to keep the team in ballgames.
The bullpen could be solid as well with Joe Nathan anchoring the ninth inning. A lot depends on Joakim Soria’s health.
That brings us to the lineup, where the Rangers are usually very dependable to field a championship-caliber offense. That was until major run producers like Josh Hamilton, Michael Young and Mike Napoli all found different homes in 2013, leaving a big hole to fill.
Again, this is a problem Texas hasn’t addressed much to this point in the offseason.
So far their biggest catch is A.J. Pierzynski, who signed a small, one-year contract. He is an upgrade at catcher, but the 35-year-old is not the impact player fans were hoping to see.
It definitely appears like a number of clubs in the American League have made significant contributions to their championship aspirations in 2013, which only adds to the frustration with the Rangers offseason.
This undoubtedly has left many fans wondering if the Rangers’ failure to add an impact bat thus far has dashed the team’s World Series hopes next year.
It might seem that way right now, but there is way too much time before the next Fall Classic to draw that conclusion.
The offseason in professional baseball is unlike many others in sports. It’s long and drawn out, making it feel like a second season.
Outrageous contracts are handed out left and right to high-profile free agents, and the teams they sign with are usually crowned “World Series favorites.”
It’s funny how quickly some people forget that trophies aren’t given out in December.
It’s a great time to improve, and there’s no question the teams who signed Zack Greinke and Josh Hamilton are better with them than without.
However, the parity in baseball these days makes it too difficult to declare a season DOA before it even starts.
The Rangers aren’t letting their best hitters skip town and replacing them with guys off the street or an over-the-hill veteran playing on his last leg. They are plugging in blue-chip prospects that a lot of teams would love to have on their roster.
Let’s not forget about the remaining players, either. Adrian Beltre, Elvis Andrus and David Murphy are all coming off excellent seasons. If Ian Kinsler and Nelson Cruz return to form, there are still the makings of a top-10 offensive team.
Another bat would help, but there are other times to add one besides December and January.
The door is still open. The Rangers have the first three months of the season to see how their reconstructed lineup works. After that, if help is needed, there are more than enough resources in the farm system to make that happen.