All things considered, here is the biggest takeaway: Everything is going to be all right. It’s a general assessment, but it seems appropriate.
Despite a whirlwind offseason that included a shake-up of the roster and a bit of drama in the front office, the Rangers can now look up and see that the sky didn’t fall.
There are still some concerns, sure, but how many teams honestly enter the season in a perfect groove?
This is a team that can still compete—that’s where the sigh of relief should arrive. Yu Darvish has had a great spring, and he is one of three recent All-Stars in the rotation. The lineup is also filled with dependable veterans. David Murphy and Elvis Andrus are just a couple who've had excellent springs. The Rangers also have more than enough depth in the farm system to keep the train rolling.
The best part is they didn’t have to spend almost $450 million the last couple offseasons to reach this point.
Are the Rangers the best team in their division? It doesn’t look that way now, but give it time. At least the target isn’t square on their back this year the way it was the last three, a luxury their friends in the AL West won’t share.
With Josh Hamilton now on the books, it’s either championship or failure for Los Angeles. As for the Oakland Athletics, they won’t sneak up on anyone this year the way they did in 2012.
As long as the Rangers stay competitive, that’s what is important this season. Who knows what can happen in the course of a 162-game season? All it takes is one month of superb play to vault a team into contention, or one month of poor play to doom one—something they learned the hard way last year.
Jon Daniels and company are smart enough to prioritize the future without totally sacrificing the present. The “experts” can make their trendy picks, but it’s a long way ‘til October.