Texas Rangers 2010 Shopping List: Part 1 of 5

Matthew WhippsContributor IOctober 24, 2009

HOUSTON - AUGUST 26:  Former pitcher Nolan Ryan of the Houston Astros was on hand for a ceremony to retire former first baseman Jeff Bagwell of the Houston Astros jersey prior to the start of the MLB game against the Pittsburgh Pirates on August 26, 2007 at  Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

Sure, the 2009 season won’t officially wrap up until we crown a new world’s champion. But for the Rangers, it's time to start filling out a shopping list to get them to the postseason in 2010.

While the list isn’t as extensive as it's been in past seasons, there are some substantial pieces that this club needs to compete with the big dogs.

The problem for the 2010 Rangers won’t be lack of players available, but the financial flexibility to acquire them. The financial woes this club has endured recently are no secret. It won’t be any surprise when they don’t have large piles of cash to throw around.

Rangers’ president Nolan Ryan has already made it clear that the 2010 payroll will be staying right around the 2009 amount of $68 million. While this seems like a negative, look at some of the great things they were able to accomplish this season with a limited payroll:

  • Despite fading towards the end of the season, the Rangers were able to finish with an 87-75 record. They recorded eight more wins than in 2008, despite scoring 117 fewer runs. Of course, giving up 227 fewer runs may have helped.
  • Only a year after turning around the entire organization’s view on pitching, Ryan saw immediate results from his big league staff. They dramatically improved their ERA from 5.37 to 4.38, despite numerous injuries.
  • More fans came to watch the Rangers' improved play. 2,156,016 fans overall. This was an increase of more than 2,500 per game compared to 2008. This was a good sign as the club has seen a decrease over the past few seasons.

Those are pretty big steps they made in the rebuilding process. And they made them much faster than expected.

While there were big strides made, there are still some holes to fill. And $20 million comes off the books (in the form of Hank Blalock, Vicente Padilla and Frank Catalanotto) to fill them with.

So what sort of things are on this grocery list?

Over the next week in this five part series, I will be breaking down the three big items on the Rangers shopping list and the names that go along with them. I will also tackle the impact any acquisitions will have on the team.

After all, you can’t get too early a start crossing things off your list.