Saturday, January 08, 2011

Review of the Texas Rangers and 7 questions

The Counselor is IN:

The Texas Rangers were one of the biggest surprises of the 2010 season.  Their young pitchers stepped up and pitched well even in the Heat of an August in Dallas.  The youth of the Ranger's offense made considerable advances and scored points in bunches. Midway through the season, Texas acquired Ace Cliff Lee.  Lee did not  pitch that well during the season but stepped it up in the post season and helped lead the Rangers to their first World Series appearance.  

The Rangers targeted three key pitchers during the off season.  Their top priority was to re-sign Cliff Lee.  They lost out on the Lee sweepstakes to the Phillies.  They were attempting to trade for Cy Younger winner Zack Greinke but lost out to Milwaukee.  Tampa Bay's Matt Garza was the third option but the Rangers were rejected by the Rays when they traded Garza to the Cubs.  The Rangers did sign 3 time All Star and Cy Young winner Brandon Webb but Webb is recovering from surgery and has not pitched since April of 2009.

The Rangers did make a big splash in free agency by signing 3rd Baseman Adrian Beltre.  Beltre is a power hitter who will add some needed power to the Rangers order. He should add some protection behind Josh Hamilton. This will move Perennial All Star Michael Young to 1st Base.

Questions about the 2011 Texas Rangers

1) Can Brandon Webb return to his former self?  He has 3.27 career ERA but he is now 31 years old. He could be the steal of free agency if he comes close to his past numbers.  

2)  Can the Rangers pitching staff achieve at the same level as last season? At this time, a rotation of Wilson, Lewis, Hunter, Webb, and Feldman does not scare many teams.  They will need to be a smart pitching staff like they were last year to have the same level of success.

3) Will Michael Young adjust to 1st Base?  He adjusted well when he moved from Second to Short and then Short to Third including All Star Seasons for all three positions.  He will not be a power hitting 1st Baseman but the Rangers do not have a power hitting 1st baseman.

4) Will Beltre be able to add protection for Hamilton?  Beltre is now 31 years old. He had a great season last year with Boston with 28 homers and a batting average of .321.  I don't see a reason why should should not continue to hit for decent average and power but probably not those numbers.

5) Can the Rangers hold off the other A.L. West teams? Last year the Angels severely under achieved. The Rangers did improve from the season before but would not have won the division if the Angels would have performed up to expectations.  The Rangers will need to continue to improve and mature as a team if they want to win their division again and make the playoffs.

6)  Will the Rangers continue to pursue an #1 starter? After missing out on their top 3 targets, I think they will start the season with their current pitching staff.  If they are playing well in late June and early July, I look for the Rangers to make a trade for a #1 guy like they did last year.  

7) Can the Rangers win the World Series this year?  Yes they can. They will need their team to come together like last season.  The Rangers have a lot of potential but they also have potential for a disappointing season after their success last year.

 The Counselor is OUT:

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