And now there’s only one left.
Today is the final spring training game of 2022. Then, weirdly, two off days. Then, finally, Game 1 of 162 in Toronto.
Most of the roster is set. Most of the roster is always set before the first game of spring. If you recall, last season the Rangers opened in Kansas City. They scored five runs in the first inning and everything was looking promising.
Then, they immediately gave back those five runs in the bottom of the first, only to lose 14-10. Only to lose 101 more games and finish so far out of fourth place, they didn’t even bother sending out a search party.
But, this year will be different. Slowly but surely the Rangers have pruned the deadwood off the shrub.
Elvis Andrus and Rougned Odor departed last year. Soon after, Ronald Guzman, but he went and got injured before they finally tossed him in the kindling pile.
Isiah Kiner-Falefa is gone. Jose Trevino is gone. So are Joey Gallo and David Dahl. Does anyone remember David Dahl? Leody Taveras is out of the picture as well. In fact, looking at the Rangers opening day lineup last year, only one starter is returning. That would be Nathaniel Lowe at first. Kiner-Falefa led off. He is now a Yankee. David Dahl batted second. He is now in Milwaukee’s organization. Joey Gallo batted third. He, too, is in pinstripes. Nick Solak hit fourth and played second. He played his way out of the lineup. Lowe batted fifth. Brock Holt started at third and batted sixth. He just requested a release from Atlanta when he was informed he wasn’t making the big league club. Eli White started at DH. One requisit for the Designated Hitter job—in fact it’s in the job description—is to be able to hit. Eli White could not hit. Taveras started in center and batted eighth. He is the poster boy for a farm system that has harvested disappointment by the bushel full. Jose Trevino batted ninth and caught. He was well liked. But never really hit.
It was the worst offense in baseball in 2021. But no more.
The Rangers offense has gotten better everywhere. At third with Andy Ibañez, short with Corey Seager, second with Marcus Semien, behind the plate with Mitch Garver, and in right field with Kole Calhoun.
Assuming Brad Miller gets the start in left, that is a big improvement there over Dahl.
The Rangers still have a bit of work to do. Willie Calhoun is the last remaining hold over from the dark offensive years. But he gets a hall pass for the unfortunate injury he sustained in spring training last year when a fastball shattered his jaw. He will be running out of leash, and excuses, soon.
So, let’s officially turn the page on the futility that has been the last five years in Rangers Nation.
It’s the era of Seager and Semien.
Finally, offense again. Things are looking up.