You know how bands sometime decide they are going to release songs from the archive they recorded a long time ago but for some reason never included on any album but when you hear them you think one of two things, that either that song was a forgotten gem that you are happy they unearthed and you can’t believe they never released it, or that the song was a clunker and there was good reason to have not previously released it and it should have never seen the light of day and you wonder what made them think they should release that dud now?
Well, I wrote this article a few days before opening day and for some reason I didn’t publish it. I just discovered it in a file and figured, hey, it was off day, why write something new? So what the heck. Here it is. It was interesting to see my take on the upcoming season, a month after the fact now.
It’s up to you to decide if this was a forgotten gem or something that should have been left in the archive for all time.
I can tell you I can already see that I was wrong on so many accounts, as I often am. I was so young and naive back then.
LOOKING INTO THE CRYSTAL BASEBALL.
This is a fifth-pace team. In fact, only four teams in the American League have no shot at the playoffs this year, and one is the Rangers. The other three are the Twins and Rays and the Astros.
Yes, Fielder will be better much better. He could even be so much better that he could be an MVP, and probably a Comeback Player Of The Year. And, Rua and Smolinski are better than one might think.
But Leoyns Martin is not a leadoff hitter, not much of a centerfielder, and this team is so bereft of talent that Delino DeShields Jr. is the only legit backup the Rangers have. This is not a good team.
Choo will be better. But Choo has never been an All Star, and I painstakingly predict, won’t be one this year.
Andrus has never developed into the hitter the team hoped.
We have no real catcher.
And Mitch Moreland is the DH. Can you name me one team in baseball where Mitch Moreland would be an improvement at either 1B or DH? There are none.
Then, there’s the pitching.
This team has seen its pitching systematically vanish the past two years with the front office unable or unwilling to respond.
Matt Harrison and Colby Lewis went down in 2013, yet nothing was done to replace them. Martin Perez and Yu Darvish went down in 2014, with the only reinforcement being Yovani Gallardo.
Last year Daniels admitted he left the major league “exposed” by not having enough major league quality pitching. It will be curious to see which word he uses this season.
Now this is a team with one very good starter in Holland, and four guys who are very mediocre. This is a team that is talking about embracing the six-man rotation, when they don’t even have enough for a two-man rotation. They have a number one starter, and four number-six starters.
That is a formula for a last-place team.
Expecting guys to come back from Tommy John surgery without missing a beat is a fools’ errand. It might happen. But it might not.
My advice would have been to plan for the worst.
Why would we need to trade for a quality starter this year when we will get Darvish back next year? Two reasons:
One, you have that guy this year, to make your team better this year. And you have that guy next year, AND Darvish. What is wrong with having two aces?
Two, are you a hundred percent sure Darvish comes back to the level he was before he went down? If not, then at least you have that guy.
We were sold this team would be a consistent winner. Look at the two World Series teams. Look at the team that is on the field now.
Nelson Cruz, gone. Ron Washington, gone. Josh Hamilton, gone. Ian Kinsler, gone. Nolan Ryan, gone. Michael Young, gone.
Deflating your team of talent is not how to build a winning culture.
The front office promised it would build a consistent team we could count on year after year. Little did we know it’s a consistent fifth-place team they were promising.