There’s that old saying, “the more things change, the more they stay the same.”
A year ago we were wondering the same things we are wondering now. Do the Rangers have enough to complete? Do they have holes? How can we fill in those holes?
Below is where we were last year at the end of January. And below that is the photo I shot at the Ballpark toward the end of a May 1 game the Rangers would eventually lose 7-5 to Oakland.
Look at the batting averages of all nine players at the time. The Rangers were, unfortunately, answering a lot of those questions.
Thanks goodness they didn’t like the answers they were hearing.
January 30, 2015
Let’s say every position player comes back healthy. How good do you feel about the offense?
Choo, Fielder and Beltre are pretty formidable. After that, it’s a long way down. There are more holes in the lineup than in a teenager’s alibi.
Take away a healthy Choo, a healthy Fielder, and normal Beltre, and what do the Rangers have?
A whole lot of hope and prayer.
Andrus, hope he turns around his career slide to mediocrity. A rebound here would be huge for the Rangers on a lot of levels. But he is not ever going to be Michael Young. He is not a two-hole hitter.
Odor, hope last year wasn’t a fluke and he builds on it. This is probably a good bet. But, it’s not a given. Where does he hit in the lineup?
Moreland, hope he does for a whole season what he has been able to do for only a week or two per season so far. His ankle being healed gets him back to 100%, which still makes him an unthreatening offensive threat. Trouble is, in this lineup he might be asked to hit fifth or sixth. That tells you everything about this lineup that you need to know.
Chirinos, hope he puts up numbers that don’t resemble a backup catcher.
Martin, hope he is the hitter he was the last three-and-a-half weeks of the season, not the hitter he was the first three-and-a half seasons. If it’s the former, we have a leadoff hitter. If it’s the latter, we have a long season ahead of us.
Rua, hope he is the real deal. Or Choice takes a huge leap ahead. Or Smolinksi is real. Or someone, please. I do, however, see optimism here.
To me, there is too much blind faith and crossed fingers and lighting candles to believe this team has the offense to compete. But, this scrappy bunch seemed to gel at the end of last season after Washington resigned, so who knows?
Realistically, we very well could be looking at a team with six number-nine hitters.
Your opinion may vary.