2011 American League West Previews: Rangers

Today’s Focus: TEXAS RANGERS

2010 Record: 90-72 (AL Champion; Division Champ; 4th Best Record in AL)

Last season ended with a 5-game World Series loss to the San Francisco Giants. Not bad for a once dazed-and-confused team out of Spring Training that saw Josh Hamilton fall off the wagon (or is it on the wagon?) and Manager Ron Washington test positive for cocaine. Despite the adversity, Washington finished 2nd in AL Manager of the Year Voting and Hamilton won his first MVP Award even after missing much of September.

Yet again, as we head into Spring Training 2011 the team is not without adversity. After failing to sign Cliff Lee, the Rangers threw a ton of money at Twice Contract-Year-Phenom, Adrian Beltre. The move, and subsequent loss of Vladimir Guerrero, has assured longtime-Ranger Michael Young the role of DH/Super Sub…or so we think. Michael Young has again requested out of Arlington and the Rangers are currently trying to find a suitor without success or much bargaining leverage.

The additions of Beltre and Mike Napoli might actually prove to enhance the offense even with the loss of Vlad, while the staff without Lee and Francisco will surely come up short from their post-Lee run. At this point, I don’t think you can rely too heavily on newcomer Brandon Webb to fill out the rotation; he probably won’t be ready for the start of the season (but the reward for minimal risk is outstanding!). I can’t imagine Neftali Feliz heading into the rotation with the loss of Francisco, so that leaves a shaky staff needing to be anchored by C.J. Wilson and Colby Lewis. However, the current staff is not too different from the one that had them in first place before Lee came over from Seattle…

Notable Losses Include: Vladimir Guerrero, Bengie Molina, Cliff Lee, Frank Francisco

Notable Pick Ups: Adrian Beltre, Mike Napoli, Brandon Webb

A trade-deadline arm could jolt them deep into the playoffs once again, but there is no reason to think they’ll get a serious challenge within the division.

My 2011 Projected Record: 88-74 (AL West Champion)

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