The Rangers were reportedly a candidate to sign Torii Hunter before he chose to go back to the Minnesota club where it all started for him. A guy I hoped the Rangers had signed ten years ago.
That sums up just how dire the Rangers’ outfield situation is.
I’ve received a lot of backlash over the past year or so regarding my negative attitude toward the Rangers. And in a way, that’s understandable because Twitter and Facebook weren’t big before 2010 and my foolish optimism toward some very bad Rangers teams wasn’t being spread all over the Web. Seriously, friends of mine out of college complained about how I would always see the team through rose-colored glasses.
That was before they managed to build the best team in all the American League, go to consecutive World Series – and then completely break it up for little reason other than goofiness and ego in the front office.
Now they have a center fielder that has yet to score even 70 runs or drive in 50 in a season and frequently sees fly balls go over his head and into the alleys for extra base hits. His left field counterpart, even before getting hurt, was not that much better. It was painful to see how many flies Leonys Martin and Shin-Soo Choo failed to run down in Arlington’s spacious outfield when those were getting caught by Josh Hamilton and David Murphy.
As this off-season hits full speed, the cry by people in DFW toward the Rangers is “Get pitching, get pitching, get pitching,” once again. They continue to be convinced that if the Rangers somehow stock their rotation with five aces that make absolutely perfect pitches and induce routine plays every single time, they will win win 1-0 games all the time and that will solve everything. That ain’t happening.
This team needs outfield help both offensively and defensively. Right now, an outfield of Choo, Leonys and either Michael Choice or Jake Smolinski is not going to get the job done in the stacked American League West.
They desperately need an impact player like a Bryce Herper or Yasiel Puig. Sadly neither is available, but Justin Upton is. If not him, then a Matt Kemp or Carl Crawford.
Instead, they’re pinning their hopes on snagging a past-his-prime Hunter?
In the meantime, their best offensive prospect, while very entertaining to watch, would still be a No. 5 or 6 hitter in the big leagues at best unless he can learn to hit the ball more often without homering – not someone who can anchor the lineup. And even then, he’s a corner infielder who is likely going to have to be converted to the outfield, likely meaning no improvement defensively there.
Therein lies the situation the club has created by letting so many superstars go in the last two years. They are searching for patchwork short-term solutions while their farm system is not producing prospects capable of replacing what they lost.
It all leads to the reality that, barring them making a big splash in the next two months, it really looks like it will be a very long time before winning baseball is back in Arlington.
But hey, at least we once again get to see Nelson Cruz hit a ton of home runs at Globe Life Park – as a member of the Seattle Mariners.
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