30 Teams in 30 Days: Texas Rangers Preview


General Manager: Jon Daniels (since October 2005)
Manager: Ron Washington (since November 2006)

Gains: Vladimir Guerrero, Rich Harden, Mitchell Hilligoss, Colby Lewis, Darren Oliver, Clay Rapada, Chris Ray

Losses: Joaquin Benoit, Hank Blalock, Marlon Byrd, Greg Golson, Jason Grilli, Eddie Guardado, Andruw Jones, Kevin Millwood, Ivan Rodriguez, Josh Rupe, Omar Vizquel

Minor League Deals: Matt Brown, Endy Chavez, Geoff Geary, Toby Hall, Ray Olmedo, Jailen Peguero

Projected Starting Lineup
Julio Borbon – CF
Michael Young – 3B
Josh Hamilton – LF
Vladimir Guerrero – DH
Ian Kinsler – 2B
Nelson Cruz – RF
Chris Davis -1B
Jarrod Saltalamacchia – C
Elvis Andrus – SS

Projected Starting Rotation
Scott Feldman
Rich Harden
Colby Lewis
Tommy Hunter
Derek Holland

Projected Bullpen
Frank Francisco (Closer)
Darren O’Day
Darren Oliver
Chris Ray
Doug Mathis
Dustin Nippert

The Rangers WILL make the playoffs if: LF Josh Hamilton can turn back the clock to 2008 and DH Vlad Guerrero can turn it back to 1998…SP Rich Harden doesn’t shatter into a million pieces under the strain of Rangers’ President Nolan Ryan’s underpublicized “pitchers gots to pitch” program…The bullpen can unearth a few more quietly effective arms like Darren O’Day and a quality swingman like Dustin Nippert.

The Rangers WON’T make the playoffs if: The Davis/Saltalamacchia/Andrus collective OPS continues to hover ’round .700…SP Scott Feldman’s inability to miss bats catches up to him (and the Rich Harden thing we referenced in the previous section)…Management uses the first rough stretch of the season to turf embattled manager Ron Washington and reflexively turn the clubhouse against the new hire.

Over/Under (83): I lost an additional $100 betting on the Rangers (at 10-1 odds) to win the AL West last year. I remain convinced they’d have won without Hamilton’s season-long litany of injuries and way too much faith in Chris Davis. This year the division is wide open, as none of the teams are truly great. Texas has the look of an 81-win team, kids. Take the UNDER.

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