We are switching divisions mid-week because the NL Central is so big it bled into a second week.  Sorry about that, but despite what you may think, the Pirates really are a professional baseball team, and, as such, deserved to be reviewed as part of the ORSP series as well.  But today, we get back to the American League by looking at the AL West, and the AL’s World Series representative from 2010, the Texas Rangers.

Biggest Additions: Adrian Beltre, Arthur Rhodes, Mike Napoli, Brandon Webb, Yorvit Torrealba

Biggest Subtractions: Cliff Lee, Vladimir Guerrero, Bengie Molina, Jeff Francoeur

Offseason Review: The Rangers really had an up-and-down kind of offseason.  First off, the major blow, was losing out on the Cliff Lee sweepstakes.  Lee pitched well for the team down the stretch after being acquired from Seattle, and he is definitely going to be missed.  It is also a shame that the team didn’t try to re-sign Vlad, who put together a pretty nice season in Arlington.  Other than that, you can’t really count either Molina or Francoeur as a major loss.  Now, there is some contention regarding the way the front office dealt with Michael Young, and it remains to be seen as to whether or not he will still be a Ranger, but it appears as though those talks have died down, and some of the tension has been removed.  On the flip side, the Rangers made some pretty significant additions in the offseason.  Beltre was a good signing, as long as he is the “contract year” Beltre, and not the one who doesn’t seem to put together good seasons otherwise.  Rhodes was a quality reliever for the Reds last year.  Napoli & Torrealba are both going to be contributors.  Oh, and let’s not forget the gamble that may pay off: Brandon Webb.  You may not remember him because he basically hasn’t pitched in two seasons, but this guy put together some outstanding seasons in Arizona, including winning the NL Cy Young in 2006.  He’s a career 3.27 pitcher that isn’t prone to giving up the long ball, and prior to 2009, could be counted on to start every game.  We’ll see if he can bounce back in a big way this year.

Season Preview: There’s a lot of “if’s” for the Rangers this season, but the big question is, “Can they repeat their 2010 90-win season?”  I’ll answer that with a definitive, “Maybe.”  Let’s not forget, they still have reigning MVP Josh Hamilton on their team, who has the talent to put together a season that is the stuff of legends.  The sexy pick seems to be the A’s this year, but it was the Mariners last year, and we know how well that worked out.

Final Record: 92-70, 1st in the AL West

 

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