Texas Rangers: It only took 50 years



Texas Rangers

Texas Rangers

Time goes by like pouring rain:

Time is about up for Chris Davis, who is big, powerful and unable to make enough contact to win the first base job that should rightfully be his. Davis slugged .549 in half a season in 2008, but he’s regressed ever since. He strikes out so often — once every 2.9 at-bats in his career thus far — he makes Mark Reynolds look like a contact hitter. Davis is 25 and the Rangers are contenders; they don’t have the patience to endure a poor defender and unproductive hitter. Like Russell Branyan, Davis seems destined to make his fourth or fifth manager happy. 

I feel I’m knocking on heaven’s door: It’s about time for the Rangers to deal with the Braves again — their farm system is thinning out. Miguel De Los Santos hasn’t risen very high yet, but it might not take the hard-throwing left-hander long. He’ll be 23 in July, so there’s no reason to baby him, and he fanned 112 in 70.1 innings in the low minors last year (70 in 32 innings in 2009). Time to move him up and see what he can do.

What is this man doing here? Endy Chavez may once have been a .300 hitter (2006 with the Mets), but it’s time to start treating him like the one-hit wonder he is. Chavez has a lifetime .270 average, but it’s as empty as Eminem’s take home from the Grammys Sunday — no power, a bad eye and a career .679 OPS. Yet he received an invite to camp from the Rangers. Texas might want to be careful who it keeps as backup outfielders — given that Chavez is one Nelson Cruz muscle pull away from 300 at-bats.

 Outlook: The Rangers start spring training with more questions than a contending team should:

  • What becomes of Michael Young?
  • Does Neftali Feliz start or relieve?
  • If Feliz doesn’t close, who does?

This shouldn’t be a big problem, given the paucity of competition the Rangers face in the AL West. And they have options. But they’ve muddled the Young question badly — trade him or not, but don’t let the loyalest of Rangers fritter away on Twitter.

That won’t matter as much if they win, as they should (enjoy Randy Levine). The Rangers added catcher-DH Mike Napoli for but a reliever and improved their defense by adding third baseman Adrian Beltre and catcher Yorvit Torrealba.

Young pitchers like Michael Kirkman (16.1 innings, nine hits, 16 Ks last year) and Derek Holland (3.2 innings of one-hit ball in the all-important Game 4 of the ALCS) give the Rangers time to figure out their pitching.

Last year the Rangers had injury issues in their outfield — Hamilton missed 29 games games and Cruz 54. But they were healthy in October and that made all the difference.

Ironic, then, that they seem set on getting rid of Young, who led them in games played and at bats in 2010.

Remember when: In the 39 years of the Texas Rangers, and the 50 years of the franchise, their managers have included Gil Hodges, Ted Williams, Billy Martin, Whitey Herzog, Don Zimmer, Bobby Valentine and Buck Showalter. But it took Ron Washington to get them to the World Series.

Next: Oakland Athletics

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