After reaching the World Series two seasons in a row, the Rangers suffered a setback in 2012 when they failed to advance past the Orioles in the AL Wild Card game. The expectations remain the same for 2013 as the organization has its goals set on taking home a ring for the first time in franchise history, even as the roster looks different entering spring training. From losing lineup mainstays to missing out on top free agents, the question becomes whether Texas did enough to address holes in the lineup and on the pitching staff.
A look at the Rangers’ lineup reveals the absence of familiar names including Mike Napoli, Josh Hamilton and Michael Young. The loss of Napoli to the Red Sox may have been a win for the Rangers as the slugger went from securing a multi-year deal to eventually signing a one-year contract due to health concerns. With fewer playing opportunities each season due to the emergence of young talent, Young was sent to the Phillies where he’ll have the opportunity to be in the lineup on a more consistent basis. Hamilton headed to the West Coast when the Angels offered him a contract that the Rangers were not comfortable matching.
While Texas was unable to replace its big bats with the likes of Justin Upton or Carlos Gonzalez, the front office did make two moves that should bring stability to the lineup. The team was able to bolster the catching position by signing veteran A.J. Pierzynski and add depth at designated hitter with the addition of Lance Berkman.
Pitching concerns for Texas stem more from who the team was unable to sign rather than retain. The organization had hoped to win the services of Zack Greinke but ultimately lost out to the Dodgers. While the Rangers were unable to add pieces from the free agent pool, they did commit long-term to starter Matt Harrison with a five-year, $55MM contract. Beyond the rotation, Texas signed Joakim Soria to add depth to the bullpen.