TMS MLB Preview 2009: Texas Rangers

2008 Finish: 79-83, 2nd place in AL West

SO LONG: Milton Bradley, Gerald Laird, Ramon Vazquez, Kameron Loe, Wes Littleton, Jamey Wright

WELCOME: Omar Vizquel, Derrick Turnbow, AndrEw Jones, Eddie Guardado, Brendan Donnelly, Kris Benson, Adam Melhuse

PROJECTED LINEUP
1. Ian Kinsler 2B
2. Michael Young 3B
3. Josh Hamilton RF
4. Hank Blalock DH
5. Nelson Cruz CF
6. Chris Davis 1B
7. David Murphy LF
8. Jarrod Saltalamacchia C
9. Elvis Andrus SS

Starting Rotation: Kevin Millwood, Vicente Padilla, Scott Feldman, Matt Harrison, Brandon McCarthy
Setup: C.J. Wilson, Joaquin Benoit (DL)
Closer: Frank Francisco

What to say about the Rangers? They have one of the best offensive lineups in the game. They're stacked in the minors as well, with guys like Justin Smoak and Taylor Teagarden. They will undoubtedly score a shitload of runs this year, but they will still be lucky to break .500 because their starters will give up a corresponding amount of runs. The guy to watch this year is shortstop Elvis Andrus, a whiz with the leather. His bat needs a little seasoning, but the Rangers can afford to bat him way down in the order until he improves. If Andrus struggles, the Rangers have ageless (hitless) Omar Vizquel waiting in the wings.

PRESEASON AWARDS
Mr. Sexy Time: Josh Hamilton - Former junkie and now reborn Christian and family man, Josh Hamilton was the feel-good story of 2008. Unless you're a Cub fan. While Mr. Sexy Time was blasting homers and making awesome plays in Texas, the Cubs blew through Felix Pie and the resurrected corpse of Jimmy Edmonds in center field. While Edmonds and stuntman Reed Johnson did eventually become a serviceable tandem, once can only imagine the impact Hamilton might have had playing center for the NL Central Champs last year. He was a Cub for all of about a minute and a half as the Northsiders traded him for cash to the Reds after acquiring him as a Rule 5 pick.

Who Are These Fuckin' Guys?: Rangers Pitching - Aside from Kevin Millwood, Vicente Padilla, and Eddie Guardado, I haven't heard of most of these guys. Kris Benson? Sure, guy with the slutty/crazy wife. Brandon McCarthy? Former uber-prospect with the White Sox, unceremoniously dumped by Kenny Williams in what turned out to be a smooth move. (Can you believe the Rangers at one point had Armando Galarraga, John Danks, Edinson Volquez, and Chris Young? Talk about a team that needs some new pitching scouts and fast.) C.J. Wilson? Kason Gabbard? Thomas Diamond? Warner Madrigal-seriously? Matt Harrison? John Bannister? Corey Scott Feldman? Come on. Even their closer is known more for throwing chairs than recording saves.

Why?: AndrEw Jones - The Rangers are loaded offensively. So why did they feel the need to offer this washed-up goober a contract? The LF platoon of David Murphy and Marlon Byrd can easily outhit and out-field this worthless hunk of human detritus. CF Nelson Cruz needs to play every day to develop and unless Josh Hamilton returns to his shady lifestyle, he's going to be covering right. DH? Ha ha ha ha! AndrEw hit a buck fifty-eight in 75 games with the Dodgers last year, contributing a measly 3 home runs, all while completing his amateur competitive eating training by adding 25 pounds of gristle. This year, Jones has supposedly regained his athletic form and is apologetic about his time in LA. The Rangers apparently have an outfielder fetish similar to Jim Hendry's unnatural cravings for second basemen. And AndrEw, I know there wasn't a lot of interest, but didn't you or your agent happen to check the Rangers' depth chart at OF before you signed?

FOR MORE READING
LoneStarBall.com
RangerFans.com
TexasRangersTrades

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