The Texas Rangers are in an interesting position headed into the 2013 season. Not many teams have all-star players at both shortstop and third base. Even fewer teams (see, none) have a pair of top prospects ready to over at those positions. The Texas Rangers, however, are very fortunate to have Elvis Andrus, Adrian Beltre, Jurickson Profar, AND Mike Olt on their roster. If you’re a loyal Rangers fan you may have noticed that Michael Young was not mentioned among those ready to start in the left side of the infield. It pains me to say it, but Young can no longer cut it as a major league starter. He put together a .297 wOBA in 2012 and has seen his walk rate steadily decline over the past three years. His BABIP was .299 in 2012 which is 35 points below his career average. This could point to a fluke year, but he’s always swinging at pitches outside of the zone. It stands to reason the a pitch hit out of the zone is more likely to result in weak contact than a pitch hit within the strike zone. Any way you slice it there’s no much one could expect out of Young moving forward.
Even with the expectation that Michael Young will not be factoring heavily into the Rangers 2012 plans there are still too many players for too few positions. I couldn’t call myself a baseball writer if I didn’t offer up my own misguided opinion on the matter would I? What I’m proposing certainly won’t be seen by many as a very radical position and I would be inclined to agree with those people. However, the splashiest move isn’t always the right one. There are of course many examples of big splashes working like the Prince Fielder signing last offseason, but there are many cases in which the team would have been better off standing pat. In fact, there’s really no saying how the Tigers might feel about the deal a few years from now when it may be hamstringing their organization. With that said, I would like to see the Rangers make a big play for Zack Greinke over this offseason rather than spend big money on a position player. The lineup can be filled with mostly internal pieces aside from the catcher position. The Rangers real current weakness resides in the rotation and bullpen with the likely departures of Mike Adams, Scott Feldman, and Koji Uehara. Below is my desired roster for the Rangers heading into the 2013 season. I tried to stay realistic with the signings and go for some value pickups in the bullpen.
As you can see the Rangers should be able to field a highly competitive team heading into the 2013 season without breaking the bank. If they’re able to nab Greinke and fill in the bullpen with some buy-low options they would have virtually no weaknesses. If they don’t land Greinke they would still have a solid five man rotation with plenty of flexibility to go after a front-line starter at the trade deadline. Call me a homer, but I’m incredibly excited for the 2013 season despite how 2012 ended. Anyway, after the way 2011 ended just about anything is an improvement.