Heading into the 2012-2013 offseason, the Texas Rangers were tasked with making decisions that were going to shape their franchise for at least the next few years. It was the offseason that their star and former MVP outfielder Josh Hamilton became a free agent, and it was also the time that they needed to make a decision on whether or not signing a starting pitcher was the right move for their team. These are just two of the many decisions that the franchise needed to make this past offseason, and even though baseball season is still only a month old, it appears as though the team has made the right decisions.
The Rangers eventually lost Hamilton to their division rivals. After believing that they had an agreement to retain the services of Hamilton, the Los Angeles Angels swooped in at the last minute to snag the star outfielder. The Rangers may ultimately look back at the moment as a proverbial instance of dodging the bullet as Hamilton has been a spectacular failure so far in his time with his new team. The supposed pitcher signing never came to fruition as well, as the Rangers chose to stand pat with their rotation. The team’s rumored target, pitcher Zack Greinke, has been hurt for most of the season thus far, but his injury is more a product of dumb luck and carelessness as opposed to genuine structural problems. The reason for why the lack of a move on this front can prove beneficial down the road is the fact that the money they were supposed to spend on Greinke can now be used to shore up the rest of the team. The Rangers are also receiving a record-setting performance from their own staff ace Yu Darvish so far, so they are not lacking in the pitching department.
Darvish is just one of the reasons for why the Texas Rangers have managed to remain as an elite team in the highly competitive American League. Somewhat lost in the headlines of the team losing Hamilton is the fact that they made a few key signings of their own. Lance Berkman, a veteran switch-hitter, was signed to fill the hole that Hamilton vacated when he defected to the Angels, and although he may be incapable of replicating Hamilton’s gargantuan numbers from a year ago, he can still swing the bat very well. The focus on the departure of Hamilton also took attention away from the fact that the Rangers still possessed a stellar lineup that they could trot out onto the field every day. Adrian Beltre is still the incumbent at third, and Kinsler and Andrus still form one of the most potent up-the-middle combos in all of baseball.
The Rangers have gotten up to a stupendous start this season, and they are looking to build on their lead in the division as the season wears on. A World Series title has managed to elude the Rangers all these years, but they remain in contention to snag their first one, even with their star slugger in a different uniform.
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