Five Changes Texas Rangers Must Make to Contend in 2013 MLB Season
5 Changes Texas Rangers Must Make Before 2013
The Texas Rangers won consecutive American League pennants in 2010 and 2011, but it won't be a three-peat as the red-hot Baltimore Orioles ousted Texas in the Wild Card game on Friday night. The Rangers limped into the playoffs after a horrific finish to the season and are now in need of some changes.
The rough end to the season was captivated with the Oakland Athletics knocking off the Rangers in the season finale to steal the AL West division title and send Texas into a state of turmoil. Certain players admitted to not giving their all throughout the season and some experiments didn't work out, so now it's time to revamp the Rangers' lineup and get prepared for a 2013 "all or nothing" season.
This season was supposed to be a "third time's the charm" campaign for Texas, but a slump at the wrong time ended those hopes and left a truckload of question marks on Rangers manager Ron Washington's drawing board. Here are five changes Washington and the Rangers need to make in order to contend again in the 2013 MLB season:
Let Josh Hamilton Walk
The Rangers should have traded outfielder Josh Hamilton when they had the chance, but hindsight is 20-20. After his lazy and inconsistent play in the second half of the season, it's time for him to leave. A player who hits four home runs in one game and then admits to taking two months off is not the kind of player a championship contender needs on its roster.
Re-sign Mike Napoli
The Rangers absolutely cannot let catcher Mike Napoli leave in free agency. Texas only signed Naploli to a one-year deal after the 2012 Word Series appearance in fear of a lockout in the 2013 off-season, but Napoli must be brought back. He's a crowd favorite, he's consistent in the batter's box as well as behind the plate, he's clutch and he gives 100 percent effort on every play. Napoli could easily become the new face of the franchise.
Bring in a Solid Pitcher Like Zack Greinke
Ryan Dempster is a free agent who likely won't be re-signed, so the Rangers need to bring in another solid starting pitcher to add to their rotation. Los Angeles Angels ace Zack Greinke will be the hottest pitcher on the free agent market this winter and he should be target No. 1 for the Rangers.
Move Neftali Feliz Back to Closer
Neftali Feliz started the season off pretty well as a first-time starter, but then quickly took a turn for the worse before Texas lost him for the season to Tommy John surgery. With four solid starters and likely another to be added in the off-season, Feliz will be better suited in his natural closer position with solid arms like Mike Adams, Alexi Ogando and Robbie Ross as the Rangers' primary relievers.
Make Michael Young the Full-Time DH
The longtime face of the franchise and once one of the most consistent players in the game, Michael Young is now in a new chapter of his career. After multiple errors in the field during the 2012 season, Young should be moved to the full-time designated hitter role, one that he refused to take a year ago. However, he's a team player, so he has to realize that he's not the brick wall defender he once was and Texas has more than a viable replacement in Adrian Beltre.