With spring training games starting this weekend, the off-season has officially ended in my mind. And what does the end of the off-season mean to me other than baseball is back?
Thats right, off-season report cards. These aren’t in any certain order, so don’t freak out if something that happened in January shows up before something from November. Now, lets take a look back at everything that has happened with the Texas Rangers this off-season.
The most memorable thing that happened to the Rangers this off-season was the loss of Josh Hamilton to the division rival Los Angeles Angels. Many people were very annoyed because it was said that the Rangers would have a chance to match any other offer, but Hamilton did not call until after he signed with Los Angeles.
Another important loss this off-season was the Michael Young trade. The Rangers traded away a great leader just because he wasn’t producing the way he did in his mid-twenties. Many people were very upset to see Young go, but the club felt that it was something that needed to happen.
Lets look at one more important loss before any additions. The loss of Mike Napoli. The question though is was that a bad loss for the Rangers? Napoli has an important hip issue that was discovered this off-season and was already starting to decline last year.
Due to the loss of Napoli the Rangers signed free agent A.J. Pierzynski to a one-year deal, and also resigned catcher Geovany Soto who they acquired mid-season from the Chicago Cubs last season. Which catcher sees more time this season will depend on how Pierzynski produces early in the season.
The Rangers also added Lance Berkman on a one year deal to take over the designated hitter role.
The deals the Rangers didn’t make this off-season might be more important than the ones they did. The Rangers seemed to be in on every important free agent or big trade piece, but never landed one.
They were a main contender for Zack Grienke seemingly until the final moments when he signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers. They seemed to be in on Nick Swisher for a while, but didn’t look incredibly serious about him. It was the same with Michael Bourn. Both of whom signed with the Cleveland Indians.
There was one deal that never seemed to go away and that was Justin Upton. The Rangers were in multiple discussions with the Arizona Diamondbacks this off-season to try to bring the younger Upton brother to Arlington only to have him sent to be with his big bro B.J. Upton and the Atlanta Braves.
Overall, the story of the off-season for the Rangers seems to be the amount of players they didn’t end up with. I have to give this off-season a D+ or maybe a C- at best, just because I think not re-signing Napoli really is an addition by subtraction. The Rangers did not do anything that they could have this off-season, and they will suffer this season because of it.