No one of note has knocked the Texas Rangers‘ chances of contending in the American League West this year after the departure of Josh Hamilton, but club president Nolan Ryan still felt the need to reiterate his confidence in the team. He said this week the Rangers will be just as much of an AL West contender as they were with with Hamilton. Sure, he said the nice, politically-correct things he was supposed to about Hamilton, but he knows the truth just like the rest of us: Hamilton was more of a liability than an asset.
During his five years with the Rangers, Hamilton never played a full season. He missed significant time during each season due to injury and/or off-the-field issues, which became more of an annoyance than anything else to over the course of his tenure in Texas. Sure, he belted a ton of home runs, but he wasn’t the only part of the Rangers’ lineup that helped the team to back-to-back World Series appearances and he definitely wasn’t a leader in the outfield.
The point of this isn’t to knock Hamilton, but to reiterate Ryan’s point: the Rangers will be just fine without the slugger. Like Ryan said, the Rangers have plenty of other stars in their lineup and who knows? Top MLB prospect Jurickson Profar might set the woods on fire and make Texas forget about Hamilton.
Regardless, consistent (Hamilton has always been anything but that) reliable stars like Ian Kinsler and Adrian Beltre, along with new consistent stars like David Murphy and Mitch Moreland, will get the Rangers over the hump because they won’t have to rely on the big play in crunch time so often. With consistent hitting and improved pitching, the Rangers shouldn’t be so streaky in 2012. Sure, that was fun for the fans during the teams first three years of success, but now it’s about consistency and winning. Hamilton being gone will actually be a good thing for Texas. Whether or not anyone believes that now, everyone will by mid-season.