After losing former MVP Josh Hamilton to the division rival Los Angeles Angels, trading clubhouse leader Michael Young to the Philadelphia Phillies and letting Mike Napoli walk away, it looked like Texas needed to make a big free agent signing to reload the arsenal.
Texas signed A.J. Pierzynski, Lance Berkman and Joakim Soria and called it quits. Looking at who left and who came in, and it seems like Texas took a huge step back. However, Daniels is excited about the young players from the farm system that are coming up.
The infield looks the same, with Mitch Moreland, Ian Kinsler, Elvis Andrus and Adrian Beltre all returning. Pierzynski and Geovany Soto will rotate at catcher while Berkman will take over as the designated hitter. The outfield will consist of David Murphy in left, Nelson Cruz in right and a platoon of Craig Gentry and Leonys Martin in center.
The only hole in that entire offense is centerfield, but Texas likes what it sees from Martin.
“He doesn’t have a lot of experience, but the experience he’s had, he’s done really well,” hitting coach Dave Magadan said.
Also hoping to get some swings in are two big time prospects in Jurickson Profar and Mike Olt. Profar is one of the top prospects in all of baseball and Olt has a big power swing that reminds people of last year's rookie sensation Bryce Harper.
As for the pitching, that is as good as ever. Four of last year's starters return to open 2013 with Yu Darvish, Matt Harrison, Derek Holland and Alexi Ogando. Texas expects Colby Lewis to be back in June, which means they need a fifth arm until then, and have Martin Perez, Robbie Ross, Justin Grimm and Kyle McClellan to compete for that job.
Sure, Texas fans would have liked to see the team sign Michael Bourn to play center or Kyle Loshe to be that fifth starter, but they really aren't needed right now. If things start to grow shaky after the season starts, the farm system is loaded enough to make a big trade then.
“The offseason is not the finish line,” Daniels said. “There are always opportunities to improve. There are always opportunities to get players.”