From an outsider's point of view, the Texas Rangers looked like they were running in place this off-season. They made one blockbuster trade when they sent long-time Ranger Ian Kinsler to the Detroit Tigers for Prince Fielder and then signed big-time free agent Shin-Soo Choo last week. According to ESPN on Dec. 22, that pretty much wraps up the Rangers' filling in their needs.
Outsiders see Texas losing players like Josh Hamilton, Michael Young, Ian Kinsler, Nelson Cruz, David Murphy and Mike Napoli, and therefore losing the heart and soul of their back-to-back World Series appearances.
However, in return, they have locked up their pitching rotation - which remains the strength of the team, led by Yu Darvish, Derek Holland and Matt Harrison. They have a great bullpen with names like Joaqim Soria, Robbie Ross, Tanner Scheppers and Neftali Feliz.
On the offense, their former lineup is decimated, but the one that stands in its place it solid. Geovany Soto and J.P. Arencibia shore up the catcher's position. Prince Fielder gives the Rangers their biggest power threat, especially as a leftie in the Rangers' Ballpark. Replacing the speed they lost when they traded Kinsler is Shoo, who is one of the best lead off hitters in baseball.
Adrian Beltre is still there to provide his pop, which will give teams fits knowing they can't avoid him or they will have to face Fielder. Jurickson Profar was the top name in the Rangers' minors and will finally get a chance to start in his natural second base position with Kinsler gone, and Elvis Andrus is still there at shortstop.
Nelson Cruz and Josh Hamilton may both be gone, but Texas feels good about Leonys Martin and Alex Rios standing out there with Shoo. This lineup does not have the famous all-stars as the World Series teams, but this is one lineup that will give pitchers fits and should make them even better than they were when they won 91 games last season.