I’m really trying to stay positive about the upcoming season for the Texas Rangers. I really am.
But at this point it seems like it’s an almost impossible task.
Surefire Opening Day starting pitcher Yu Darvish is now out for the year with a shoulder injury that requires Tommy John surgery. That now leaves open a gaping hole in the Rangers’ rotation that was already struggling to fill in the fifth spot of the rotation. Now the Rangers have to figure out how to fill two holes and the options aren’t really that impressive to be honest.
And then there’s the thought of whether this could be the continuation of last year when it seemed like everyone on the team spent some amount of time on the disabled list.
But in the face of that big wall of negativity, I’m trying to remain positive. I’m hoping that new manager Tim Banister’s “next man up” motto comes to fruition and plays out on the field. I’m hoping that a healthy batting lineup will play as well as it should last year before all of the injuries.
First off, Darvish isn’t the entire team. In fact, I don’t really even think that he’s the face of the franchise, for a number of different reasons. I have to think that Elvis Andrus, who I believe is the longest retained position player at the moment, would be that face. And, while he is incredibly dominant when he’s on the mound, he only gets a chance to pitch once every five games. And yes, his number of starts mounts up at the end of the season and those wins can mean the difference between making the postseason and missing the postseason. But the other position players really have a chance to make a much bigger impact, scoring runs with runners on base, making great plays, etc. Keeping those players healthy will be a much bigger key.
And being healthy, outside of Darvish, is another reason to be positive as well. First baseman Prince Fielder, who missed basically all of last year with a shoulder/neck injury, is back and ready to prove that the Rangers made the right move in trading Ian Kinsler for him. Mitch Moreland, who replaced Fielder and then got injured as well, is back and can also make an impact with a long ball or two. And then there’s the knowledge that Joey Gallo continues to pound out home run after home run while waiting in the wings.
But there are the obvious obstacles to remaining positive. First off, the Darvish injury leads to worrying that the injury curse that crippled the team last year. Is this just the start of another season of injury after injury for the Rangers? Is this a really bad omen?
But I plan on letting those storylines play themselves out as the season goes on. With the Rangers’ record currently sitting at 0-0 for the next few weeks, there’s no need to worry.
We’ll see how long that lasts.