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Rangers will be strong contenders again in 2012

Oct 29, 2011, 12:03 AM EDT

Texas Rangers starting pitcher C.J. Wilson faces the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1st inning of Game 1 of MLB's World Series baseball championship in St. Louis

It won’t make them feel much better tonight and replacing the team’s ace for a second straight offseason would be a tall order, but Rangers fans should take some solace in the fact that C.J. Wilson is their only significant free agent.

Wilson, who earned $7 million in his final year of arbitration, figures to be the second-most sought after starting pitcher on the market behind CC Sabathia. He struggled in the postseason again, but Wilson threw 223 innings with a 2.94 ERA and 206 strikeouts in the regular season and is a relatively young free agent at age 30.

Replacing him would obviously be tough, but the Rangers’ only other free agent regulars are 40-year-old middle reliever Darren Oliver and third-stringer catcher Matt Treanor. Everyone else is either under contract or arbitration eligible, although they may look to make some moves involving, say, Yorvit Torrealba and Koji Uehara. Or maybe shop Michael Young and the $32 million remaining on his deal around the league again.

Regardless of what happens with Wilson this Rangers team is without question set up to make another deep run next season. Nolan Ryan somehow gets all the credit, but the team’s actual general manager, Jon Daniels, has done a very good job building a deep, talented roster. It’ll be interesting to see how strongly their effort is to re-sign Wilson and how tempted they’ll be to shake things up for the sake of shaking things up.

  1. 78mu - Oct 29, 2011 at 12:16 AM

    The good news is the Rangers are set up to go to the WS next year.

    The bad news is they are set up to be MLB’s version of the Buffalo Bills in 2013. What’s the baseball version of wide right?

    • paperlions - Oct 29, 2011 at 10:35 AM

      Ball 4?

      HBP?

      • phillyphreak - Oct 29, 2011 at 12:40 PM

        IBB

    • antlerclaws - Oct 29, 2011 at 2:53 PM

      I was saying exact thing earlier to my friend. Always a bridesmaid, never a bride.

  2. dirtyharry1971 - Oct 29, 2011 at 1:07 AM

    Rangers wont be back sorry, CJ Wilson will be gone, they have no Ace on that stuff and wont win the West never year and the wild card never comes from the West.

    • miketreedy - Oct 29, 2011 at 3:01 AM

      Didn’t people say the same thing last year after they lost Cliff Lee? As long as they keep Mike Maddox the pitching staff will be sound. Plus they have one of the best farm systems in baseball plus money to go after pitching if they see fit. Ryan will get it done!

      • paperlions - Oct 29, 2011 at 10:38 AM

        The playoffs are a crap shoot and you can’t keep expecting to win short series against teams of similar skill level…in general, every team that make the playoffs has about a 20-30% of making the WS and a 10-15% chance of winning it….regardless of your talent, you just can’t EXPECT to keep beating those odds.

  3. joshftw - Oct 29, 2011 at 1:44 AM

    Nolan Ryan did not look very happy tonight.
    He’ll make sure they make it back next year…..or else.

  4. miketreedy - Oct 29, 2011 at 2:58 AM

    Wonder if the Rangers will consider replacing Washington. He was the manager Ryan inherited not chose. With a guy like Terry Francona available it is something worth considering. Wash could become Graddy Little Part 2. There were a lot of questions about his management decisions this series especially at the end of game 6.

    • paperlions - Oct 29, 2011 at 10:41 AM

      Why would they consider that? The guy publicly admitted to using coke once, and the Rangers kept him through that, his players love him and lover playing for him, he keeps the team loose, relaxed, and having fun, which is one of the most important things a manager can do.

      • phillyphreak - Oct 29, 2011 at 12:42 PM

        Maybe because he intentionally walked the winning run 2x this series? I mean he’ll probably be back next year. It’s still an interesting question..

      • phillyphreak - Oct 29, 2011 at 12:47 PM

        Hit submit too soon. I’m not really sure if the sticking with him through the coke issue was as much about him as it was about Hamilton. Maybe they felt that because they took a chance with Hamilton that they needed to stick it out with Wash- not send mixed messages?

      • paperlions - Oct 29, 2011 at 12:49 PM

        IBBs are nearly always a bad idea…try finding a manager that doesn’t do it. LaRussa issued 7 IBBs in the playoffs, Wash called for 12 of them (all of playoffs, not just WS), but 4 were to Pujols….if TLR was managing against his own team, he would have called for at least as many IBBs as Wash did. It is a bad strategy that nearly everyone old enough to be a manager still buys into (not unlike the sac bunt).

      • phillyphreak - Oct 29, 2011 at 12:56 PM

        I agree with you. It was more of a semi sarcastic remark. He went to two straight WS, he’ll be back.

  5. txnative61 - Oct 29, 2011 at 3:00 AM

    Too bad its not horseshoes or hand grenades, but everybody is 0-0 now, and Texas has as good a chance as anybody. My only wish would be that Napoli stay, best trade ever made.

  6. sportsdrenched.com - Oct 29, 2011 at 8:39 AM

    I expect the Rangers to be contenders for the forseeable future. They have an ownership group that wants to win, a capable GM, and the money make it happen.

  7. Old Gator - Oct 29, 2011 at 8:52 AM

    While worrying about starters, they might also want to find one or two more folks for the boolpen with less of a propensity to pitch batting practice in critical situations. I was rerunning the last few innings of Game 6 yesterday and boy, you couldn’t really serve up fatter pitches than those guys did to Freese, Berkman et al. Aside from Michael Young’s total crapout in the WS (if not for Napoli, this would have been a five game series), the ‘pen was the Rangers’ achilles heel.

  8. paperlions - Oct 29, 2011 at 10:44 AM

    I’m going to Philly PHan this post.

    You know who else will be strong contenders again? The Cardinals, they’ll probably have Pujols back, have no other significant FAs (maybe Edwin Jackson, but there isn’t space for him in the rotation anyway) and they’ll be getting Wainright back. Their farm system is deep, with exciting hitting and pitching prospects at every level from rookie ball to AA.

  9. artisan3m - Oct 29, 2011 at 11:24 AM

    I’m fairly sure Wash will stay. CJ didn’t exactly raise his stock value, proving he is not a pressure pitcher when the chips are down. If Ryan and Daniels were watching the same games I saw, they will recognize that a hitting coach is desperately needed. If it was only one player letting first pitch, fat, heart of the plate strikes go by then the player is to blame. When it is systemic throughout the entire order, that’s coaching and it needs to be corrected. When its obvious to an amateur like me, its crystal clear to an expert like La Russa ~ and smart teams will capitalize on that flaw. I’m not saying this would have made a defference in the outcome of the series ~ but it would have made a difference in the strategy that unfolded ~ and THAT might have made a difference in the outcome. No sour grapes from this Ranger fan ~ the Card’s won it and deserve unqualified congratulations.

    • antlerclaws - Oct 29, 2011 at 3:01 PM

      Before the post-season, I was all about paying up and hanging on to C.J. Wilson; since the playoffs started I’m kind of meh. Two post-seasons in a row he’s choked, and he can be kind of a douche. Not so much his behavior on field, he’s a very hard worker and practices on his own in 110 degree Texas heat, but he’s just completely 100% in love with himself and it comes out in interviews. So if the Yankees or someone want to pony up, I’m kind of okay with it. Plus I’m sure after that fiasco that Neftali Feliz threw last night, he’ll be converted to an SP and Mike Adams will be the closer or they’ll obtain Bell or some other closer. Closer’s gotta close, after all, and Feliz doesn’t have the brilliance he showed last year. Flashes of it, but not quite enough. Plus he lost the Rangers the World Series in Game 6.

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