The Texas Rangers have been stellar in the American League West Division in this decade. On April 3rd the Rangers will be celebrating opening day as division champs for the third season in a row, also the 5th time this decade. Texas finished with 95 wins a season ago which is the most regular season wins of any team in the American League. Texas only failed to make the playoffs twice in this decade. The city of Arlington is used to winning but would like to go further. The Rangers have been in Arlington Texas since 1972 and still have never won a World Series, in 2010 and 2011 they made it there but were unsuccessful. Could this be the year for the Champions of the West?
Judging by the Rangers roster you would think they are better off than they were a year ago. The past two seasons Texas was eliminated by the Toronto Blue Jays pretty quickly including a 3 game sweep a season ago. Veteran Pitcher Cole Hamels has returned to Texas to be the staffs ace after having a rough go of It in September last year. Yu Darvish will be pitching in his first full season after having Tommy John Surgery and will be a huge help behind Hamels. To help beef up the rotation the team took a chance and signed free agent Andrew Cashner to a 1 year 10 million dollar deal, despite Cashner having a record of 5-11, and an earned run average of 5.25 for 2016 the Rangers were willing to sign him. The rest of the Rangers rotation will be battled in spring training leaving a few questions marks for this staff. The closer role is also up for grabs in the spring and looks to be either Sam Dyson who saved 38 games last season, or it could be Matt Bush who has a 100 mile per hour fast ball, but off the field issues that caused him to miss several seasons.
The one thing Texas fans do not have to worry about is offense, Elvis Andrus, Rougned Ordor and Adrian Beltre will provide plenty of it. Andrus batted .302 last season, this was the first time Elvis had a season batting average of .300 or more in his 8 years of MLB service. Odor on the other hand led the team with 33 homeruns, while Beltre was just behind him with 32 homers but did knock in 104 runs in 2016. Not only are the big bats returning to the club, so is a new power hitter. The Rangers were also able to grab Mike Napoli off the free agent market. Napoli helped lead the way with 34 homeruns last season for the American League Champion Cleveland Indians. Napoli has been known to hit homeruns against the Rangers in Arlington, and should have no problem adjusting to his new ball club. The team was able to resign catcher Jonathan Lucroy which the Rangers acquired in a trade from the Milwaukee Brewers last season. Lucroy hit 24 homeruns in just 47 games played with the Rangers after the trade.
When it comes to the Texas Rangers there is no doubt in them to make the playoffs, but once they get there the doubt starts to emerge on how far they are going to get in the post season. The Rangers have never won a World Series. Before they can think about the post season, they have to worry about the high power offense of the LA Angels, the recharged Astros and the Seattle Mariners. The AL West will be a division to keep an eye on as the Rangers are looking for their 3rd division title.