Through just about the quarter mark of the season, the American League West Division looks to be in a race for the worst division in baseball right alongside, predictably, the National League West.
Through 42 games, The Texas Rangers are 22-20 and in a tie for first place with the Oakland Athletics and a half game better than the Los Angels Angels.
Say what you want about how the team has played over the last couple of weeks, at least they are still in the race and not sitting 10 games back. There is always a bright side to everything.
While there has not been a whole lot of good news for this team over the past month, Josh Hamilton going down, Neftali Feliz hitting the disabled list, and the rotation and bullpen struggling to keep opposing offenses at bay, they are doing exactly what they need to be doing at this point.
They desperately needed to tread water while Hamilton was out of the lineup. That is exactly what they have done. They aren’t the same team that got off to a franchise record start at the beginning of the season, but sitting where they are, at this point, should be a positive thing.
With Hamilton coming back in just a few short weeks, this team should be at full strength and ready to really make a push for the top spot in the division.
They aren’t going to out-pitch the Angels, especially since they don’t have guys like Jered Weaver and Dan Haren, not to mention Joel Pineiro, who has been nothing short of dominate through his first four starts. He’s given up just six earned runs in 27.1 innings pitched.
The talk around the water coolers, especially lately, is how to fix the Rangers’ bullpen. There has been more talk about possible trades and names being thrown about in terms of what it might take to land each respective player.
Make no mistake about it, you have to give something to get something. There are teams that will make a big deal about giving up prospects and there are others who will give up whatever it takes to get the right guy.
The move paid off, as Lee was one of the biggest catalysts for this team getting to the World Series. He didn’t put them over the top but he made a huge impact.
Is there a deal to be made that can make the same kind of impact Lee made on this team in 2010?
There are a few everyone will talk about, and there will be so many names tosses around to make you think everyone is available.
It’s hard to know what to address first. Do you solidify the back end of the bullpen especially with Darren Oliver and Arthur Rhodes having their struggles? Or do you do something with the rotation with Derek Holland and Matt Harrison both having rough spots over their last few starts?
Those are questions that need to be answered, and the speculation will run wild until the trade deadline in late July comes and goes.
The AL West isn’t going to have a team run away with the division. The Rangers can stay at or near the top of the division with what they have now. When the deadline approaches, general manager Jon Daniel and owner Nolan Ryan will look to make the same kind of impact deal they made last July.
But it can’t be just any move, it’s going to need to be the right move to put this team back on top and back into the World Series.