Posts Tagged ‘Seattle Mariners’

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SP3: Ten questions to be answered on Hwy. 162(Part 3)

03/10/2011

The third and final part in our series of ten questions. Last time, the questions were answered regarding who needed to break out the most, what the rotation could look like after the first couple months of the season, and what the bullpen’s future appears to be. Four questions left to answer, including the most important to be answered at #10.

 

7.  Last year Cliff Lee and Bengie Molina were acquired before the trade deadline. What action do you see as being needed when the deadline comes around this year?

Answer: This is a question that is pretty much impossible to answer at this point. The season has not started yet, there have been no major injuries, so there are no holes to fill right now.  With any luck, Texas will not need to make any trades because they will be clicking along so well and doing so well. That’s the optimist in me, but here’s the reality: if Texas wants to move into a contending position again I think a move will have to be made. Judging by how the rotation looks to be set up, I fully expect the need to be a front of the line starting pitcher. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of CJ Wilson and Colby Lewis both. However, neither of those are on the level of a Roy Halladay or a Cliff Lee or etc. Who it will be this year, since I doubt Cliff Lee will be traded back to Texas again, that will depend on what team is struggling or what team wants to start dumping salary. A lot of variables go into this, however I think on the Rangers end Chris Davis will be part of the package sent the other way. There’s no space for Davis at the moment, and he’s having a great spring training. I would not be surprised if he spent start of the season until the trade deadline in Round Rock where he was proven he can put up monster numbers. Jon Daniels sells a team on his upside(which is tremendous), puts a couple other prospects with the deal, and they bring in someone for the stretch run. The other end of this however, is the Rangers being bad and considering dealing their own pieces. Josh Hamilton has been brought up in that category, and I’ll be frank when I say while it would make logical since to do I’m not high on trading him. If he’s performing well, you keep him. The guy has intangibles to offer to the club in the sense of a public relations and fan base standpoint. With that said, if all goes to plan then the Rangers won’t even have to entertain the idea of trading away their superstar.

 

8. Moving away from the player side, John Rhadigan took over for the now departed Josh Lewin in the TV booth. Thoughts?

Answer: Most people don’t see this as an important question, but it really is. Josh Lewin was the TV voice of the Rangers for a long time in the television world, and now he is gone and John Rhadigan has taken his place next to Tom Grieve. I was a big fan of Josh, I think he brought a lot to the booth that made Ranger baseball on TV very enjoyable to watch. He wasn’t your average commentator, he had a lot of quirks that while quite a few fans voiced their annoyance at them. In my eyes, Josh’s quirks made the game that much better. He didn’t feel like a stiff, rigorous, straight play by play guy. He felt like a guy I’d want to sit and watch the game with, because if he talked about the game in that setting you’d probably get the same result. The difference is, he’s really good at calling a game. He is able to blend calling a game with all the little informative nuggets and humorous bits to break things up, because you’ve got three hours plus to fill and it can’t always be done with just baseball.  That said, there’s no real indication how Rhads will call the games. Not unlike players, it’s hard to tell how commentators will do during an actual game because they are having to talk about prospects they might not see for two or three years if ever during the spring training games. However, what I do know is that Rhads is a stand up guy and during his time at FSN he did really good work. I was a big fan of anything he did, so I am very optimistic that he will step into the booth and do a very solid job. I’m not expecting greatness off the bat, you’ve got to allot about a year or two for he and Grieve to get their chemistry down. But in two years,  think we will be able to talk about the Rhadigan/Grieve team as one who ranks up there out of all the teams in baseball.

 

9. So you’ve gone over everything, including commentary teams. What do YOU think the Rangers will do this season?

Answer: Well, to be frank I really think another playoff run is in store. I don’t really think that Seattle will be a threat for awhile(3-5 years), so that leaves Oakland and Anaheim. Oakland has been stockpiling arms with Brett Anderson, Trevor Cahill, Gio Gonzalez, Andrew Bailey and others.  However even with their off season additions to the lineup, I don’t really see them pulling it all together until 2012. That leaves the dormant beast the Angels sitting in the corner. Dan Haren and Jered Weaver anchoring the rotation, and with Vernon Wells joining the lineup the Angels seem to be going for it all. Kendry Morales will be back for the 2011 season, so you have to take them seriously. However, I think this is the time for Texas and for a little while longer they will continue to be atop the division. It won’t be easy, I expect the division to be much closer than last year(when it was over in July). I fully expect Texas to win the division, a slim margin but a victory nevertheless. I’m not expecting a World Series run this year however, and other fans shouldn’t either. Last year could very easily have been lightning in a bottle, where a team who was easily good was magically elevated to great. I think playoffs are a very reasonable expectation, and to say 2011 is a “World Series or bust” year is a viewpoint that is very knee-jerk and illogical. If you don’t get to the playoffs this year, you can call this year a bit of a downturn. However, if Texas makes the playoffs and gives it a good fight you won’t hear any complaints from this fan/blogger.

 

10. OK so you’ve given the optimistic point of view. What’s the bad side of this look like, worst case scenario?

Answer: Worst case scenario is to me third place in the AL West with a record either at .500 or a little under .500. I still think if this team takes a step down we are not worse than Seattle. Seattle has very little to offer not named  Felix Hernandez, and are a good half decade away from contending or anything like it. But Oakland and Anaheim are both deep in starting pitching, and that will be a tenuous issue for the entire season with a lot of unproven arms starting games. You’ve also got injury concerns with Nelson Cruz, Josh Hamilton, and Adrian Beltre now. With all the upside of Texas, also comes the numerous question marks. That’s the biggest worry with the Rangers, they have so many question marks that you have to wonder if they can answer them all. You’ve also got to wonder if Derek Holland has figured it out, will Tommy Hunter be able to be a solid starter, and who actually will occupy the fifth spot on a regular basis?  The talent is there, the coaching staff is finally there, and the money is there with this new ownership group. Now it’s all about putting it together, and making this work for them. They did it last year, and became the Cinderellas of the league. Now, they are the hunted and they are out to defend their title. Will they handle the pressure, well that will be the ultimate question.

Sam

sam@sportsperspective.net

twitter.com/SHSPerspective

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