Texas Rangers 2013/14 Off-Season Preview

Strengths:  The Infield.  The Texas Rangers have as good an infield as there is in baseball.  Now that Miguel Cabrera is likely to be back at first base in Detroit, one can certainly argue Adrian Beltre is the best third baseman in baseball.  Elvis Adrus is a top tier shortstop, and the Texas Rangers have dealt away Ian Kinsler to make room for one of the best young players in the game, Jurickson Profar.  Kinsler was not dealt away for nothing, in fact, they got a whole lot of a first baseman in Prince Fielder.  They also have a pretty good top of the rotation.  Yu Darvish is one of the top five pitchers in baseball, Derek Holland is an All-Star, and Neftali Feliz has incredible stuff and can be an excellent closer.

Weaknesses: Outfield.  Nelson Cruz is currently a free agent, and missed 50 games to suspension in 2013.  Alex Rios is still there and the Rangers are very high on center fielder Leonys Martin, but currently in left, they have former Oakland A’s prospect Michael Choice, who has not done much at the big league level.  They have also lost A.J. Pierzynski, and resigned Geovany Soto, but Soto ‘s best year of his career was his rookie season when he won the Rookie of the Year Award.

Off-Season Needs:  With the Winter Meetings having kicked off, there are plenty of rumors swirling around, one of which has the Rangers interested in Shin-Soo Choo, and that makes sense.  They likely won’t go back to Nelson Cruz, but do need another bat in the outfield, and Choo can be a middle of the order guy, or a top of the order guy.  They could also use another starter, and possibly a veteran arm in the bullpen.

2014 Projection:  The AL West will likely be a three team race, between the Rangers and two teams we have yet to highlight, hint, one won’t be the Houston Astros.  The Rangers have stumbled the past two years despite being preseason division favorites, but this year is different.  So far, the four other teams in the division have gotten better, but I am not sure the Rangers have.  They will still flirt with 90 wins, but are far from the hands down favorites going into 2014.

You can follow Shaun Kernahan on twitter @shaunkernahan, add him to your network on Google, and like Shaun on Facebook.

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