At 56-40, the Texas Rangers start today six games clear of the Anaheim Angels and 7.5 games ahead of Oakland for the AL West crown. CoolStandings.com gives the Rangers an 86% chance of winning the division and to boot they are just two behind the Rays for the Wild Card if they were to lose the West due to some insane hot streak reminiscent of Oakland’s 2003 run of 20 games in a row or Colorado’s September of 2007.
BUY OR SELL
Obviously the answer is buy, but I cannot pretend to make this retroactive and the Rangers have already bought. A more pressing question then is whether the Rangers have bought enough. Personally, I think so. Even without much help yet from Cliff Lee or Bengie Molina the Rangers performed as one of baseball’s best teams. Cliff Lee is a huge addition and Bengie Molina a decent addition of depth at catcher. I am still of the mind that the Angels are over performing in 2010 and the Athletics pose little realistic threat down the stretch especially is Ben Sheets ends up being dealt. Assuming the Rangers do not collapse in the Texas summer heat, they should waltz to their first postseason berth since 1999.
ON THE FARM
Neftali Feliz and Derek Holland are up with the team and Justin Smoak is now with Seattle so the biggest name left near the Majors is Tanner Scheppers. Scheppers has moved back into the rotation after beginning this Minor League season in the Double-A and eventually Triple-A bullpen. It is far too early to pass any sort of statistical judgment on his performance, but his ability to miss bats and get strikeouts is certainly holding over from his amateur days. The questions on Scheppers for the near future are going to be jointly related issues with injuries and control. So far they are being held at bay, but anyone with his history should be treated with caution.
Put bluntly, the Rangers budget is $0. Currently mired in an ownership and financial quagmire, the Rangers are not in a good position to be adding salary. They had to construct their trades for Bengie Molina and Cliff Lee around the sending teams eating large percentages of those contracts in return for better prospects heading back from Texas. Luckily, Texas is not in an immediate need to add payroll. Where it could get very sticky is if this drags out and runs into the offseason or who knows, even next year’s draft.
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