The next Rays

FanHouse’s Andrew Johnson proclaims the Rangers to be the next Rays:

Trying to find the next Tampa Bay Rays a year after their meteoric rise to the top of the American League is a bit of an insult to what the Rays accomplished in 2008. Going from worst to first in one season just doesn’t happen very often in baseball.

The 2008 Rays were the next 1991 Braves, if anything, so trying to find the heir to the Rays one year later when it might actually take a full generation for that team to emerge could be a fool’s errand.

On the other hand, if we look at the 2008 Rays as following in the footsteps of the 2007 Rockies and 2006 Tigers, it’s much easier to find a team that could take the mantle of enormous surprise in 2009. Enter the Texas Rangers.

I think Andrew is right that the Rangers are going to be very good very soon, but I kind of hope this “The Next Rays” thing doesn’t become a new meme in baseball. You know and I know and Andrew knows that good teams don’t arise overnight, but there’s a wide swath of fandom and mediadom that probably doesn’t understand that. I’d hate nothing more than for baseball to become like football, where people expect some team to come out of nowhere every season, with the identity of that team serving as the offseason’s primary parlor game. Such a dynamic creates impatient fans and is a disservice to the scouts and front office folks who put a lot of damn work into turning losers into winners.


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Jason @ IIATMS
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Jason @ IIATMS

The Rangers have a nice farm system, but where is the pitching that’s going to carry them?  We’ve seen various iterations of a Rangers team make the playoffs only to fall short due to the lack of a talented/deep rotation. 

Kenny Rogers, Millwood, etc. are not the aces who can bring you to the Promised Land.

TB at least has/had some great young arms to balance the club’s talented positional staff.

Wooden_U_Lykteneau
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Wooden_U_Lykteneau

Indeed. There are also a lot of people that think that the Rays got so good solely because of their high draft picks, not shrewd trades like:

* Grant Balfour from the Brewers for Seth McClung, July 207
* Dan Wheeler from the Astros, July 2007 * Matt Garza and SS Jason Barrett from the Twins for OF Delmon Young, November 2007
* Willie Aybar for Jeff Ridgway from the Braves, January 2008
* Gabe Gross from the Brewers in April 2008
* Chad Bradford from Baltimore in August 2008

RoyceTheBaseballHack
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RoyceTheBaseballHack
I’ll do my best to keep this brief and to the point, Shyster.  Further, I don’t think your point is as much The Rangers as the concept of Coming from Palukaville to The Fall Classic. However, as the Self Appointed North Texas Desk of All Things Rangers, I feel an obligation to weigh-in. Offhand, I don’t see that The Rangers making the playoffs, or doing really well this season, should be regarded as a Meteroric Rise. They actually held their own in 2008, and while their final record was pedestrian, they played some brilliant baseball last year.  A lot of… Read more »
scatterbrian
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scatterbrian

weird that a guy calling himself a BaseballHack would only predict 12 added wins considering the red unis and “Nolan’s beefed-up conditioning”….that’s more like 18 wins…

pete
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pete
It took 95 games to win the wild card last year, Royce, and that was with the Indians and Tigers completely out of the picture. It’s unlikely that it will take 95 games to win the wild card this year, but 91+ is a pretty good bet. I like the Rangers going forward, but 91 wins is going to be tough in 2009. There’s a better chance that Anaheim falls hard due to the losses of Teix and KRod, attrition, and worse luck (they outperformed their pythagorean record by 12 wins) and Oakland doesn’t put it together. That’s a very… Read more »
RoyceTheBaseballHack
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RoyceTheBaseballHack

I only mention the return of the red uniform because abandoning them and returning to the white/blue garb was not well received in the ranks of Rangers fandom- we saw it kind of like drinking Jo-Bu’s rum. We can only hope that their return ignites a maelstrom of good vibes and sound fielding.

scatterbrian
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scatterbrian

damn, there’s a REDRUM joke there somewhere….I just can’t figure it out.

RoyceTheBaseballHack
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RoyceTheBaseballHack

You’re right..! Probably is…also probably funnier just knowing it lurks in there under the surface…

themarksmith
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themarksmith

I imagine if the Rangers pull it off, then everyone after them will be “the New Rangers” just like the Rays were the “new Braves”.

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