The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Morgan Shiver, Contributor • June 20, 2024
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Rangers shake things up in offseason

The Texas Rangers knew they were going to need to change a few things if they wanted to compete for the AL-West crown this upcoming season. So it’s no surprise that this off-season has been one of the busiest in the history of the ball club.

Last October, while other teams were making their run at a world championship, the Rangers were already out of contention. Along with finishing third in the AL-West, the Rangers also lost their ace starting pitcher Kenny Rogers to the Detroit Tigers due to contract issues.

The first thing owner Tom Hicks did to spark a positive change was get rid of General Manager John Hart, the man whose big budget acquisitions of Chan Ho Park and Alex Rodriguez financially handicapped the team in previous years. Hart resigned as GM, and his assistant John Daniels took his place.

Daniels, at only 28 years old, didn’t hesitate to get in the action and make some blockbuster trades. On Dec. 8, Daniels traded all-star second baseman Alfonso Soriano to the Washington Nationals for centerfielder and leadoff hitter Brad Wilkerson, outfielder Terrmel Sledge and right-handed pitcher Armando Galarraga.

Just four days after the Soriano trade, the Rangers began to react to the pitching problems that have been plaguing the organization since the mid-1970s. Texas acquired starting pitcher Vicente Padilla from the Phillies in exchange for injury-plagued pitcher Ricardo Rodriguez. Padilla was an all-star for Philadelphia in 2002, and had 27 starts last year. He could earn the No. 3 starter position in the Ranger’s rotation.

In later December, the Rangers improved their bullpen even more by adding two more solid starting pitchers. First, the Rangers traded Highland Park native Chris Young and newly acquired Terrmel Sledge to San Diego for starting pitcher Adam Eaton and set-up man Akinori Otsuka.

Eaton, who would have likely pitched as the No. 2 starter, injured a tendon in his middle finger Wednesday and may be out as long as three months. The 28-year-old Eaton, who was 11-5 last year for the Padres, suffered a similar injury last year which caused him to miss two and a half months.

Fortunately for the Rangers, they also signed a clear No. 1 starter in Kevin Millwood. Millwood lead the American League last year with a 2.86 ERA. He was also an All-Star in 1999, and won at least 17 games in 3 of five seasons with Atlanta from 1998-2002. For his career, Millwood is 107-75 with an ERA of 3.76.

So the opening day lineup should look a little something like this: Wilkerson, leading off and playing centerfield, Hank Blalock playing third, Michael Young playing short, Mark Teixeira playing first, Phil Nevin hitting DH, Kevin Mench in right field, David Dellucci playing left, Rod Barajas catching, and rookie sensation Ian Kinsler starting at second.

With three new starting pitchers and a solid leadoff hitting center fielder, paired with the already dangerous lineup of Young, Teixeira, and Blalock, the Rangers are considered by many to have a legitimate shot at making a run for the playoffs.

A little help from Roger Clemens couldn’t hurt, though.

The Rangers open the regular season Monday, when they host the Red Sox. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN2.

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