Hello, everyone. In the middle of NCAA hoops, we've got the Rangers finishing up spring training. Lots to discuss, so fire away.
Will Joakim Soria play a big roll this season?
Yes. No matter what role that is, it's a big one. We don't know yet what that role is at this point. I still think it ends up being a setup job. But he's going to be important. No doubt.
Will Colby Lewis be on the roster this season?
I say yes. I still think it's possible he could make a start early this season, though he still has to continue to build arm strength. But he's pitched well this spring and is getting used to the added length of his stride, which has altered his mechanics a bit.
Hey Richard, how do you see the closer situation shaking out for Texas?
Good question. I really don't know. I still think Neftali Feliz gets it, but he hasn't looked the way everyone expected after he pitched in winter ball. But this bullpen lines up better if he's the closer and the Rangers want him to close. Yet he still hasn't earned it. Stay tuned.
Richard, do you think Scheppers could hold up as a starter?
The question would be the innings. But he's got the stuff to do it and he's looked really good this spring. As we sit today, I'd put him in the rotation and see what happens. He can always go back to the pen. But don't expect a bunch of innings.
Which off season acquisition will have the better season, Choo or Fielder?
Fielder. I just think the guy is primed for a big year. He's got Adrian Beltre hitting behind him, he's in a park that's good for him and he gets a fresh start. Choo will be solid, but I'll take Fielder over him.
Hi Richard, haven't heard too much about Leonys lately. Do you think he'll have a better year than last year?
It's a big year for Leonys. He seized the CF job last year and now must prove that he's ready to be a consistent big league player. I think he will be just fine and am expecting a solid year.
How do you think that the Texas Rangers will do in 2014?
I think it's easy to let what has been a rough spring with injuries get you feeling like this team won't do anything. I still think they'll be competitive in an AL West that has all its teams dealing with injuries. We'll talk records and predictions next week.
Can the Rangers get Michael Choice 400 AB's this year as a 4th OF/part-time DH or will they give him a month or two in the minors?
Right now, he's got to be in the big leagues. How many ABs will depend on injuries and, frankly, how well Mitch Moreland plays.
If Ross and Scheppers are the best two candidates to round out the rotation because they are the most effective, shouldn't JD place them in the rotation because it's easier to fill a gap in your bullpen during the season than a gap in your rotation. The two most recent examples of failed rotation help trades would be the trades for Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza.
Yes. And that's what they'll do. Ross is really making a push. I didn't have him in my rotation before his start on Thursday, but he may be in now. We'll see. But you go with the best 5 and then make the calls you need to make as Harrison is ready, Holland, etc.
Is the team worried Elvis' shoulder could be a chronic problem? And will the 'on-line chats' be in this format or like before, two years ago?
Reports out of AZ today say that Andrus' MRI showed no structural damage. Dr. Keith Meister will look at him and determine a course of action. I don't think it's a huge concern. The fact that he didn't throw this offseason hurt him. You can bet that won't happen again.
How far do you think the Rangers will go with the pitching being uncertain and why ain't they getting any pitching help
There's no help to get right now, Albert. They got a few arms -- Hanson and Saunders -- but they've got to let things play out now. No question, it's the biggest question mark on this team.
Will Kouzmanoff be this year's version of Jeff Baker?
It's possible. He continues to hit and he can play 3B, something this team will need as insurance for Beltre. The bench spots are still to be determined. But I like what I've seen from Kouzmanoff this spring.
How often will Prince DH this season?
He likes to play first, so manager Ron Washington may have to fight with him, but I think you'll see it average out to maybe once every 10 games or so (maybe more). That way he can get a half-day and Moreland could play first.
I think here should be more concern about Leonys Martin's offense. He can't hit lefties, and there is no longer a platoon partner in Gentry. Is our plan to just throw him out there and see if he can hit them this year?
I think it's time to find out if he can handle it every day. So run him out there. If not, that's another reason to have Michael Choice and his left-handed bat on the bench. Choo can slide over to CF against certain lefties when Washington wants to play Choice in that kind of scenario.
Can M. Perez be a legit #2 starter?
Perhaps he'll answer that question this year. I think he showed last year that he has tremendous potential. Now he must validate it with a solid 2014 campaign.
Is there a front runner between Hanson and Saunders specifically? Hanson has options but they wouldn't do that, right?
I'd have to say that Saunders seems more likely over Hanson. The club knows what it has in Saunders, but while Hanson's results have been OK, he hasn't shown the stuff he had pre-surgery with the Braves.
Chances both Scheppers and Ross making the rotation?
Better than they were a week ago. But we'll see. Remember that if they do, it doesn't mean that's a permanent situation. You go with the best 5 you can and then make decisions when Harrison is ready to come back.
And yes, I'm watching Duke and pulling for upsets. Because upsets are fun.
When will the Rangers start talking extension with Darvish? The Cy Young provisions in his contract are going to shorten the length.
I think you'll see that at some point after this season. Look at all the injuries we've seen from pitchers this spring. Yes, they risk it costing more money by waiting, but Darvish likely wants to wait too. Makes sense to talk after the season, especially for Darvish. If he wins the Cy Young, it changes a lot of things.
Is this the year we see Profar take a giant step forward?
He needs to take a step of some kind. He was moved around to a bunch of positions last year and that probably didn't help. Now he has a steady position. It's time to see him show why he was the top-rated prospect last season.
With Nolan Ryan darting for Houston, what do you think the chances are that the Rangers will have a new AAA team after the current agreement with Round Rock expires?
Honestly, no. If the arrangement works for each side, and right now it is, that stuff wouldn't get in the way.
Scheppers was a starter coming up early in the minors, why is there so much concern over whether he could handle in the innings?
Because he hasn't done it in a while. But they'll monitor him, if in fact he starts, and we'll see how it goes. And you're right: He's started before.
Is Joey Gallo the planned heir of Adrian Beltre or does the front office not value him that high?
They value him very high. Again, I don't think they put labels on anybody. He's an asset and a big one. They want him to develop and then see what happens.
Thanks, everyone. Let's talk next week. Opening Day just 10 days away.