So, with the season kicking off Sunday night, we are going to start seeing predictions come rolling in, and Rob Neyer says he is taking the Rangers in the A.L. West this year. Neyer's reasoning is that, while they'll be lucky to win 90 games, so will either of the other three A.L. West teams, and he says the numbers keep coming back to the Rangers having the best shot of doing that.
He mentions his prediction as part of a post urging the Rangers to grab Mike Lowell, with the idea that he would platoon with Chris Davis at first base and shore up what appears to be the Rangers' biggest potential problem in the everyday lineup.
I go back and forth about this...part of me says, the Rangers are going for it this year, and Chris Davis is too big of a wild card to go out there without some insurance. At the very least, I figure, platoon him...it can't be that hard to find someone to play first base and mash lefties, right?
On the other hand, I think...before last year, Davis didn't exhibit big splits. Of course, last year, he was horrible against lefties (he actually post an OPS above 800, albeit barely, against righties)...but at the same time, if we have a repeat of 2009 with Davis, then Justin Smoak is going to be up. Or Mitch Moreland,.
In any case, the Rangers supposedly are still cool on Lowell, and while Neyer suggests that $3 million shouldn't stand in the way of acquiring Lowell, by all accounts, the Rangers simply don't have $3 million to spend until the ownership change goes through. So I don't think Lowell is coming here.
That said...it is nice to see a national writer pick the Rangers this year. Texas appeared, at one point, to be the hip pick in the West, but as Neyer notes, Seattle is now the trendy pick. The brilliance of the Seattle front office, I imagine, is going to be worth 5-7 wins at least...