Richard Durrett says Derek Holland and Ian Kinsler need to step up - Doug Pensinger
Richard Durrett id's those players the Rangers need to see play better in 2013
Richard Durrett has a blog post this morning in which he ruminates on which Ranger players need to take the "biggest step forward to help this club in 2013."
Durrett identifies seven players who need to improve next year -- Derek Holland, Alexi Ogando, Mike Olt, Ian Kinsler, Nelson Cruz, Robbie Ross and Leonys Martin.
Holland and Kinsler are the obvious ones, to me...both of them are capable of much better seasons than they had in 2012, and getting the two of them to perform closer to 2011 would go a long way towards getting the Rangers back into first place next year. Cruz probably falls in this category, as well, although Durrett says this is players who aren't on the final year of their deals and who could be in the team's long-term plans, so I'm not sure that Cruz really qualifies.
(Kinsler, incidentally, has apparently been talked about in Baltimore, but a writer there says not to expect the Orioles to trade for Kinsler).
Ogando and Ross are odd selections...both pitched well last season, and Ross is probably going to have a similar role in 2013 as he did in 2012, while Ogando is going back to the rotation.
The Leonys situation is a strange one, and I'm not sure what to make of it. The Rangers gave him a significant contract in 2011 expecting him to be the centerfielder of the future, and there were those talking about him being a starter in the second half of the 2011 season. But he's still gotten little exposure at the major league level, and it sounds like the Rangers aren't terribly comfortable with the idea of him starting the season as their centerfielder in 2013, which makes you wonder at what point he starts getting hit with the "bust" label. That said, there's the opportunity for Leonys to play a significant role on the 2013 team, and if he does, he's someone who you'd think at least has the potential to step up and perform big.
That leaves Mike Olt, and to me, Olt is the guy on this list who I don't think belongs here. I simply don't see much chance that Olt gets significant playing time in the majors with the Rangers in 2013. He's not going to be the team's third baseman, and he doesn't have much value anywhere else on the field. If he's not dealt this offseason, I expect him to start the season in AAA, and only see significant time in the majors if there is an injury.