T.R. Sullivan has a mailbag up and among his answers is a list of his five keys for the Rangers this year, which look a lot like what mine would be:
- Brandon McCarthy and Robinson Tejeda need to make an impact in the starting rotation. Kevin Millwood and Vicente Padilla were solid last year, but obviously were nowhere near enough.
- The Rangers need more offense from their outfield/DH combo, whether it's from Sammy Sosa, Nelson Cruz or Brad Wilkerson. Kenny Lofton and Frank Catalanotto should be fine at the top of the lineup, but this team has been lacking real offensive firepower from the outfield for a long time.
- Hank Blalock. Simply put, he's huge. Otherwise, this offense could drop off quickly in the lower half of the order.
- The bullpen needs to be as good as the Rangers think. That's just not Eric Gagne. I think between him and Akinori Otsuka, the Rangers will have a closer. It's more about the middle relievers, guys like C.J. Wilson, Wes Littleton and the rest, can they be as good as the Rangers think.
- Make the right additions on or before July 31
Sullivan also has a feature on Vicente Padilla and discusses his leadership role. Among the notes in that piece Sullivan mentions Josh Rupe's efforts to stay healthy this spring after his trouble doing so in the past.