Texas Rangers: Who is healthy?
The Texas Rangers were hit hard by the injury bug in 2014 and dropped to 67-95, ending their run of five consecutive winning seasons. It was a somewhat unexpected fall from grace, as the team was coming off an active offseason in which they traded for Prince Fielder and signed Shin-Soo Choo.
Fielder and Choo both missed significant chunks of the season with injuries, and did not really produce when healthy to begin with. Fielder hit only three home runs in 42 games before a neck injury shelved him for the rest of the season. Choo hit only .242 with a career-low .374 slugging percentage before an elbow injury sent him to the bench for all of September. Adrian Beltre was the lone bright spot, but even he was affected by a quad injury and saw his power numbers decline. Yu Darvish started only 22 games. Once promising starter Alexi Ogando could not recover from multiple arm injuries. Solid outfielder Alex Rios played only 131 games. If it was going to go wrong in 2014 for the Texas Rangers, it did.
Already, 2015 is not off to a good start, as mega-prospect Jurickson Profar will miss the entire season. New manager Jeff Bannister will need health if this team has even the slimmest of chances to contend in the tough AL West. Fielder appears to be a man in decline. If he can stay healthy, he may be able to reverse the downward movement of his slugging percentage. Globe Life Park may provide a boost. Without Darvish for much of the season, the Rangers rotation was a mess. They must have at least 30 starts out of him. Yovani Gallardo was brought in to serve as a capable number two starter, but beyond him, the rotation is still a mess.
The best case scenario for the Rangers is that everyone stays healthy. With a rapidly aging core, that may be too much to ask. With a thin bench and an even thinner rotation, any significant injury may have Rangers fans counting down the days until next season.