So, the 2009 Rangers ended up bringing the suck pretty strongly. 66-96. It's pretty painful watching the Rangers miss the playoffs every year -- Kindred souls to the Mariners, being two of only three teams to never even sniff the WS. Rangers have the added knock of only winning one playoff game in franchise history.
BUT... 2010 seems somewhat promising.
The major bad news is that we lost Hamilton. Not so much 'bad' as in 'how could this happen to us' -- We did voluntarily trade him away -- But more a Potential Problem.
I like the lineup at the start of the season, though, and we had a semi-decent draft. While the first rounder doesn't seem to have a great deal of potential, we did find a couple of Grade A-potential relievers in the later rounds. Between the draft, the hurlers we've retained, and a significant acquisition here and there... The bullpen is going to be a major strength for the team over the next few years.
Here's what we're looking at:
C: Taylor Teagarden (Middle-of-the-road catcher, makes up for it by having a great name.)
1B: Hank Blalock (Sharing time with Chris Davis)
2B: Ian Kinsler (All-Star ability)
SS: Elvis Andrus (In the 'okay' range. Solid defender, meh bat.)
3B: Michael Young (All-Star ability, part II)
LF: Carl Crawford (A free agent actually wanted to come to Arlington for a change.)
CF: Greg Golson (Weak link. Didn't resign Byrd or Jones to save money elsewhere... See Crawford, Carl.)
RF: Andre Ethier (Takes away the sting of trading Hamilton)
Starting pitching is a mixed bag. Millwood is still around, though his effectiveness seemed to drop a touch. Also added to the rotation was Jason Marquis. New acquisition Joey Devine is set to dominate out of the bullpen. The pressure isn't all on him, as Frank Francisco, CJ Wilson, and Darren O'Day are looking solid. Neftali Feliz is improving swiftly... AND I have two A-potential relievers in development should anyone need a break.