Runs scored equals revenue, not wins, for the Texas Rangers.
With the start of Spring Training for the Texas Rangers upon us, that which has plagued the Rangers over the last number of seasons appears that it will plague them again in 2008: starting pitching.
Jon Daniels and company in the front office made, what I believe to be some very shrewd acquisitions over this offseason to improve the Texas offense. I think Josh Hamilton will be an absolute star in this league in the near future, Ben Broussard is an excellent, yet underrated pick up, and I believe that Milton Bradley will perform beyond expectations as well. The run totals will be up across the board in Arlington this year, and fans love offense.
On the other hand, the Rangers projected starting rotation of Kevin Millwood, Vicente Padilla, Brandon McCarthy, Jason Jennings and Kason Gabbard pales in comparison to those of the other AL West teams. The Rangers starters last season finished dead last in 3 or 4 pitching categories in ALL of Major League Baseball. There are no significant upgrades to this staff from last year. The runs for Rangers opponents should be plentiful again in 2008.
Here's my take on what the Rangers are aiming for this year: Jon Daniels made no big moves involving starting pitching because he wants runs on the board in Arlington, lots of runs. The passive baseball fan is turned off by the 1-0, 2-1, etc games. But, if you can turn those into 7-6, or even 9-8 games then you mobilize more of the passive fan base to come out to the park. If they know they're going to see 12+ runs everytime they go to the park, more people will turn out for the games.
In summary, I think the Rangers are building for the future. But until they get there, they want high scoring games for the pure and simple purpose of generating revenue. That of course, coming at the cost of quality baseball, and more importantly winning baseball.
Mark Van Paasschen