With Spring Training fast approaching, MLB.com will take a look at a different aspect of this year's Rangers squad each day this week. Today's topic: The perfect season.ARLINGTON -- A perfect season for the Rangers means they have won the World Series.There is no other goal. The Rangers have reached
With Spring Training fast approaching, MLB.com will take a look at a different aspect of this year's Rangers squad each day this week. Today's topic: The perfect season.
ARLINGTON -- A perfect season for the Rangers means they have won the World Series.
There is no other goal. The Rangers have reached a point where division titles are only a means to the end. They have won seven in the American League West, including the last two.
A World Series is the only perfect season in Arlington. They have a sufficient number of other banners.
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"We're missing one," manager Jeff Banister said. "I think that burns deeper than the prospects of being good. You've got to have talent but desire overrides a lot of that. I like the fact that our guys, at the end of the night, their quest, their small mission, it's a nightly mission. That drives this club…incomplete mission."
The question is how can the Rangers complete that goal. The seven-step process starts in the same spot as it always does with the Rangers.
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1. Starting pitching
Cole Hamels is a worthy No. 1. Yu Darvish can be dominating if he stays healthy for a full season. Andrew Cashner and Tyson Ross can also be dominating if they can regain full strength. A.J. Griffin can win in the big leagues if he stays healthy. Martin Perez has tantalized the Rangers for several years. A perfect season includes Perez finishing his long and winding road of development and becoming a consistent front-line starting pitcher.
2. The Big 3
The Rangers need a full year out of Shin-Soo Choo, Carlos Gomez and Jonathan Lucroy. Those three combined to play 128 games for Texas last year. Choo was hurt for much of the year and Lucroy and Gomez were acquired in August. The Rangers are counting on them for full seasons.
3. Party like it's 2011
Josh Hamilton and Mike Napoli were big reasons why the Rangers almost won a World Series in 2011. Napoli is coming off a 34-home run, 101-RBI season with the Indians but Hamilton didn't play at all last year. They both provided much firepower in 2011 but that was six years ago.
4. No power outages
The Rangers love their power arms and their bullpen is full of them. Sam Dyson leads the way as closer, but the Rangers also have right-handers Matt Bush, Keone Kela, Tanner Scheppers and Jeremy Jeffress. Throw in Tony Barnette and soft-tossing lefty Alex Claudio and this has a chance to be a lockdown bullpen.
5. How good are they?
Outfielder Nomar Mazara and second baseman Rougned Odor were excellent last season. They are young and could get better. But even right now they may be good enough.
6. Rising from the depths
The Rangers need depth and they have some developing young players to provide that in outfielders Delino DeShields and Drew Robinson, infielders Jurickson Profar, Joey Gallo and Hanser Alberto, and catcher Brett Nicholas. They may not have prominent roles early but that can change quickly.
7. Buddy system
Third baseman Adrian Beltre and shortstop Elvis Andrus make for a formidable left side of the infield if they don't kill each other.
"There are a lot of reasons to think we are going to better," general manager Jon Daniels said. "That's all on paper. It's got to play out on the field. The people we have and the system we have, that's what makes me feel confident in this group."
T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.