The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Sports Talk-Prospects higher for 2008 Rangers

By John Garces/sports editor

As the 2007 baseball season winds down, it’s been another rather abysmal season for the local team.

But have no fear, Ranger fans, because all hope is not lost for 2008.

Buoyed by the play of some of their youngest prospects, the Rangers had a strong start to the second half, before a late-season slide finally eliminated them from playoff contention.

Despite another in a long line of losing seasons, a winning season, and contention in the weak American League West is not out of the question.

One of the biggest ways the Rangers reversed their fortunes late in the year was by the one-sided trade deadline deals general manager Jon Daniels pulled off.

Daniels traded the popular, but increasingly unhappy, Mark Teixeira to the Atlanta Braves and received the top three prospects in the Braves’ farm system, led by catcher/first baseman Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

Also playing a part in the bright future of the team in ’08 is David Murphy, the young outfielder the Rangers got from the Boston Red Sox in a trade for Eric Gagne. Murphy figures into the outfield rotation next season.

The real gem of the Red Sox deal was Kason Gabbard, a left-handed ground-ball pitcher who figures to have the stuff needed to produce wins at the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

I look for the Rangers to go hard after Minnesota Twins center fielder Torii Hunter in free agency.

Hunter, an Arkansas native, who recently moved into the Dallas suburbs where he makes his off-season home, has said that he is not returning to the Twin Cities in 2008.

If not, expect a lot more Ranger fans “doing the bird” around the ballpark as Marlon Byrd, one of the best stories of the ’07 campaign, will be the everyday center fielder instead.

Prior to the beginning of spring training in April, the Rangers hired Ron Washington as the man to lead them to the top of the American League West standings.

They have the right man for the job.

If they can make a few additions to the young, talented roster they have now, 2008 could be a rare year for the Rangers.

They might exceed everyone’s expectations rather than not meeting the lofty goals they set for themselves.

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