This off-season The Nats Blog will be conducting interviews with sites from all thirty teams. One team a week leading up to the start of the 2011 baseball season. This week I spoke with Adam Morris from Lone Star Ball, one of the top Texas Rangers blogs on the net to talk about the surprise American League champions and what we should expect from the team next season.
TNB: What is the reaction from the Rangers fan base on losing Cliff Lee to the Phillies?
Lone Star Ball: Rangers fans were very disappointed, for the most part. I think most Rangers fans believed that there was a pretty decent chance Lee would re-sign with Texas, and to have him leave -- particularly to Philly, who didn't seem to be in the hunt until very, very late. That being said, while the Rangers would be a better team with Lee, the money involved and the length of the contract made that a risky signing, and so I think there's to a certain extent a feeling that we may have dodged a bullet, much like we did in losing out on the Barry Zito signing. And at least he didn't go to the Yankees...
TNB: Brandon Webb has been picked up by the Rangers. Is this low-risk, high-reward move enough to make people forget about Lee?
Lone Star Ball: No. Brandon Webb isn't going to make people forget about Lee. At this point, I think we're just hopeful that he can give the Rangers 20-25 starts at a league average ERA. Given that he's missed the last two seasons, I think even that is very optimistic.
TNB: Mitch Moreland burst onto the scene in the post-season, and even hit a clutch three-run home run in Game 3 of the World Series. What can baseball fans expect from him in the future?Lone Star Ball: Moreland is an interesting story, a former late round pick who has fought his way through the system and ended up starting instead of the more highly touted Justin Smoak (who was traded for Lee) and Chris Davis. Moreland is someone who I think profiles as a Lyle Overbay type...he's not going to be an All Star, but you can play him and he won't kill you, and he's especially got value now, while he's earning the minimum.
TNB: One year ago Colby Lewis was a member of the Hiroshima Toyo Carp. The Rangers took a chance by signing him to a two-year contract where he rewarded them by striking out 196 and winning Game 3 of the World Series. Should we expect more from Lewis next year?
Lone Star Ball: I think that you can expect for Lewis, in 2011, pretty much what you saw in 2010. He'll give you a lot of innings, throw strikes, and be a solid #2/#3 starter.
TNB: Were the Rangers a one-year wonder? Can we expect them to be competitive next year?
Lone Star Ball: I think the Rangers are built to compete long-term. That doesn't mean that the Rangers will be back in the World Series next year, or even necessarily win the West, but this is a team that has a strong farm system, new ownership that is committed to spending the money necessary to win, and a solid young core. There are no guarantees, of course, but this is a team that should be competitive for years to come.