My Spring Wish List

So we’re finally here. After waiting around since the final out of the World Series on October 30, or the final out of the Rangers season an entire month earlier than that, baseball is finally back. Well, it’s kind of back. I only hesitate slightly there because Lord knows there are plenty of folks bothered by those like myself that consider what’s going on right now interesting.
When it comes to the Texas Rangers there are certainly fewer questions about the everyday lineup now than this time last year. Unfortunately, as we’ve been shown far too many times in recent years, injuries can turn something that was not a concern into a huge question mark overnight. That brings me to my first wish for this spring training… 

1. Please please please don’t let anyone else get hurt. While that’s probably not all that realistic given all that we’ve seen in recent years. It’s my wish list and a guy can hope, right? Obviously this is not just something that I wish for in spring training, but throughout the entire season. That said, I’d love it if when things get started on March 31, everyone is right where they belong. Other than some relatively minor rumblings about Jurickson Profar’s shoulder things seem alright so far. Let’s hope this can continue. 

2. My second wish is that Neftali Feliz has regained his All-Star form. For a large part of the offseason I expected that there would be a competition to see who closes for the team this year. There are certainly enough quality candidates. Some of them I call quality because of their track records. Some of them I call quality just because I personally, am optimistic about their ability to do the job. However, if Feliz has regained his form that leaves everyone else working in the eighth inning, and the seventh inning, and whenever else they’re needed. I guess it really doesn’t matter who pitches when so long as everyone does the job expected from them, but personally I’d love to see Feliz shutting things down. 

3. My third wish is for Nick Tepesch to have a strong enough spring to once again find himself in the rotation come opening day. Due to the freak injury that Derek Holland suffered, the team is definitely in need of someone who can eat some innings. With the numerous options in camp it probably goes without saying that I don’t care who is in the rotation as long as they’re able to perform, but I’m a fan of Tepesch and pretty optimistic about what he can do. It’s not like my expectations of him are unrealistic or there isn’t any indication that he couldn’t live up to them. He started 17 games for the team last year and on a few occasions showed that he had the stuff to start on the major league level. At this time last year no one would have dreamed that he would start 17 games for this team. With that experience there’s no reason to think that he couldn’t be better this year and provide some quality innings. 

4. My final wish (at least for now) is for our biggest offseason additions to have terrific springs. Look, I know how meaningless spring training numbers are. That said, I think it would go a long way in terms of comfort for Prince Fielder and Shin-Soo Choo to perform well this spring. Perhaps that’s something that’s overstated as far its importance is concerned, but no one can say that it wouldn’t be beneficial for them to get off to a great start for their new team. 

There you have it. How significant those issues are can certainly be debated. I’m sure there’s at least one of those things that would cause some of you to tell me to be careful what I wish for. Are there probably more pressing issues? Sure, but these are just a few things that I’m hoping to see this spring.

Chase Bottlinger

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