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SB Nation: Texas Rangers Not Perfect But 'As Close As It Gets'

It's the Texas Rangers turned to be profiled as a part of SB Nation's spring-training previews, and they're getting rave reviews from Baseball Nation's Grant Brisbee:

They have money. They have young stars on the team; they have future stars in their system. They have pitching; they have hitting. They have marketable players; they have quietly awesome and underrated players. The Texas Rangers are the Yale-bound cheerleader with perfect teeth who helps at the soup kitchen after school. And you sort of want to slash their tires.

And the same cast is coming back, for the most part. The lineup isn't changing a bit, and they'll still have guys hitting leadoff or 7th who could hit cleanup for a lot of teams. When you pick nits with the lineup, you're picking nits with the #8 and #9 hitters. Those nits could probably just be left alone. There are a couple candidates for decline in the lineup: Michael Young (who should probably hit much closer to his career line in his age-35 season), and Mike Napoli (who should still be a large human who is skilled at hitting baseballs, but he shouldn't be that good again). But, again: nits.

Of course, in a country where "if you ain't first you last", the lingering taste of two consecutive World Series defeats stings. However, baseball is more the NCAA than the NBA, once you get into the post-season, anything can happen in such a small sample size.

Rangers fans can take comfort in the fact that with the organization running on all cylinders while MLB continues to recklessly expand the number of wild-card teams, getting into the post-season should be significantly easier going forward.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.