2015 record: 88-74, 1st place in AL West
Manager: Jeff Banister, 2nd season
Estimated 2016 payroll: $156.2 million
Key additions: OF/SS Ian Desmond, RP Tom Wilhemsen, OF Justin Ruggiano
Key losses: SP Yovani Gallardo, 1B Mike Napoli, OF Leonys Martin
CF Delino DeShields, Jr.
RF Shin-Soo Choo
DH Prince Fielder
3B Adrian Beltre
1B Mitch Moreland
LF Ian Desmond
2B Rougned Odor
SS Elvis Andrus
C Robinson Chirinos
LHP Cole Hamels
RHP Yu Darvish
LHP Derek Holland
RHP Colby Lewis
LHP Martin Perez
CL Shawn Tolleson
RHP Keone Kela
RHP Tom Wilhelmsen
Biggest questions entering 2016
1. Will Hamels and Darivsh be a dominant duo? The Rangers took off in the second half of the 2015 season after acquiring ace Cole Hamels in a trade with the Phillies and went all the way to Game 5 of the ALCS before Jose Bautista bat flipped them out of the playoffs. That run was put together without Yu Darvish, one of their best players. Darvish missed the 2015 season after having Tommy John surgery, but is now on his road back. The potential of Hamels and Darvish as a 1-2 combination has a lot of baseball fans excited, as they could form the best rotation duo in the game. If Texas can get back to the postseason, no one will want to face those two to begin a series. That is, of course, assuming Darvish can make a full recovery. The odds are much better than they used to be, but you never know until the guy takes the mound again.
2. Can they hold off the Astros? The Rangers pulled away late to capture the AL West division title, barely edging the Houston Astros who won 86 games and qualified for the playoffs. The Rangers took the division with 88 wins, but it may take much more than that in 2016. The Astros appear to be a team on the rise with a young team and some nice additions made this winter. Can the Rangers make enough of a leap to repeat as division champs? It should be one of the more entertaining pennant races to watch this season.
3. Can they improve their pitching? Getting Darvish back should help Texas improve their pitching, which was a relative weakness in 2015. The Rangers placed 23rd in team ERA, 21st in rotation ERA and 24th in bullpen ERA. It cost Mike Maddux his job as pitching coach, as he has now moved on to the Nationals. Now Doug Brocail will take over the Rangers' staff hoping for much better results. The Rangers gave up 733 runs in 2015, which was nearly a 100 runs more than what they allowed in 2013 (636), for instance. That has to change.