The problem, and it's the only problem, is the Rangers basically have a Starting Pitching Staff of all #5 Starters. This problem will be resolved during the season:
1. The Rangers face a 40 man roster problem during the 2009-2010 offseason. Therefore, after a two month 2009 look-around their own system, the midsummer Rangers will be trading prospects for starting pitching. God help Nolan Ryan break an almost 40 year franchise history of trading away seemingly untradeable pitching talent. The Rangers have enough prospect talent to acquire two talented starting pitchers and still maintain a stocked minor league system. I prefer they acquire one starter, and keep their powder dry. We shall see.
2. Derek Holland arrives in June, struggles a bit in June and July, hits his stride during September playoff run.
3. Neftali Feliz arrives in August(as 8th inning set up man in bullpen?): throws so hard he needs only a couple weeks to acclimate.
4. Ben Sheets signs in August.
Sample September-October Pitching Staff:
Holland on a roll
That staff would be formidable and could win in pressurized conditions. That starting pitching - Sheets and Greinke especially - could win in the playoffs.
The rest of the squad is ready*, and is steadily evolving into more and more formidable (think '84-'85 Chicago Bears). There is media/fan skepticism about newcomers Cruz, Murphy, Saltalamacchia. It's Opening Day! From where I sit: those guys are about to kick derriere! By July, when Nelson Cruz** wins the Home Run Contest: every knowledgeable baseball person and every unknowledgeable media hack will recount how they always knew Cruz would be a star. Every one of them. Watch for it. They knew it all along. They never doubted Cruz. They'll tell you, then, after the fact.
*Texas Rangers 2008 record was 79-83 (amidst a horror of pitching injury and lack of pitching production which is significantly unlikely to be repeated). 79-83 is not horrible for a young team fighting difficult circumstances. Some media types need to wake from their Rangers-bashing stupor. If anyone cares to open their eyes, the Rangers have emerging talent which is primed to do some damage. What does that translate to? 83-79? 86-76? Midseason acquisitions, 89-73, and a championship of a weak division? However it translates, people should pay attention: the Texas Rangers are emerging and formidable. Think of Kinsler as Mike Singletary, Hamilton as Dan Hampton, Nelson Cruz as Otis Wilson, Michael Young as a touchy and prideful Walter Payton, Neftali Feliz as unstoppable force Refrigerator Perry.
**Theory: Nelson Cruz suffers from "boring name prejudice". Were he Jesus Cruz, or Jose Cruz, or Clemente Cruz, or Bocephus Cruz: media would love him and would be predicting great things for him. Brent Musberger would be actively predicting his future triumph in the Home Run Contest.