After losing Josh Hamilton and Mike Napoli to free agency, failing to sign Zack Greinke from the open market and striking out on a Justin Upton trade, a setback for the Rangers in the American League playoff race seemed inevitable. In the AL West, the A's had improved and the Angels had added some big names. The Indians, Royals and Orioles would make the wild-card race more competitive.
Texas had a grasp on first place in its division and then a wild-card bid for a good chunk of the season. But lesser talent on offense and injuries eventually caught up with the Rangers and they lost a one-game playoff to the Rays for the final AL wild-card spot. However, a strong core is still in place to build around and with the right additions, this team should be back in contention against next year.
Adding some thunder to the lineup has to be a priority. Texas led MLB with 808 runs scored in 2012, but fell to eighth (730 runs) this season. Only four Rangers hit 15 homers or more, compared to seven a year ago, led by Hamilton's 43 and Beltre's 36. Getting more production out of the left field and designated hitter spots would help significantly. Add right field to the list of needs if Nelson Cruz departs via free agency.