Hope springs eternal at Spring Training. But in Rangers camp, someone appears to have spiked the Gatorade with Prozac. Because players are throwing out pie-in-the-sky predictions like no one's business.
Just so we're clear, this is a team that probably overperformed last year, and still missed out on the playoffs. So last week when Josh Hamilton predicted 96 wins, it turned a few heads. Really, adding Rich Harden and Chris Ray is going to give you a shot at homefield advantage through the playoffs?
But now that individual players have begun to weigh in with their own predictions, it starts to make sense. Hambone says to expect a full season from him, rather than the 89 games he played in last year. Add to that a 30-30 year from Nelson Cruz:
Asked if he was capable of having a 30-homer, 30-steal season, Cruz wholeheartedly said he was. Then, when asked if he cared to guarantee it, he thought for a moment before saying he would, in fact, become the second Ranger in as many years to join the 30-30 club.
That sounds like a lot to ask, but then you consider the fact that Cruz won't even lead the team in stolen bases, not by a long shot.
Earlier in camp, I asked [Gary] Pettis what he thought was a realistic range of steals for [Julio] Borbon to reach in his first full season in the majors.
Pettis said he'd be disappointed if Borbon failed to reach 30.
"He ought to be disappointed if I don't get to 50," Borbon said.
Other things the Rangers will accomplish in 2010:
•Become the first team to send all 25 players to the All-Star Game.
•Go 161-1, but only out of humility.
•Start a home run conga line, like in that Bugs Bunny cartoon.
•Make C.J. Wilson's Twitter more entertaining than Ozzie Guillen's.
•Fit Jarrod Saltalamacchia's name comfortably on a uniform.
•Once and for all establish that their dancers are not whores.
Hamilton 'ready,' expects 96 wins [MLB.com]
Morning briefing: Nelson Cruz's bold guarantee, the Tao of "B" games and, um, Lady Antebellum [Dallas Morning News]
Could Julio Borbon break Texas Rangers' steal record? [Dallas Morning News]