World Series postmortem: 10 questions about Rangers for 2012

David Brown
Big League Stew

The World Series has ended and, sigh, the Texas Rangers came in second for the second season in a row. Regardless, manager Ron Washington called his team "champions" and there is plenty of truth to it, even if the players didn't hoist a trophy — and the St. Louis Cardinals did — Friday night.

[Related: Cards win the easy way]

So, now what? Even though most of the roster is signed at least through next season, plenty of questions persist about the twice-defending American League champions. And it's the offseason, so let's get at them:

1. Is C.J. Wilson coming back? Despite a disappointing postseason performance, he's likely to receive a premium offer on the free-agent market. The Rangers will be able to afford him, but should they buy? Derek Holland and Matt Harrison already might be better pitchers, so do the Rangers really think Wilson is worth "ace" money if he's their third-best pitcher? Wilson sounds ready for the offseason, if not free agency:

"The only thing I'm thinking about is getting out of these clothes and taking a shower," Wilson said. "Other than that, I'm driving to California and going to a wedding. One of my friends is getting married. That's the only thing that's going on with me. I don't know what will happen next."

2. What will Michael Young complain about now? He's the first baseman by default, with no one else better to replace him, and nowhere else for him go in the lineup, other than DH. He had a really good season offensively, one of the best of his career, but he's not a cleanup hitter, and his value is reduced if he's not playing on the other side of the infield. He was terrible on defense at first. Now 35, he's owed $32 million for the next two seasons. But if they sign a big-name bat to play first, he might squawk about having to DH all of the time. Or maybe he'll lead by example and quietly accept it.

3. What's the deal with Neftali Feliz? {YSP:MORE}

Something wasn't quite right with him, almost from the start, and it seemed to coincide with his audition for starting pitcher during spring training. Sometimes, his command just disappeared entirely. Other times, he seemed to be killed by the slightest mistakes. And a lot of the blame for losing the World Series could fall on his shoulders for the collapse in Game 6.

[Related: Rangers had nothing left in tank]

4. What is Alexi Ogando? He clearly wore down and, ultimately, wasn't even able to handle the middle-relief role Washington assigned him in the postseason. That looked like a trump card for Texas, too. He's a key member of the pitching staff, perhaps its most important question mark. Is he a starter? Is he a short reliever? Is he both? Neither?

5. Is Mike Napoli going to hit higher than eighth next season? Ron Washington just loved sticking him at the bottom of the order, and it was cute, but c'mon. He should be hitting fourth or fifth.

6. Will the Rangers make a big splash in free agency? They would seem to be options for sluggers such as Prince Fielder or Albert Pujols, or for a starting pitcher if Wilson leaves, but it's not like they have huge holes to fill. GM Jon Daniels might be busier trading than he is signing.

[World Series slideshow: The best photos from all of the games]

7. Do they need a real leadoff hitter who can play center field? Hey, who doesn't? But Craig Gentry and Julio Borbon aren't longterm answers, and Hamilton's injury history makes him a better bet for left or right. Ian Kinsler does great at the top of the order — he's just not a conventional leadoff guy — and Elvis Andrus probably should be hitting at the bottom of the order. Where's Willie Wilson when you need him?

8. Does Josh Hamilton need surgery? He doesn't seem terribly worried about it, but he's heading to a doctor to see if he needs to repair a sports hernia that's been bothering him for months. He seemed to recover a bit over the final couple of World Series games, but he wasn't at 100 percent in the playoffs, for sure.

9. Will the minor league system yield major league-ready talent in 2012? Their best prospect is probably Jurickson Profar, 19-year-old shortstop from Curaçao who is going to knock everyone's socks off someday, but not yet. Left-hander Martin Perez had a weird 2011 season, which is to say he didn't pitch well after being promoted to Class AAA.

[Y! Sports shop: Buy Cardinals title gear]

10. What do these guys need to do to win a $&@! World Series? It's going to be a long offseason spent wondering about that. Twice, the Rangers came within a strike of the Commissioner's Trophy and failed to get it. It's not like they have the wrong kind of players, and they're not going to get rid of Washington — so his upsetting bunting tactics, along with curious use of intentional walks and other passive pitching ways should be expected to continue. Unless Wash gets an epiphany and realizes he's costing the team runs.

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