Nolan Ryan laughs when he hears people describe the Texas Rangers offseason as a disaster and the worst in team history.
While the Rangers were unable to re-sign five-time All-Star slugger Josh Hamilton, failed to lure pitcher Zack Greinke to Texas and traded Michael Young, Ryan still expects the team to be very competitive this season because of how they recovered after the disappointment of the early part of free agency.
Hamilton opted to sign with the AL West-rival Los Angeles Angels only days after Greinke took a big deal from the Dodgers.
"We stepped back, assessed the situation and were able to accomplish some things that needed to be done as far as strengthening our ballclub," Ryan said Friday after arriving in Arizona for spring training. " I think we're a better ballclub today than we were the day Josh signed with the Angels. That's the way I look at it."
Ryan said he is excited about the offseason additions of former White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski and Lance Berkman and what they can bring offensively to the Rangers. Asked if the Rangers were better without Hamilton, Ryan said it was a complex situation.
Before his surge with the Rangers the past five seasons, the 31-year-old slugger and former No. 1 overall pick had a history of alcohol and substance abuse that delayed the start of his big league career. He had two known relapses with alcohol during his time in Texas.
"You just don't replace a talent like that and we all know that," Ryan said.