There are some Texas-sized expectations for the Rangers in 2010, especially from those in the organization.
In fact, Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton predicted "96 wins."
Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram asks in his column in the Dallas Morning News this morning, "Is Ron Washington on the hot seat?"
Washington, who is the fourth and final year of his contract, led the Rangers to 87 wins last year and has improved the club in each of his three seasons. (He won 75 and 79 games in his first two seasons, respectively.)
Despite internal debate over whether to fire Washington after he had failed a drug test last year, the Rangers decided to keep him as their skipper. That said, Wilson mentions the "lingering belief" that the Rangers could be looking to fire Washington, at the earliest convenient opportunity (i.e., losing streak, managerial error, etc.)
"That's silly," general manager Jon Daniels said. "Trust me: Nobody here is looking for something like that. We're all trying to work together to help this team win."
Barring a second failed drug test, which seems unlikely, or something else equally embarrassing for the franchise, it's hard to envision Washington being replaced mid-season.
Perhaps if the Rangers take a step back from 87 wins, Washington may not be back in 2011. Otherwise, a fourth straight year of improvement would seem to guarantee his continued stewardship of the club.
(Note: Win #1 is in the books.)