Stars highlight Rangers All-Decade squad

Stars highlight Rangers All-Decade squad

ARLINGTON -- The last decade was not kind to the Rangers. They had just two winning seasons and no playoff appearances.

There were still some excellent individual moments. Alex Rodriguez won a Most Valuable Player Award. Josh Hamilton was named Comeback Player of the Year. Michael Young was selected to six straight All-Star Games. He and Alfonso Soriano were MVPs of an All-Star Game.

Rangers infielders stood out more than any other position during the decade. Fifteen of their 25 All-Star selections came from the infield, as opposed to five in the outfield, three from the mound and two behind the plate.

An outstanding infield that includes Young at third, Rodriguez at shortstop, Ian Kinsler at second and Mark Teixeira at first base highlights the Rangers' 2000-09 All-Decade Team as picked by a panel of media, club officials and former players.

The panel was asked to choose five starting pitchers, one closer, one setup reliever, one player from each infield position, three outfielders regardless of position and a designated hitter.

Rangers All-Decade team
POS Player
C Ivan Rodriguez
1B Mark Teixeira
2B Ian Kinsler
SS Alex Rodriguez
3B Michael Young
OF Josh Hamilton
OF Marlon Byrd
OF Gary Matthews Jr.
DH Rafael Palmeiro
SP Kenny Rogers
SP Kevin Millwood
SP Rick Helling
SP Vicente Padilla
SP Scott Feldman
SU Frank Francisco
CL Francisco Cordero
MGR Johnny Oates

The five starting pitchers were Kenny Rogers, Kevin Millwood, Rick Helling, Vicente Padilla and Scott Feldman. They were the overwhelming choices.

Francisco Cordero was selected as the closer and Frank Francisco was selected over C.J. Wilson by one vote as the setup reliever. Ivan Rodriguez, who was an All-Star in 2000-01 with the Rangers, was picked as the catcher.

The outfield consists of Hamilton, Marlon Byrd and Gary Matthews Jr., with Kevin Mench and Rusty Greer also receiving consideration. Rafael Palmeiro was selected as the designated hitter.

Selecting and voting on an infield was particularly tough and intriguing. Young made it that way. He was a second baseman in 2001-03, a shortstop from 2004-08 and a third baseman in 2009. His best years were clearly at shortstop but he followed Rodriguez at the position.

He only had one year at third base, but it was a good one and enough to edge past Hank Blalock for a spot on the team. He also received consideration at second base and shortstop. But Rodriguez was the clear pick at shortstop, and Kinsler won out at second base over Soriano despite the slugger's two excellent seasons in Texas.

Teixeira, Rogers and Millwood were unanimous selections.

Kenny Rogers, SP
Decade: 152 starts, 63-45, 4.43 ERA
Best Year: 2004, 35 starts, 18-9, 4.76 ERA

Kevin Millwood, SP
Decade: 125 starts, 48-46, 4.57 ERA
Best Year: 2006, 34 starts, 16-12, 4.52 ERA

Rick Helling, SP
Decade: 69 starts, 28-24, 4.83 ERA
Best Year: 2000, 35 starts, 16-13, 4.48 ERA

Vicente Padilla, SP
Decade: 103 starts, 43-34, 4.90 ERA
Best Year: 2006, 33 starts, 15-10, 4.50 ERA

Scott Feldman, SP
Decade: 56 starts, 23-16, 4.40 ERA
Best Year: 2009, 31 starts, 17-8, 4.08 ERA

Francisco Cordero, Closer
Decade: 356 games, 21-20, 3.45 ERA, 117 saves
Best Year: 2004, 67 games, 3-4, 49 saves, 2.13 ERA

Frank Francisco, Setup reliever
Decade: 221 games, 11-11, 3.75 ERA, 30 saves
Best Year: 2004, 45 games, 5-1, 3.33 ERA

Ivan Rodriguez, C
Decade: 338 games, 73 HR, 221 RBI, .316
Best Year: 2000, 91 games, 27 HR, 83 RBI, .347

Mark Teixeira, 1B
Decade: 693 games, 153 HR 499 RBI, .283
Best Year: 2005, 162 games, 43 HR, 144 RBI, .301

Ian Kinsler, 2B
Decade: 515 games, 83 HR, 273 RBI, .279
Best Year: 2008, 121 games, 18 HR, 71 RBI, .319

Alex Rodriguez, SS
Decade: 485 games, 156 HR, 395 RBI, .305
Best Year: 2002, 162 games, 57 HR, 142 RBI, .300

Michael Young, 3B
Decade: 1351 games, 137 HR, 720 RBI, .302
Best Year: 2005, 159 games, 24 HR, 91 RBI, .331

Josh Hamilton, OF
Decade: 245 games, 42 HR, 184 RBI, .292
Best Year: 2008, 156 games, 32 HR, 130 RBI, .304

Marlon Byrd, OF
Decade: 377 games, 40 HR, 212 RBI, .295
Best Year: 2009, 146 games, 20 HR, 89 RBI, .283

Gary Mathews Jr., OF
Decade: 365 games, 47 HR, 170 RBI, .285
Best Year: 2006, 147 games, 19 HR, 79 RBI, .313

Rafael Palmeiro, DH
Decade: 627 games, 167 HR, 460 RBI, .274
Best Year: 2001, 160 games, 47 HR, 123 RBI, .273

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.