Apparently Arlington has supplanted Philadelphia as the City of Brotherly Love.
Not only did the Cubs not get Rangers’ pitching coach Mike Maddux to be their new manager, the Texas front office went and raided the Cubs’ front office and hired away Mike’s brother, future Hall of Famer Greg Maddux, to be a special assistant to Texas GM Jon Daniels.
No official word on Greg’s duties, but they’re expected to include working with some of the Rangers’ minor league pitchers, as well as offering advice to pitchers on the big club.
Number 3 starter Matt Harrison is already excited and was quoted as wanting to pick Greg’s brain about his pinpoint control and his game planning.
If there’s been any doubt about whether the ownership group that replaced Tom Hicks a year ago would change the philosophy of constructing the team, this move should remove all doubt. With Mike Maddux, we;ve seen the Rangers really put an emphasis on pitching for one of the first times in franchise history.
The fact that Joe Nathan WANTED to sign with the Rangers when he had a similar, if not slightly better, offer from the Twins tells another tale. Very few pitchers have WANTED to come to the Rangers in the past. Some of the free agent signers in the past probably were lured by the money more than really wanting to pitch for Texas (see Chan Ho Park). Now having a future Hall of Fame pitcher in Maddux joining current Hall of Fame member Nolan Ryan in the front office sends yet another message to pitchers: the Texas Rangers are serious about putting together a pitching staff.
Rumors have it Texas is also interested in acquiring A’s closer Andrew Bailey to go along with Nathan and Mike Adams in the bullpen. The Rangers have also been linked to trade possibilities for Matt Garza, Matt Thornton and John Danks, as well as kicking the tires on free agent Mark Buehrle (man, the city of Chicago must have really done something bad to the Rangers to have them targeted so much!).
A lot has to be taken with a grain of salt. Any time a team goes to the World Series two years in a row, their name is sure to be mentioned when it comes to any big trade or free agent signing. Texas is still being mentioned in the Albert Pujols- Prince Fielder sweepstakes and I don’t think Texas really has any interest in signing either one of them.
The emphasis on pitching, though, is real. With the addition of Greg Maddux to the front office, expect Texas to make more pushes for both starting and relief pitching. There’s still a good chance CJ Wilson will find greener pastures elsewhere (the Angels seem to be the front-runner), but we may be coming to an era where more pitchers want to come to Texas than leave it.