Boy it’s been quiet in Rangers Land lately. Ever since the Angels stole the MLB show with the signings of Albert Pujols and CJ Wilson, there’s been a quiet uneasiness as the baseball world waits to see if the Rangers strike back with a meaningful signing or trade.
There’s been lots of negatives reported over the past few days. One report says the Rangers won’t be spending much because they owe former partner Chuck Greenberg, who helped put together the ownership group, a $30 million buyout this off-season. Said story also attempted to tie this into the Rangers’ failed attempt to re-sign Wilson or even to put in a substantial bid. Speculation in these reports also indicated the Rangers wouldn’t even put in a bid for negotiating rights to Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish, who posted yesterday.
On the other hand, there have been several reports that the Rangers have been negotiating new contracts and/or extensions for Josh Hamilton, Mike Napoli, Ian Kinsler and now Derek Holland. Nelson Cruz wants to sign long-term with Texas as well, but I still haven’t heard a thing about the Rangers willingness to do the same.
Turns out the Rangers did put in a bid for Darvish on Wednesday and we could know as soon as today who won the rights to negotiate a contract with him.
Are the Rangers as cash poor as some reports would seem to indicate? Taking it all in as a whole, I’d say absolutely not. What this is is an ownership group who has decided A) They’re going to try to keep the core together for as long as possible and are willing to pay to do so; B) They’re willing to spend for free agents they feel are a good fit for the team but they aren’t going to overspend needlessly; and C) Just because another team makes a move doesn’t mean you have to make an immediate counterpunch. They’re willing to wait for the right deal instead of overreacting to what someone else does.
The Rangers didn’t get where they’ve gotten the past two years because of spending money or panicking. They are a smart organization, they do their homework and aren’t afraid to stick to the plan they have in place. In addition to free agents, Texas has been linked to trade talks for Gio Gonzalez, John Danks and James Shields. Every report I’ve read indicates teams are asking way too much in return. Now that the Rangers are successful and vying for championships, other teams are trying to strip their farm system of too many pieces.
As much as the Rangers have coveted Darvish, I have faith they already have a Plan B in place. If Plan B is Garza, Danks or Shields and the price in prospects is too high, there’s probably already a Plan C in mind. And if the Rangers head to Spring Training in Surprise, Arizona having made no changes since this column, I’m pretty sure it won’t have anything to do with money or the lack thereof, but everything to do with the right deal at the right price not being there.