Texas Rangers: Why the Offseason is Not a Total Failure
And it doesn’t look like things are getting easier.
Every avenue the Rangers seem to have banked on, thus far, has closed. Most recently, they quietly lost out to the Toronto Blue Jays (who might be the winners of the offseason race) for the media-hyped landing spot of Cy Young winner, R.A. Dickey.
So, is it time to panic in Texas?
More importantly, did Nolan and the crew present their best to avoid such an offseason?
The R.A. Dickey situation is a perfect scenario to explain why these questions are being asked.
While the Rangers still had spending flexibly to land a free-agent hurler on the market, the organization looked to a different avenue: Skipping the high-priced free-agent offer, possibly with the hope of signing Josh Hamilton, to add arms via trades.
R.A. Dickey was certainly one of those options. And the Mets’ front office, although they had not spoken to Dickey's people since the Winter Meetings, according to Jim Bowden of ESPN, were ready to entertain offers for the 38-year-old right-hander if the deal made sense.
Texas, understanding that Greinke was a wash and Ryan Dempster was out, needed to add some form of starting pitching for 2013. So, they made an offer the Met’s.
However the proposed swap, involving Texas giving up young corner-infield utility and outfielder Mike Olt (who has only 33 at-bats in the MLB), was certainly not enough for the deal to make sense for the Mets.
The result: Dickey is now a Blue Jay; the Rangers are left looking for answers with the clock ticking.
However—and this contradicts my love of seeing Texas sports squander—Nolan Ryan and the organization, although it might not show it in the media, are actually smart for holding their ground.
The deal falling through, even though Dickey would not be an expensive spot in the rotation, wasn't the worse thing in the world for Texas; if anything, it's a risk that would be magnified in the difficult AL West.
Sure, Dickey is a Cy Young winner coming off a stellar season but, like some analysts have argued, the chances he continues his success again—or at least comes close to it—isn't a sure thing.
Perhaps Mr. Ryan knew that too?
And, unless you are a sports-minded meteorologist, there was another unknown factor: the effectiveness of Dickey's knuckleball in a climate like that in the Dallas area.
After all, any person that has even followed the Rangers, accidentally, knows when the weather heats up in June—sometimes earlier—baseballs fly out of the ballpark with ease. In 2012, the Ballpark at Arlington ranked seventh out of 30, surrendering a little over one home run per game.
How much faith would you be willing to place, and spend, with those numbers scratching underneath your 20-gallon hat?
Regardless, while the behind-the-scene and baseball-minded thinking may not get credit, the front-page loss of another player certainly is.
And that’s really the only reason for the recent uproar, oh Texas faithful. So, there is no need to sell your egos just yet; and definitely do not panic.
Other than the not getting Greinke, the Rangers have orchestrated a smart offseason. Sometimes that can come from the pieces you choose not to add: An over-priced catcher; a mental-skipping outfielder, and a knuckleballer that would possibly be nothing ore than an innings-eater.