Friday, June 8, 2007

Fixing the Rangers in five easy steps

The Texas Rangers need some serious help. Fortunately, they are only five steps away from being a contender.

Step One: Tom Hicks, sell the team. Want to spend more time with your new soccer team, Liverpool? Fine by me. Sell the Rangers—I’d recommend Mark Cuban. Love him or hate him, but the guy wants to win. There is no reason why a team in the sixth largest market should have the 21st ranked payroll. Also, according to Jim Reeves of the Fort Worth Star Telegram, Nolan Ryan is also interested. Instant cred. Either one would be a vast improvement over Hicks, who is killing this team, with a little help from his friends. Which leads us to...

Step Two: Fire the GM. In 2004, the Boston Red Sox broke an 86-year curse by winning the World Series. Theo Epstein was the team’s GM, hired two years earlier as the youngest GM in MLB history. In 2005, Hicks thought that if he hired an even younger GM, the Rangers would win, too. And it might have worked if it wasn’t for those meddling kids...

Jon Daniels is in over his head. If you listen to him speak, he sounds like he is wishing things to get better. He’s counting on breaks to even out and start going their way. Sorry, Jon, ain’t gonna happen. You make your own breaks. In the past two years, Daniels has traded away Chris Young, Coco Cordero and John Danks. You’re telling me those three guys wouldn’t help this staff? Breaks? This team is just broken.

Step Three: Fire the manager. Word was that Ron Washington blew everyone away in his interview. He did the same in the spring, suckering everyone in the DFW area in with his energy in infectious attitude. And then April rolled around.

Like Daniels, Wash is also in over his head. He may have been a great coach with Oakland, but he’s no manager. You know the brilliant coordinator in the NFL who is a total failure as a head coach? That’s Wash. Maybe he and Wade Phillips can be BFF since they have that in common, but I’m hoping he won’t be around that long. I’m telling you, they should have gone with Trey Hillman. Go Nippon Ham Fighters!

Step Four: Trade. Trade Teixeira. Trade Gagne. Trade Sosa, Lofton, Frankie Cat. Trade anyone over 25 for prospects. Doing things halfway has turned the Rangers into the worst team in baseball with no farm system to speak of. Blow it up completely and commit to youth. This naturally leads to...

Step Five: Get a plan and stick with it. The Rangers have changed direction countless times in the past decade. Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports that they have had six scouting directors since 1995—continuity has been a foreign concept with this team. They had a great opportunity at the draft, with six of the top 80 picks. Time will tell, but I’m not optimistic. The Rangers are too focused on pitching. I know what you’re thinking: their pitching stinks—they need to focus on it. Not so. They need to draft the best player available every single time, regardless of position. Stock those players in the minors and develop them. If you need a pitcher in a couple years, trade for him then, but no more reaching for pitchers in the draft. So what did the Rangers do? Four of their first five picks were pitchers. Maybe four out of five times the best player was a pitcher, but I have my doubts.

So there you have it. Five easy steps to greatness. Other than that, they’re golden.


Kevin Hayward said...

You sure they shouldn't change their name and move to another city, too?

Personally, I think you're overreacting to a poor start this season. The Rangers need to develop pitching talent from within, and any future success will hinge on that one factor.

Chris said...

In past season, Kevin, I would have agreed with you. Not this year.
They have no talent at any position, let alone pitching, from within to develop. None.
The team is full of aging vets that need to go. They have no future here. Trade them to contenders and get prospects to try to begin reversing my previous statement.
Then there's Tex. He's not staying when his contract expires. Zero chance. Trade him now.
Go to the Ticket podcast page or the iTunes Music Store and search for 'KTCK'. Find and listen to a podcast where they interview either Daniels or Wash. Repeat. It's shocking.
This mess starts at the top. Hicks has made poor decision after poor decision, and just when you think it can't get any worse, he finds a way. That's why Step One is sell the team.

Kevin Hayward said...

Sorry to hear your franchise is in such a mess. The Giants aren't doing much better at this point.

Kevin Hayward said...

It's been kinda quiet over here lately.

rus said...

Well, I should have done this several days ago, but I've basically been without internet access for a week so here goes. By and large, I completly agree. Especially Steps #1, 4, and 5. But I'm going to focus on my dispute with #2 and #3. In step 5 you said that they need to stick to a plan. But doing 2 and 3, you are not sticking to the plan. You have to give Daniel's call to work. Is it Daniel and Washington's fault that the starting pitching has completely imploded? Is it their fault that for the first month of the season, they couldn't hit their way out of a paper bag? There have been defensive problems, offensive problems, and pitching problems. This is a bad triumvirite. The thing is there were alot of people who had hopes for this Ranger team. Not just fans with rosecolored classes (like me), but also Peter Gammons among others expected this team to compete. Has Washington had a tough start? Yes, but I think you gotta give him time. Just like you gotta keep trotting out Tejeda, McCarthy, and Loe to find out if they have anything, you've gotta give Wash time. He's good baseball man who had the loyalty of the players on the one of the best organizations in baseball. All this to say, in order to do #5 (pick a plan and stick to it) you can't do fire Daniels and Washington yet.

Chris said...

I realize #5 seems to conflict with #1-3. Maybe I should be more specific: Stick with a good plan.
Daniels and Wash are not a good plan. And, yes, I would say that the main reason the team isn't hitting/pitching/fielding is the fault of Jonboy and Wash.
Little Jonny brought the players in--if these guys can't play, then why are they here?
Wash was billed as a defensive guru, and yet the team has gotten worse defensively? Add to that the fact that since I wrote the post, the team has been teetering on the brink of mutiny. Thought he was a 'player's manager'. Publicly embarrassing your guys?
Blow it up, starting at the top, and start from scratch--with a good plan. Then stick with it.