The Rangers may have lost their last game and the World Series, but even if they were to win it, it still would have just been the beginning for the Texas Rangers. A whole new season has already begun and what is done in it may decide how good this team does not just this next season, but for a few years to come. The offseason is in full swing already, as there are already rumors and happenings flying around left and right. The Rangers have a few big decisions to make this winter and have already started moving forward with their off season plans.
Yesterday the Rangers signed manager Ron Washington to a new contract extension, keeping him here for 2 more seasons. Washington was somewhat criticized for some of his decisions and handling of the bullpen during the playoffs and the World Series, but part of the reason the Rangers got as far as they did is Washington. He lead this team to their first division win since the 90s and the team made it all the way to the World Series. Sometimes his choices and lineup moves are questioned, but he is passionate about the game and this team, and he preaches fundamentally sound defense and pitching. His time here has been up and down, and of course there is the drug test he admitted that he failed, but the players seem to support and respond to him. This was the Rangers first priority this summer and it looks like it got done nicely.
So where do the Rangers go next? What is the next move? Of course the glaring concern is the pursuit of resigning Cliff Lee. It is well documented that the New York Yankees want him, and any other team with a good amount of money available will be after him to. I will get into it more this weekend about Lee and all the different factors or guesses I keep hearing about. GM Daniels and Wash have both said they want to keep the coaching staff together and bring everyone back for next season. Could be hard seeing the hitting coach Clint Hurdle is being interviewed for the Pirates manager spot, and is one of their finalists. Could be rough for the Rangers to go to their 3rd pitching coach in 3 years, especially with some newer faces.
The Rangers also announced that the option for 2011 for Vladimir Guerrero will not be picked up. It was said that it was a mutual move, as the deal really was meant to be a one year deal and the option was a way for Vlad to get an extra $1 million in the deal when the Rangers were in a tight situation at the time. This does not rule Vlad out from coming back, as Daniels said the Rangers “definitely see a scenario where Vlad could be back,” and they hope to sit down with him soon.Vlad had 29 HRs and 115 RBIs while batting .300 for the season. But in the postseason he batted just .220 with no homers and only 6 RBIs for the postseason, and went 1-for-14 in the World Series. I love what Vlad did this season, but down the stretch and in the postseason he slumped off badly. If the Rangers can get him back for not too much, then I am more then happy with it. But if he wants a big pay raise, I would be okay with the Rangers saying no and going after another outfielder and having either the person they bring in or Cruz playing some time at DH. Right now the Ranger have Hamilton, Cruz, Murphy, and hopefully they keep Francoeur because I like what he brought after we picking him up. That is already a good stable a guys for the outfield and any of those guys could also DH. But bringing in a solid free agent or resigning Vlad could gives them 5 guys for 4 spots if injuries happen or just to have depth.