While Texas Rangers President Nolan Ryan has been telling the public his club doesn’t have nearly as much money as has been reported, there is reason to believe Ryan’s words just aren’t true.
Japanese right hander Yu Darvish was posted by the Nippon Ham Fighters last week and the bidding closed on Wednesday. The Rangers were one of a handful of clubs that submitted a bid for Darvish and while those were to be kept confidential, even from the Fighters, the New York Post is reporting that the Toronto Blue Jays have submitted the highest bid; offering at least $40 million and perhaps as much as $50 million just for the right to talk to Darvish.
Ryan has stated that despite his club’s extensive scouting of the right hander, Texas wouldn’t come close to the $100 million it was likely to cost to sign Darvish (combining his salary with the posting fee). Evan Grant reported yesterday, however, that a bid from the Rangers was in the $40-49 million range and when you consider that it would have cost at least that much to actually sign the pitcher, it appears Ryan’s words were a smoke-screen. We won’t know officially who won the bid until Nippon Ham accepts the offer, which is expected to happen just before Tuesday’s deadline.
To listen to Ryan talk, the Rangers are just about tapped out when it comes to money this winter. They never made a serious run at retaining starter C.J. Wilson, but that was almost to be expected. The Rangers have, however, been linked to numerous other pitchers, either via the free agent market or in potential trades. The Rangers weren’t willing to match the years Wilson (or Mark Buehrle) got through free agency, but if the Darvish bid is any indication, the Rangers could have matched the money.
Starters like Matt Garza and John Danks, both of whom are thought to be of interest to Texas, are expected to earn somewhere in the neighborhood of $10 million through arbitration this winter. Darvish would have cost significantly more than that. While the Rangers are in talks with at least three players on long-term extensions, they’ve done very little to improve the roster since losing their second consecutive World Series. At best, they’ve stood still.
There is a saying in business that if you aren’t moving forward, you’re moving backward. Given all the improvements made by the rival Los Angeles Angels this winter, Texas cannot afford to rest on their collective laurels any longer. If the NYP is accurate and the Rangers lost out on Darvish, Ryan and GM Jon Daniels must get aggressive in addressing their needs.
The makings of a very good team are already in place, but there are holes that can be filled. A top-line starting pitcher would allow Alexi Ogando to shift back to the bullpen and replace the production of Wilson in the rotation. While Neftali Feliz has been added to the mix, one cannot expect a guy with zero major league starts to immediately become the ace this club lacks.
Beyond a starting pitcher, the Rangers have needs for a bullpen lefty or two and could use upgrades in centerfield and first base, though the latter two may be more of a luxury than anything else this winter.
The only silver lining of potentially losing out on Darvish is that we now know the Rangers have the financial capabilities to address those needs. No matter what Ryan says.