Well, here we are heading into the final days of October, and we’ve crowned our 2012 American League representative in the World Series, the Tigers, and are potentially one game away from seeing the Cardinals become the first team to appear in the Fall Classic in back-to-back years since . . . the Rangers, in 2010 and ’11. Okay, I guess it hasn’t been that long. It feels like it has.
Here is some of Friday’s Rangers-centric content from the blogosphere:
– Michael Hindman writes a pretty fascinating piece about how there’s been a philosophical shift in the Rangers organization since the team’s rapid ascension to success in 2010.
At this juncture in the offseason, there isn’t much going on, not much to say. The feeling of the late-season collapse and early exit from the playoff field Texas wasn’t even a part of is quietly bleeding away, and most fans are just ready to see what’s to come next. Since nothing tangible can seriously take place until the World Series is over, now is the time to discuss hypotheticals, what we know and what we want to see. It seems like this wrinkle in time came far too prematurely in 2012, as compared to 2010 and ’11 when the Rangers were part of the final series of the season, dictating to the rest of the baseball universe how soon they could commence with their plans of the following season.
Now, it’s the Rangers getting extra rest. It’s the Rangers front office with an extra month to prepare for the following season. And it’s us as fans with far too much time on our hands to think about what direction the ship is headed towards in 2013.
– I agree with most of what Hindman is saying in his piece, particularly when focusing on the Rangers once operating as a meritocracy, and how that paradigm greatly dissolved in 2012. What can’t be lost in the finger-pointing of fans calling for Ron Washington’s head is that this last season wasn’t only his responsibility. There was a crack in the very fabric of the organization’s infrastructure, from Nolan Ryan to Jon Daniels down to the manager.
And, to that end, I think 2012 can largely be cubby-holed as a symptom of success. It was necessary for the growth of the franchise. In most of the 2000’s the Rangers were a losing organization, and their World Series runs of 2010 and ’11 were novel. Now, another new phenomena is manifest: They learned what winning was like after how often they lost; now it’s a matter of learning how to again be on top, and remain on top. Jon Daniels and the rest of the Rangers cabinet are far too intelligent not to learn from the sins of their 2012 campaign.
– In his daily posts, Richard Durrett poses far more questions than answers to the Rangers fan base. His tepid approach to covering the team is a good fit for ESPN, but offers little in the department of creating a more conscious and educated audience among Rangers fandom. In this recent article delving into the Rangers middle infield conundrum, I don’t think he’s placing enough emphasis on the fact that Elvis has only two years remaining on his contract, and that the team simply has greater needs than satisfying everybody and keeping Andrus, Kinsler and Profar all in the same lineup.
I know we’ve gotten to the point where I’m basically beating a dead horse, but the Rangers have two glaring needs as the offseason comes into focus: We need a replacement for Josh Hamilton‘s lost production; we need a starting pitcher. Due to the thin pool of free agent talent, I have to suspect at least one blockbuster-type deal has to take place. Elvis Andrus, given his team-friendly price tag and the premium position he occupies, is arguably the most valuable commodity in the entire organization. It makes sense for him to go.
– And, lastly, Jamey Newberg’s hypothetical 2013 roster is pretty compelling. I do agree with him on two pivotal areas of the roster, those being the signing of free agent pitcher Zach Greinke, and one of the top prospects in baseball, catcher Travis d’Arnaud. If there was a fantasy backstop we could acquire, he would be my choice.
However, what Newberg’s roster is strong at addressing — pitcher and catcher — it lacks in other areas. He retains Elvis Andrus, trades David Murphy for Cincinnati Reds catcher Ryan Hanigan, and moves Nelson Cruz as part of a package to bring back Diamondbacks outfielder Manny Parra. His lineup would consist of a very strong core of defenders — talking about an infield of Beltre/Andrus/Profar/Moreland and outfield alignment of Parra/Martin/Kinsler — but I have one gaping question: Where exactly is the offense supposed to come from?
Jamey’s post is dripping with disclaimers about how his 2013 team is farfetched and certainly won’t happen, but I guess I just expected a little more pop. Sans Josh Hamilton, two of the four most productive hitters in the lineup — David Murphy and Nelson Cruz — got traded for a defensive outfielder and backup catcher.
Anyway, these articles are worth a read, and, if nothing else, it helps get a better grasp of what’s in everyone else’s mind. After all, the offseason is the time of the year for added baseball perspective and arguing about almost everything related to the team you wish was still playing.