By now, it’s no secret: The Texas Rangers are the gatekeepers of baseball. They control the tiny vessels traveling through avenues running in each direction. They, along with prized free agent target, Zack Greinke, predicate what is happening, and what is going to happen, in the market. So far, nothing has come in, so nothing can go out. All we know is the Rangers have a secret; we just have no clue what that secret is.
We were hoping the Winter Meetings would have provided clarity. Now we’re left with a picture more muddled than before. We were told Josh Hamilton would be back. Now we’re being told Josh Hamilton probably won’t be back. If there’s something to take from all that has recently transpired, it’s that the media knows about as much as we do: Nothing.
The future destination of Zack Greinke, the best available player on the market, is remarkably hazy. It seemed the basic math when the offseason commenced was that the Dodgers would pistol-whip Greinke with an avalanche of cash. No one thought a team like the Rangers, with their run-inflated ballpark and burial ground of pitchers who once succumbed to the heat of Arlington, could be serious players for his services. I don’t know if they were all wrong, if we were all wrong for assuming, or if even Zack Greinke doesn’t know what he wants to do with him self.
The consensus of us inhabiting the baseball universe is simple, and steady: We’re waiting.
And as I sit here, drinking the cheapest of Smirnoff vodka, puffing on a Newport short, I remain steadfast in my intuitive belief that Zack Greinke knows exactly where he’s going, and that the location is nowhere other than here. Well, not here, because I’m in Southern California. But rather, there, in Arlington.
My case is simple. If this was merely an issue of money, the Dodgers would already have signed Greinke. The Dodgers are more willing to spend than any other franchise, and, reportedly, would get into the $180M territory to attain Greinke. It has to be more than that. The Rangers, led by Jon Daniels and one of the more advanced scouting departments and minor league systems in baseball, provide security with their success. The model they’ve built, through trades, through the amateur draft, and through international signings, has made them baseball’s most imposing juggernaut.
I don’t know the timeline for when all this is going to go down. If I’m wrong, I will be severely disappointed my perception didn’t come into fruition. However, as far as this offseason is concerned, the ball isn’t going to begin its roll until Zack Greinke decides what he wants to do with himself over the next six or seven seasons.
The complexion of the 2013 Major League season hasn’t even yet reached puberty. Every team is sort of stuck in that awkward stage where they’re actively wanting to rid themselves of all the pimples on their rosters, but there’s nothing they can do about it because time won’t allow them to. For the Rangers, this is an offseason of transition. Yet, that transition cannot begin to take shape, for the epicenter of everyone’s reality will not allow it.
The dream scenario, at least how I see it, is that the Rangers sign Zack Greinke, trade Elvis Andrus for Justin Upton, then see Michael Young accept his pending trade to the Phillies. It will probably require Texas to then relinquish Nelson Cruz‘s $10.5M price tag by way of another trade, but I suppose we’ll just cross that road when we have to.
If I had to handicap the odds of said scenario actually transpiring, I’d say it’s somewhere in area of 25%. The other 75? Well, I guess we’ll all just have to suspend disbelief to imagine what that will be. Because no one knows.