Filling Up The Space

The climax to the Ranger preseason of 2013 will be when Nolan Ryan decides on his own ultimatum, the one — when he does make his decision — that he will have both provoked and concluded. Until then, we are exposed (or subjected) to subtopics and sub-stories, the little filler articles that help lubricate the transition from now until the start to the regular season.

In a chat on The Dallas Morning News, Rick Gosselin said this when asked if Nolan is unhappy:

“It certainly looks so. I think his feelings have been hurt. This is a guy that gives the franchise credibility. I think it’s on the Rangers to fix it. Ryan is too important to this organization to have a bad feeling lingering just for what it’s going to down the road as far as getting players and good things for this franchise.”

I’ve surmised that this ‘Nolan vs. Daniels’ topic is quite polarizing within the fan base. There really isn’t much middle ground. You are either all about Nolan Ryan and whatever it is that he did to single-handedly bring the franchise to prominence, or you side with Daniels and his mob of young, talented executives.

What I don’t understand is the rationalization from the Nolan Ryan crowd. What exactly does he do? The idea (which has become the only real defense for Ryan) is that he apparently “gives the franchise credibility,” an intangible concept to prove (or disprove).

Does he give the franchise credibility? Does he really?

Growing up watching baseball, I didn’t take into account any off-the-field information on the players, and I didn’t pay attention to the front office. I was a little boy. All I cared about was that’s my team and I want my team to win. Being older … graduating from that level of naivety that in the present day, I can only describe as what is beautiful about being young … I’ve learned just one thing:

Fans don’t care about anything but wins. If the team is winning, the fans do not care about the means by which they win. For that last five years (2008-’12), Nolan Ryan has ostensibly been given credit for “bringing credibility,” even though it wasn’t Ryan, but Daniels, rather, who executed the correct combination of trades and personnel decisions to field a winner.

Credibility isn’t carried with you from one place to another; it’s earned by constantly proving “it”. In this case, the proof is in the on-field win total.

* * * * * *

Evan Grant speaks of the Rangers’ need to upgrade the bullpen, even with a little Jon Daniels quote tucked away in there. He mentions the organization’s “mild interest” in Yankee RHP Joba Chamberlain, as well as the Red Sox for god knows what.

I wouldn’t mind adding Chamberlain on, but only if the return wasn’t anything significant. Relief pitchers are a dime a dozen, so I wouldn’t think Jon Daniels would pay (in terms of prospects) above market.

The Red Sox are interesting, because they have a number of talented arms, from Daniel Bard to A.J. Bailey to Joel Hanrahan to Andrew Miller to Koji Uehara. With the exclusion of Uehara (because there’s probably a reason he isn’t in Texas), I would be comfortable with the upside in any of those arms. Again, I think the price has to be right (and by right I mean favorable to the Rangers), but there are a lot of options. As you can see.

Reasonably speaking, I’d like to think Joe Nathan, Jason Frasor, Robbie Ross, Michael Kirkman, Tanner Scheppers, and Derek Lowe will pitch well enough in the portion of the season without Joakim Soria and Neftali Feliz. Once those two guys are back, and are hopefully at decent health, we should be fine.


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  • Tom Wilson

    Although I’m neutral about Nolan leaving, though I’d prefer him to stay, the credibility thing goes back farther than his arrival a few years ago as President. Ryan’s arrival with the franchise as a player is what endeared him to fans. He came on the scene and back then it was amazing just to have this legend pitching at Arlington Stadium. Add in the no-hitters and his tough-minded approach to preparation and pitching deep into games. Then top it off with the Robin Ventura mound rush and these are the background reasons why the fan base always loved him. Then fast forward to his arrival a few years ago and his perceived role in helping during the bankruptcy hearing and getting ownership together (not sure how much he did, but I’m sure he got investors attention so it was more than zero) and you get a better awareness of the loose broad logic of what people mix into what they call credibility. We felt like a marginalized major league franchise in the early 90s even though we’d had a few all stars come through here. Nolan, though, was the first legend and he set records here and became more legendary. He will always be a fan favorite here. You would have thought having Nolan would have helped us keep Cliff Lee or get Zack Greinke, among others, but that part of credibility isn’t what gets focused on because he already has too much cache to attach those to him and they can easily be explained by Cliff’s emotional attachment to Philly or Greinke’s not liking AL ball and wanting to bat.

    The franchise is fine with or without Nolan and hopefully he will always make an appearance now and then if he leaves. I will miss his seat just behind the dugout and seeing President Bush with him there many, many nights, but the team on the field won’t perform differently. Nolan just needs to decide and move forward. Apparently we have at least two more weeks of this because of his prior commitments at events for the Rangers if you believe the press.