The Texas Rangers have steered away from the top of the free agent market this offseason. Some people think the Rangers should continue to pay market value for players. Jon Daniels, however, is doing things the right way.
As baseball fans yearn for any kind of news this offseason, the Texas Rangers are sticking with the plan Jon Daniels and Co. put in place this offseason. While the Rangers general manager won’t close the door on the premium talent like Yu Darvish, he’ll only do it for the right price.
Why is that? Why won’t the Rangers spend money we all know they have? They have a new ballpark opening in just a couple of years and money hasn’t been an issue under current ownership. And after all, the Rangers are just a couple pieces away from possibly contending for a playoff spot.
Actually, with the way the Astros are built and the Angels loading up, it would take a lot for the Rangers to compete for even a playoff spot. If the Rangers commit loads of money to free agents and they don’t contribute like they were expected to, then they’re potentially caught in a bad contract. See Shin-Soo Choo for example.
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This goes further than that as 2018 will be a crucial year for the Rangers. The reason is that Jon Daniels is going to let his young core players play. Guys like Joey Gallo, Nomar Mazara, Delino DeShields, Willie Calhoun, Rougned Odor, and potentially Jurickson Profar. This will be a year where Daniels is going to trust what he has internally, and the result will be win-win. If the Rangers win, then he has the flexibility to add to the team and compete. If they lose, he can sell veterans and gain young players to fill needs they have.
Remember 2010? Every Texas Rangers fan does. It was an amazing year where fans of the franchise finally saw this team go to a World Series. Here are the 2010 everyday starters when the season started:
C Jarrod Saltalamacchia
1B Chris Davis
2B Ian Kinsler
3B Michael Young
SS Elvis Andrus
LF Josh Hamilton
CF Julio Borbon
RF Nelson Cruz
DH Vladimir Guerrero
How many of these players were brought in by a large, top-of-the-market contract via free agency? Vladimir Guerrero‘s contract was cheap, at $6 million guaranteed. Everyone else was either homegrown through the Rangers’ farm system or traded for by selling a veteran player.
The difference between 2010 and 2018 is Jon Daniels knew exactly what he was getting from each player going into 2010. Some guys underperformed like Chris Davis and Rich Harden. That paved the way for guys like Mitch Moreland and trading for Cliff Lee.
When Daniels saw the team had a serious chance to compete for a championship, that’s when he pulled the trigger for a guy like Cliff Lee. Nobody saw Texas as a legitimate World Series contender going into the season. The Texas GM let his players play, and most of them lived up to their potential that season.
Jon Daniels is going to give his guys a chance to play this season. Guys like Mazara and Odor already have a couple years under their belt, but guys like Gallo and DeShields have areas of strength, but areas to improve. Then, there are unproven guys like Calhoun and Profar.
As stated before, 2018 will be very crucial for the Texas Rangers. This upcoming season will let the Rangers’ front office and the fans know what these guys that are currently on the roster are made of. The Rangers’ best years were built internally. If the Rangers are to be great again, they’ll need to follow the same recipe for success. It just requires patience.