6 Worst Texas Rangers Free Agent Signings

Chicago White Sox v Texas Rangers
Chicago White Sox v Texas Rangers / John Williamson/GettyImages
5 of 6

Number 2: Juan Gonzalez

The second player on this list is Juan Gonzalez. He is a Rangers legend, a former MVP, and leader of the three AL West division-winning teams in the 1990s. How could he be on this list? Lets go back to how he came to be signing with Texas for a second tour of duty. In 1999 Texas won the AL West division for a third time, and for a third time they lost to the New York Yankees in the divisional round. General Manager Doug Melvin decided it was time for a massive shakeup.

Gonzalez was one year away from free agency. Texas had to decide if they wanted to extend him or trade him. It would have been very expensive to extend him and so they chose to trade him. Gonzalez was sent away in a massive nine-player trade with Detroit

Gonzalez played out his time in Detroit and became a free agent. He did not get that long term offer he was seeking. He ended up signing a 1 year/$10 million contract with Cleveland. He had a great season in Cleveland and finished top 5 in MVP voting once again. He parlayed that season into a two-year contract to come back to Texas.

Gonzalez came back to Texas to try and help Alex Rodriguez deliver another division title to the Rangers. He suffered from a variety of injuries that kept him off the field for long periods of time. He played out the two years and combined for 38 home runs in the two seasons. Gonzalez would end up rejecting a trade to Montreal in 2003. He would not play another game in a Rangers uniform as the calf injury he suffered in July kept him out the rest of the season.

It was made even worse when owner Tom Hicks in 2007 made comments tying Gonzalez to steroids. He said in an interview with KTVT in Dallas-Fort Worth,

"Juan Gonzalez for $24 million after he came off steroids, probably, we just gave that money away,"

Tom Hicks

It was an irresponsible statement made by the owner about a player that had already retired. It sullied the reputation of Juan Gonzalez and destroyed any post-career relationship Juan might have had with the franchise. In 2013 Gonzalez was elected to the Rangers Hall of Fame with teammate Pudge Rodriguez. He "graciously declined" the honor. In 2015 the team chose to induct Gonzalez with or without his participation. He chose not to attend.

The Gonzalez free agent signing was more sad than bad as the performance on the field in those two seasons was not great, but the damage done by owner Tom Hicks has allowed fans to forget how good Juan was in his prime and how important he was to this franchise. Other players like Colby Lewis, Ian Kinsler, Michael Young, Brandon McCarthy, Marc McLemore, Ivan Rodriguez, David Murphy, Steve Buchele, and many other former players are still involved with the team. Hopefully one day the relationship can be reconciled and Gonzalez can properly be given his due by the fans.