The MLB trade deadline is still a few days away, but rumors are running rampant around baseball front offices. The latest rumor Wednesday morning was reported by MLB.com's Mark Feisand. He said this in his article,
"One American League executive has heard that owner Ray Davis is “heavily engaged,” adding that they expect Texas to be very active before the Aug. 1 Trade Deadline."
There are no quotes from the Rangers front office contained in this article just speculation from rival executives. The part that interests me about this article is the opinion that owner Ray Davis is "heavily engaged". Davis has spent most of his time as owner in the shadows, rarely seen or heard from. Davis once said at a press conference with his fellow co-chairman Bob Simpson to announce Nolan Ryan as CEO and President
"Neither Bob or I expect ever to do another press conference"- Texas Rangers co-Chairman Ray Davis
That was not realistic when he said it in 2011, but it has remained mostly the case in his tenure as a member of the Texas Rangers ownership group. He existed to make sure the bills were paid and checks were signed.
Texas Rangers owner Ray Davis steps out of the shadows
The visibility of the owner has certainly increased since last season. Davis was the face seen when Jon Daniels was let go in August of last season. He was on the panel and helped announce the hiring of Bruce Bochy. He is seen sometimes just sitting behind home plate in the suites behind the netting. Finally, he was there to announce the All-Star game logo and said this about the trade deadline.
The question becomes is it in the best interest for the team in the short term and long term for Davis to be heavily engaged in the trade deadline talks? I can see the positive aspects. Davis is seemingly not going to let additional salary get in the way of Chris Young bringing in talent. Having ownership on board will make finalizing trades much easier. Having ownership and the front office united could help in potential extensions with players that are brought in.
There are negative aspects as well. Chris Young has a vision for this team, both with the short term success they have had in 2023 and a long term picture of where he wants this team to go. Davis putting pressure on Young to finalize a trade could lead to Texas giving up more than they should and hindering the long-term success of this franchise.
Is Ray Davis trying to become Jerry Jones?
I have been a long-time fan of the Dallas Cowboys, probably longer than I have been a fan of the Rangers. Jerry Jones took over the team in 1989. He is in the war room during the draft, does press conferences after every game, and is involved with player transactions and the hiring or firing of head coaches. The Cowboys in these 34 years have won three Super Bowls, but none since 1996, and have not gone as far as the NFC championship game in that time as well. Jones is an example of a middling owner who hurts probably more than he helps.
Ray Davis has been involved with the Rangers since 2010, but he was not the public face of the organization in the way that Jerry Jones was for most of his tenure as owner. He signed the checks and gave budgets to Jon Daniels on what he could spend. He allowed Daniels to be the face of that side of the franchise for most of his tenure. I do wonder what has caused him to step out and be seen more often. He did say this when he was announcing the dismissal of Jon Daniels.
"I am not a good loser."- Texas Rangers co-Chairman Ray Davis
I think it is apparent that he was tired of the losing and decided to step in. If the Rangers continue to win the expectation is that he will go back into the shadows, where he seemingly likes it. He has never desired to be Jerry Jones or Mark Cuban even though the affairs of the franchise have pushed him to do so. He once said this to the Dallas Morning News when he gave them an exclusive interview about Jerry Jones as compared to his ownership style.
"When Jerry bought the Cowboys, he gave his famous quote of ‘everything from socks to jocks. That was never my intention.”"- Texas Rangers co-Chairman Ray Davis
He is now out in the spotlight and is playing a part in the story of the trade deadline, whether he likes it or not. It will be fascinating to see what kind of influence he has on the decisions made by Chris Young and front office officials.
We will certainly find out in the next five days leading up to the trade deadline what role Davis played. Chris Young is the one that will be on the phone executing these trades. We will see if the move to be aggressive as Feisand and other MLB insiders have said is a desire from Chris Young or is it because of a push from ownership. Whatever direction this takes will go a long way to defining not only the rest of this season, but the trajectory of the franchise potentially over the next several seasons.