Rangers Power Struggle & Season Outlook
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ARLINGTON (105.3 THE FAN) – We’ve got ourselves an old-fashioned tug o’ war in the Rangers front office.
Today in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, there was a column written about something we’ve been talking about on the Fan for a couple of months now. Jon Daniels vs. Nolan Ryan. Old school vs new school. Baseball people vs. stat geeks.
Jon Daniels is clearly winning. He has a shiny new title as President of Baseball Operations to go along with his General Manager tag. But what does all of this mean?
It means JD wants more credit than he’s getting. He wants to get a pat on the back when he does something good, and as Mike Bascik mentioned on New School this morning, that’s not Nolan’s style. He just nods his head, says, “that’ll work” and moves on. That’s just who he is.
As to the report that sources are saying Nolan Ryan could part ways with the Rangers as a result of this struggle, in my opinion that’s an absolute disaster. It’s a disaster in the simplest way possible: Money. The Rangers resurgence coincided with JD making smart business moves, an ownership group willing to spend money to get us out of Tom Hicks train wreck, and a face that Rangers fans trusted standing out front.
Nolan Ryan lends instant baseball credibility to this town. People love him. If he’s not a part of this thing, I think attendance drops. Public perception would wonder how in the world such a great baseball guy, such a respected Texas Ranger, such a cool Texan, can just be pushed out by a stats geek. While that’s an oversimplification, it’s perception. Nolan is the face of this thing, people feel good about the direction of the team because they’re winning, and because they trust the baseball brain of a guy who was so good at it and who wore the Rangers uniform. Losing him would be a travesty.
The signs have been there all off-season. Nolan (and Wash) would love to bring in veterans to make this team better. The names Michael Bourn and Kyle Lohse immediately come to mind. Lohse is more relevant than ever to the conversation now after Martin Perez broke a bone in his forearm yesterday and won’t be pitching until May. Nolan can look at the roster and think that we need a 5th starting pitcher to start the season, while JD looks at it as “Colby Lewis will be back in May, we can develop a young kid until he’s back, no problem.”
The thing is, you need both of those opinions. This thing has been working because you have both. You have a guy who leans on the numbers, and a guy who leans on knowing what a baseball player looks like, knowing how the locker room works, and knowing how this metroplex works. It would be a shame to lose half of that if Nolan is gone.
Moving on in this Glorious Tidbit, I already mentioned Martin Perez and his injury suffered on a line drive he took off the forearm yesterday. Four weeks until he throws a baseball again, and probably another six weeks after that if you wanted to stretch him out to start a baseball game. You can write off him as a starter this year — he and Colby Lewis will be back at the same time.
Enter Robbie Ross. I’ve got him penciled in as the new favorite to be the 5th starter on this team. That worries me. Not because I don’t think he can do it, but because of what it means for later in games. Who could the Rangers count on last year to close the door in games they had a lead? Guys like Ross, Mike Adams, Alexi Ogando, Koji Uehara. Guys that aren’t in your bullpen anymore. It’s not the most exciting thing to look at as a baseball fan, but it’s extremely important to winning baseball, just ask the Angels from last year. Who is replacing the Rangers in that bullpen that are gone? Jason Frasor, Tanner Scheppers, etc. It’s not a good outlook to me.
The bright side is reinforcements are on the way. The Rangers are going to have a phenomenal trade deadline without making a single move. Joakim Soria gets back in the bullpen, Neftali Feliz gets back in the bullpen, and Colby Lewis should join the starting rotation. That’s a huge boost to a pitching staff that I think is going to be desperate for that boost.
The question now becomes: Will the Rangers be in contention when they get that full arsenal back, or will they lose the division in the first month and a half of the season?
As the creator of the #RPR (Rangers Panic Room) I’m not prepared to open the doors to that room and panic yet, but this team doesn’t have the depth of past Rangers teams. Had it been any other starting pitcher other than Martin Perez who took a line drive off his arm yesterday, I think the season would be over before it began. If all goes well with this team and everyone stays healthy, they can be better than the Angels and the A’s, if anything goes wrong, they can easily finish third (or even fourth) in the AL West.
Oh, one other thing. If Nolan is gone, what’s going to happen to Nolan Ryan Beef Dollar Hot Dog Nights on Wednesdays?
@JC1053 on twitter, Awesome Jeff on the G-Bag Nation, Jeff Cavanaugh on the Sunday Fan Jam, signing off.
Information from the brain of @MikeBacsik was used in this blog.
End Glorious Tidbit 3.4.13
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