The Texas Rangers struck out in free agency so should they continue the course and opportunistically invest or should they sell it off and rebuild the farm?
The Texas Rangers, on the verge of opening their shinny new air conditioned stadium, announced at the start of the offseason they would be willing to spend big this winter. They decreed they were not just pursuing one, but two premium free agents.
After consecutive years of modest spending on long-shot reclamation projects, this was music to a neglected fanbase’s ears. No longer would the roof, food, and AC be the primary selling points, now Texas fans had a chance to see actual talent on the field.
But halfway through the month of December those dreams seem shattered. Texas struck out on top targets Anthony Rendon and Zack Wheeler. And with the market higher than Rangers’ brass anticipated, Texas seems to be taking a hard pass on secondary targets as well.
Now we find the team falling back on it’s bargain shopping approach from last season. A strategy that saved the franchise more money than it generated. While that may be a solid plan for ownership it’s not very appealing to the fans (or players).
Invest, Flounder, or Rebuild
Here’s the question facing the team now: By choosing not to offer competitive bids, the team has already decided not to invest. At this point it comes down to floundering or rebuilding. If the Texas Rangers keep doing what they’ve done and target “value” over talent, they’re going to see more misses than hits and fail to elevate the franchise above the middle ranks of the league (if they’re lucky).
If the team accepts this offseason as a loss and razes the roster in order to rebuild the farm and construct a competitor from the bottom up, they’ll likely crash to the bottom of the standings for the foreseeable future. Yes, their future will look brighter but their here and now will be downright brutal if they trade off guys like Mike Minor, Lance Lynn, Willie Calhoun, and Jose Leclerc (even in this scenario Joey Gallo is not on the market).
Additionally, razing the team and selling off assets for prospects doesn’t guarantee a darn thing. It offers hope for the future but prospects miss more than they hit and Texas may find themselves in this exact same position five years from now with nothing to show for it.
According to Bleacher Report’s end of season ranking, Texas’ farm is 20th in MLB. RHP Hans Crouse, 3B Josh Jung, and C Sam Huff headline the prospect list (all in the Top-100) but all three are 21 and below and perfectly represent a farm system that’s not ready to meaningfully contribute for years. It’s hard to argue with any plan that would bolster the minors and sell a little hope for the future. But…
Texas Rangers fans deserve better. We don’t want to go to a game this summer to experience high quality temperature control and newer, more expensive, gourmet treats. We want some winning baseball. And selling off the team isn’t going to give us winning baseball any time soon – and possibly even never.
So while the debate rages, and floundering in purgatory with only incremental annual upgrades to cheer for is less than ideal, I just can’t get behind the idea of razing the team. The consequences are too depressing.
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What do you think Rangers Nation? Should the Texas Rangers scuttle the ship and build from scratch or should they continue to opportunistically invest this season and better prepare to invest big next offseason?