Your 2012 Rangers Seeking A Different—Winning—Result

Those trying to blame Rangers manager Ron Washington for the World Series loss are looking for scapegoats. Talent aside, there have been many teams who didn’t fulfill their promise for one reason or another; to suggest that another manager would simply have plugged in the correct players at the “right” time are taking second-guessing to its logical conclusion.

The players play hard for Washington and always have; the Rangers knew he wasn’t the strongest game manager going back to his first year and he hasn’t gotten much better; but to blame him?

It’s silly. Another manager might not have even made the playoffs at all.

We don’t know.

He had his closer on the mound with a 2 run lead in the bottom of the ninth inning of game 6 in the World Series; there were 2 strikes and 2 outs and his closer blew it. What more was he supposed to do?

The Rangers have more pressing questions to answer once they get past this devastating loss.

Let’s take a look.

Washington’s contract is up after 2012.

While Washington shouldn’t be dismissed because of this loss, there’s going to be the hovering question—valid or not—as to whether he’s the prototypical “manager to take them to the next level”.

That’s usually an excuse for a club wanting to make a managerial change, but it’s just as random as any other reason—they don’t have to give a reason to make a change.

Washington’s job is safe and he’ll probably get an extension through 2013 so he’s not working in the final year of his deal in 2012.

Mr. Intangibles is expensive.

The player with the most ancillary importance in baseball this side of Derek Jeter—rife with leadership skills and loyalty—Michael Young still might be trade bait.

He’s set to make $32 million through 2013 and is a 10-and-5 player (10 years in the league; 5 years with the same team) so he’d have to approve any trade; there’s something of a redundancy with the club’s position players and Young’s value is never going to be higher than it is now by those who either need someone who’s as versatile and well-liked as he is or are hypnotized by his “aura”.

The Mets for example could use him as a second baseman; the Phillies could use him as a roving utility player who plays every day.

The Rangers will listen to offers—again—for Young.

Contracts and free agents.

Josh Hamilton is a free agent after 2012 and the Rangers have to consider very carefully his injury history and substance abuse history before making a $120 million investment.

Perhaps God will whisper to Hamilton that he should stay in Texas at a reduced rate.

C.J. Wilson is a free agent now and while the Rangers want to keep him, they’re not getting into a bidding war to do it. Those that were suggesting that his price was reducing with every poor post-season outing don’t know anything about baseball, pure and simple. 200 innings are 200 innings and his post-season struggles had more to do with location than any diminishing of stuff. He’s going to get his big contract from someone and it’s probably not going to be the Rangers.

Strategies.

If the Rangers are going to move Neftali Feliz into the starting rotation, they have to make the decision once and for all—in the winter—and stick to it. The “let’s try it in spring training and move him back if it doesn’t work” isn’t a decision, it’s hedging.

Feliz is 23 and after the way the World Series ended for him, the choice has to be made with finality.

Pursuits.

The Rangers have been said to be preparing a pursuit of CC Sabathia if and when he opts out of his Yankees contract. It’s unlikely that the Yankees will let him leave, but worst case scenario, they’ll raise the price the Yankees have to pay and possibly negate them from going after other players the Rangers might want.

Yu Darvish is going to be worth every penny he costs in posting fees and contracts and will be better than Wilson.

The Rangers could use a bat if they decide to trade Young; David Ortiz and Jim Thome would fit nicely in at DH; if they allocate their money to a bat rather than on the mound, Prince Fielder is a target. Mark Buehrle wouldn’t ask for the world in terms of dollars and is a good fit in the Rangers clubhouse.

If they need a closer, Jonathan Papelbon has the post-season history that few closers in baseball do; Francisco Rodriguez and Heath Bell are big names; Brad Lidge, Joe Nathan and Ryan Madson are free agents on the lower tier.

On the trade front, the Rays are always ready to deal and James Shields is durable, good and signed long term. Both the Rangers and Rays think outside the box, so I’d ask about David Price and see what they say.

Would they—Nolan Ryan and Mike Maddux—think they could straighten out Mike Pelfrey? Would Pelfrey and Bobby Parnell and the hope of clearing Young’s salary make a deal possible with the Mets?

The Rangers and White Sox have dealt with one another before and John Danks, Gavin Floyd and Carlos Quentin are up for auction.

Rangers GM Jon Daniels and team president Ryan think differently and are aggressive to address needs. The Rangers are going to make the changes they deem necessary so they’re back in this same position a year from now, but finally achieve a different result—a winning result.

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  1. #1 by Dave Wakeman on October 30, 2011 - 1:19 am

    Count me as someone that thinks Young going to the Mets is extremely doubtful. I see the Mets as more likely to tear down the entire building than trying to string together a quasi-.500 club.

    That being said, I think that Texas is a good fit for Pelfrey and Parnell if the Mets decide to try and get some value for them. I just don’t know if Young would be willing to join the Mets and I don’t know if he would fit into another rebuilding campaign in Flushing.

    Its also a little premature to blush so heavily over Yu Darvish. I do think he will be better than most of the Japanese pitchers that come over, its still difficult to know how a pitcher is going to perform when they come over.

    As for Ron Washington, I think that its very easy to second guess and hem and haw about what decisions a manager made. I don’t think Washington’s strategy was flawed, it was just that when his players were in the position to close out the series, they didn’t. That’s performance and not strategy. And, if you think that someone else may have motivated them differently to close out the series, that may or may not be true, but I don’t put as much credibility in the necessity for rah rah motivation in baseball as I do in other sports.

    • #2 by admin on October 30, 2011 - 1:32 am

      Young’s a 10-and-5 player and won’t accept a trade unless he’s compensated with a contract extension so he’s highly unlikely to go anywhere; maybe he’d accept a trade to the Phillies.
      Darvish is gonna be a mega-star.
      Washington made some mistakes—bad ones—but my point was that if the Rangers had a manager they despised, they might not have made the playoffs at all; if a manager has his closer in the game with a lead and the closer blows it, what was he supposed to do differently? I don’t know.

  2. #3 by Dirk McCall on October 30, 2011 - 5:59 am

    Ron Washington is a bad “manager” by the looks of the last two World Series (and an All Star game). Last year vs. the Giants how many games passed before Feliz was used? Nice guys finish last. Oh yes, and he bats Cruz in the bottom of the lineup…friggin’ genius. He should be fired and Francona hired. Bruce Bochy is the best game manager.

    • #4 by admin on October 30, 2011 - 1:43 pm

      Washington is not a good game manager. You’re right about that. I would’ve fired him after the positive cocaine test, but they didn’t. I would not fire him for this. And you can’t count the All Star game—it’s not a real competitive game.
      We can argue about the “best” game manager—Bochy’s a very good manager; Jim Tracy’s probably a better game manager, but it’s debatable.

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