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.
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.
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.
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.
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.