Life at the ballpark is a little different these days in Arlington. Wins are still good, but losses are not that bad, either. A top-five pick is almost a certainty. The Texas Rangers are a mess, and GM Jon Daniels has only himself to blame.
Unable to land a frontline starter in 2011, Daniels plunked down $80 million to sign Adrian Beltre. Great move. He finally nabbed a legit staff ace, Yu Darvish, the following winter. And, even at a total investment of $111.7 million, signing Darvish was another shrewd move.
Daniels may have struck gold at the trade deadline by cashing in on the Detroit Tigers‘ bullpen woes. Joakim Soria is having a very good year, but no closer is worth two top-five premium pitching prospects. Another brilliant transaction.
But with the good comes the bad, and its not a pretty picture. Texas gave Elvis Andrus an eight-year, $120 million extension last spring. $15 million for an average-hitting shortstop? Ouch! Shin-Soo Choo got the perfect Christmas gift last year — a seven year, $130 million contract! However, it’s a good bet Choo will be an expensive DH the final 3-4 years of his deal. Oops.
Everyone but Daniels was worried this past spring about a starting rotation that was doomed to fail. Both Matt Harrison and Colby Lewis were returning from major health issues, which meant Darvish, Derek Holland and Martin Perez were basically it. Daniels’ plan to put relievers Tanner Scheppers and Robbie Ross in the rotation also misfired.
The Rangers also invested nearly $4 million in catchers Geovany Soto and J.P. Arencibia during the offseason. As it turns out, only a million was needed because the unheralded duo of Robinson Chirinos and Chris Gimenez have outplayed Daniels hand-picked backstops.
Then there is Leonys Martin and Michael Choice. Martin was thrown into the fire last year and was supposed to be making progress this season. That’s not happening. Choice? He should have made his debut in a Texas uniform next month.
But the biggest mistake that Daniels made was not bringing back Nelson Cruz. Forget all the talk about low-ball offers and playing time. Cruz wanted to play in Texas and something went wrong. How did the Rangers let an MVP-caliber slugger demanding just $8 million walk away?
There will be no playoff race at Globe Life Park this year. Too many bad decisions, not injuries, are the main reason why the Rangers are one of the worst teams in all of baseball, again.