Jeff Wilson has some more notes up from Instructs, including some comments about Justin Smoak and Neftali Feliz, who appear to be announcing their presence with authority.
The Rangers beat the Dodgers 4-1 behind more solid pitching from what appears to be an endless pool of talent.
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Despite the abundance of talent, there are no guarantees that the Rangers will be division, AL or world champs over the next decade. The parallel I continue to draw is to college football recruiting. A program gets a class of 25 really good guys, but more than half will be gone or forgotten (got hurt, flunked out, transferred, got homesick, fell in love, stopped developing and were passed by better players) when their five years of eligibility are up. Many of the Rangers' prospects have a lot of life yet to experience, not to mention the business side of baseball, and some of that could get in their way to the major leagues.
It would be nice if some of Jeff's columnist colleagues at the S-T took this view of things, and acknowledged the "endless pool of talent" that has been accumulated in the farm system, rather than dismissing it as something that anyone can do and calling for heads to roll and houses to be cleaned.
I am not one who believes that payroll is irrelevant. Al Capone supposedly said, "You can get a lot farther with a kind word and a gun than a kind word alone." Similarly, you can get a lot farther with a strong farm system and a $100 million payroll than you can with just a strong farm system. And if the Rangers are going to be contenders down the road, they are probably going to need to have their payroll be closer to $100 million than to the $70 million it is sitting at now.
However...if I had to choose between having a farm system that is consistently in the top 5-10, and a $70 million payroll, and a farm system that is consistently in the bottom 5-10, and a $100 million payroll, I'd take the former. Because the economics of baseball are such that what a top flight farm system kicks out is going to provide more talent than what $30 million per year in payroll will buy you on the free agent market.