In every negotiation, the bidder either (1) has a price point above which they walk away or (2) wins the bidding.
We now know the Rangers clearly had a price point for CJ. The question is why?
I believe the Rangers basically said good bye to CJ when he didn't take their offer of 4/48 to keep him off the market. It was an offer that probably was above his market value at the time. There is one strain of thought on LSB that the Rangers should've kept CJ off the market. This is silly, because it's not like CJ or his agent was thinking that they could get 4/56 or 4/60 on the market and, so, to think that the Rangers would've had to only marginally improve their offer to keep him off the market is silly. To think the Rangers should've have massively improved their offer is silly. CJ was also aware of the money offered to Lee and spent on Beltre. He clearly thought he could get more on the market, and he possibly thought that should he have a great year his performance could convince the Rangers to be competitive in the market.
There is the post Adam made about JD's discussion with the media on "core" players in which a "core" player had to show they wanted to be here long term. One way to interpret that is to say that the player is willing to stay off the market or be willing to consider the Rangers at a discount in the market. The risk to the player is that the deal could be below market if he shows serious improvement, as CJ did.
Why would the Rangers not compete with the Angels on the market and at least match their offer to CJ? The opinions on this board suggest it could be a lot of things.
(1) They do not see CJ as an impact player and think a repeat of last season is unlikely.
(2) They can not afford to keep or bring in other impact players if they have CJ at 5/75
(3) Once the Angels became involved, they believed CJ would only have accepted an offer better than the Angels' to keep CJ.
(4) As it became clear the Angels were in on Pujols, (3) became even more apparent.
(5) They truly can not pay someone other than a Lee or Beltre a competitive market value.
(6) The Rangers have some sort of dislike of CJ. His personality or style just didn't fit the Ranger way.
Discussion has centered around CJ feeling slighted by the Rangers. That's understandable. CJ truly believed in himself. He believed that he could get better than what the Rangers offered to keep him off the market, and he was right. He took that offer and trashed it with a great season.
It's clearly puzzling to CJ why the Rangers didn't compete in the market for him the way they did with Lee. It clearly, I don't want to say hurt, the more manly version of "hurt" him. I still see no reason to take this as evidence that had the Rangers matched the Angels he would be a Ranger. It's just evidence that he wanted to feel wanted. And, when the Rangers determined they didn't want him at a competitive market price (possibly after he rejected last spring's offer of a 4-yr contract beyond which the Rangers are loath to go with pitchers), they didn't see any value in stroking his ego by competing with the Angels.
What does this mean for the next impact player? Josh Hamilton. He wants to be treated fairly. We will likely very soon find out what he means by that. If he doesn't reach an agreement with the Rangers in the next couple of weeks, I think there is a great likelihood he will be shopped, particularly in this OF market. The trouble is, as Adam pointed out, if he doesn't sign with the Rangers, then that's a clear indicator to anyone who could be a trade partner that he's intent on testing the market, and that depresses his return value. Plus, he's got the baggage of drug addiction, bringing risk into the equation and depressing his value. The most obvious trade partner would be the Brewers, and the Rangers certainly aren't going to get much in the way of prospects from the Brewers. It would have to be a superstar swap to make sense for the Rangers in that case.
How can the Rangers replace CJ? Rumors are the Rangers are hot on Garza, again. Theo is not buying the prospects that JD has on the table. It makes sense for Theo to do this. He wants to see whether JD's desperation will increase as the season nears, and after the Rangers might not win the Yu bidding. I'm willing to bet the Yankees are going to win that. They're moving on from AJ. They're going to replace him with what is best available in the market. How ever it is that JD replaces CJ, it will be a shocker, it appears at this point.
The scariest thing about this situation is to wonder the following: Under the new CBA, can the Rangers compete for an impact player on the market ever again? Everyone has to throw money at free agents. The teams that can are the teams that have new stadium deals and TV deals and large markets. It seems the Rangers can only go after players whose value might be somewhat depressed because the big spenders just don't want to bid on them. In this case, the Angels wanted to spend. So did the Marlins. If CJ were an impact player on par with Lee, would the Rangers been able to have put together a competitive bid, knowing that the bidding would've been even higher than what actually occured?