Joey Matches has a post up at BBTiA, in which he extensive quotes from Evan Grant and Randy Galloway in their recent takedowns of the Rangers' front office, and offers a response, along with his thoughts on the offseason and the Josh Hamilton situation.
As usual, I agree with Joey on most of this. I have a hard time condemning the front office for not trading Jurickson Profar for James Shields or Justin Upton, for not trading Mike Olt and Martin Perez for R.A. Dickey, for not giving Josh Hamilton $125 million or Zack Greinke $147.5 million (on a front-loaded deal that includes an opt-out clause).
The one really big contract I look at and think, man, I wish Texas had got in on that is probably B.J. Upton at five years, $75 million, but even then, a deal like that is betting on Upton retaining a lot of defensive value and/or seeing some improvement in his bat. If the Rangers think Leonys Martin is the long-term solution in centerfield, I can't condemn them for not committing that sort of money to Upton.
I also think it is worth seeing how the rest of the offseason plays out. At this time two years ago, the front office was getting trashed for their entire offseason hinging on re-signing Cliff Lee, for failing to keep their stud ace and now being left out in the cold because he went to Philadelphia instead. And then in January, the Rangers picked up Adrian Beltre, a move that has worked out quite well.
One other thing...Joey sums up the issue well here:
Perhaps my usual sense of cynicism is absent this morning, but I don't see the evidence to support the notion that the Rangers have whiffed on these names because they're too consumed by their own arrogance or overconfidence in their abilities, or because free agents don't want to play for the Rangers. I think the Rangers whiffed on these names because they didn't offer the most money/most appealing contract terms (Martin/Napoli/Hamilton/Greinke), or because they didn't make the best trade offer (Shields/Dickey), and because they valued Andrus/Profar to such a great degree that they couldn't bring themselves to break the stalemate with Kevin Towers and the Diamondbacks on Upton.
One of the arguments has been, well, even if their valuation of those players/prospects is right, they still mis-judged the market, and that's a failure of evaluation.
To which I would respond...and so what?
Let's assume the Rangers thought they could land Greinke or Hamilton for less, or could trade for one of the guys above for less than what was ultimately given up to acquire them. If they had, in fact, known it would take $125 million for Hamilton or $150 million for Greinke or Profar to get one of their trade targets, would they have done anything differently so far this offseason?
Do you really think they would have been, in that scenario, more willing to pay $39 million to Mike Napoli? I don't think so. Would they have been willing to give Anibal Sanchez $80 million? Doubtful. The one player I could see them pushing harder for (if they knew the price tags on everyone) is Torii Hunter, but even then, I don't know that it would have made a difference in what they were willing to pay.
If it makes one feel better to lambast the front office, to call them "idiots" as Galloway did and arrogant as both Galloway and Grant did, then that's fine. But one of the lines from Grant, in expressing bafflement as to why they haven't been more successful in landing a free agent, jumps out at me:
Did I miss something? Don’t the Rangers have three consecutive 90-win seasons? Haven’t they been to two of the last three World Series?
I think that's also a good reason to say that the Ranger front office's decision to let deals they don't like go by, and to stand pat for now, is less hubris and more good business.
I think that, on the heels of this team's success the past three seasons, with one of the best farm systems in the game, with no bad contracts on the books, this front office should have earned a certain measure of trust.
I'm not going to blindly agree with everything the front office does. But I'm also going to hold off for another eight weeks or so before I start labeling them "fools>'