Bob Nightingale of the USA Today has a piece on Kenny Rogers, talking about Rogers' incredible scoreless streak this year.
Of more interest, though, at least to me, is what Nightingale portrays as a completely poisoned relationship between Rogers and the Ranger front office.
Last season, John Hart reportedly trashed Grady Fuson all over baseball for giving Kenny Rogers a two year deal, something that is unlikely to have made Rogers feel real warm and fuzzy. And then, of course, this offseason, we had the infamous meeting between Rogers and Hicks about a contract extension, which, according to the Star-Telegram, included a threat by Rogers to retire if the Rangers didn't give him a contract extension.
Rogers, of course, vehemently denied threatening to retire, and became (understandably) furious over the fact that the meeting was leaked. Of course, assuming that the meeting would remain private was probably naivete on Rogers' part, given management's predilection for letting information out. Throughout the ARod trade talks, particularly with Boston, Ranger management was purportedly blabbing everything that was going on all over. Last year, it certainly appeared that Buck Showalter was using his relationship with Peter Gammons (remember, they were on Baseball Tonight together before Showalter returned to the Rangers) as part of what appeared to be an orchestrated campaign to force Grady Fuson out as the Rangers' g.m.-in-waiting. The Rangers aren't known for having particularly tight lips.
So Kenny is furious with the organization, and understandably so. I don't completely buy his denials about threatening to retire, but whether he did or not, I think his anger towards Hicks, Hart et al for leaking the news is justified.
It probably doesn't make a whole lot of difference, one way or the other, as it relates to Kenny. He'll probably not re-sign with Texas after the season, and some other team will probably overpay him. He'll move on, the Rangers will move on, and this chapter will close.
But what I still don't understand is, what were the Rangers trying to accomplish by leaking this information to the press? Was it in the hopes that trading this sort of information would lead to more favorable coverage by the local media? Was it to try to intimidate Kenny into backing down? Was it to send a message to Kenny's agent, Scott Boras -- that Boras isn't welcome in Texas anymore?
Or was it simply a petty action, a "screw you" to a guy that John Hart didn't want in Texas in the first place, didn't want to sign, and who was given a contract that Hart didn't approve of? Was this payback, part of the lingering hard feelings from the front office struggle that was going on before the 2004 season that Hart ultimately won?
I have no idea. But regardless, there was no good reason for the Rangers to leak what they did. The fact that Kenny Rogers is mad at them probably doesn't make any difference one way or the other.
But it is a pretty lousy way to treat your players...much like the way Kevin Mench and Ryan Drese were treated in contract negotiations earlier this year. And it is something to keep in mind, the next time a Carlos Delgado or some other free agent spurns the Rangers for another team...