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Revo to Hicks: Spend the Money, or Lose Fans

Jim Reeves with a column today on Tom Hicks and the Rangers...

The key point:

It's entirely conceivable that Tom Hicks, who just this week admitted publicly that the Rangers have become "a very profitable team" again, will use the surprising September performances of Kameron Loe, Juan Dominguez and even R.A. Dickey to rationalize not signing free-agent pitching this off-season.

Hadn't see Hicks saying anything about the Rangers being "a very profitable team" this season, but it wouldn't surprise me. A payroll in the bottom third of the league, with a big market team that has a big market media deal, you'd have to work to lose money with...

As Reeves sees it:

Hicks will likely ponder three options this winter:

  1. Decide he wants to win the AL West and get into the postseason. That will take two free-agent starters and probably two big-time free-agent bullpen guys. And it wouldn't hurt if at least one more bat was added to the lineup, too.
  2. Take a middle-of-the-road approach. Sign one starter and add one bullpen piece. Get by with the bats that are already here.
  3. Keep the Rangers' 10-year plan in place by claiming that the club is still a year away, which was the same philosophy that almost provoked a clubhouse rebellion in August.
I disagree on what is needed for #1. I think "big-time free-agent bullpen guys" is largely an oxymoron, and anyway, if we learned anything from 2004, it is that you can cobble together a bullpen with youngsters and minor league free agents. Quality pens aren't built by signing "big-time free-agent bullpen guys", they are built by sifting through some NRIs and guys with one good pitch and finding guys who can be effective in a limited role. Spending money on "big-time free-agent bullpen guys" would be foolish, given the other needs and this team's budget, and it isn't necessary to get this team into contender status.

However, a couple of solid starting pitchers, along with the right bat (Brian Giles, Brian Giles, Brian Giles), would make this team a playoff contender next year. And Hicks could go that route without splurging with a $100 million payroll like the team had a few years ago.

I still believe this team isn't that far away from being a playoff team. I still believe that there are just a couple of key holes that need to be addressed. And I still believe that a team with the resources that the Rangers have should be able to fill those holes this offseason.

There is zero excuse for the 2006 Rangers to be back in rebuilding mode.