In his blog today, Buster Olney says that certain teams would be better served sitting out this offseason, and identifies the Rangers as one of them, saying that the Rangers shouldn't sign any free agents or deal away any of their young pitchers, but just save their money and work towards 2008.
The problem with this point of view is that it ignores the political elements of the situation within the team. Tom Hicks wants to sign Michael Young to a contract extension to make him a Ranger for life, and the team seems to want to keep Mark Teixeira around, as well. However, neither player is likely going to want to talk extension if the Rangers punt 2007...it is more likely that they -- and Teixeira (via Scott Boras), in particular -- would agitate to get dealt, instead.
Now, maybe that's the better route for the Rangers to go. I don't think so, but one can certainly make the argument that the Rangers are better served dealing Teixeira and Young and stripping down. And if you do that, you probably are going to want to deal Kevin Millwood and Akinori Otsuka, as well.
But that's not what Olney is advocating...he's saying to just stay in limbo for 2007, and then push for Vernon Wells in 2008 and make a run then. I just don't see how that's realistic.
At this point, the two main moves I'd like to see the Rangers make is to bring Vicente Padilla back and add another quality starter, either via trade or finding a reasonably priced option in the free agent market. A centerfielder would be nice, someone like Manny or Burrell would be nice, and I wouldn't shut the door on those possibilities, but I also wouldn't put them at the top of the priority list or make them necessities.
Even with the defections, if the Rangers can bring Padilla back and find another quality starting pitcher, I think they can be playoff contenders, particularly in a rather unimpressive A.L. West. I don't see that it makes sense to lump them in the category with teams like Kansas City, Tampa or Pittsburgh, teams that have no prayer of contending in 2007.
We'll have to see what the rest of the offseason brings...but at this point, I think following Olney's advice, and just standing pat, would be a big mistake.
Oh, and a nitpick...Olney claims that the Rangers were the leaders in free spending in the winter of 2000 by overpaying for ARod and Chan Ho Park. ARod was winter of 2000...the Ho was 2001.