This was a tough week on paper for Rangers fans. Our biggest rival got significantly better, and the Rangers ended the week in the exact same situation they began it in. It’s hard to not feel like our ballclub fell behind pace just a little bit after watching the Angels sign Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson.
The Pujols contract of 10 years/$250 million is probably what he deserves based on the career he has put together, but is highly unlikely to be what he is worth over those 10 years. The Wilson contract of 5 years/$77.5 million seems to be much more reasonable. I was surprised that the Rangers apparently never approached offering Wilson a similar contract.
The explanation for the Rangers negotiating stance with Wilson became clear in the ensuing interviews once the dust had settled. The underlying philosophy was apparent – we will not over-commit in contract years or dollars for one single player. The Rangers front office wasn’t comfortable going to a 5-year contract with Wilson, and so they didn’t. It’s not sexy, it’s not exciting, but it’s necessary.
I am not even here to argue whether they should, or should not have offered Wilson a 5-year contract, or at least put a competitive offer on the table. The important point to note is that the Rangers organization is one that acts with conviction, and with a grasp of the full picture. After suffering through many years of this franchise being run without this kind of purpose, I think Rangers fans can appreciate the importance of a disciplined approach to roster management.
Right or wrong, a professional sports organization needs to be run based on a set of principles and with purpose. Just like with a business, or a successful investment portfolio, a major key to success is to develop a plan and stick to it. This week the Rangers proved they are sticking to their plan.
As the Rangers look to extend some of its existing players to long-term deals this offseason, I think we will continue to see this doctrine applied. It doesn’t mean they won’t spend when necessary (like with Adrian Beltre’s contract, or more recently with Joe Nathan). It does mean that they won’t over-extend when it isn’t necessary, or in the best interests of the club.
This may mean that the Rangers also don’t land Yu Darvish, or Prince Fielder. But it also means that we won’t see another Chan Ho Park roll through town either. Instead, the end result will be a roster of the right players, at the right price, assembled together for the singular goal of winning championships.
This adopted doctrine should not be perceived as stinginess. Instead, it is the formula that will lead this club to multiple years of success, instead of just one-time flashes in the pan.