Growing up a Texas Rangers fan typically meant a boring off season was going to happen. Yes there were the occasional splashes such as signing Nolan Ryan in 1989, but there were also the big busts such as Alex Rodriguez and Chan Ho Park. Part of the futility recently lied in the poor money management of former owner Tom Hicks. Just to show you how things progressed, I looked back through the last ten years of free agent signings from Tom Hicks to Nolan Ryan’s ownership group.
2002: Todd Van Poppel, Juan Gonzalez and Tony Mounce. Van Poppel and Gonzalez were at the closing ends of their careers and Tony Mounce, well…I had no idea who he was until I researched this. Mounce went 1-5 in eleven starts with Texas that season (his only in the majors) though he actually had a positive fWAR (0.1).
2003: Ugueth Urbina. Yes, the same guy who is currently serving a 14-year prison sentence after attacking his workers with a machete and gasoline. Solid choice.
2005: Jason Stantridge. Please make the pain stop. Oh wait, it was later in this season that Jon Daniels was named General Manager. Surely he could convince Tom Hicks to use some money on a big name in the off season.
2006: Nobody. J.D. was still a young Padawan at this stage and had not reached the level of Jedi. That and Tom Hicks was his boss.
2007: Eric Gagne, Kenny Lofton and Sammy Sosa. I don’t blame J.D. for this. I think that Tom Hicks thought if he could convince people it was ten years earlier they wouldn’t notice.
2008: Milton Bradley, Eddie Guardado, Jason Jennings, Gerald Laird and Marlon Byrd. Finally some moves that made sense and they were some guys that meshed well with the youth on the team. My Jason Jennings rookie card is still worthless, by the way.
2009: Omar Vizquel, Andrew Jones, Kris Benson and Ben Sheets. Sheets never played and Benson, well, he had a beautiful wife who was also nuttier than Derek Holland’s fiancee. I actually met Vizquel that year. It was honor seeing him as he is a future Hall of Famer. Oh, yeah, I met Andruw Jones as well.
2010: Rich Harden, Vladimir Guerrero, Khalil Greene and Colby Lewis. Vlad had an impact. Colby stepped up big in the playoffs. Rich Harden was just here between hospital stays. Khalil Greene freaked out during spring training and currently works at Costco (unverified rumor).
2011: Yoshinori Tateyama, Yorvit Torrealba, Brandon Webb and Adrian Beltre. Mmm…Beltre. Okay I have a man crush. Don’t judge me. I could write about the other guys but my hands are starting to cramp.
2012: Joe Nathan and Yu Darvish. Happy dance.
So now we are in the 2013 offseason with so many choices out there. The Rangers have been mentioned as being involved in almost every trade rumor or free agent discussion. It’s a great feeling to have a GM and owner who actually care. I want this feeling to last forever.