What is your opinion of the A.J. Pierzynski signing?
MJH on accountability
This is a big off-season for the Rangers, and it looks to me like a key crossroads for one major player in the Rangers family, more than any other. But it's one that's so revered we simply assume they'll perform as they should - - and I'm not totally convinced that we can close a blind eye here.
Hamilton? Napoli? Yu? Wash? In my book, the biggest issues surround none of those.
I'm casting a worried eye at Jon Daniels.
I know he's considered somewhat "untouchable" because the Rangers have done so well the last few years. But there are some tricky hurdles ahead, and I'm not willing to simply assume he's up to the task. To me, his track record offers lots of reasons for doubt - items that simply get ignored because "he's Jon Daniels" - alongside the reasons to praise him.
Here are the things that he'll be tasked with, and my reasons to question whether he's going to navigate the obstacles successfully:
1 Signing free agents
1a - major free agents
Signing Beltre was a success. Kudos on Joe Nathan. Colby Lewis was an excellent get.
But they missed on signing Cliff Lee (and having an ace in the 2011 and 2012 playoffs might have made a huge difference).
Darvish? They paid over $21M a year and so far got a nice #2-#3 pitcher, but not an ace. While we assume that he will develop into an ace, what if he doesn't? At over $20M a year, will we look back and second guess this one? Jury is still out. And after whiffing on Lee, the Rangers need an ace in the worst way.
Oswalt? Wasted money. Leonys Martin? So far it looks like they spent on the wrong Cuban CFer (wouldn't it have made a huge difference with Cespedes in Texas rather than in Oakland?). Brandon Webb? Wasted money.
1b - minor free agentsBrandon Snyder, Hawpe, Conor Jackson, Dave Bush were all worthless busts.
2 Keeping potential Ranger free agents, without stupidly overpaying.
Daniels was the one who gave out the albatross contracts to Feldman and Young, both of whom have been overpaid and exhibited a sense of entitlement. He chose to reward Kinsler and Holland with big money, both of whom took a major dip in performance in 2012 after the contracts.
Passing up CJ Wilson was probably a plus. But they were in a scramble for one more starting pitcher most of the season, with Oswalt-Perez-Feldman-Dempster the mostly mediocre answers (and Oswalt and perhaps Dempster being a bit of a panic move).
Figuring out what to do with Hamilton, Napoli, Andrus, Cruz, and so on are keys for the future, and JD's success in this area has to be classified as spotty at best.
3a - trading up (prospects/kids for needed players)
The Cliff Lee deal was a plus even though they failed to keep him when his contract ran out. Adams? Definitely a plus.
Most if not all of the post-deadline deals in 2011 were a waste of young talent and reeked of over-trading, desperation, and some sort of attempt to look smarter than the rest of the room by making the final special deal. 2012 gave us - - Dempster deal? Meh. Greinke - who could have been a difference-maker - was a JD whiff who went elsewhere. Soto? So-so but not special.
3b - trading down (getting rid of an impending free agent, for prospects)Daniels is lauded, and properly so, for the Teixeira trade ...but otherwise, they haven't done this ...what they decide to do with Andrus is a key issue.
3c - major leaguers for major leaguers
A mixed bag here, but plenty of reason to be wary. Yes the Napoli deal was a win, as was Hamilton-Volquez.
But the Uehara deal (for Chris Davis and Tommy Hunter) was a big trade win for the Orioles, as was Mike Gonzalez for Strop, and both McCarthy-Danks and the Chris Young deal were horrendously bad for Texas.
4 Managing the manager
This is a biggie, and as BBTIA has so eloquently noted recently, there seems to be a lack of accountability that permeated this organization in the 2012 season. It starts at the top, where Wash does stupid stuff and gives his players a free ride for doing stupid stuff. Is Daniels the enabler in this addiction to stupidity? How JD manages Wash - or fires him - is key, and so far it looks like no one in this organization has the cojones to do the hard work of making sure people stay on task and demanding excellence, or replacing them.
Most importantly, this team gave the impression down the stretch that they didn't want to play hard for (or be managed by) this manager any longer. Isn't Wash's strength supposedly the ability to get his players to play hard and play better than they are? Yet almost the whole team underperformed in 2012, and it looks like everything is status quo. If so, that's not a problem with Wash, that's incompetence by the GM, for failing to demand excellence.
JD has been exciting us with a lot of activity, but there's a ton of wasted money, wasted moves, wasted talent in trades, and often little-to-nothing to show for it. Lots of panic moves, deadline desperation, where activity for the sake of activity yields little and sometimes costs way too much.
As a result, I'm concerned that this off-season could be a disaster. There are some huge Ranger talents that are free agents, and lots and lots of question marks in building a playoff caliber roster for 2013. I may be alone in this, but I think the managing was horrendous in 2012, and am worried that the GM-ing isn't capable of righting the ship.
I am hoping for the best - but wondering if the best is behind us.
"but wondering if the best is behind us"
You ARE kidding-RIGHT??
>>"but wondering if the best is behind us">>You ARE kidding-RIGHT??
Not kidding at all. If their best free agents all leave (Hamilton, Napoli, Dempster, Adams), what remains is NOT a playoff team, much less one on the cusp of winning rings. (Do we need to list what the remaining roster would look like at that point, to see how lacking it would be?) And not only is that roster well below their recent standards, the manager's performance in 2012 leaves much to be desired with major question marks.
There is a ton of TOP-QUALITY work ahead needed by the GM, for this team to be capable of getting back to the playoffs and perhaps win a ring ...and I believe that Ranger fans who simply assume 2013 is going to have a top-of-the-league team in Texas are naive. I hope the Rangers answer the questions with their work, but I find it laughable to not be asking serious questions at this point.
Get some rest. JD will take care of it. He always has.
I've always been a big fan of JD, but I think this is a very well-written post, and these are a few things that quite a few people seem to have overlooked. This is something that users on this website might actually have to take seriously pretty soon. I guess we'll just have to wait for that first big offseason move by JD and see what happens.
Q1 = do you suggest the Rangers terminate Jon Daniel's contract and replace him?
Well written. Some of you need to read this article carefully because all of the items mentioned present an ugly future if JD is again unable to pull off at least one quality pitcher and a catcher. The rub here is this has nothing to do with 'numbers,' it has everything to do with PEOPLE and not many in this blog sphere understand how that works because of their tenure in this world.
Remember though, as I have said before, Rangers' ownership 'loves them some WASH' and there in lays the problem. Convincing these old rich guys to make a change is not going to happen until AFTER the wheels and attendance slide. These are the type of old rich guys that will sign FACE to an extension if JD recommends it. They had money to burn before they bought the franchise and now they have more with the FOX deal. This is a hobby to them.
"Accountability" to this point is to hire a new hitting coach. When you spin the numbers hitting was not the problem it was an 'affect.' These guys didn't want to play, they wanted the season to be over September 1st or earlier for some. My guess is there is an internal power struggle happening as we ponder this subject and we will not know the outcome till ST starts.
You need to get back on your meds.
I don't know where to begin with this. Saying Yu was a bad deal? He performed like an ACE the last two months of the season, maybe overall he wasn't an ace, but it's pretty safe to say he lived up to expectations this year. Not signing Cliff Lee was a bad deal?? what?
Also you don't win every trade that happens no matter how good a manager is. You win some and lose some, the Rangers arguably have the biggest steal in sports history trade wise.
and to say this team WON'T make the playoffs without making move is a bit of a stretch, the team would obviously be worse but it would still make the playoffs. Look at the 2010 Rangers a year which Jorge Cantu, Christian Guzman, and Francouer all got playing time down the stretch...and Scott Feldmen was the opening day starter...we have a good farm and a good GM we will contend next year.
Webb, Martin, and Oswalt will be payed 21 million thats including 15 million for Martin...you can make much worse purchases than these and honestly the risk was worth it, just imagine if Brandon made a comback..and Martin still has potential to produce in the Majors.
I think your argument would have been better recieved without all the unnecessary examples (especially since I didn't read past 3a).
But if you're saying what I think you're saying I probably agree. JD gets a lot of free passes in DFW because we've seen more winning baseball during his tenure than we have in the previous 30 years. But we've also doubled payroll since '08ish. That helps winning.
JD is aa very good GM. But he isn't beyond reproach like a lot of guys here think he should be.
My oh my. I like that you're actually trying to bring something new to the table, I really do, and I understand that everybody should be held accountable, as many of JD's early trades backfired, but this is for the most part just crap. I don't mean to offend, but many of the things you have just referenced are either short-sighted, or simply moronic.
Tex, your obeisance to the front office, without even discussing any of the items raised, makes me think you're a plant by the Rangers. Or blind to reality.
To say that JD "always has" done what's needed, isn't accurate. This 2012 team was a back-to-back AL winner in 2010 and 2011 that didn't even get to the division series in 2012. They needed to get better, and they got worse. That means in 2012, JD did NOT get done what was needed, plain and simple.
And that was working with a team that was virtually intact from being one strike away from a ring.
This offseason, it's a team with lots of turmoil - - and the impending losses in talent are some of the key players on the roster. I'm not saying JD is incapable, but I'm not open to the BLIND assumption you propose that he will automatically have this team in the playoffs in 2013.
Fajita, I'd ask you to react to what I actually said, rather than to something different. My observation on Yu is that the Rangers need an ace, paid over $21M a season for him to be an ace, and he might or might not be one. We just don't know yet. But if not, they are still badly in need of an ace, despite already spending $21M for one. So I'm not saying it's a "bad" deal, only that it's premature to chalk that one up as getting the job done.
On Cliff Lee, they needed an ace and JD failed to re-sign him. Wouldn't the presence of an ace in 2011 and 2012 have made a difference in the end result? I have to think it would have.
On the trades, my point is that for every good trade, JD has made some really bad ones. As a result, we can't simply assume that he only has to find a trade ...because, what if the next big trade this off-season is one of the awful ones?
As far as the bottom line, if a team WITH Hamilton and Napoli and so on barely makes the playoffs, what makes you blindly assume they'll be making the playoffs without those guys? The name of the game is that you have to get better, and under JD they didn't get better in 2012 ...and now, with big talent potentially walking out the door, the task of getting better is even harder.
Bill, did I suggest firing JD? Nope. But I'm suggesting that there are reasons to question his performance and ability, and that what he does this off-season will tell us a lot about whether he's a boy wonder or simply a guy who was fortunate enough to be part of the landscape when a team had several players bloom at once. Staying on top is harder than getting there, and it's what separates the special ones from the pretty good. If I had to focus on the issue that's raised the biggest question marks to me, it's how he's reacted (or not) to the (mis)managing of this team by Ron Washington - - because accountability always starts at the top.
I/m suggesting you need to get a life . Be thankful we have a front office not only with the expertise but the means to do their job. I think you have a negative agenda. If you dont like Wash thats your choice but dont veil your criticism at the FO. You seem to come back constantly to Wash. MAN UP1 You seem WISHY WASHY to me. Just relax
MikeG, be specific if you can ...because I think you're being blind to reality by simply assuming that all is okay and that any closer inspection of JD's work is "moronic." I gave specific examples to show that JD is a long long long long ways from being impeccable as a GM, as he's considered to be. You dismiss the mentions of the early bad trades - but the Teixeira trade, on which he gained his reputation, was long ago as well (more than 5 years ago).
if you want to stick to the recent, the 2012 team was worse than 2011, despite the fact that they needed to get better. That's the unfortunate truth. And JD's only positive move from 2011 to 2012 was bringing Yu (who costs $21M a year) for CJ (who costs $15M a year) ...while also making hyped-but-failed acquisitions of Oswalt and Dempster and a so-so swap for Soto, all of which cost money and prospects (there's only a limited supply of each) yet yielding little. All in all, underwhelming GMing in the last year, and a team that headed downward.
This team has to get BETTER. Yet they're faced with the strong possibility of losing Hamilton, Napoli, Dempster, Adams, and more. To me, while it's certainly possible, it's folly to simply assume that JD will have a better roster here next season.
Yu doesn't cost 21mill a year, are you smoking that stuff Hambone used to smoke back in Tampa?
Whats wrong with this guy?
I will agree to a certain extent that folks around these parts are often a little too quick to just slobber all over JD's nob with or without good reason. But...
Get real. If you think JD is anything but a major success in his role as GM, then you just don't get it. He transformed this franchise from being craptastic in 2005 to being a perennial contender by 2010-2012. Look around the pro sports landscape and you'll see that every GM - and I mean EVERY GM in every sport - makes bad deals sometimes. But very few GMs in any sport transform a franchise as successfully as JD has done for our team.
You fail to even mention the one thing that is probably JD's crowning achievement: his construction of the game's best farm system. He surrounded himself with a collection of great talent-evaluators: Thad Levine, AJ Preller, Don Welke, Kip Fagg, etc... and that's not as easy to do as you think. He drafted well, he signed international amateur free agents well, etc. Our farm system has the depth to keep producing major-league quality pieces AND provide prospects for trade ammo. No other MLB organization does that as well as ours.
The 2010 trades? Obviously Lee was a huge success but you failed to mention the Bengie Molina deal. Molina paid huge dividends for our 2010 team. Francoeur was a useful bench bat. Cantu & Guzman sucked but who cares. The Lee deal was an obvious winner and only a moron would have regrets for letting go of Smoak & Beaven for Lee. To cumulatively acquire Molina, Francoeur, Cantu, and Guzman JD gave away Michael Main, Chris Ray, Joaquin Arias, Evan Reed, Omar Poveda, Tanner Roark, and Ryan Tatusko. So please tell me, which one of those guys should I be wishing we had back right now?
Yes the Young & Feldman contracts were bad calls. Jury is still out on the Holland & Kinsler & Martin deals, by no means are those ready to be labeled as busts.
The minor league free agents like Hawpe, Bush, etc are laughable. Every GM throws out minimum-salary deals to those fringe guys. They are roster fillers. Warm bodies to put on your AAA roster. Judging any GM on those deals would be like judging Picasso for the doodles he made on his restaurant paper placemat while waiting for his lunch to be served.
Don't downplay the Beltre, Nathan, and Colbra free agent deals. Those were all very shrewd signings.
Adrian Gonzalez, Danks, and Chris Young were the ones who got away. Danks & Young were good but not as good as you think. Losing A-Gonz hurt, I'm not gonna lie. But then JD turned around and took these players from other franchises in trades: Elvis, Harrison, Cliff Lee, Neftali, Uehara, Adams, Napoli, Murphy, Nellie Cruz, and some guy named Josh Hamilton.
Think Anaheim ever wishes they had kept Napoli instead of letting him slip away to their biggest rivals? Think Oakland ever wishes they knew what they had when Alexi Ogando was an outfielder in their farm system? Think Cincinnati would turn back the clock and give back Volquez to keep Hamilton if they could? Think Braves fans wax poetic about the Mark Teixeira Era and the impact it made on their franchise? Think Mariners fans drool over Smoak & Beaven?
Darvish will be worth his contract. Might even be a steal. Look at the money invested in big pitchers around the league - Sabathia, Zito, Etc. Darvish will provide good value compared to most pitchers in his price range.
Oswalt? Save that for your Nolan Ryan rant.
Which brings us to one thing... on-field management. It's the easiest thing to target simply because it's highly visible and easy to second-guess every time you're sitting on your couch and say "I would have put in PItcher X instead". Wash had a down year in 2012, but his six-year resume in Texas is a very successful one and it's no coincidence. If Wash sucks next year, you win (do you? is that what you really want?). But I strongly suspect Wash will bounce back and have a very good year in 2013, as will his team. Watch.
It's getting cold in here. Can someone please turn on the hot stove?
Tex, yes I have an "agenda" so to speak. I want the Rangers to win titles. And I'm willing to set aside all the sacred cows, when discussing what's going on.
Let's be honest. This team took a step or two backwards this season, and now the talent is in danger of eroding. I thought the performance of much of the roster was lackadaisical far too often, the managing was piss-poor, and the GM failed to get the job done or demand accountability. It wasn't simply the fact that they fell far short of the past two seasons, but it was HOW they arrived at that result, that I find concerning. Don't you? If you're a Rangers' fan and not a shill for the front office, you should.
As for your assertion that Wash's failures have no reflection in an evaluation of the front office, that's pure nonsense. A key component of what it takes to be a top-tier GM is installing the right manager who makes the team BETTER by his managing, and evaluating him and holding him accountable to make the team better.
My two cents..
Martin - why are you saying he's wasted money? You realize that Cespedes is more polished, right? They knew Martin may need a year or two to refine his game, and it was rewarded, he absolutely demolished AAA last season. He didn't get any regular playing time at the bigs, surely you don't expect him to thrive when he gets 3 ABs per two weeks? Are you also saying Profar is a bust because he bat .176? We will find out next season, but so far Martin looks good.
Dempster and Soto - sure they sucked, but keep in mind what we gave up for them, low end prospects that would never expect to see the light of day with the Rangers. Considering what we gave up, it wasn't too bad. The Dempster trade was really needed, as bad as he is, Oswalt was 10x worse, JD made the right call. Giving up nobodies for a major league player that fills a hole is a win in my eyes.
Darvish - you do realize he got completely submerged into a new culture, right? And if you watched him pitch, you know he's an ace. Calling him a potential #3 pitcher is absolutely ridiculous. The end of the season solidified it. If he pitched the way he did when he finally adjusted for the entire season, he would win the Cy Young easy. Darvish was worth every penny, not to mention even if he's a #2, he still drives revenue to the team in other areas.
Snyder, Hawke, etc - you do realize these guys are getting paid next to nothing, right? Were you expecting them to hit 20 home runs and drive in 80? The Rangers have their lineup set for 95% of the games, the Rangers didn't need even need replacement level guys, just fillers on the bench.
Webb - it was a decent investment, 8M for a potential Cy Young level pitcher if he could recover. He never did, but it was a smart gamble. Investments don't always pay off, but that doesn't mean at the time it's wasted money.
Oswalt - you can't really blame JD for this one, after the injuries he didn't have a choice..
Lee - he would've handcuffed the ball club.. Add another 25M to our payroll, who are you going to cut? Not to mention he's 34 and will decline while being paid an absurd amount of money. Remember, JD's job is to be competitive today AND tomorrow, I doubt Lee would help up tomorrow when he's close to 40. You pay that kind of money to a Greinke or Hamels, not a pitcher in his mid-30s.
Since you're looking in hindsight to assess JD, I'll do the same for this:
Greinke - he wouldn't have been a game changer because our offense sucked. It doesn't matter how many one-run game he pitches if we score 0, Greinke wouldn't have helped much unless he can also hit .330 with power.. On top of that, we would have had to give up Olt or Profar, a price I wouldn't want to pay. You would be singing a different tune if the Rangers traded Olt, still lost to Baltimore because of the crappy offense, then watched him walk in the offseason to another team..
Bottom line, it doesn't matter how many hits or misses a GM makes that defines their success, it is what the team does.
His one Tex trade turned the Rangers from a 2/3 place division team into perennial AL West contenders. That makes him a success regardless of how many Brandon Webbs he signs.
And as long as the Rangers are always in position to win the Division, he's doing a good job.
I heartily agree with Questioning One.
What is worse yet, is if J D does not make himself accountable during this critical off season.
Rangers have festering problems that are ruining this team. Stupid fear of offending veterans like Young, Cruz will kill this team. These players have minimal WAR value and are not championship players (WAR of approx -2 put together).
Starting pitching is not deep enough or good enough quality. Holland, Oswalt, Feldman and Dempster were not sufficient. Every team needs 6 strong starters because the average number of starts per year by pitchers other than the 5 starters out of spring training is about 28. The Rangers need 2 more starters who are aces or near aces, or, if they trade Holland or if they fail to use Ogando as a starter, the Rangers need 3.
First base is sub par. Moreland is not good enough. He is less than a 1 WAR player.
With all the players coming off the roster, the Rangers have a lot of money to spend, and a large number of major leaguers that can be traded and minor leaguers that can be traded. The Rangers have the resources to be better in 2013 than in any of the previous 3 years, if J.D. will be accountable. Wash is also a problem, but J.D. must manage this too. Wash costs the team wins, more than an ace can make up for.
In short, J.D. has been damn good, but we will soon see if he was just lucky good or whether he is The Right Stuff.
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