This post was originally supposed to go up this morning, but didn't because I'm bad at scheduling posts, so here you go.
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Do you like trying new songs? Do you like only the finest music?
● Randy Galloway pulls out the obligatory "Where's Nolan?" column in response to the Yu Darvish situation, calling this a "$130 million crapshoot unlike anything we've ever seen in the local jock kingdom" (never mind that an $80 million contract would seem to be a tad on the high side), and seemingly questioning why on earth he would let that damn Jon Boy and his baseball people and ownership railroad him into okaying this oh yeah and he's not returning Randy's calls OH MY GOD WHAT IS GOING ON:
Let us commend, again, the Rangers' ownership group, fronted by Bob Simpson of Fort Worth and Ray Davis of Dallas, for stepping right up with the hip pocket and believing in the judgment of the team's baseball people.
What, however, was Nolan's "judgment" on Darvish? That's what my unanswered phone calls are about. Ryan, of course, is the link between the owners and the baseball element, led by general manager Jon Daniels.
There is no question that Daniels and his people were the gospel-singing-choir of Darvish disciples. They were selling Yu to Nolan and ownership.
The Daniels bunch is putting good reputations, and back-to-back World Series appearances, on the line over a complete unknown at the major league level.
You've got to like that, really. Believe it, sell it. But they also need to be $130 million worth of right in this interesting case.
Then there's Nolan. As team president, he's attempting to balance the books for the owners, while also keeping a championship contending team on the field.
Plus, Ryan has proven to be a Hall of Fame pitcher who is very picky about, yes, pitchers. Nolan is the same guy who said no to Cliff Lee over a $140 million deal. Be gone, Cliff.
Nolan is the same guy who three weeks ago never blinked in refusing to make a competitive offer to keep C.J. Wilson, knowing the Angels had $77.5 million on the table.
And also three weeks ago, Nolan pulled out at $50 million for free agent pitcher Mark Buehrle, after the Marlins went to $58 million. Ryan, by the way, loved Mark Buehrle and wanted him in his rotation.
But for pitchers, Nolan has a value system based on years/money. Cross that line, and he walks away.
That's why we need to hear from Ryan this week.
With his track record, he's walked on proven major leagues arms, all of them thirty-ish, but is willing to plunge in the vicinity of $130 million for a complete unknown kid out of Japan?
The Rangers could have signed both C.J. and Buehrle this month for basically what they will pay for Yu Davish. None of this makes sense based on what we know about Ryan and pitchers. But if he was in disagreement, then it's obvious he's willing to listen to the Daniels' group, and then present their case to ownership for the final financial call. We can guess this is what happened with Darvish.
I would like to think that the front office dynamic is not nearly as autocratic as Galloway makes it sound -- that both Ryan and Daniels were in lockstep (or near-lockstep) in deciding to not give Lee that much money, and in turning away from C.J. Wilson. And considering that this entire column is about Galloway being baffled by Nolan consenting to this investment, I suppose we can interpret this as a good sign that both Ryan and Daniels are on the same page here, and that Ryan wholeheartedly bought into what his baseball operations department was selling him. *
I'm also not sure why we need to hear from Nolan, at this point in the game. What is he going to tell us, other than that the organization is very high on him and very excited about the opportunity to sign him? That the chance to bring a young, projectable potential ace into the fold justifies the huge expenditure? Because that's what he would tell us, if he actually spoke on the subject. That would be his on-the-record rationale for the Rangers going well above and beyond what they were willing to pay Wilson or Buehrle. I'd be shocked if you got much beyond that out of him.
* Of course, one wonders how much of the baseball operations department was on board with giving Buehrle $50 million as Nolan supposedly would have done ...
● Ken Rosenthal writes that the Rangers are still pursuing Athletics closer Andrew Bailey even after acquiring the exclusive right to negotiate with Darvish, and speculates that a Bailey-to-Texas deal would likely precipitate the trade of one of the Rangers' other starting pitchers for help at first base or in center field -- Matt Harrison, perhaps.
Of course, doing so would then leave the Rangers with Scott Feldman as their No. 6 starter again.
● Bobby Keppel, a former teammate of Darvish, says that he's one of the best pitchers he's ever seen in his life.
● John Danks has signed a shiny new five-year, $65 million extension with the White Sox, and the saberuniverse is ... confused, to say the least.
● Remember that jazz about the Blue Jays bidding upwards of $50 million on Darvish? Yeah, now we're hearing stuff to the contrary, as a Blue Jays columnist and both Jon Heyman and Buster Olney are all saying that the final outcome wasn't even close, and that the Rangers blew everyone away.
● Nelson Cruz is holding himself out of the Dominican Winter League festivities, because he's more focused on working out and keeping his legs healthy after dealing with a spate of leg-related injuries over the last few seasons.
● Drew Davison writes about the Rangers adding catcher Luis Martinez to their 40-man roster in a minor deal that sent Ryan Kelly to the Padres yesterday, Josh Hamilton's search for an accountability partner, and the joyous news that Matt Kata has been re-signed by the Rangers to a minor league deal.