Over the course of the next month or two, we will be previewing the Yankees’ competition in the American League. To do this, I will interview one blog for each team in the league.
So far in the AL West we have taken a look at the Oakland Athletics. Now we head southeast all the way to the Texas Rangers. I had the pleasure of interviewing Jean-Luc Tilly of Nolan Writin’….
1) For the second year in a row, the Rangers made it to the World Series, but lost. How degrading is such a turn of events for the Rangers?
I would argue that this turn of events is, if anything, demoralizing rather than degrading. The Rangers still won a championship both years, just not THE championship. There is still a fair amount of pride there, although mixed with a certain feeling of frustration, especially for those involved in some of the more crucial plays. The Rangers have attempted to address that by basically overhauling the less successful portion of their postseason bullpen, by moving Feliz to the rotation, not resigning Darren Oliver, acquiring Darvish to add Ogando or possibly Harrison to the bullpen which moves Mark Lowe out of high-leverage situations, and trading Koji Uehara to the Athletics or some other interested party. I think the fact that they failed to reach the ultimate goal will serve as a source of motivation rather than despondency, especially for some of the younger players who are eager to make their mark on a championship team.
2) What are your thoughts of the Rangers’ offseason, which has mainly included the signing of Yu Darvish? Have the team’s needs appropriately been addressed?
Going into the offseason, I identified 3 areas of need for the Rangers: frontline SP and revamped bullpen, and, where fiscally responsible, a 1B or CF upgrade. I’ve discussed the revamped bullpen in question 1, so I won’t go into that much, save to say that I think acquiring Joe Nathan (2 yr/$14 mil) was a terrific move when you look at the preposterous Heath Bell (3/30) and Papelbon (4/50) contracts, and an underwhelming move when compared to the Madson (1/8.5) contract. The problem there was that the Rangers had identified Nathan early on as “their guy” and went ahead and got him rather than risk losing him (he was receiving several other offers, some reported to be higher). Unfortunately, that prevented them from playing the waiting game with Madson and his agent Scott Boras. A “proven closer” (Nathan has several seasons of closing experience, Madson has half a season) is something manager Ron Washington has consistently identified as crucial to a team’s success, so I understand the impulse to secure your candidate of choice, but a better deal could probably have been had.
Read the rest of this entry