Jon Daniels Takes the Body Shots
If the Major League Baseball offseason were a heavyweight fight, Texas Rangers general manager would be a world of hurt right now. The defections of Gary Matthews, Jr., Carlos Lee, and Mark DeRosa, would be like shots to the kidney that would have him pissing blood at the end of the night.
I've already acknowledged that I think it's a mistake to let the guy whose been perhaps your best center fielder in years walk, even if you had to overpay to keep him. I've also admitted that DeRosa was not worth the money the Cubs paid him since the Rangers didn't have an everyday position to offer him. And it is clear that Carlos Lee, as good a hitter as he is, is not worth $100 million over six years.
So, the decisions were solid with two of the three players. Regardless, it creates a lot of uncertainty in your outfield. Who plays center field? LF bust Brad Wilkerson and/or unproven Freddy Guzman? That's iffy. Who plays left? Wilkerson and/or Fran Catalanotto, both of whom we know don't hit lefties particularly well? Ouch. And in RF the Rangers have a potential star in Nelson Cruz. He was the other part of the Lee trade that's supposed to make us forget Lee was a rental but next year will be his first prolonged MLB action. I'm confident in the guy. He can hit to the gaps, hit for power, , draw walks, steal bases, and play defense. But can he do it at a high level for an entire season.
The question is out there. Is Daniels beat down and on the ropes or he is giving the ole Rope-a-Dope? Is he running scared ot hamstrung by a tightwad boss or is he working a long term plan?
We know he's actively pursuing some of the top pitchers available both on the free agent market and through trades. We also know there are veteran stop gap centerfielders, such as Kenny Lofton, available this year with All Star centerfielders, such as Vernon Wells, entering free agency next offseason. So we sit back anxiously, hoping...pleading that Daniels has a plan to make Ron Washington's teams a contender this year and into the future.