No, I am not Charles Dickens. This is not a story about an orphan boy named Pip. However it is about a certain segment of Texas Rangers’ fans who ask “may I please have another?”.
I’ve been following the Rangers since 1985 when Doug Rader was the manager. Yes, I am that old. I really became obsessed with the team the next season when Bobby Valentine took the reigns. There was something about his personality that was not just infectious with the clubhouse but fans as well. They may not have won any pennants during his managerial tenure but they were fun teams with young players like Juan Gonzalez, Ruben Sierra and a young future hall of fame catcher named Ivan Rodriguez. And speaking of hall-of-famers, they had the one of the greatest ever in Keven Reimer. Okay, I was just seeing who was paying attention. Of course I’m talking about Nolan Ryan, which leads me to the point of all of this.
Earlier this year the Rangers signed pitcher Shelby Miller to a one-year deal. It was just another in a flurry of moves that the Rangers have made this offseason, I’m sure now that casual fan is pausing right now and thinking “flurry”? Well, yes. General Manager Jon Daniels has been quite busy the past couple of months making moves to both add arms to the starting rotation and restock the farm system. 2019 is looking like another down season, but with the young arms in the minors that we currently have, 2020 should bring back a more competitive team.
Here’s where Nolan comes in. A lot of fans blame the struggles of recent years on Jon Daniels. They claim that if Ryan was still here that the team would be better. But would it really be? The Rangers successful run came about because of Daniels. Sure, Nolan had an influence on the players but he didn’t build the team. We never signed a big name free agent pitcher during his tenure. In fact, the only way we could get ace-type pitchers was via trades and moves that J.D. pulled off.
Let’s compare the two with some of the players they made moves for (via trade or free agency) while here together.
Jon Daniels: Matt Harrison, Elvis Andrus, Neftali Feliz, Nelson Cruz, Josh Hamilton, David Murphy, Vladimir Guerrero, Colby Lewis, Bengie Molina, Cliff Lee, Mike Napoli and Yu Darvish.
Nolan Ryan: Roy Oswalt and Lance Berkman.
Though Ryan wasn’t the G.M. he fought hard for Oswalt and Berkman and we all know how they panned out here.
Now I’m not saying that Daniels is perfect, because no General Manager is. He’s made some bad trades involving some big named prospects (Ryan Dempster comes to mind) but you can’t always predict the future. Would he have dealt Ian Kinsler to Detroit for Prince Fielder if he was aware of his neck problems? No. And while I love Shin-Soo Choo as a player I think we can all agree that his contract was a bit too much.
Rangers’ fans need to be patient and realize that every team has its’ ups and downs. Jon Daniels has been restocking the farm with a lot of great young talent so they can once again chase another division title and surpass the Astros. And, by the way, Nolan Ryan has nothing to do with Houston’s success. They also have a brilliant G.M. who put that team together before Nolan got there so please quit with that narrative.
Yes, this upcoming season may not be the best but I know they will continue to compete as best as they can. They have a new manager in Chris Woodward and a host of new coaches and other special assistants who specialize in analytics. The future of this team looks pretty bright.
Until next time, I’ll see you in the cheap seats!
James Holland is a contributing writer for Dallas Sports Fanatic. He is a lifelong fan of baseball and his hometown Texas Rangers. He has worked as a featured contributing writer for Yahoo! Sports as well as a senior writer for Shut Down Inning and Paranoid Fan. He’s also a member of the IBWAA (Internet Baseball Writers Association of America) You can follow him on Twitter @JamesHollandDSF .