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Club co-chairman wants 'dynasty franchise'

1/21/2012

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Bob Simpson, Rangers co-chairman of the board, said the three-hour presentation made to him by members of the baseball operations staff convinced him, Ray Davis (the other co-chairman) and other owners to put up a $51.7 million posting bid for Yu Darvish (and then put up more money to sign him, an eventual $60 million over six years).

Simpson, an oil man, said there's "producing" and there's "wildcatting" and Simpson wanted to make sure the staff felt Darvish was closer to being a producer.

"Wildcatters generally don't do well," Simpson said to a small group of media, including ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM. "I try to find the lowest risk available and the winning strategy. Does this fit? They had to convince me and Ray that it does. I believe and trust them. They’ve done a lot of work. It goes back to are you going to support the organization or second guess them? You’re much better off getting real people that know what they’re doing than trying to call plays behind them. If you think you can impove your management personally as an owner, you need to get somebody else and not do it yourself."

General manager Jon Daniels, assistant GM Thad Levine, player personnel director A.J. Preller, professional scouting director Josh Boyd and Don Welke, senior scouting assistant to the GM showed their passion for Darvish as they explained why they felt he was worth the big investment.

Simpson said the presentation convinced him, mainly because he saw the "enthusiasm" from the front office about Darvish. It also helped that the last time the ownership group heard a presentation on a major financial commitment, it was Adrian Beltre. And in the first year of that five-year, $80 million deal (with a $16 million option for a sixth year), Beltre produced.

"I have to support my guys," Simpson said. "I support. I don’t try to invent the wheel. I'm certainly not going to pick bsaeball players. I support my staff, particularly as they get a track record that you say, 'These guys know what they’re doing.' Last year's acquisition of Adrian, he's worth the price of the ticket all by himself."

When it comes to the club's finances, Simpson talked about a strategy to make the Rangers a "dynasty."

"We’re writing checks to make this stuff happen, but at some point it's got to sustain itself and we understand that," Simpson said. "Winning comes first and then support comes. You can’t ask fans to come to every game while you're losing and have them help you increase your revenues. You’re trying to take it to a new level, a sustainable level, where it is a dynasty franchise like the Dallas Cowboys achieved. Then in the off years, and inevitably you'll have some, they still support you."

Simpson, who has been a Rangers fan since the franchise moved to Arlington in 1972, said there were years he didn't come to games because the team wasn't good. But he knows it's not simply a matter of writing big checks that keep a team winning.

"Money can’t buy it," Simpson said. "Silly guys get in with big egos and a lot of money and make a mess. I don’t believe that’s going on here. You've got thoughtful spending behind superb management. That's a different model."