Surprise positional outlook: Front office
AP Photo/Chris O'MearaGM Jon Daniels has helped transform the Rangers organization and made the big move of the offseason in signing Yu Darvish.
OK, so it's not really a "position" on the field. But the Rangers' front office is a huge component at spring training.
First, they've assembled parts of the 2012 team. And it's a different one than 2011 in a few ways. The biggest offseason acquisition was Yu Darvish, of course. But the 25-year-old Japanese star isn't the only new face. Joe Nathan is now the team's closer, altering the bullpen.
The Nathan move has caused ripples elsewhere. It allows the Rangers to move Neftali Feliz to the rotation and with the starting depth, Alexi Ogando could end up back in the bullpen if everyone stays healthy. We'll see.
The reason the front office makes this outlook is that it will have a hand in the decisions made at spring training the next six weeks. When Tommy Hunter's groin injury popped up at the end of last spring, the baseball operations staff, along with the coaching staff, went over the options and determined that Ogando would go into the rotation. That was a big decision, and one that isn't simply made by the coaching staff.
|RANGERS POSITION OUTLOOK|
| Jan. 23: Catcher |
Jan. 24: First base
Jan. 25: Second base
Jan. 26: Third base
Jan. 27: Shortstop
Jan. 30: Left field
Jan. 31: Center field
Feb. 1: Right field
Feb. 2: DH/Utility
Feb. 3: Bench
Feb. 6: No. 1 starter
Feb. 7: No. 2 starter
Feb. 8: No. 3 starter
Feb. 9: No. 4 starter
Feb. 10: No. 5 starter
Feb. 13: Middle/long relief
Feb. 14: Late-inning relief
Feb. 15: Coaches
Feb. 16: Manager
Feb. 17: Front office
Daniels and his staff are already considered some of the top management folks in the big leagues, thanks to how they built the Rangers from a last-place team into back-to-back AL champions. They've put their faith in Darvish, convincing ownership to put up the $51.7 million posting fee and then pay the pitcher another $60 million for six years. Spring training will be the first taste that they'll get to see how that investment looks.
That investment, of course, doesn't happen without Bob Simpson, Ray Davis and the Rangers board, which has given Daniels the financial backing to make some more moves this offseason.
Spring is also a chance for the management team to see some more of the club's minor league talent. Some of that talent gets to spend part of spring training with the big club. But as you walk the back fields, you'll find scouts and even upper management checking in on some of the younger players throughout the organization.
So don't forget about CEO and president Nolan Ryan, Daniels, assistant GM Thad Levine, A.J. Preller, Tim Purpura, Don Welke, Josh Boyd, Kip Fagg, Jake Krug, Matt Vinnola and a host of other key folks that will help make decisions that will no doubt impact the club's results in 2012.
Even before this spring, the front office was a big part of getting the club into contention. Here's a look at some of the key decisions made that led to this point.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett for his weekly visit to discuss a hypothetical Jurickson Profar for Cliff Lee trade, how he would handle Profar's playing time with the Rangers and more.
Play Podcast Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus joins Galloway & Company to discuss having Scott Boras as his agent, his new contract and having Jurickson Profar in the lineup.
Play Podcast Rangers manager Ron Washington joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett for his weekly visit to discuss Yu Darvish's pitch count and how he spends time in the clubhouse during weather delays.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway & Company for his weekly visit to discuss the latest Rangers news.
Play Podcast Reid Ryan joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss his new position with the Houston Astros and whether he could see his dad, Nolan, joining him there in the future.
Play Podcast ESPN MLB Insider Jayson Stark joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss if the Rangers are the best team in baseball, what makes them so good and if he thinks the team will trade Jurickson Profar.
Play Podcast Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss Ron Washington's decision to send Yu Darvish to the mound for the eighth inning Thursday night and how he would handle a situation like that if he were still a GM.
Play Podcast Randy Galloway, Matt Mosley and Glenn "Stretch" Smith discuss the latest Rangers news, including the Yu Darvish-Justin Verlander matchup.