Saturday, February 18, 2012
Grade the Rangers this offseason
By Richard Durrett
ESPN.com's Jim Bowden gave out grades to the American League teams for how they did this offseason. His Rangers grade: A-. Here are his thoughts:
The Rangers decided that Darvish is a No. 1 starter and worth $34.2 million more than C.J. Wilson, who won 15 games last year and helped them to back-to-back World Series. The Rangers strongly believe in Darvish, and their judgment has been dead-on the last few years. Signing Nathan to take over as their closer is a bargain if he’s 100 percent healthy. If the final six weeks of last season were any indication, Nathan is back.
If you want to see Bowden's grades for the AL West and the rest of his Rangers thoughts, click here (insider).
My grade: B+
The reason I give a B is I included getting long-term deals done with some of the core group as part of my grade going into the offseason. So it's not fair to alter that now. The bottom line: The club did a good job of bundling some of the arbitration years on some of the contracts (Nelson Cruz, Elvis Andrus), but they didn't sign anyone into their free-agent years. Of course, it's not too late to do that and my grade might be adjusted once spring training is if they've done so.
But they get high marks for getting the Darvish deal done. We don't know fully how good a move that may be, but they trusted their scouts and got big-time backing from management. The club also acquired Joe Nathan and the scouts I've talked to that are outside the organization really liked that move and believe he'll pitch more like he did in the second-half of 2011. I also like the minor-league deals for Brad Hawpe and Conor Jackson. Something tells me one of those guys will do something this spring to make the squad. We'll see.
Overall, after losing C.J. Wilson to the Angels and watching L.A. grab Albert Pujols on the final day of the winter meetings, the Rangers still managed to construct a team that is once again a favorite in the AL.
But how would you grade the Rangers' offseason? Do they get an A? How much is your grade for them impacted by what the Angels did?