Co-chairman: Prince Fielder too pricey
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas Rangers co-chairman of the board Bob Simpson said Friday night after the introductory news conference for Yu Darvish that his preference would be to re-sign Josh Hamilton over adding free-agent first baseman Prince Fielder.
"We've got guys, frankly, like Josh Hamilton that I would love to see re-signed," Simpson said. "My personal preference, at this moment, would be to re-sign him instead of having Fielder. But we could all debate that.
"Everybody dreams about having both. Sometimes you can't have both at some level. If they came around to something we'd do, we'd look at him. But we don't think it's likely."
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Fielder, the top free agent left on the market, would bolster a Rangers lineup that is already considered one of the best and deepest in the majors. While saying a deal for Fielder was unlikely, Simpson didn't close the door.
"He's been considered, but given our set of cards, too pricey," Simpson said. "If that were to change, I guess they'd look at it harder. Right now he's priced himself out of what we could do."
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 go to games because the team wasn't good. But he knows it's not simply a matter of writing big checks that keeps 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."
A three-hour presentation made to Simpson by members of the Rangers' baseball operations staff convinced him, co-chairman Ray Davis and other owners to put up a $51.7 million posting bid for Darvish -- and then put up an eventual $60 million over six years to sign the Japanese pitcher.
Simpson, an oil man, said there's "producing" and there's "wildcatting," and he wanted to make sure the staff believed Darvish was closer to being a producer.
"Wildcatters generally don't do well," Simpson said. "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 improve your management personally as an owner, you need to get somebody else and not do it yourself."
Richard Durrett covers the Rangers for ESPNDallas.com. Information from ESPN 103.3 FM's Bryan Dolgin was used in this report.