Rangers appear to be fiddling while hot stove burns

Posted Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012  comments  Print Reprints

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galloway In one way it's been a great week for Rangers general manager Jon Daniels. Going way back, ever since sitting at the knee of his GM mentor, John Hart, the dumping of Michael Young has long been a Daniels objective.

Some of that Young dislike was baseball opinion, some of it was personal, but really, does it matter?

Daniels got the dumping done, got high fives all around from his inner circle, and now... and now...

Now what?

What exactly is the next wintertime objective for the local baseball brain trust?

Which brings us to the flip side of how this week is going in Arlington.

The Rangers look like fools.

They are sitting there with their thumb up a nostril, doing nothing, while the national marketplace hums along with deals coming faster and faster.

Yes, the Rangers look like fools.

And it's a look that is not their fault. Not at all. But it's just their current squeeze-play fate.

Blame it on, yes, the bleepity-bleep media.

Go back to last week in Nashville, site of the annual baseball winter meetings. Daniels and his troops were obviously very busy in Nashville, which they should have been because, admittedly, this is a super critical off-season for the Rangers.

Except nothing happened. No trades, no worthy free-agent signings. Nothing.

But somehow, out of nothing happening in Nashville, a national and local media picture was painted last week that the Rangers (pick one, or more) "dominated," "headlocked," "held hostage," "outsmarted" all of baseball by their shrewd negotiating tactics.

Again, this wasn't just about local butt-kissers puckering up; this was also a national media Rangers love fest.

I'm reading all this last week, and could imagine Daniels cringing like crazy. No, he doesn't mind the praise, but at the same time, Daniels is never one to play the media game when it comes to game-planning on decision-making.

Going into the winter meeting, there were no leaks, or at least none I heard, coming out of Arlington about that Rangers game plan. Plenty of speculation, but no leaks. Daniels is almost paranoid about that kind of stuff, and it's a good kind of paranoid.

But for whatever reason, Daniels also was declared, by the media, king of the winter meetings, and was said to have been tying up other clubs on all major transactions involving high-end pitchers, Josh Hamilton and so on.

Then everybody in baseball went back home.

Almost immediately the deals started to fall. Pitcher Zack Greinke, who reportedly was headed to the Rangers, got money-whipped by the Dodgers, and signed with LA. Was it crazy money? Doesn't matter. It appears Greinke's agent "used" the Rangers to drive up the Dodgers' dollars.

That's fair. That's what agents do. Bottom line: Greinke is not here. At $145 million, you can't call the Rangers cheap for not diving in, but regardless, they didn't "dominate" or "hold hostage" the Dodgers. And they didn't get the pitcher.

A Rangers fallback rotation pitcher was James Shields, a solid front-liner whom the Rays wanted to move via trade. But suddenly Shields was also gone, with Kansas City making a bold, I guess, deal with Tampa.

In the package, the Royals got Shields and another interesting pitcher, Wade Davis. But KC gave up the No. 1 prospect in baseball, an outfielder named Wil Myers.

Would a prospect such as Mike Olt have gotten the deal done for the Rangers? No.

But Jurickson Profar? Yes.

The Rangers, however, can't trade Profar, even if they wanted to trade Profar, which Daniels doesn't want to do.

The Elvis Andrus pending contractual situation -- free agency in two years -- means they have to keep the youngster as Elvis' possible replacement.

But no, Kansas City, or the Rays, was "dominated" or "held hostage" by the Rangers.

So it's mid-December, and with so much to do, the Rangers have done nothing.

Josh Hamilton? Who knows? But are the Rangers now desperate to re-sign Josh, and was Josh's price driven higher by Greinke and Shields going elsewhere?

Going into the off-season, the very last place the Rangers wanted to be was in a position where Hamilton became a "must" sign. But with no upgrade to the pitching staff, also look at this batting order as it currently stands. Josh, demons and all, might actually be a must sign.

Daniels and his gang, I assume, have another hot stove fastball they are working on. But here in mid-December, there's still nothing, and the media made the Rangers look foolish with all that Nashville gushing last week.

Daniels can't control how all that went down, but he's a general manager sitting on 2012's blow-away record attendance at the ballpark, and a GM sitting on his team's historic collapse at the end of 2012.

This was/is a critical off-season for the club. And it's also a short-term memory kind of business.

As Michael Young faced the what-have-you-done-for-us-lately jury this week, let it be noted spring training opens in exactly two months.

Get busy, real busy, Jon, or that same jury will certainly reconvene.

Randy Galloway can be heard 3-6 p.m. weekdays on Galloway & Co. on ESPN/103.3 FM.

Randy Galloway, 817-390-7697

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