Not longer after the team added Bartolo Colon, the Rangers “won” the sweepstakes for former Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum on Tuesday.
The Rangers were one of the few teams to offer him a major league contract. If he passes the physical, he's a Ranger.
The Rangers now have a dynamic rotation, if we were in the year 2008. In 2008, current Rangers' pitchers Lincecum, Cole Hamels, Bartolo Colon and Edison Volquez were a combined 53-23 with a 3.21 ERA in 689 1/3 innings.
Last season, the quartet was 22-28 with a 4.96 ERA in 383 1/3 innings. Lincecum didn't pitch last season because of his injury. And Volquez, who had Tommy John surgery in August of '17, will not pitch in '18.
If adding Lincecum was a case of taking a flyer on an arm, great. But this isn't a flyer, and don't believe otherwise.
Adding Lincecum is a case of a team now residing in the bargain bin. Rangers GM/President Jon Daniels so botched the development of young pitchers that the Rangers are now desperately making up this pitching staff as they go, including this silly “Five Plus One” rotation.
The Rangers are falling back into the pattern that former owner Tom Hicks once warned whomever wants to own a pro sports team: Spend big now, regret even bigger later.
Co-owners Ray Davis and Bob Simpson bought the team, won big, and then blew bigger money in an effort to maintain the club as it was when they came aboard. Hicks did the same thing back in the late 90s.
Now here comes the “financial sensibility” that happens to all owners outside of about five markets when they are sick and tired of ranking in the top 10 in payroll, but not in wins.
Until this off-season, Ray-Bob slashed payroll throughout every facet of the organization, but threw around cash on the GM/President and the players.
Before this off-season, the team consistently ranked among the biggest spenders in baseball. The team either signed, or took on contracts for Prince Fielder, Ian Kinsler, Elvis Andrus, Cole Hamels, Shin Soo Choo, Yu Darvish and Adrian Beltre; they were all monster deals of various worth.
Hicks did the same thing early in his tenure as the team's owner, before he finally stopped and decided the best course was to invest in a farm system. Younger players are better, and they're cheaper.
He had famously planned his franchise budget based on winning, which would draw bigger crowds and generate revenue.
What they are not doing is drawing; they drew a total of 2.5 million fans to Arlington last season, but that figure is generous.
All of this leaves the GM scrambling to find arms that can come close to throwing a big league pitch across a big league plate.
Lincecum, who will turn 34 in June, now will get his turn. When he was in his prime with the San Francisco Giants, he was one of the best pitchers in the game.
He won the Cy Young in '08 and '09. In '10, he was 2-0 against the Rangers in the World Series.
But in 2015 he was diagnosed with a degenerative hip condition that he said led to his drop in production. In 2016, he signed with the Angels where he finished 2-6 with a 9.16 ERA in 38 1/3 innings.
He took all of last season off, but made it known he wanted to try to pitch again. He recently came to Arizona to showcase himself for interested teams.
He likes the Rangers, for two reasons.
No. 1 They were one of the few teams to offer him a big league contract.
No. 2 He sees a vulnerable rotation that he can crack.
Over the years, JD has done a tremendous job of taking flyers on aging players and squeezing a little more production out of an aging bat, or arm. Guys like Vlad Guerrero, Eric Gagne and Kenny Lofton come to mind. Milton Bradley, too.
All of those additions were genuine flyers, whereas the additions of guys like Colon and now Lincecum read more like desperation.
There is still time, and the locker space, for a few more.
Might as well bring in Raffy, too.
Lights, cameras and unusual action were on display as the Texas Rangers pose for their annual photos on Wednesday in Surprise, Arizona. Paul Moseleypmoseley@star-telegram.com