Play catch with Yu Darvish
If John McClane and Cousin Eddie don’t get people in the holiday spirit, there’s probably no hope for them.
In the end of each Christmas movie — “Die Hard” and “Christmas Vacation” — all ends well for the good guys. McClane foils a group of terrorists, and Cousin Eddie doesn’t go to jail.
He also was able to get his, um, toilet emptied.
The toilet is where many fans of the Texas Rangers believe their favorite MLB team is headed in 2018 based on what general manager Jon Daniels has put under their tree so far. Or hasn’t put under the tree.
At the very least, he has been shopping on the clearance rack — at the orders of ownership, by the way.
You know the owners, one a billionaire, another nearly a billionaire, others worth hundreds of millions, all sitting on a TV contract that provides them with nearly $100 million a year and an upcoming windfall of at least $50 million coming from MLB after the sale of MLB Advanced Media.
In other words, there’s still time for Ray Davis, Bob Simpson, Neil Leibman and Co. to play Santa by helping Daniels save the holidays and give the Rangers a better chance in 2018. All they have to do is open their massive checkbooks, and Daniels doesn’t have to go far to find the right present — a front-line starting pitcher who wants to play for the Rangers.
Yu Darvish would be the gift that, as Cousin Eddie says, keeps on giving the whole year long. In turn, he would give the Rangers the kind of starting pitcher they need while he continues to live in the area he has grown to love.
The good news is that the Rangers and Darvish’s agent, Joel Wolfe, remain in contact. Daniels has made it clear that Darvish’s current asking price is too high based on the restraints of the Rangers’ budget, but the right-hander hasn’t shut the door on a Rangers reunion.
It’s possible that the owners and Daniels are waiting things out. None of the top free-agent starters has signed this off-season, and the trade market for difference-making starters hasn’t developed yet.
It’s not like Darvish’s contract will drop from $25 million-$30 million a season to $10 million. But maybe it drops to the $20 million-$25 million range. Maybe he takes less money for full no-trade protection. Maybe he takes less because he knows Texas doesn’t have state income tax.
There are a lot of ifs and maybes, but his desire to play with the Rangers isn’t either. Darvish has a family and a team of dogs in Dallas. He also has many friends in the area, including Daniels.
The biggest if, though, is the owners. They have spent handsomely on various players in the past and have invested plenty in other ventures, like minor-league teams, entertainment venues and a new stadium. All those things, though, are supposed to have no effect on the on-field product.
It sure doesn’t seem that way. It also seems as if Darvish would be an investment in the new stadium.
New stadiums are great unless fans have no reason to go beyond the novelty of seeing it once. If they don’t have the draw of a good team, they might be drawn every fifth day to watch Darvish pitch.
It’s easy to spend someone else’s money, and the owners didn’t get rich by without being tied to budgets in various projects. But they are making money on the Rangers.
The franchise value has doubled since they purchased the Rangers in August 2010 for $593 million, and the value is going to soar once Globe Life Field is completed and opens for business.
They have the money.
The owners, who rarely speak to the media and leave Daniels to answer for them, have given no good reason for going stingy this off-season. Why? They don’t have one.
So, it’s time for ownership to let Daniels loose on Darvish and let him try to put something nice under the Rangers fans’ tree.
If it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t work out.
But it would.