Mac Engel

Rangers co-owners have given their GM the cash to contend

Co-owners Ray Davis, left, and Bob Simpson, right, are committed to GM Jon Daniels’ plan.
Co-owners Ray Davis, left, and Bob Simpson, right, are committed to GM Jon Daniels’ plan. Star-Telegram

How Ray Davis and Bob Simpson appointed their professional shopper was questionable at best. How their professional shopper — general manager Jon Daniels — has spent that money can be debated for weeks. But no one can label “Ray Bob” as cheap and meddlesome.

The co-owners of the Texas Rangers handed JD not only unlimited power in terms of baseball personnel decisions, but also the money and the resources to make all of his wildest dreams come true. And they have stayed out of his way.

Ray Bob will always merit criticism for the unpardonable sin of having forced Nolan Ryan out of town, but since they gave JD the keys, they have given him their wallet, too. And their credit cards. And their checkbook. And the password to the safe.

Literally, this whole thing is on the GM in a way that not even I expected. Ray Bob have doubled and tripled down on their guy because they are dug in on their decision — or the bottom line is not the priority over winning.

To that, no fan of the Rangers can say they are beholden to the dreaded In-The-Way-Owners who pretend to know more than they do, screw things up or won’t spend the cash to win.

Running off Nolan was dumb, but Ray Bob have gone out of their way to prevent the Great Rangers Train Wreck of 2014 from happening again.

Ray Bob’s solution is to follow the American formula of just throw money at it. Who cares about credit rating?

Thank God.

The way Ray Bob spend money would make a Neiman Marcus trophy wife blush. Yes, it’s good to be rich.

The addition of stud pitcher Cole Hamels has pushed the Rangers into the type of spending that all but ensures they will be “around it” every year, much in the same way the LA Angels, LA Dodgers, Boston Red Sox and a handful of other teams do business. It costs a small fortune, but it beats the alternative of tearing down a team and starting over. Ask the Pittsburgh Pirates or Kansas City Royals about the tear-down routine.

The Rangers used to say they were a big-market team, and Ray Bob are acting the part of big-market owners with more money than Apple.

The Rangers’ payroll is a staggering $149,665,025 and a few cents. That ranks seventh in MLB.

When the 2014 season ended, GM JD was told that he could not go too high over a payroll of $135 million. GM JD convinced Ray Bob to add pitcher Yovani Gallardo, and since then, the pair keep spending despite the fact the results said a salary dump at the trade deadline was justified.

GM JD must be the Tony Robbins of salesmen. Ray Bob set payroll ceilings, and they keep breaking through them with piles of cash.

In each of the previous three seasons, the team’s payroll has ranked ninth, fourth and seventh. The Rangers’ record is not about spending money. This is about how that money is spent, see Choo, Shin-Soo.

What Ray Bob have done is to create another version of Brian Cashman, the longtime general manager of the New York Yankees. The Yankees GM has so much cash to spend he can buy off his mistakes, as the Rangers are doing now to transform a bad, sub-.500 roster coming out of spring training into a team that can contend for the wild card.

Thus far, Ray Bob are committed to this plan. Previous Rangers owner Tom Hicks tried this method, and it blew up in his face when fans stayed away in droves. He slashed and burned because of the team’s, and his own, finances.

I was fully braced for falling attendance and a sub-.500 record that would irritate Ray Bob, forcing JD to slash his bloated payroll and dump the many high-paid guys he brought here. The Rangers’ attendance is down, but they are spending.

Maybe all of the money from the new TV contract with Fox Sports Southwest is providing Ray Bob with the cash to make them secure in increasing the payroll. Whatever the case, as long as they are willing to maintain their Yankees-like attitude toward the payroll, this team should be OK.

You can forever be mad at Ray Bob for butchering Nolan Ryan’s departure and making Jon Daniels the second-most powerful man in Arlington behind Jerry Jones, but you can’t say they are cheap and won’t spend the cash to win.

It would be nice if they got a return on their investment.

Listen to Mac Engel every Tuesday and Thursday on Shan & RJ from 5:30-10 a.m. on 105.3 The Fan.

Mac Engel, 817-390-7697

Twitter: @macengelprof and The Big Mac Blog

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