So what if the Rangers end up doing nothing…
So we know that Rangers owner Tom Hicks is trying to decide between two proposals from groups trying to buy the club.
On one side is Pittsburgh sports attorney Chuck Greenberg, whose group includes Nolan Ryan. On the other side is Dennis Gilbert, the former players’ agent who now works for the Chicago White Sox. His group does not include Ryan.
A decision is due in the next week or two but the whole situation will probably not be resolved in time to have a significant impact on the Rangers off-season plans. Instead they will have to forge ahead in a limited financial position trying to be as creative as possible.
The Rangers had a payroll of $68-70 million in 2009. They shed about $30 million of that with the departure of Vicente Padilla, Hank Blalock, Marlon Byrd, Frank Catalanotto, Joaquin Benoit and others. But they’ll have to target about $16 million of those savings towards raises for players already on the club: Josh Hamilton, C.J. Wilson, Scott Feldman, Ian Kinsler and others.
That leaves a difference of about $14 million but it’s doubtful that all of that will be available. The Rangers payroll is likely to go down, at least until the ownership situation is resolved.
So what if the Rangers do nothing this winter? Absolutely nothing?
“We’d still be contenders,” Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said.
So what would such a roster look like?
Here is one opinion
Starting rotation: Kevin Millwood and Scott Feldman for certain. Then comes Derek Holland, Tommy Hunter and Matt Harrison. C.J. Wilson and Neftali Feliz stay in the bullpen.
Bullpen: Frank Francisco remains the closer. Wilson, Feliz and Darren O’Day are the setup relievers. Brandon McCarthy and Dustin Nippert are the middle relievers. That leaves one more spot in a seven-man bullpen that could go to either Doug Mathis, Willie Eyre or Warner Madrigal.
Guillermo Moscoso and Luis Mendoza start at Oklahoma City. Pedro Strop is the closer there. If the Rangers decide they need a second left-hander, they could either flip-flop McCarthy and Harrison. Or they could go with Michael Kirkman or Zach Phillips.
Catcher: Obviously the Rangers stay with Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Taylor Teagarden. Max Ramirez and Kevin Richardson are in reserve in case something happens to Saltalamacchia’s shoulder.
Infield: This is easy: Chris Davis at first, Ian Kinsler at second, Elvis Andrus at short and Michael Young at third. Look, no matter what the Rangers do, Chris Davis is huge. Huge. The Rangers need much out of him.
They also need a utility infielder. Esteban German is still with the club but is not considered a viable alternative at shortstop. Joaquin Arias is if his shoulder is healthy. That has been a dubious proposition the past few years but the Rangers are getting good reports this winter from the Dominican Republic.
Outfield: The Rangers go with Julio Borbon in center, Nelson Cruz and Josh Hamilton in the corners and David Murphy is the designated hitter. Craig Gentry would be the fourth outfielder.
Plus one more: The last spot on the bench needs to be the right-handed bat. Justin Smoak, a switch-hitter, is one possibility but he needs to play every day in Triple A. Chad Tracy might be the best fit as a possible platoon partner for Murphy and Davis.
In a perfect world, the Rangers get Vladimir Guerrero, Ben Sheets or Rich Harden, Ivan Rodriguez, Bobby Crosby and Mike Gonzalez.
If they were the Yankees: Jason Bay, John Lackey, Bengie Molina.
But they aren’t the Yankees. We knew that.