This is one of those thought bubbles that I tend to turn into 3000 words (that is, 2500 too many) (and have no fear, I have one of those teed up in my head for one of the next few mornings), but I’m going to keep this short and move on from it, mentally as much as anything.
For a handful of reasons, it’s getting more difficult to go outside your own organization and make major-impact additions. The free agent market looks to be thin this winter, again, and more and more teams are coming into big TV money, wanting to spend. That (along with pseudo-caps in Latin America) should increase competition in the international market, and make farm system depth and strength more important than ever.
That last part bodes well for Texas, but maybe not for a couple years in terms of impact prospects helping in Arlington.
But some of that strength can help immediately, as we saw with C.J. Edwards two months ago.
The part about all of this that invaded my head this morning — for the first time — and I’d like to think potentially the last — is that I suppose there’s a way of looking at things that suggests there’s a window in Arlington that, while it’s not closing, is extraordinarily wide open right now and could conceivably be less open in a few years.
Look at the trades Detroit has made the last few years (Curtis Granderson [nearing free agency] and Edwin Jackson for Max Scherzer and Austin Jackson and more; Jacob Turner and more for Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante; loading up for free agents Victor Martinez and Prince Fielder and Torii Hunter), and you might conclude that Tigers ownership and baseball operations collectively decided to load up during the Miguel Cabrera era, to pack as much into that envisioned window as possible. Because he’s Miguel Cabrera in his prime and that’s the sensible thing to do.
Yu Darvish is the best pitcher-in-his-prime that the Rangers have ever reached a long-term commitment with. There’s no future Darvish on the farm — which is no denigration considering you can’t point to a franchise that can objectively boast having a future Darvish in development right now — and, in this altered baseball landscape, a diminishing confidence that you are the organization most likely to land the next one. That’s just the reality. Texas is still elite in that scouting respect, but its company — out of baseball-economic necessity — is increasing.
Darvish is here in 2014 and 2015 and 2016 and, unless he has multiple top-four finishes in the AL Cy Young between now and 2016 (that is, a first and another top-four, or a second and two other top-fours), 2017.
Do the Rangers need to exploit the Darvish window — and here’s the part that shook me a little this morning — not only to take advantage of his guaranteed time in Texas but also to maximize their chances of getting him to extend his commitment here?
There may be a dozen high-end, potential impact prospects on the Rangers farm. The likelihood of any of them making an impact by 2016 is slim.
That is, it’s unlikely any of them will make a real, outlook-altering impact in Texas by 2016.
But for Texas?
Let’s backburner that for another time.
Beat Oakland today. Forget the West. Just win games. Starting now.
Beat Oakland today.