This is sports, where 2016 gave us Leicester City and took away Jose Fernandez, and Cleveland was a triple match point away from titles in two major sports.

Where Josh Hamilton triumphed by positioning himself for a minor league contract within days of Odubel Herrera locking up for five years and somewhere between $30.5 million and $52 million, and I invite you to dial back two years and imagine that result.

Where two of the Rangers, Cowboys, and Stars ended the year leading their league in wins, and one wasn’t the hockey team.

But instead the team that lost its quarterback and its backup quarterback during the pre-season, and the team that was without one of its two aces for the season’s first third, whose mid-season MVP candidate didn’t sign until the end of February, and whose two most effective relievers going into and during the playoffs were a pair of rookies in their 30s, one a minor league lifer returning from Japan and the other a former shortstop whose camp audition was for a AA job.

Tony Barnette and Matt Bush were in Surprise well before Ian Desmond, who was at home as the rest of baseball got spring training underway, not signing his one-year deal with Texas until February 29.

Today is December 29.

This is sports, and the winter is far from over.

The Rangers seemingly have the need for one more everyday bat, and Mike Napoli has the need for a job.

(Napoli, whom I’d hoped a year ago Texas would eventually make a July trade for . . . only to have Cleveland screw that plan up with a pennant run of its own.)

Local reports suggest that Texas and Napoli have accelerated talks this week on a deal that at least one side wants to span two years.

But that doesn’t mean a third term for the player and the team is a lock.

Think back to when the Angels signed Hamilton, before a sitdown with the Rangers that he’d reportedly promised.

Or when the Phillies Rule 5’d the middle infielder Herrera, and made him an outfielder.

Or when Texas took Desmond off the street, and did the same.

Herrera and Desmond signed deals two weeks ago that could pay a combined $135 million.

Napoli could sign a deal any day that could last one season. Maybe two. Maybe here. Maybe not.

I hope it happens here, and for it to happen soon would wipe away a little uncertainty.

But the Rangers have been rewarded before when they’ve exercised patience, and this is a market that appears to have more available corner bats looking for work than teams (at least contenders) with slots to fill.

It’s been a strange, unpredictable year, but sports years usually are. The Rangers may be done making 2016 moves, but whether or not they act further in the next couple days, they’re not finished building for 2017.

Tony Barnette and Matt Bush were here this time last year, but Ian Desmond wasn’t and Colby Lewis wasn’t and Yu Darvish was hoping for a mid-May return that didn’t happen until late May.

And, still, Texas led the American League in wins.

This is sports, and you never know.


Jamey Newberg

Dallas attorney Jamey Newberg has been commenting on Rangers from the big club down through the entire farm system since 1998.

Scott Lucas

Scott Lucas was born in Arlington, Texas, to Richard and Becky Lucas. He lived mostly in Arlington before moving to Austin, where he graduated from The University of Texas. Scott works for Austin Valuation Consultants, Ltd., and has published several boring articles about real estate appraisal and environmental contamination. He makes a swell margarita and refuses to run longer than ten kilometres.

Eleanor Czajka

Eleanor grew up watching the AAA Mudhens in Toledo, Ohio. A loyal Ranger fan since 1979, she works "behind the scenes" at the Newberg Report.

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