The Blonde Side: Rent-A-Ranger
The Blonde Side ™
Amber Leigh Hartman
A lot of criticism surrounded the Texas Rangers last season as they acquired several free agents in order to give themselves a strong position in the post-season. Obviously, their plan worked as the Rangers became the American League Champs and made their World Series debut, but what happens now?
Some people believe the Rangers would have gone nowhere had they not signed such high profile free agents as a temporary solution, while others support the players who battled through the season.
I am one of the people who support the initial 40-man (weird…me supportive?) and stand by the notion the Texas Rangers will remain contenders for the 2011 season with or without the 2010 free agents. I think people fail to recognize the position we took very early in the AL West race without the assistance of Lee, Guzman, Cantu, or Francoeur. I think they definitely contributed to the success of the team (especially Lee and Francoeur) and love having them on the roster, but I don’t think the team will crumble without them.
Cliff Lee is the #1 free agent in the MLB circuit and most people believe his days with Texas were short and sweet, but I think the Rangers are a strong contender for #33. Though the Rangers do not have the financial ability to offer Lee the highest bid, they are positioned to be competitive with the new ownership. Salary is obviously a huge extrinsic motivator for Lee (and any player) in determining where he wants to be, but other factors go into decision and salary can hold less value to different people.
The fans were completely supportive of Lee from the moment he arrived in Texas. The organization did what they could to make him feel right at home; the area is close to his off-season home in Arkansas, the players are a very tight knit group who support each other and socialize on and off the field, and there are several intrinsic factors working in the favor of the Rangers seeing Lee in their uniform next year.
Whether we see our free agents report to Surprise in the spring or not, this ball club is focused on maintaining a hard-working atmosphere and will be a big contender for many years. . .not just looking to Rent-a-Ranger!
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