The future grows darker every day for the Texas Rangers. In what was supposed to be an exciting year in a new park, a unspeakable horrorshow has occurred. The Rangers long time GM Jon Daniels has built his reputation on the faulty foundation of failure. The MLB enacted an extreme one year format change that guaranteed any decent team a playoff spot. The Rangers were sellers at the deadline. In a 60 game season. That really says it all honestly. Currently the Detroit Tigers, who lost 114 games last year, have a better record than the Rangers.
Are the flaws of Jon Daniels to be stated ad nauseum until he is replaced? Is the Rangers fan (and writer for that matter) trapped in some sort of hellish purgatory that begins with the Cliff Lee trade and ends with the David Freese triple? The plight of the Rangers fan is not just that of the ordinary supporter of a bad team. The Rangers fan has experienced a special kind of agony. One Strike Away (twice), Scheppers and Perez, The Ian Kinsler trade, these are the dreaded phrases that take on deep emotional meaning with the Rangers fan in the same way “Bucky Dent Homer” registers with Red Sox fans. The difference is the Sox had 2004. And 2007. And 2013. And 2018. The Sox broke their curse. They vanquished the ghosts, and then some. The Rangers are still titleless. The current roster is made to be average at best. In the absolute best case scenario, even if everything broke JD’s way against all odds, the Rangers still would not have been a serious threat. They could have snuck into the playoffs in a gimmick format, maybe stolen a best of 3, but nothing more.
What is the end game for the Jon Daniels era? He has had the reins for so long and has done so little, especially after 2011. The Rangers had an immense amount of talent in 2011, even at the farm level. JD and company managed to trade away the talent that panned out, like Kyle Hendricks, but keep the talent that did not, like Martin Perez. The Rangers failed to develop the talent they kept, and the most heralded and worshiped prospects were failures despite limitless opportunities.
Enough is enough. If the Rangers have to sell in a season where almost everyone makes it to the playoffs, but still try to market themselves as a competing team (as opposed to one that is building for the future with young talent) JD has no right being the GM. JD lucked into an ideal scenario this season. His tepid, half-assed approached almost guaranteed to produce mediocre results was perfectly suited to the massive new playoff format. He could not even make it halfway into the season and still pretend to be competitive. What is truly vexing is how Rangers fans are belittled and conned into thinking this is a playoff worthy team. Season ticket prices increased this year. The team has not won a playoff game since 2015. The quality of the product has decreased since 2011. The amount of ads, price of parking and concessions increase. But the Rangers ownership has their hand out for more money as they field a minor league infield on Opening Day and tell you Todd Frazier is going to save the team with a smile. Rangers fans are tired of it. Rangers fans are sick of the blatantly phony promises of being a competing team. Dallas is a top 5 market in America and the baseball team has been second rate for too long. Dallas is not Milwaukee. The people of DFW deserve better.
The Rangers were decimated again this week. They won 1 game. But it does not really matter. They gave up. They traded their good players at the deadline and are starting young kids. Elvis Andrus and Rougie Odor have both been benched. Both have deserved it for a long time. Elvis has kept his spot due to legacy, Odor because of the sunken cost fallacy. Jose Leclerc and Corey Kluber are out for the rest of the year. There is no point in rushing them back from injury to play in a season the GM stopped caring about months ago. It is all sort of maddening if you actually care about the team. The GM checked out mentally years ago. The team fields clownishly shallow lineups intentionally and does not address it in free agency. The team does not dump assets at the deadline to rebuild. The best they do is trade a half year rental for something insignificant. People who have no stake in the Rangers care about the team more than the own teams’ General Manager.
Some sports fans speculate there is nothing worse than being in “the middle.” You are not bad enough for the good draft picks. You are not good enough to compete. The Rangers are the ultimate worse version of that. JD did not have the stones to dump all his assets at the deadline. This enables him to stock up on a couple B tier position players in the offseason, as well as some broken down big name pitchers and pretend it is the backbone of a competing baseball team.
The exercise of getting excited for a doomed mission every year has become loathsome. Too many obvious issues have remained unaddressed. Half measures are not only expected but seen as a positive. The JD era has to come to an end. The continuation of doing nothing is unacceptable. Enough is enough. The Rangers are rudderless. They are not worth watching. They are a team that exists only to inflict misery upon their fans. If you cannot hang in a 60 game season but bill yourself as a competitive team, something is seriously wrong.