A culture of winning. 35 comments

Build a winner and they will come. Build a loser and they won’t.


After Martin Perez’s latest loss, there was a lot of chatter on the internet and on the radio about what to do with him for next year.

One school of thought that was popular was, even though he is a train wreck, keep him. The Rangers have an option on him, and if they pick it up it’s a fairly team friendly contract. Would you get anyone better for what you’d spend on him?

I think you could shake a tree and find a lot better options.

The Rangers have two options. They can buy him out at the end of this season for $2.45 million and he becomes a free agent. Or they can keep him around for $7.5 million.

Yes, in today’s pitching market, $7.5 million isn’t a lot of money. But you could find plenty of better arms for that.

Another line of narrative I read was, as I predicted, the old, “Take away the first inning and he was brilliant” narrative. Take away that one unfortunate incident at Ford’s Theater and John Wilkes Booth was an upstanding guy.

It’s flawed thinking when  it comes to Perez because that’s why he is the pitcher he is. One bad inning. The conundrum with Perez is, he will give you five brilliant innings per game. Unfortunately, he gave you six total innings. And that one inning was ugly. Always one bad inning. Take away that one meltdown.

You can’t unwind things.

Ignore salary for a minute and just look at the psychological cost of having these bargain barrel pitchers around. The Rangers finally have that next level of core position players ready to build around. Wouldn’t you want to start teaching these guys how to win? Wouldn’t the front office want to tell them, “we believe in you”? Look at what is happening with the Braves and Phillies this season. They weren’t supposed to be good this soon. But sometimes it happens before schedule. Sometimes guys gel quicker than you think.

What if the Rangers kids were ready to take that next step next year? Why wouldn’t you want to give them every chance at tasting success? Why run a guy out there every fifth day who they know is not going to give them the chance to win?

I’d want to build a culture of winning no matter where along the evolutionary curve my team was.

I am not a proponent of the thought that, okay, this team won’t compete next year anyway so let’s just hang on to Perez. What’s it going to matter?

Morale matters.

If he’s not the future of this team, then get rid of him. For the same reason the Rangers traded for then immediately jettisoned Austin Jackson. The minute they got him he was instantly the best centerfield on the Rangers. Better than DeShields. Miles better than Robinson and Tocci.

Yet, the front office said, he’s not part of the future and they wanted to devote at-bats to guys who are. Which made little sense. They had to pay him anyway. He makes the team better now. In fact, since they released him, he is 33-for-104 with the Mets, batting .317, with 26 RBIs. Wouldn’t that production look good with Texas now?

Fans don’t go to the Ballpark to watch a game in 2020. They go to the game to watch it that night. They’d love to have their team have the best chance of winning.

Perez isn’t the future of this team. He doesn’t give the Rangers the best chance of winning. He serves no purpose other than to fill a slot in the rotation that, frankly, Austin Bibens-Dirkx could fill at a tenth of the cost, and with a much better chance of winning a game.

Next year might not be a playoff-caliber team. But why throw a handicap on them like that? Why not give the team some hope and fans something, anything, to cheer for? Give us a reason to get excited about going to the Ballpark.

Put the best team on the field. Not just a placeholder.