The Texas Rangers have been a bad team for most of the last eight years. In fact, they are ten games under .500 as a franchise since 2012. That’s a full decade of losing baseball.
The two playoff teams in 2015 and 2016 almost seem like flukes rather than by design.
While Jon Daniels had success early in his career as a general manager, it seems as he lost the brain-trust he surrounded himself at the beginning of his regime—guys who got general manager jobs of their own—his decision-making skills have eroded. Or maybe they have been exposed.
There is no denying, even in spite of the most fervent pom-pom waiving Jon Daniels fans, that the tenure under him has been a failure when it comes to drafting and developing players, particularly, and more glaringly, pitching.
These last five seasons have been a testament to that. The talent pantry is bare. When they turned on the spigot, nothing came out. It’s been a philosophy of stop-gap roster building. The only thing that has stopped is the winning.
Losing sucks. Some teams choose to lose because they claim they don’t have the funds to compete. Pittsburgh and Miami. Yet equally underfunded Tampa Bay and Oakland win year after year. Some teams choose to lose because they are rebuilding. Texas is taking that approach. Most rebuilds see results within five years. Texas is in year five and there’s no sign of fruit anywhere on the vines. It would be understandable if they were a smaller market franchise. But Dallas/Fort Worth is the fourth largest market in the United States. They are not winning because of a lack of money or revenue.
So, why are the Rangers perennial losers? There can be only one answer.
They choose to be.
What else makes sense?
If Rangers ownership wanted a winner, they would have a winner. Billionaires tend to get the things they want. If it’s the players they need, they have the resources to make that happen. If it’s the brainpower they need, there are plenty of great baseball executives out there building winning teams. If they wanted a winning franchise, they could hire one of those guys and build one. They obviously don’t.
Billionaires are driven by one thing. Profits. Making more. Finding more. Maximizing what they have. There’s nothing wrong with that. They just happen to be better at it than most people.
Baseball is a business like all the others they are involved in. Which leads to only one conclusion. There must be profit in losing. Otherwise, they wouldn’t continue operating that way year in and year out. The Rangers owners don’t seem like under achievers, just a couple guys trying to figure things out but failing.
On the contrary. If the Texas Rangers franchise wasn’t making a killing, they’d make a change. Simple as that. Every organization bases its decision-making on profitability. You keep doing what you’re doing if it’s profitable. Losing must be profitable because they keep losing. If it wasn’t profitable, they’d do something different. They would have made a change long ago. They would have held the appropriate people accountable. Just like they would do in any of their other businesses.
So, as Rangers fans look to the future with the hope of winning baseball off in the distant horizon, ask yourself one question. How far off on the horizon will you be looking?
It would be a heck of a lot closer if that’s what Rangers ownership wanted. It’s obvious they don’t.
Until they do, you might be waiting a while for that ship to come in.