The Texas Rangers are one of only seven Major League Baseball teams to not make the playoffs this millennium.
The Texas Rangers are standing pat.
Fresh off another losing season, the Rangers are going to keep the owner, president, general manager, manager and most of the same players. Yeah, let’s fire the pitching coach, the infield coach, the bullpen coach and the catching coach and hope for dramatic changes.
No major free agents. No payroll spike. No management facelift.
Instead, wouldn’t it be a better Rangers’ world if this happens:
10. Stiff-armed by the Cubs, Mark Cuban up and buys the team from out under Tom Hicks. Cuban’s first move is to implement a payroll consistent with a team playing in the league’s fifth-largest media market. His second move is to hire Doug Melvin as GM.
9. The Rangers trade Hank Blalock, who has mastered the art of getting injured, only to return and hit meaningless homers in even more meaningless games. No way the guy is worth $6.2 million. No way.
8. Sign two of the following free-agent pitchers: Ben Sheets, CC Sabathia, Derek Lowe, Ryan Dempster.
7. Milton Bradley is traded. I know he was productive and, for the most part, peaceful. But he’s 31 and various nagging injuries allowed him to play the outfield only once after the All-Star break. His trade value is at its peak.
6. Ready or not, Neftali Feliz is in the season-opening five-man pitching rotation.
5. Gerald Laird is named the starting catcher and Max Ramirez the backup. Taylor Teagarden and Jarrod Whatshisface are traded.
4. New TV viewing rules require all fans to take a drink of beer every time play-by-play voice Josh Lewin calls sidekick Tom Grieve “TAG.” By the time the bullpen implodes, we’ll be zonked.
3. Michael Young accepts a move to third base, clearing the way for minor league defensive whiz Elvis Andrus. The infield is Young at third, Andrus at short, Ian Kinsler at second and Chris Davis at first. Laird catches. In the outfield it’s Josh Hamilton, David Murphy and Nelson Cruz. Much better defensive team than this year. And that’s before the trading of Blalock and Bradley bring in more assets.
2. The starting pitcher on Opening Day 2009 – April 6 against the Cleveland Indians in Arlington – is not named Kevin Millwood.
1. In an attempt to win back some of the 400,000 fans the team lost this year, parking will be free all season. Even better, fans buying a ticket to a home game the Rangers win can then trade the stub in for a half-price ticket to a future game.
Of course, we all know the Rangers will remain status quo – status woe – and, in return, remain No. 4 on our sports landscape. -- Richie Whitt