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Rangers Choose Substance Over Style Print E-mail
by Norm Hitzges    Thu, Dec 8, 2005, 04:37 PM

In baseball, it doesn’t always take a blockbuster deal to make noise. Truly successful franchises don’t depend on the blockbuster deal. Successful franchises find a plan and they stick to it. It appears to me that the Rangers may finally be taking that path.

Jon Daniels and Tom Hicks have both said that they do not feel pressure to make any deals. They know that pressure does strange things to teams and some of the worst trades in baseball happen when a team cracks under the pressure.

The Rangers have been very calculating and methodical so far this off season. They have not strayed from their plan. They have not offered outrageous contracts to free agents. They have not jumped into the trade market headfirst. Everything that they have done thus far makes sense to me.

The Rangers finally made a deal that involves a big name. They traded Alfonso Soriano to Washington for a couple of outfielders (Brad Wilkerson and Termel Sledge) and a pitching prospect (Armando Galarraga).

At first glance this may seem like a lop-sided deal that favors the Nationals. But, look closer. Yes, Soriano was an All-Star. Yes, he hit a lot of home runs. Yes, he drove in a lot of runs. And, yes, he proved that he could steal a base or two.

But he also had a downside. First of all, he is a butcher in the field. Secondly, he has a hard time getting on base consistently. And, finally, he’s due to make a fortune in arbitration next season.

Wilkerson and Sledge will make immediate impacts. Wilkerson will slide into the starting outfield and Sledge can fill the 4th or 5th spot in the outfield. Galarraga is an interesting pitching prospect that needs more time to develop.

This trade may not be attractive to the average Ranger fan who wants to see big names and big moves. Let’s face it, Ranger fans wanted to hear names like Beckett and Burnett. Rangers fans are frustrated with what appears to be an off-season cycle for the Rangers.

Fans are tired of hearing about how close the Rangers came to signing Roger Clemens or Carlos Delgado. Fans are tired of hearing about how close the Rangers came to finalizing a trade that would give them an ace.

But, as a General Manager, Jon Daniels has to do what is in the best interest of the organization. And, while the Soriano trade may not be flashy it is a solid deal. Keep in mind, this is only the first of what I think will be several off season deals. It’s not about flash. It’s about substance…This trade has substance and that is all I can ask for.
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