Around this time of year, at least one owner isn’t particularly happy with their team, that happens to be underachieving, with trade talk for its bigger players swirling around it. If you’d asked most people about it several weeks ago, you’d have guaranteed that said owner would have been George Steinbrenner, given the way the Yankees were playing — however, with the Yanks rallying and getting it together, that’s not the case. According to SI’s Jon Heyman, that owner is the Rangers’ Tom Hicks (Yahoo’s Tim Brown notes similar turmoil in his blog as well), with rookie skipper Ron Washington already on thin ice — apparently he’s not quite so player-friendly as the players thought — and GM Jon Daniels is taking heat for a backlog of trades, the most recent being the one that sent Chris Young, Terrmel Sledge and Adrian Gonzalez to the Padres for Adam Eaton, Akinori Otsuka, and a minor-leaguer.
I’m not sure why Hicks is altogether surprised; well, most owners don’t expect their teams to stink for that number of years in a row. Problem is, the Rangers are an attempt at a slugging team in a division more dependent upon pitching than others. Both Western divisions in MLB consist more of lockdown pitching in order to make up for line-ups that aren’t exactly power-loaded; neither the A’s, Angels, nor Mariners have more than a couple guys in their lineups that you could consider mashers (the Angels have Vlad and Gary Matthews, the A’s have Chavez and Swisher, when Beltre and Sexson are connecting, that’s the Mariners’ power). These aren’t top to bottom power guys like the Yanks and Red Sox.
The Rangers are partially screwed by that hitter-friendly ballpark of theirs when it comes to bringing in a solid cadre of starters; as a result, they have a lot of guys who can’t keep the ball down. Not to slag Chris Young that hard, but moving to lesser lineups in the NL and a hitters’ nightmare like Petco was the best thing that could have happened to him, and having guys who were better in the NL like Kevin Millwood (oft-injured) and Vicente Padilla (just plain sucks — EDIT: RUTS has a point, the man was an All-Star, but we could be forgiven for forgetting that) anchor your rotation is a bad idea. But let’s face it: Tom Hicks really has no one to truly blame outside of his own office. He’s still paying off a good deal of Alex Rodriguez’s massive contract, even though A-Rod is now sucking up media scrutiny in the Bronx, and that deal, with several last place finishes, skewed the Rangers for a time to come.
(Photo: AP/Keith Snakocic)