Rangers Win Darvish Posting
You’ve probably heard by now, but the Rangers won the bidding for Yu Darvish, putting up $51.7 million to just barely edge out what Boston paid for the rights to Daisuke Matsuzaka back in 2006. They now have a month to negotiate with Darvish on a contract, and given their interest level and his desire to pitch in the US, it’s extremely likely that a deal will get done. While it’s not a guarantee, Darvish will likely join the Rangers next year.
I know this is going to ignite even more of the “we have to respond!” panic that came up when the Angels signed Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson. I know the natural sentiment is to see what Texas and Anaheim are doing and feel like the Mariners are doomed unless they play the same game. I just ask that instead of panicking, you look at baseball history and realize that one player just doesn’t make that big of a difference.
The Mariners aren’t screwed any more so now than they were when they traded Ken Griffey Jr in 2000 or watched Alex Rodriguez leave for Texas in 2001. History is absolutely littered with teams who made big off-season splashes, were anointed champions during the winter, and then got hit in the face with the reality that baseball is a team sport full of unexpected variation. Last winter, the Red Sox were the team that landed two superstars and added them to an already stacked roster, and yet, they failed to make the playoffs. The Phillies added Cliff Lee to build an all-time great rotation and got bounced in the first round of the playoffs. The White Sox spent $119 million on players last winter, and after a complete disaster, they’re now in rebuilding mode and selling off talent left and right.
The Angels and Rangers are quality opponents, and the Mariners are going to have to improve their roster to keep up with those two teams. That reality doesn’t call for panic, though – it requires a steady, non-emotional hand that sees the bigger picture and realizes that the Mariners need to simply concentrate on adding to the talent level in the organization. We can have a reasonable conversation about the most effective ways to do that, but there’s no reason to freak out and think that the moves that Texas and Anaheim have made this winter means that the Mariners future is bleak unless they overreact and (sign Fielder, raise the payroll, trade Felix, insert other emotional reactions here).
The AL West is full of good organizations. Those good organizations are going to continue to compete for talent and push each other for the division title. This is true today, and it was true a month ago. As long as the Mariners keep their eyes on the prize, they’ll be fine. Don’t freak out.