A popular theory floating around the Texas Rangers all season hypothesized that the club’s ownership would want to build a winning team for the first season at Globe Life Field and spend lavishly in free agency to do so.
Early on in Tuesday’s season-ending news conference, general manager Jon Daniels said that the budget for 2020 would be increasing. The Rangers’ need areas are the starting rotation and third base, the same positions as two of the top free agents expected to be on the market.
The theory was looking pretty good.
Daniels, though, threw some cold water on that toward the end of the session. Putting butts in seats won’t be a motivation for building next season’s roster.
“I don’t see us making any baseball personnel decisions for marketing purposes,” Daniels said. “I think the only way to market a team is to win. I think it’s pretty cut and dry. Anything short of that probably going to lead you down the wrong path.”
That said, improving the club with external additions might result in signing a gate attraction.
Anthony Rendon, the Washington Nationals’ third baseman, had one of the best seasons in baseball and would be an instant upgrade.
Houston Astros co-ace Gerrit Cole, the potential American League Cy Young winner, would make the Rangers’ rotation one of the best in the league.
Of course, Rendon and Cole could be out of the Rangers’ comfort zone, especially Cole, even with the boosted payroll.
Daniels isn’t sure how much money will be available.
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“Ask me on Opening Day,” he said.
The Rangers are also uncertain how Globe Life Field will play. They think it will play a lot like Globe Life Park, with left-handed hitters having an advantage, but park factors won’t be known for a few months of games with the roof open and with it closed.
Good players, though, are good players no matter how a ballpark plays.
“We think we have an idea, but we’re not going to know until we get in there any play and get a real understanding of the dynamics,” Daniels said. “Whether it’s the surface, or whether it’s the outfield dimensions, or foul ground, or the wind or lack of wind or the air conditioning.
“There are so many factors we don’t know yet, so we’re going to try to put the best club together, and as we learn about it, we’ll adjust for those.”