It's ARod's fault

The reason the Texas Rangers don't win is Alex Rodriguez.  Or it's because of his contract.  One of the two.

This is what we have been told by just about every sports columnist on the continent ever since he signed his record 10-year, $252 million contract.  The Texas Rangers will never be able to compete because they are paying one player between $22 and $25 million a year.  And so far, the Rangers have not won.  But is it really because of Alex Rodriguez?

Well, it's certainly not due to anything he's done on the field.  Ever since he signed with the Rangers, he's been the most productive shortstop in the history of the game, and it's not close.  His 1146 total bases in the last 3 years is 72 more than Ernie Banks and 175 more than Cal Ripken ever totaled in any 3 year period and 44 more than Honus Wagner ever totaled in any 4 year period.  In fact, his total is only 53 short of Lou Gehrig's major league record and 6th behind Chuck Klein, Jimmie Foxx, Babe Ruth, Rogers Hornsby for most ever in a 3-year span.   But the media keep telling us that it's because he makes so much money that the Rangers can't afford any other good players.  Well, only if you completely ignore the facts. 

In 2002 the Rangers paid $26.4 million for Rusty Greer, Juan Gonzales and Carl Everett.  They combined for 25 homers, 109 runs, 114 RBI and 289 total bases, which is less than ARod has produced by himself in any year since 1997.  In 2003, they paid that trio $29.2 million.  The Rangers got a little more production out of them: 42 homers, 121 RBI, 102 runs, 334 total bases.  But for $7 million more than they are paying ARod, they should get at least that much.  Of course, the Rangers could have signed Scott Podsednik, Reggie Sanders and Jose Cruz Jr. before the 2003 season for less than $4 million total.  That trio combined for 60 homers, 213 RBI, 264 runs and 727 total bases last year.  For $2 million more, they could have had Kevin Millar's 25 homers and 257 total bases as insurance.  In fact, the Red Sox spent less on Millar, David Ortiz and Bill Mueller than the Rangers did on Rusty Greer, who was paid the least of the Rangers' "star" outfielders.  So for $25 million less than what they actually paid their outfield, the Rangers could have gotten better production from the bargain bin.

Oh, I'm sorry, I must've misquoted the media... ARod's contract prevents the Rangers from signing any pitching... that's why they don't win.  Warren Spahn passed away recently and was one of the best pitchers in the history of the game.  But Chan Ho Park must be the single greatest starting pitcher ever because he's earned $20 million over the last 2 years, won exactly 10 games in that time, yet has not deserved any of the blame for the Rangers failures in the media's eyes.  I guess those 175 innings of 6.06 ERA he's pitched for Texas have been deceptively effective.  Park, Jeff Zimmerman and Todd Van Poppell combined to win 2 games in 2003 at a payroll cost of $19.2 million.  At that rate, Texas only needed to spend an additional $864 million on pitching this year to win 90 games,  Yeah, it's ARod's fault the Rangers don't win.  It's ARod's fault that the Rangers paid nearly $50 million in 2003 for players who could have been replaced and out-produced for less than $10 million.

So is ARod's contract a hindrance to a team winning?  Only if the team is dedicated to finding new ways to lose.  The Red Sox paid Manny Ramirez $20 million in 2003, $2 million less than the Rangers paid for ARod.  Manny hit 37 homers, 104 RBI, 117 runs, 334 total bases for the Sox, inferior numbers across the board to ARod's.  Ramirez was an outfielder in name only; his true position is DH.  Alex Rodriguez won a gold glove at shortstop.  Yet even with a one-dimensional star making that much money, the Red Sox somehow won 95 games.  A miracle?  Hardly.  The Red Sox front office knows it doesn't have to pay a lot of money for decent players to surround their stars.  The Rangers front office obviously doesn't.

And that is the only reason why the Rangers don't win.