Rangers opt to build slowly

Originally Published: December 17, 2004
By Jerry Crasnick | ESPN Insider
If George Foreman could transform himself from glowering heavyweight basher to happy-go-lucky grill salesman and Las Vegas could wake up one day as a family tourist destination, then Tom Hicks deserves the opportunity to reinvent himself. And now it has happened: Four years after being derided as the sap who gave Alex Rodriguez $252 million, the Texas owner has been reborn as a model of fiscal restraint.

It isn't easy, as the Yankees' 2005 payroll hurtles toward a quarter of a billion dollars, Seattle spends $114 million on Richie Sexson and Adrian Beltre and starting pitchers with sub-.500 career records basically name their price. But the Rangers are refraining from doing anything reckless today under the assumption they'll be proven right come July or August.

After a season in which Texas improved from 71 to 89 victories, Buck Showalter won the American League Manager of the Year award and the team enjoyed a 420,000 attendance spike, Hicks has signed on to the John Hart-Showalter program with fervor. He's listening to his baseball people, resisting the temptation to splurge and embracing a more methodical approach to success.

Jerry Crasnick

ESPN Senior Writer