Davis addresses possible Darvish extention, '17 goals

Rangers owner touches on many topics in rare session with media

February 28th, 2017

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers owner Ray Davis has a prediction for pitcher this season.

"He is in a good frame of mind, and strong physically," Davis said. "I expect him to win the Cy Young."

As far as signing Darvish beyond this season, Davis was far more vague about that ongoing topic.

"It depends on what our other options are," Davis said while meeting with members of the media on Tuesday. "He has expressed an interest in staying here, and we'd love to have him."

There was one topic that Davis is not vague about.

"Our goal every year, and our plan every year, is to win the World Series," Davis said.

Davis, whose ownership group bought the team at an auction in 2010, rarely meets with the media, unless it's a major press conference. He prefers to let general manager Jon Daniels and manager Jeff Banister speak for the franchise.

But Davis spoke on Tuesday, and he was forthright when discussing the direction and expectations of the 2017 Rangers.

"With the exception of 2014 and all the injuries, [Daniels] has been able to put a World Series-caliber team on the field every year," Davis said. "I think that is the case this year. If you ask the 40 guys in the locker room, they would echo that."

The Rangers took a measured approach this past offseason. Their four significant free-agent signings -- , , and Mike Napoli -- all came aboard on one-year contracts. The Rangers' main goal was to prevent trading more of their best young players.

The Rangers will still enter the season with the highest payroll in club history at approximately $168-170 million.

"Yes, we stretched it, but we brought in a lot of talent," Davis said. "We're excited about this year. But the best thing we did was keep our young players. We did it with dollars, not talent."

That's the balance that Davis and his ownership group have tried to strike. They are trying to win every season, and still build a powerful farm system. But they often give up significant young talent in midseason trades to acquire players such as Cole Hamels, and .

"You play it year by year," Davis said. "You can't predict young talent. We are going to try and win every year. It goes back to the Minor League system and the development guys making sure we have talent at all levels. We still have a strong farm system."

Davis made it clear that ownership will be flexible again this summer.

"I don't think I've ever said no, because [Daniels] has never come to me with anything that is unreasonable," Davis said. "If it was unreasonable, I might say no. There has to be balance. Nobody has an unlimited checkbook. We have to be fiscally responsible, while putting a winning team on the field."

New contracts for Darvish and Lucroy -- who can also be a free agent after the season -- might push the Rangers' definition of what is reasonable and affordable.

"That's the nature of the game we're in," Davis said. "It's like any other business, you have to deal with the market. I'd like to sign every guy to a one-year contract, but that's not the market we are dealing with."