Rangers poached by free-spending Red Sox, Angels

Cooper Neill

Rangers fans have watched Mike Napoli, Koji Uehara and Ryan Dempster agree to terms with the Red Sox, while Josh Hamilton signed with the rival Angels. Still, the Rangers are in a better position than either Boston or Los Angeles.

The 2012-13 offseason hasn't been kind to the Texas Rangers so far, but it's also impossible to know if it's been poor. Offseasons need time to judge, and this year is no exception.

Still, we do know one thing for sure -- the Boston Red Sox are signing former Rangers left and right.

Ben Cherington and the Red Sox traded away Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett and Adrian Gonzalez to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the biggest waiver wire deal in MLB history in August, taking lots of salary off the books for the Red Sox.

As expected, the Red Sox spent some of that money this offseason, but managed to avoid giving out long-term contracts. So far, Boston has agreed to terms with three former Rangers: Mike Napoli, Koji Uehara and Ryan Dempster.

Napoli was the first to agree to terms, agreeing to a three-year, $39 million dollar deal. That deal has not been officially signed, however, as there are some questions to Napoli's health, and the deal may need to be altered. Still, it's expected that Napoli will be on the Red Sox next year.

Uehara's signing was perhaps Cherington's best this offseason. In a world where Brandon League and Jeremy Affeldt receive ridiculous three-year contracts, Cherington signed Uehara, a very, very effective reliever, to a modest one-year, $4.5 million dollar deal to help shore up a bullpen that was the laughing stock of baseball in '12.

Boston's brass didn't stop there, however. The Red Sox agreed to terms with Ryan Dempster on a two-year, $26.5 million dollar deal. Dempster enjoyed recent success pitching in the NL Central with the Chicago Cubs, but did not fare well with the Rangers. Though a two-year agreement isn't a big deal, Dempster's signing is a bit puzzling -- and he'll face some pretty difficult lineups in the AL East.

Cherington and the Red Sox also signed Shane Victorino to a three-year, $39 million dollar deal, and Stephen Drew to a one-year, $9.5 million dollar deal.

Boston's M.O. this offseason is apparent -- Larry Lucchino clearly wanted to avoid long-term contracts, but wanted his general manager to sign a slew of veterans to help turn Boston into a contender, again.

Right or wrong, we won't know until August, but we do know that the Red Sox have spent a lot of money this winter on not a whole lot of talent.

Then there's Josh Hamilton, who signed with the rival Los Angeles Angels. Hamilton's departure to a rival team stings, but the Angels will certainly regret that contract by the end of 2014.

In that regard, Rangers fans should feel a bit more at ease. It's better to spend nothing than to spend in desperation -- even if it means losing players and missing out on free agents. This offseason has been a bit wacky, with teams overpaying left and right. Texas will contend as is, and there's plenty of time between now and July for the Rangers to add another bat.

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