According to ESPN (In$ider) MLB long-term power rankings put together by Jim Bowden, Keith Law and Buster Olney, the Texas Rangers are the ranked as the best team in Major League Baseball over the next five years. While this is obviously big news, the bigger news should be that it's clear the money people pay to ESPN for Insider information has bought them a time machine.
Even though it's useless to predict what any sports team will do over the next five years (unless, of course, you're gunning it to 88 in Doc Brown's DeLorean DMC-12), the guys at ESPN made some good points.
The teams are ranked in five categories -- majors, minors, finances, management and mobility -- and the Rangers have the highest scores overall.
Buster Olney says that even though the Rangers' Game 6 collapse will stick with the team, the Rangers will be elite long after the Cowboys are looking for a new starting quarterback.
General manager Jon Daniels has built a strong organization on scouting and development, and behind the wave of players who have taken the Rangers to two consecutive World Series are more great young players, from power arm Martin Perez to shortstop Jurickson Profar. They have poured money into their international signings and continually replenished their pitching, most notably with the recent addition of Yu Darvish. Somehow, Daniels has been able to assemble this kind of talent and record without also being burdened with the kind of contracts that have made the New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies and Boston Red Sox top-heavy. The Rangers are baseball's model franchise these days.
Bowden believes that the team's biggest issue moving forward is to figure out how to fit all those shiny rings on only 10 fingers.
Perhaps the biggest issue facing the Rangers will be to figure out on which fingers their World Series rings will go. With a surplus of pitching and one of the best offenses and defenses in baseball, the Rangers just need to maintain the team. This includes replacing Josh Hamilton or signing him to a long-term contract. After coming close twice, they will finally get their World Series title very soon.
Again, it's pretty much useless to put too much stock into power rankings through the next five years, but it should be encouraging for Rangers fans to know that their team is ranked above the Yankees, the Rays and the Cardinals, in that order.
For more on the Rangers, head to Lone Star Ball.