Dec 082011

Good bye C.J.   Thanks and good...well, just thanks.It’s official.  The Angels have landed C.J. Wilson to the tune of $75M over 5 years.  He’s going home, and getting a very nice contract.  Can’t blame him, but still quite a bit of animosity towards him from Ranger fans, and it really started during the post-season and escalated to it’s peak today.  While I’m on board with this feeling, let’s not diminish what he did for this organization, especially over the last two seasons.

  • 2010: 15-8 with a 3.35 ERA, 170K and 93BB over 204IP, 7.5k/9IP
  • 2011: 16-7 with 2.94 ERA, 206K and 74BB over 223.1IP, 8.3k/9IP – improvements across the board; All-Star and 6th in AL Cy Young voting
He wasn’t a big game pitcher, which has been well documented (All-Star game loss, poor post-season showing), and you have to wonder if that is something that will always plague him, of if that’s something he can figure out.  I’m hopeful that we don’t get to see him show us either way.
With the signing of CJ and Pujols on the same day – arguably the top pitching free agent and without-a-doubt the top hitting free agent, the Angels have made quite a splash.  This doesn’t always carry over onto the field.  Only time will tell, but regardless, this only increases my excitement for Rangers baseball in 2012.
Trust in JD!
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Dec 082011

Pujos to Angels...The AL West just got a little more interesting as the Angels made the biggest splash of the off-season (and potentially of any off-season since Rangers signed A-Rod), by signing Albert Pujols to a 10 year contract, worth $250-260 million.

The Ranger’s arch-enemy has made a bold move, and they may not be finished, as they are still rumored to be the front runners for CJ Wilson.  I would have to think that they are pulling that offer off the table at this point given.  Pujols was a bigger need for CJ in my mind for that team, which makes this even worse for Ranger Nation.

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Dec 082011

Mildly Warm StoveBusy times at the winter meetings.  Things have been somewhat quiet on the Ranger front.  A few quick hits here, and then Jasen and I hope to get a new podcast up tomorrow night.

  • CJ Wilson is all but gone.  Expected to sign with the Angels today (5 year offer), with the Marlins still lurking in the background offering more years (6)
  • With Buerhle off the table (Marlins), this removes the two top FA starting pitchers from the market – have to think Yu or trade at this point.  If it’s trade, no reason to do it now…
  • We’re in on Fielder…we’re out on Fielder…we’re “stealthy” on Fielder…in the end, feels like we are probably out of the mix here, but you never know.
  • Yu Darvish expected to post today, and Rangers are considered to be one of three teams expected to make a serious bid – others being Blue Jays and Yankees.  I think the Yankees are the most realistic after watching Cashman on with the MLB Network crew last night.  He was very clear that the starting rotation is the #1 priority and something that they want to improve upon going into next season.
  • Angels snag Latroy Hawkins to help their bullpen – nothing major, but a nice acquisition.
  • Marlins continue to be rumored to be in on EVERY free agent – talk about putting it all on the line.
  • Hamilton wants a new contract prior to start of 2012 season.  Napoli does too, just don’t know that we’ve seen that put out their publicly.  Let’s hope Rangers can get both of these locked up.
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Dec 062011

WWJDD   What would Jon Daniels do?This time of year it always fun!  The speculation sometimes can be overwhelming, yet exhilarating at the same time.  And it’s nice when your team is involved in so much of the speculation, as the Rangers are.

With all the Hot Stove talk, I’m going to put my own plan/scenario out there for the 2012 Rangers.

  • Extend Mike Napoli – Arbitration eligible this year, and free to walk after 2012.  This guy became a fan favorite over the course of 4 months, and his development (at the plate and behind it) has been astounding.  Nap should be the full-time catcher (as discussed in Episode 1), and locking him up now might bring some savings rather than waiting until the end of 2012 when the Rangers would have to deal with signing him in free agency.
  • Extend Josh Hamilton – No need to elaborate on this one.  The guy has been a huge part of the resurgence and like Nap, is a fan favorite.  He needs to remain in a Ranger uniform throughout the remainder of his career for more reasons than production.
  • Sign Prince Fielder – I’d love to see $147MM – $160MM over 7 years, but given Prince’s agent and the competition in the bidding, it may require upwards of $190 over 8 years.  Prince will turn 28 this season, so that would lock him up through age 34-35, which should be right on the backslide of his prime years.
    I think this move makes sense long-term as Prince will be ready to slide to DH right around the time that Michael Young is ready to retire (3-4 seasons?), which could allow Nap to transition to 1B permanently at the age of 33-34, which should help preserve him offensively.
  • Trade David Murphy to Oakland for Andrew Bailey – may very well take a little more to make this happen, but I’d think it’d be a marginal prospect at best.  Oakland has said that they want an OF in return for Bailey, and while it you don’t see inter-divisional trades that often, I think this make sense for both clubs (given the moves above).  Bailey is another right handed arm in the bullpen (along with Adams and new closer Nathan), but gives you some insurance for Nathan and is someone that can close, so he could transition back into that role after 2013 when Nathan’s contract is up.
    This move would mean that Mitch Moreland needs to work as an OF more frequently to maintain his usefulness with the big league squad.  I think he’s capable.
  • Let the current starting pitching rotation ride…for now – I want to see how Feliz is going to work out in the rotation and how Holland, Harrison, Ogando and company are going to continue to develop before throwing a big contract at CJ Wilson or Mark Buerhle.  If we could get either of those guys at a good rate, I’d be all over it, but I think both are going to get contracts that are bigger than what the Rangers would be comfortable with.
    If Feliz is not working out or injuries decimate the staff, then make a bold move before the trade deadline.  The one thing the Rangers have a surplus of is strong prospects, which are better than money during mid-season deals.

I know this increases the payroll, but the time to strike is now, and the revenue generated over the last two seasons (playoff runs, increased fanbase) should be able to finance this.

Thoughts?  Post comments and let me know what you think.

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Dec 052011

Yu Darvish   Will he post?This weekend it was reported by Ken Rosenthal that Yu Darvish might be posted by the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters shortly after the winter meetings in Dallas.  That was quickly adjusted when Japanese news services quoted Darvish’s father as saying that he might not make himself available for posting until January and even then there is no guarantee he will actually take the next steps to Major League Baseball.

Its been widely publicized that the Rangers have a good deal of interest if Darvish does decide to come to America. He is a 25-year-old right-hander that had an impressive 18-7 record and a 1.44 ERA in Japan last year. Maybe even more impressive than his ERA is the 276/36 K/BB ratio he held down. This guy has the makings of an ace on any major league staff and although Japanese pitchers haven’t necessarily always panned out (see Dice K) it’s a risk worth taking for the Rangers who are reportedly on the verge of losing ace CJ Wilson.

What do you think, should the Rangers invest the huge posting fee and a large contract on a guy that has never played against major league talent?

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Dec 022011

Episode 1 is finally here…

Jasen and I discuss the foundation of “Baseball do”, the acquisition of Joe Nathan and the catcher position for the Rangers.

We’ll be highlighting a different position each week during the off-season, with 1B on deck in Episode 2.

We’d love to hear  your comments, and remember, everyone deserves a second chance.

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Dec 012011

Teagarden traded to Orioles

The Rangers have traded Taylor Teagarden to Baltimore for minor league RP Randy Henry.

Henry is a 21 year-old Oklahoma native who split time between Low-A and Hi-A last season in the Baltimore farm system.  He compiled a record of 4-3 with a 2.23 ERA over 52.2 innings of work.

Teagarden will serve as the back-up catcher in Baltimore behind All-Star Matt Wieters.

We have finalized our first podcast and hope to get it posted to the site tonight.  Ironically, we discussed the catcher position, and just what Teagarden’s future with the club was.  That question has been addressed with this move.

Does this mean Torrealba will definitely be in a Ranger uniform next year?  Will Napoli be the full-time catcher or continue to split time between C, 1B and DH?

I have to think that Napoli will get the large share of time behind the plate, given his defensive performance in 2011 and the his offensive splits between games when he was catching and games when he was not.  My original thought was that the Rangers would deal away Torrealba and try to find an adequate back-up catcher with a cheaper price-tag, and that could still happen, but today’s transaction would lead me to believe that Yorvit will be back and will probably catch 40+ games and get a few ABs at DH.  We’ll see…

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