Feb 072012
  • Tuesday Morning Sliders15 days folks…
  • The Rangers are still working to avoid arbitration with Mike Napoli, Nelson Cruz and Elvis Andrus.  Elvis is the nearest to going to arbitration, as his hearing is scheduled for this Thursday, with Cruz on the 15th and Nap on the 17th.  T.R. Sullivan (MLB.com) provides more information here.
    “The Rangers will likely reach a settlement with Andrus before the hearing. Andrus, who is represented by Scott Boras, is asking for $3.6 million; the Rangers are offering $2.65 million.
    Napoli has the largest spread — asking for $11.5 million, with the Rangers offering $8.3 million — and could be the most likely to end up in a hearing. Napoli is coming off the best year of his career, setting personal bests with a .320 batting average, 30 home runs, 72 runs scored and 75 RBIs.
    Cruz, who hit .263 with 29 home runs and 87 RBIs in 2011, is asking for $7.5 million, whereas the Rangers are offering $5.5 million.
    Contract negotiations with all three are ongoing.” 
  • Here’s hoping the Rangers can get something done and avoid arbitration with all three players.  It’s a business…but arbitration can make it personal sometimes as the team is essentially laying out a case for why the player isn’t’ worth what he thinks he is.
  • The Rangers have signed left-handed pitcher Joe Beimel and right-handed hitting 1B/OF Conor Jackson to Minor League contracts with invitations to Spring Training.  T.R. Sullivan provides an update on both players and their roles here.
    “Jackson, 29, played in 114 games for the Athletics and the Red Sox last season and hit .244 with five home runs and 43 RBIs in 352 at-bats. He had a .310 on-base percentage and a .341 slugging percentage. He has a career .283 batting average, .381 on-base percentage and .436 slugging percentage against left-handed pitchers.”
    “Beimel, 34, pitched in 35 games for the Pirates in 2011 and was 1-1 with a 5.33 ERA while being sidelined from May 28 to July 15 with inflammation in his left elbow. Opponents hit .321 off him, including .302 by left-handed hitters.”
  • The additions of Jackson and Beimel bring the Spring Training count up to 58 .

A few thoughts on Josh Hamilton from Evan Grant (DallasNews):

  • On Hamilton’s reliability moving forward:
    “ If you listen to Josh’s apology, it’s like he’s talking directly to you. The guy is earnest, the guy is convincing, the guy has a really humble approach in dealing with adversity. And somebody else will listen to that and say, “He’s over it, he’ll deal with it, everything will be fine.” But it is two slip-ups in three years.”
  • On if Hamilton’s relapse will cause the Rangers to lose him:
    “ If he walks away from the Rangers after this year, I don’t think that the Rangers will have “lost” him. I think the Rangers will be OK with that at this point in time because he will have kind of come to the end of the road here. I think if Josh sits back, looks at everything, goes through this year with all the support that the Rangers give him and he chooses to go somewhere else, I think that the best will have been behind Josh Hamilton.”
  • On how Hamilton’s relapse will affect his contract negotiations with the Rangers:
    “This plays out that Josh plays a year as a potential free agent because they’re not going to negotiate any time before the season starts. And I think the Rangers now are going to take the approach that they’re not even going to approach him. With most players, they don’t talk during the season and I think right now, there’s no reason for them to talk. People want to talk about leverage in this situation, but leverage is a moot point at this point. It’s gone from this: the Rangers were asking Josh previously to give them a hometown discount. I think now the Rangers will be discussing whether or not they want to put up with this burden long-term.  But with Josh, the question is not just .320 average versus a guy dealing with alcohol abuse. With Josh, it’s a guy who is now 31 years old, as opposed to most free agents who may be a year or two younger. It’s a guy who annually misses at least 30 games a year. There are other factors involved in that burden.”
  • On the type of contract Hamilton could get as a free agent:
    “If he goes out there this year and hits .320 with 35 bombs, plays 150 games and wins another MVP, there will be plenty of clubs that sit there and say, “Josh Hamilton is a risk. Over a six-year contract, it’s a risk that’s not going to pay off, but over the next two years, we’ll take that and pay the extra freight.” It only takes one team to think that way.”
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