Over the weekend, Josh Hamilton addressed his comments from Friday’s press conference saying, “If it does go to free agency, the first place I’m coming is here. If I owe anything, it’s that. My loyalty is here. This is where I’ve been. This is where my family’s been, so obviously I’d love to stay here more than anywhere else. So first of all, they get a chance to do what they need to do to keep me here.”
Hamilton further clarified his “I don’t owe the Rangers anything” comments saying, ”What I owe is 100 percent on the field. My employee-employer relationship is to give 100 percent in the clubhouse, to the fans, everything I’ve done while I’ve been here. That’s what I owe to the Rangers. I’ve done those things and I’m going to continue to do those things. That’s what I mean by it.”
Again, I know it’s a business, but you just hate to hear a star player have to use the “employee-employer relationship” line. If you missed our take on his statement from Friday, check it out here.
Josh went on to comment on the potential of negotiations during the season, saying ”If it’s during the season, I’m not going to know about them because I’ve asked not to know about them. I trust my agent. He’s not just my agent, but a close friend and mentor of mine, somebody I go to for advice and I really trust. I leave that up to him. I just say call me when there is something worth talking about. I’m just going to leave it up to him. If they approach him and he feels like it is something to go forward with, I’ll leave it up to him. It’s not going to be something I’m focusing on, concentrating on.”
Joe Nathan addressed the team during a team meeting yesterday which was intended to be a chance for the team, coaches and staff to air all of their feelings about how the World Series ended. The veteran newcomer said “I talked about what it looks like from the outside looking in. For me, watching that, they were the better team. What happened is baseball. Stuff happens in this game is sometimes unexplainable, but it doesn’t mean they weren’t the better team and I’m excited to be here and that they had nothing to be ashamed about.”
Nathan went on to talk about the current state of the team, saying ”I don’t think anybody is hanging their heads about last year. I don’t think there’s a reason to hang your heads about last year. They’ve got a lot of things to be proud of about what they did last year. Even though it’s tough and you want to win and had a chance to win, you’ve still got to be excited about where this team is and where this team has been and 28 other teams wanted to be in their spot even though it was a tough way to go down.”
T.R. Sullivan (MLB.com) covers the team meeting in more detail here.
Elvis Andrus is listed as day-to-day after having a Plantar’s wart removed from his heel. Shouldn’t have any long-term impact on the young shortstop.
Evan Grant (SportsDay DFW) shared his thoughts on the Rangers batting order: “I’d move Michael Youngto second and Elvis down to the lower third, but only if Young could be more of a situational hitter. His track record suggests he’s been prone to too many double play balls. I’d rather have Elvis hitting eighth or ninth with speed around him there, than to dropMitch Morelandto the 8th spot. Think the Rangers could do some manufacturing from bottom third of order that way.”
Evan isn’t alone in his thoughts above. Elvis makes more sense hitting 2nd in terms of small-ball, while Young brings better numbers all-around. It’ll be interesting to see if this changes in 2012. If I had to guess, I’d say that it won’t change, only because I think Elvis will take another step forward in his offensive development in 2012, and you can tell that Ron loves having him in the 2 hole.
Grant also discussed the pitching staff, saying “I’m a little concerned. There is a lot of talent, but little track record. Both Holland and Harrison have only one half season each of real success. Lewis gave up 35 homers last year and I don’t expect that number is going to go down markedly. While Feliz and Darvish have limitless potential, neither has started a major league game. If everything goes right, it’s a dominant rotation, maybe the best and youngest in the league. But how often do things fall just right?”
ROTATION: Lewis, Holland, Darvish, Harrison, Oswalt.
BULLPEN: Feliz or Nathan (closer), Feliz or Nathan (setup), Ogando (setup), Mike Adams (middle/setup),Scott Feldman (long), a lefty TBA and one spot open for a Tateyama or someone of that level.
Jasen and I provided our thoughts on the pitching staff in last Monday’s podcast. While it would be shocking to see Feliz not have a spot in the rotation after the signing of Nathan and the way things ended in 2011, I understand Grant’s position in that Oswalt brings more of a track record. With the improvements that the Angels made, this is not a season where the Rangers will be able to risk losses due to experimentation – Feliz needs to prove he can be in this rotation during Spring Training.
As far as the “lefty TBA” mentioned above, watch out for phenom prospect Martin Perez. Both minor league pitching coordinator Danny Clark and manager Ron Washington have talked about his limited performance so far this Spring and have been impressed.