- Yu got what you wanted…now what are Yu gonna do with it?
- The Rangers will officially introduce Yu Darvish tonight at the Ballpark at 7pm CST. The press conference should be quite a spectacle with media from across the country and Japan present.
- With the wait over and Darvish officially part of this organization, the Rangers can now start to focus on what the impact of this signing really is on the ball club. How will Darvish fit in? Where will he fit in? How long will it take him to adjust to the small differences (ball size, mound heighth, etc.)? How long will it take him to adjust to living in the U.S.? T.R. Sullivan wrote a good piece on all of the “dominoes” and how they’ll fall from Yu’s signing, which addresses some of the questions, but many of them will be answered during Spring Training.
- As we Tweeted yesterday, the addition of Darvish bolstered the Rangers starting rotation up to 3rd in ESPN rankings by David Schoenfield. Wasn’t able to find any rankings prior to the Darvish signing by Schoenfield, but have to believe they would have been on the outside looking in at the top 5.
- Great article by Kristi Dosh (ESPN Business Reporter) on the rarity of a Darvish-like signing. She touches on the posting process for Japanese players and writes “Despite there being no expiration date on the agreement with NPB, Major League Baseball officials do plan to discuss the posting system as a part of ongoing meetings of its new International Talent Committee. The committee was formed as part of the new collective bargaining agreement to explore current and proposed regulations regarding the signing of international talent.”
- Richard Durrett reports that Mike Napoli is up and running on this ankle (of steel).
“The ankle felt pretty good,” Napoli said. “I ran with a sled to put a little weight behind it and it came out pretty good. I think it’s jus tme trusting it again. I’m going to have to work through some pain and feel some things, but it’s feeling good. I still have to get some more strength in it, but it’s definitely on its way.”
Durrett also states “Napoli expects to be ready for when pitchers and catchers report for spring training in Surprise, Ariz., on Feb. 22.”
- Napoli regarding Yu Darvish: ”I’m really excited that they signed him. Last year, I was trying to learn everybody on the Rangers staff in spring training. I’ll do the same with him, learning what he likes to do in certain situations. That means a lot of talking about the game.”
- Napoli also told Durrett that he feels like a 2012 deal will get done to avoid the arbitration process. ” Napoli and the club exchanged figures this week and there was a $3.2 million gap. Napoli submitted a figure of $11.5 million and the Rangers countered with $8.3 million. The midpoint between those is $9.9 million and the clubs have until a hearing (sometime in the first three weeks of February) to get a deal done.”
- We have long been calling for a contract extension for Napoli, given the rarity of a power-hitting catcher that is strong defensively and a fan favorite. If you missed it, check out “Extend the Ankle of Steel”. After seeing much of the talk around an extension since, the money seems higher than what most others in the baseball media project, but I’m a firm believer that if he were to produce in 2012 at a level close to where he was in 2011, he would garner such a contract on the open market as a free agent.
- Michael Young spoke with Calvin Watkins and gave his vote of confidence to teammate Mitch Moreland: ”To be honest with you, I have a ton of respect for Prince Fielder. He’s a great player and he’s had an incredible career. At this point, Mitch Moreland is our first baseman and we stand behind Mitch. He’s a great young player, a great teammate and he hasn’t scratched the surface of what he’s capable of doing. In our clubhouse, he’s scored major points last year playing through injuries knowing his numbers were going to take a hit, but he played through a tough wrist injury and he gutted it out. But from our standpoint, as teammates, that’s something we have a lot of respect for.”