Feb 132012
 

NAPOLI!

Monday Morning Fastballs

  • The Rangers agreed to a one year deal with Mike Napoli over the weekend.  The contract will pay the slugging catcher $9.4M for the 2012 season, after which Napoli will be a free agent.  While the agreement is nice in that it helps the Rangers and Napoli avoid an arbitration hearing, we were hoping the Rangers would lock Nap up long-term (3-4 years with options).  If you ever missed our case for extending Napoli beyond 2012, click here.
  • Looks like Josh Hamilton contract extension talks are still on hold.  Jon Daniels had this to say yesterday, “The contract is not really the priority with Josh right now — his health and family are.  We’re not going to preempt that for anything about a contract. Given how close we are, I don’t anticipate that happening before spring training. We all agreed to table things before we got to spring training.”
    The relapse has really put a damper on getting Josh locked up beyond 2012.  Similar to Nap, Hamilton will hit the free agent market next off-season barring a new contract between now and then.  While many feel that DFW is Josh’s home, the open market can often convince players otherwise.  Potential suitors will make every attempt to cater to Josh’s needs, both financially with his on-the-field performance and socially/spiritually/emotionally with his off-the-fields needs.
  • Jon Daniels also commented on the Rangers putting their wallets away over the weekend.  When asked if the Rangers were finished with their off-season spending, JD said “More than likely, yes.  I never want to shut the door and there’s always ways to be creative and things of that nature.   We can sign non-roster guys. But handicapping anything else as we sit here, there’s nothing imminent.”
    When asked about free-agents Roy Oswalt and Mike Gonzalez, JD said “Nothing has changed on either front.  There’s a level of interest in the players, but as far as a fit on the team and payroll-wise, it’s not as easy as otherwise.”
  • While I think Oswalt is not going to happen, which we are good with (see here), I think there is still a chance that Gonzalez ends up with the Rangers if they can move Koji Uehara via trade, freeing up his 2012 salary ($4M).
  • Jonathon Mayo (MLB.com) has published his Rangers Top 20 Prospects list.  Top 5:
  1. Jurickson Profar
  2. Martin Perez
  3. Mike Olt
  4. Leonys Martin
  5. Robbie Ross
  • Vegas road trip?  Tickets on sale today…
  • If you missed, more Dutch Oven genius below…

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Feb 102012
 
  • Friday Morning KnuckleballsThe Rangers and Nelson Cruz reached an agreement on a contract yesterday, avoid arbitration and locking the slugger up for the next two seasons.  Sources say the contact is ~$16.5M after incentives.
    Cruz is looking forward to a big 2012, saying “I feel like I’m in better shape right now than in the past.  I expect a big performance of myself and nothing less than going back to the World Series.”
  • Cruz was in the Dominican Republic dealing with a stomach bacterial infection over the off-season that hampered him for a couple of months.  Since returning to the U.S. for treatment, he has started working out at the same gym as Mike Napoli in Miami.
  • Richard Durrett (ESPNDallas) wrote a short column on Cruz moving on from Game 6.  Cruz had this to say concerning Game 6, “You always want to complete a goal, especially back-to-back years and not making it.  You’ve got to get over it. You don’t always get what you want. The whole team, the coaching staff, we have to make sure we get better, whatever we need to do to get better to make sure we get back to the World Series and win it all.”
  • Keith Law (ESPN.com) has published his prospect rankings and four Rangers made it into the top 100.
    #7. Jurickson Profar
    #20. Martin Perez
    #75. Michael Olt
    #99. Neil Ramirez
    You can read a small write up about each prospect here.
  • Law also put together a top 10 for each Organization.  Here is the Rangers:
    1. Jurickson Profar, SS (7)
    2. Martin Perez, LHP (20)
    3. Mike Olt, 3B (75)
    4. Neil Ramirez, RHP (99)
    5. Robbie Ross, LHP
    6. Rougned Odor, 2B
    7. Leonys Martin, CF
    8. Cody Buckel, RHP
    9. Leury Garcia, SS
    10. Jorge Alfaro, C
  • Randy Galloway (Star-Telegram) wrote a good article on the continuing battle that Josh Hamilton faces as an addict.  This story feels like it wants to run it’s course, but the looming thought of a video that could surface at any moment is a little disturbing.
  • Derek Holland was on with Ben and Skin (103.3FM, ESPN) recently, and spoke about leaning of Hamilton’s relapse, “First I didn’t even know anything was going on. I was out and surprised, so I had no clue what was going on. Once I had found out me as a person I wanted to give Josh all the support I can. He’s one of my teammates. He is like a brother to me. Those guys are people we look up to. It’s like Washington said he is one of those people that when we are on the road I played Xbox with him and stuff. We interact with him, so he doesn’t feel like he is left out. We make him a part of this team because he is. He is a key member to this team, but at the same time it is all about supporting him. This is a tough thing for him to go through and it’s our job to be behind him and show that we care about him and that we are there for him.”
  • If you missed Round 1 of our Position-by-Position American League West Battle, check it out here.  Round 2 will be posted today.
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Jan 252012
 

BREAKING: Roy Oswalts Evil Plan to Slow Development of Rangers PitchingI know, harsh. Let me start this off by saying I really love Roy Oswalt. He is a workhorse. Always near the top of the league in innings pitched. He throws 93 mph and has one of the coolest named pitches in baseball, the “Vulcan change-up”.  He works a pitcher’s mound like a mad-man, the polar opposite of Joaquin Benoit. He’s a two-time 20 game winner with a career 3.21 ERA, a great teammate, and an all around nice guy. All that being said, I don’t want him. According to ESPN.com’s Richard Durrett the Rangers have shown some interest in signing Oswalt and he has reciprocated the interest in the Rangers.

Durrett notes: The Rangers have taken some chances on injured pitchers before, with the idea that it can be a low-risk, high-reward option.

I know the saying “You can never have enough pitching”. I was a Ranger fan during the 90′s and those days Juan Gonzalez was hitting 400 foot bombs to left field I would have killed for a Roy Oswalt on that team. These aren’t those Rangers.

This organization has built a perennial championship contender by drafting high ceiling talent and nurturing that with great coaching at all levels. They have built a stable of good young arms that are just now on the verge of making a leap into the big show. They also have three young guys that last year made up 3/5 of an AL Championship rotation. The addition of Neftali Feliz into the rotation ensures one of those guys will be moved back into a bullpen role. The addition of Roy Oswalt to this team would force another of those young, talented, and still developing starters back into the bullpen. Losing a year of development for a starter could be devastating both physically and mentally.  I know what you’re thinking. Oswalt is WAY better than Matt Harrison. Wrong.

Harrison – 30 GS 14-9 with a 3.39 ERA. 57 walks and 126 SOs.

Roy Oswalt – 23 GS 9-10 with a 3.69 ERA. 33 walks and 93 SOs.

I love Roy Oswalt. I love Matt Harrison and Derek Holland more. This isn’t the time to set those guys back in the spirit of signing a guy with a more recognizable name and more experience. This is the time to push those guys to be better than they ever have. Sorry Roy, we aren’t going to let you set back our boys.

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Jan 102012
 
  • Tuesday Morning SlidersContract talks with the Dutch Oven are on hold for now according to an article posted by T.R. Sullivan on TexasRangers.com.  Holland and the Rangers were discussing a 5-year deal.  Holland is one of many current Rangers that the club has been in contract (or contract extension) talks with as JD & Co. work towards keeping the nucleus of this team together.
  • The Great Eric Nadel has been named the 2011 Texas Sportscaster of the Year.  Here is a little Nadel Gold for you on this find Tuesday morning
  • Fan Fest is this weekend.  Are you going to be there?  Jasen and I are going (more than likely on Friday night), so comment below if you are going to make it and we’ll meet up for an awkward hug.
  • Barry Larkin is the sole inductee into the Baseball Hall of Fame for 2012 yesterday with 86.4% of the vote.  Hat’s off to a great baseball player and a classy dude.
  • Rafael Palmeiro got 12.6% of the vote. Clemens and Bonds will be on the ballot starting next year, so they will be the strongest litmus test to date for the players tied to the steroids scandal and will go a long way in determining if Raffy will ever stand a chance to get inducted.  Tim Kirkjian wrote a good article about the 2013 Hall of Fame eligibles.
  • Juan Gonzalez and Ruben Sierra will both fall off of the ballot after receiving under 5% of the vote.
  • Episode 6 of Baseball Do will be posted later this morning!
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Dec 212011
 

Baseball Do Podcast Episode 43rd Base is up for discussion in our weekly off-season position roundup…yo Adrian (greatest pic from last year)!

Jasen and I spend some time talking about the Yu Darvish bid and the potential impact Darvish has on the Ranger’s rotation and bullpen.

And finally, Jasen and I rehash our traumatizing experiences with having to put beloved pets to sleep…forever.

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