- Hopefully, tomorrow morning we’ll be posting an update that the Rangers and Nelson Cruz have reached an agreement and avoided arbitration. Evan Grant (SportsDay DFW) reports “According to a major league source, the club is close with OF Nelson Cruz on a two-year deal that would eliminate his scheduled arbitration hearing next week.” Grant provides more details and a good comp here.
The deal is expected to get done this morning.
- Details on Elvis Andrus’ 3-year contract were released yesterday. Elvis will get $3.125 million in 2012, $4.8 million in 2013 and $6.475 million in 2014 for a total of $14.4 million. The annual average value is $4.8 million.
Elvis had this to say about getting the contract wrapped up and his future with the club, “These next three years, I can focus on the team and continue to help the lineup have success. I’m still learning every day. My best years are coming. I’m getting to know myself and my offense. I’m just trying to get better every year.”
- Fangraphs.com recently published what they believe to be the 10 worst transactions of this off-season. The Rangers made the list one at #8 with the signing of Joe Nathan. From the article:
“During his prime, Nathan was one of the best relievers in baseball. Then he had Tommy John surgery, spent a year on the DL, and was essentially a replacement level arm during his first year back on the mound in 2011. The velocity was still there and he still got a decent amount of strikeouts, but his extreme fly ball ways turned into a home run problem, and going to Texas probably isn’t going to alleviate that issue. Nathan’s a decent enough bounce back candidate, but that’s why they invented one year deals with incentives. At 2/14, the Rangers should have gotten a sure thing, but Nathan is a high-risk arm who hasn’t been a good pitcher since 2009. If Texas would have shown a bit more patience, they probably could have ended up with Ryan Madson instead.”
Check out the full list here.
- The Rangers Believe in Mitch Moreland…of course they do, but if you need some more feel good reading on the first basemen, check out Richard Justice’s (MLB.com) article here.
- T.R. Sullivan (MLB.com) wrote a good column about the questions the Rangers must answer during Spring Training this year, including setting the starting rotation and figuring out who will play center field. Good read. Jasen and I are going to be going over what we believe to be the primary questions that the Rangers need to answer during Spring Training in an upcoming podcast.
- Speaking of the podcast, it’s been a few weeks now since our last episode. We are not giving up on the podcast. Just been working out some technical difficulties and trying to get everything straightened out before Spring Training starts. Stay tuned.
- Hope to have Round 2 of the American League West Position Battle posted later tonight.
Tag Archive: Elvis Andrus
Feb 09 2012
Feb 08 2012
- The Rangers and Elvis Andrus will avoid arbitration as the two sides reached an agreement last night on a 3 year contract worth $14-15M. The contract is pending a physical. Elvis would have been up for arbitration after the next two seasons as well, so this contract will eliminate that. Elvis will be eligible for free agency after the 2014 season. Richard Durrett (ESPNDallas) provides some more background on Elvis here if interested.
- If you missed the Part 1 of American League West Position Showdown, check it out to see where Elvis stacks up against his peers.
- Next up – Mike Napoli and Nellie Cruz
- The Rangers have hired Shayne Kelley to be Josh Hamilton’s accountability partner. Kelley, a longtime college baseball assistant coach and former coach in the Royals’ system, will also serve as a Major League staff assistant for the Rangers.
Jon Daniels had this to say regarding Kelley and the search, “We talked to a few people, but Shayne was at the top of our list. We had more interest in this position from people reaching out all over the country than all other positions combined since I have been here.”
Kelley accompanied Hamilton to New York on Monday to meet with doctors from MLB and the Players Union.
T.R. Sullivan (MLB.com) covered the story with some additional detail here.
- Mitch Moreland reports that he is feeling great after his off-season wrist surgery in November.
Moreland says “Going into Spring Training, I’ll be in some kind of routine, but I don’t think there will be many limitations. They said we’ll go on how I feel. If I feel good, we’ll keep going through it. That’s going to be for me to find out. Nobody will know until we get there but me. Right now I’m feeling good. I know it’s going to be better than last year. It was pretty bad the last month. There were days that I would go into the [indoor batting] cage, I’d just come out for batting practice, take two, three, four swings and see how I feel. We got through it.”
This is great news for the Rangers and Mitch as he looks to take the next step in his progression.
- The Rangers have released their Spring Training broadcast schedule. There will be a good amount of coverage, with 10 games on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM, 10 games on local television and 10 free audio webcasts at texasrangers.com. You can check out the full schedule here.
Feb 07 2012
I recently got into an argument with a fellow Rangers fan regarding how much the Angels improved though their off-season acquisitions. As we talked through Pujols and C.J., it lead to a position-by-position comparison of the Rangers and Angels for the 2012 season. I’ve taken the next step here to bring the Mariners and Athletics into the argument. While they look to have no reasonable chance to contend in the division, there are two reason to include them here:
- You never know.
- Allows us to rank 1-4 for each position. So, even if you are primarily interested in Rangers vs. Angels, you can get an understanding of where the players actually stack up against other peers to give you a frame of reference.
- Catcher & Infield
- Outfield & DH
- Bench & Manager
- Starting Rotation, Relievers & Closer
Nap takes the top spot here easily and get’s the +1 with a 2011 WAR of 5.6, compared to Ianetta who was at 3.3. Even with Napoli’s season being a bit of an outlier when you look at his career, I don’t see Ianetta or Suzuki closing the gap enought in 2012 to argue against it.
The biggest debate here is between 2nd and 3rd place, primarily because Ianetta is changing leagues and may be in adjustment mode during the first part of 2012. That said, Ianetta had a better WAR and OPS in 2011, and will be managed by a former catcher that can certainly help in improve even further behind the plate.
- Albert Pujols, LAA
- Mitch Moreland, TEX
- Justin Smoak, SEA
- Brandon Allen/Daric Barton/Chris Carter, OAK
Similar to catcher, you can’t argue with number one, as Pujols not only takes the prize, but also takes the bonus point with relative ease. Pujols put up a 5.4 WAR last year in the National League with the Cardinals and a .906 OPS, which was a down year for him, compared to a .733 OPS for Moreland and .717 for Smoak.
The battle for 2nd and 3rd is a lot closer than most Rangers fans would like to think, as you can tell by the OPS stats above. Statistically, Moreland and Smoak had very similar years in 2011, with Moreland producing at a slightly higher level than Smoak in almost all categories. Both are still young players that should improve even further in 2012.
I give the edge to Mitch here in a close one. Smoak was the more highly touted prospect, so you might expect him to progress at a more accelerated rate than Moreland, but I don’t think you’ll see that in this case, primarily because of the teams that surround them. Mitch faces far less pressure and will face many more bullpen caliber pitchers because of the extremely productive lineup that he is playing in. Switch their situations, I would lean the other way.
This is by far the best position across the board. Kinsler had the strongest campaign in 2011 and should be the most productive in 2012, but the divide between he and Kendrick is not big enough for the bonus here.
I think the rankings are clear cut, but we could see both Ackley and Weeks close the gap even further during 2012.
All three players had an OPS in 2011 above .761, with Ian leading the pack at .832. There is no weak player in this bunch.
Clear cut number one at the hot corner, as Beltre dominated the group statistically. Beltre’s dominance is enough to get him the bonus point here as well, outpacing Callaspo’s 2011 WAR ranking by 2.1 (5.7 for Beltre to 3.6 for Callaspo).
Callaspo get the nod for 2nd place here, but again, it could be closer than you think, and rumors of Mark Trumbo making the switch to 3rd base cloud the ranking a bit. That said, if Callaspo is the starting 3rd basemen for the Angels in 2012, he’ll be hitting in the much more productive line-up and is better defensively.
This is my biggest decision in the rankings so far, and I have to lean towards Elvis here. Even factoring out my bias, if that’s possible, I see Elvis improving at the plate in 2012 to an equal level of Aybar, and far outplaying Aybar defensively.
Score at the end of Round 1:
- Rangers: 5 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 4 = 21
- Angels: 3 + 5 + 3 + 3 + 3 = 17
- Athletics: 2 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 2 = 8
- Mariners: 1 + 2 + 2 + 1 + 1 = 7
Feb 07 2012
- 15 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.”
Jan 18 2012
- It’s Yu Deadline Day! We’ll know by 4pm today if the Rangers and Darvish were able to reach an agreement. Richard Durrett & David Schoenfield face off on ESPN’s Hot Button explaining why they feel the Rangers should sign (Durrett) or pass (Schoenfield). That link also displays a Jim Bowden video that provides nothing new, but if you’re wanting to drown yourself in Yu Darvish today, give it a watch.
- Tim Kirkjian feels that “one way or another, Yu Darvish is going to sign with the Rangers”, and that seems to be the general sentiment of much of the MLB Media.
- David Murphy, Matt Harrison, Mark Lowe and Mike Adams reach deals with the Rangers to avoid arbitration yesterday. This leaves Mike Napoli, Nelson Cruz and Elvis Andrus as the three remaining players that could go to arbitration if a deal is not reached. T. R. Sullivan provides some more details on this matter here.
- Would you want the Rangers to sign Prince Fielder, if it meant that they would not be able to resign Josh Hamilton after the 2012 season? Jasen posted a good article last night examining the scenario, and Jean-Jacques Taylor sided with Hamilton in an article posted on ESPN Dallas this morning. Decide for yourself, and leave a comment below.
- Greg Maddux kicked-off his career as a Ranger yesterday getting up to speed with some of the minor-league pitching talent within the organization. According to Jeff Wilson of the Star-Telegram, “While Greg Maddux will familiarize himself with the pitching prospects this week, one area that he will surely be involved with throughout spring training is the pitchers’ fielding technique. The Rangers’ pitching staff combined for 16 errors last season, including four each by Matt Harrison and Colby Lewis and three by Derek Holland. Greg Maddux, on the other hand, won 18 Gold Gloves during his career, committing 53 errors over 23 seasons.”
- Former Ranger Curtis Wilkerson is coming back to DFW. This time as a manager, as he’ll oversee the Ft. Worth Cats in the 2012 season.
- The Tigers took a serious shot to their line-up yesterday as news broke that Victor Martinez would likely be out for the 2012 season after tearing his ACL during off-season winter workouts. Doesn’t seem likely the Tigers would jump in the Prince Fielder sweepstakes as Prince said he has no interest in being a full-time DH.
- Cole Hamels and the Phillies reached a 1 year agreement yesterday ($15M) to avoid arbitration. The Phillies are said to still be working on a long-term deal with the lefty. If a deal is not reached, Hamels would surely be one of the top free agents next off-season.
Jan 03 2012
Calling upon it’s newest inductees to be forever enshrined in the Hall of Fame of our countries great past-time. Here are just a few that are prime for consideration (need 75% of vote to get inducted):
- Barry Larkin…very deserving and will probably get the nod; got 62% of vote in 2011.
- Jeff Bagwell…he’d get my vote, but I wonder if the era he played in works against him; only got 42% of vote in 2011.
- Jack Morris…13th year on the ballot for this big-game pitcher, with good (not great) career numbers; got 54% of vote in 2011
- Lee Smith…478 career saves (was all-time leader for a few years); 10th year on ballot; got 45% of vote in 2011.
- Tim Raines…transcendent player who changed the game with his speed; 38% of vote in 2011
- Mark McGwire…Rafael Palmeiro…steroids.
- Bernie Williams…1st year on the ballot for a great defensive center fielder that played for a dynasty.
There are others of course, but we don’t need to go any deeper than what’s above. My guess would be that Larkin and Morris make it this year, with Bagwell and Raines improving their vote totals and Williams being the strongest of the newly eligible.
All of the debate over the players above got me thinking about our current Rangers team, and wondering if we had anyone on this team that had a legitimate shot at someday receiving the call from Cooperstown. Here’s a look at four current Rangers whom you could build a solid argument on, based on achievement and/or potential.
- Michael Young – Mr. Ranger will be 35 during the 2012 season and has played in 11 seasons (not counting 2000 when he only played in 2 games), 9 of which have seen him play in 155 games or more.
His career totals are strong:
G H HR RBI SB BA OBP SLG OPS 1667 2061 169 917 87 0.304 0.350 0.451 0.801
Accomplishments & Awards: 7 time All-Star, 2006 All-Star game MVP, 1 Batting Title (2005), 1 Gold Glove (2008), let the AL in hits twice (2005 & 2011), Twice finished in top 10 MVP voting.
Assumption for projecting career: plays 6 more seasons (through Age 40), with playing time and production decreasing 5% per season starting in 2013, with a increased decline of 10% in his final season (at age 40).
G H HR RBI SB BA OBP SLG OPS 2509 3051 248 1358 127 0.299 0.346 0.443 0.789
Again, this is pretty elementary approach to projecting out the remainder of a players career, as there are many factors that can come into play, but I think this is a fair approach. If anything, you could probably argue that it’s not conservative enough. I’m not going to attempt to project any additional accomplishments and awards for Michael or anyone below for that matter.
Hall of Fame or Not: With the exception of Pete Rose (banned), Craig Biggio, Derek Jeter and our very own Rafael Palmeiro (none of the 3 are eligible yet), 3,000 career his is a lock for the Hall of Fame, so if Michael can produce at the level assumed above, I think he will one day get the call from Cooperstown.
- Josh Hamilton – Had Josh not been derailed by the demons that plagued him early in his professional career, this may be a no-brainer, but one could also argue that had Josh not faced and eventually overcome those demons, he might not be the player that he is today.
Josh is 30 years old, with 5 big league seasons under his belt, only one in which he played in 135 games or more.
G H HR RBI SB BA OBP SLG OPS 589 698 118 425 36 0.308 0.366 0.543 0.909
Accomplishments & Awards: 4 Time All-Star, 2010 AL MVP, 2010 ALCS MVP, 2 Time Silver Slugger (2008 & 2010), 1 Batting Title (2010), Led AL in RBI (130 in 2008), and one hell of a life story that impacts anyone who knows about it.
Assumption for projecting career: Plays 8 more seasons (through age 38), averaging 145 games per season through 2014 with playing time and productivity decreasing ~10% through remainder of career.
G H HR RBI SB BA OBP SLG OPS 1604 1879 321 1168 86 0.307 0.358 0.543 0.901
Hall of Fame or not: The numbers won’t do it alone. What’s hard to project, especially with a player as skilled as Josh, is the what he might do as far as additional accomplishments and awards. Josh could also exceed expectations as far as playing time and productivity, but his first five MLB seasons don’t back that up, so I’m not comfortable being more aggressive in these areas. With all that said, I’m going to say that Josh won’t get the call, but there isn’t a guy on this team that I would rather see get in the Hall of Fame. He means a lot more than stats and awards to a lot of people.
- Adrian Beltre – Adrian was playing at the Major League level at the age of 19. I asked Jasen what he was doing when he was 19. and wasn’t surprised to find out that he wasn’t playing Major League baseball, but instead he was working at Oshmans Sporting Goods, sponging off his parents and spending a lot of “me” time.
With an early arrival, comes more time to accumulate statistics. Adrian has played 14 season in the majors with the Dogers, Mariners, Red Sox and Rangers. He has played in 150 games or more in 7 of those seasons. Here’s Adrian’s career stats :
G H HR RBI SB BA OBP SLG OPS 1959 2033 310 1113 114 0.276 0.329 0.469 0.797
Accomplishments & Awards: 2 Time All-Star (2010 & 2011), 2nd in NL MVP voting in 2004, 3 Gold Gloves, 3 Silver Sluggers, Led AL in doubles in 2010 (49), let NL in HRs in 2004 (48).
Assumption for projecting career: Plays 7 more seasons through age 39, averaging 145 games through 2013, with 5% decrease in playing time and production through age 39 (steeper decrease in production during final 2 seasons).
G H HR RBI SB BA OBP SLG OPS 2851 2953 494 1717 126 0.271 0.317 0.468 0.787
There is no way in hell that a 39 year-old Adrian Beltre would hang’em up just 47 hits away from 3,000 and 6 HR’s away from 500, so let’s put one more limited season at Age 40 on top of these projections.
G H HR RBI SB BA OBP SLG OPS 2909 3001 504 1748 126 0.270 0.316 0.466 0.782
Hall of Fame or Not: No question, if Adrian can play to the level assumed above, he will be a lock for the Hall of Fame. 500 HRs doesn’t mean what it used to, but coupling that with 3,000 hits and any additional awards and accomplishments he can corral, and I think Adrian Beltre will get the call from Cooperstown in 2025 or sometime shortly thereafter.
- Elvis Andrus – Elvis Augusto Torres Andrus was born in 1988. I won’t get into what Jasen was doing in 1988, but I was 12-year old in love with the game of baseball. On August 26th, 1988, when Baby Elvis entered this world, the Texas Rangers were 20.5 games out of first in the AL West, looking up at the Bash Brothers.
By far the shortest career and youngest of the four that we are examining here. You could argue that it’s ridiculous to even put Elvis in the conversation here, but I have to. The idea for this article came about when my Dad and I were at a game in late-2010, and he asked me who on the field could ever become a Hall of Famer. At the time, without digging into the stats, we agreed that Josh and Cliff Lee might have a chance if they remained highly productive for the next several years. When also both agreed that Elvis, while very limited in experience and
I’m not going to even bother with the numbers. He’s only 23 years old with three major league seasons to his name.
Elvis is smart and has the tools to become something very special. He is one of those guys (like Josh) that can make the difficult plays look easy.
Hall of Fame or Not: He could be the next Edgar Renteria, Alan Trammell or possibly even Barry Larkin – or better or worse than any of these guys. Elvis is smart and has the tools to become something very special. He is one of those guys (like Josh) that can make the difficult plays look easy. If I had to go out on limb, I’d have to say that I don’t think Elvis will get the call from Cooperstown, but that’s only because most don’t. It’s reserved for the elite…the greats…the transcendent players that play at a level above their peers. Could Elvis become this type of player? No doubt.
So there you have it. Apologies in advance if I left your favorite Rangers off the list. Ian, Nellie, Nap and Neftali all crossed my mind to include here, but for various reasons, I don’t think they are quite ready to be part of the conversation. I realize that by including Elvis, I might be opening myself up for a little criticism – feel free to leave a comment. In the end, it’s about the team. Awards and recognition are great, but its about winning the games and winning a Championship, and we should all be ecstatic with the fact that OUR team understands and embraces this.