Mar 282013
 

It’s the podcast you have all been waiting for…ok, maybe not, but give it a listen and hold Jasen and I accountable for our picks when they are all dead wrong at season’s end.

I don’t want to spoil it, but you’ll never believe who we pick to win the 2013 World Series.

Baseball Do Episode 27: 2013 Predictions and Dear Baseball Do...
“Hello JD, it’s Jasen with BaseballDo.com, will you marry me?”

Special thanks to all on Twitter who submitted questions.  Listen for the “marry one, kill one, naked spoon one” question regarding Wash, Nolan and JD and then let us know below how you would answer that question.

If you want to play along with your prediction, post them in the comments section below:

We picked:

  • Divisional Champs
  • Wildcard winners
  • League Champs
  • World Series Champ
  • MVPs
  • Cy Young Award winners
  • Rookies of the Year
  • Managers of the Year

Good luck, and don’t be intimidated by the fact that we are professionals.

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Oct 122012
 
Josh Hamilton 14

The 2012 Texas Rangers season came to an abrupt, and disappointing end on Friday night as the club lost the first annual one game Wild Card playoff at home to the Baltimore Orioles 5-1.

The $100 Million Dollar ManTo say the club struggled down the stretch is quite the understatement as they finished the season 2-8 in their final 10 games, including losing a 5 game division lead over the Oakland A’s with 9 games left to play. After winning the second game of a double header last Sunday night over the Los Angeles Angels, the Rangers lost their final four games of the season by a combined score of 24-10. The team went into an extended cold slump at the absolute worst possible time.

How did this team many picked to win the World Series wet the bed in the home stretch? Well, one can argue it was due to a variety of factors. The club quite simply stopped getting the clutch hits the A’s got seemingly every day towards the end of the regular season. Mainly, the Rangers just looked completely mentally and physically exhausted towards the end of the year.

Playing as much baseball as this team has played the last three years can take their toll on the body. Remember, the Rangers played six postseason series the last two years, three more than any other team in baseball. I expect Texas to recover and continue to compete in the American League West, but nothing is guaranteed in the great game of baseball.

Jon Daniels and the front office are faced with some very important personnel decisions in the next few months, none more important than what to do with the enigmatic superstar Josh Hamilton.

The $100 Million Dollar ManDespite Josh Hamilton’s late season struggles, some team will pay Josh Hamilton an exorbitant amount of money to play baseball for them next season. While many Ranger fans feel signing Josh is foolish after he dropped a can of corn in a crucial situation in a do or die game against the Oakland A’s last week, or the fact Hamilton struck out 162 times this season, or the fact Hamilton hit .233 in the final ten games, Josh did produce monster numbers during his tenure in Texas.

According to MLB baseball writer Jon Heyman, he believes Hamilton will sign a contract in the neighborhood of 5 years for $150 million dollars. If Hamilton signs a contract similar to the one Heyman suggested, Hamilton would earn the highest annual salary in Major League Baseball at $30 million dollars per season.

Reading about what will soon become baseball’s newest $100 million player got me to thinking about the history of the $100 million dollar player in baseball (The list is quite fascinating). Would signing Josh Hamilton to a $100 million dollar plus deal be a wise decision for not only the Rangers, but any other MLB team? I decided to do a little research, and I think the results may be a little surprising.

Keep in mind, I realize Josh has rubbed many the wrong way in this area towards the end of his time here.

The $100 Million Dollar ManThere have been 34 $100 million dollar contracts signed in the history of baseball. Many fans have probably forgotten the first player to ever sign a $100 million dollar contract was former Ranger great Kevin Brown in 1999 when he signed a 7 year $105 million dollar deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers prior to the 1999 season.

The Rangers have signed one player to a contract exceeding $100 million, and that was Alex Rodriguez back in December of 2000 for a then astronomical 10 year deal totaling $252 million dollars. While Rodriguez played exceptionally during his time in Texas, the club faltered because A-Rod had little talent around him and was traded to the Yankees shortly after winning the AL MVP in 2003.

The average age of the player to sign these mega deals is 28.3. Out of the 34 players to have signed $100 million dollar contracts, only 11 of them have been over the age of 30 at the time they signed their new lucrative contract. 8 of the 11 were position players, and since Josh Hamilton is a position player who will be 31 this offseason when he signs his new deal, I decided to focus solely on these 8 players and crunch their numbers to determine if signing Josh makes sense fiscally.

Here is the list of position players to have signed a $100 million dollar contract over the age of 30:

Ken Griffey Jr. – 9 year deal worth $116,500,000 with the Cincinnati Reds

The $100 Million Dollar ManJason Giambi – 7 year deal worth $120,000,000 with the New York Yankees

Alfonso Soriano – 8 year deal worth $136,000,000 with the Chicago Cubs

Carlos Lee – 6 year deal worth $100,000,000 with the Houston Astros

Alex Rodriguez – 10 year deal worth $275,000,000 with the New York Yankees

Ryan Howard – 5 year extension worth $125,000,000 with the Philadelphia Phillies

Jayson Werth – 7 year deal worth $126,000,000 with the Washington Nationals

Albert Pujols – 10 year deal worth $240,000,000 with the Los Angeles Angels

The first thing I have done is I have averaged each of these eight players final season before they were given their huge pay days, and have compared them to Josh Hamilton’s 2012. By doing this study, we can determine if Josh will receive a similar payday, and it should help predict what type of production we can expect from Josh in the future based on his age. If you want to check out each player’s season for yourself, I am sure you are cognizant of the sites to help you do that. I am just simply providing the averages.

8 players final season before mega deal:

157 games played, 114 runs scored, 176 hits, 80 XBH, 42 HR, 118 RBI, .299/.388/.579/.966, 5.5 rWAR

As one can tell, these players produced huge seasons as these numbers are just the averages between the 8 players. In 2007, A-Rod led the league in 5 major offensive categories and won AL MVP. Jason Giambi led the AL in 3 offensive categories, including an incredible 1.137 OPS in 2001. Ryan Howard knocked in 141 runs in 2009 before signing his extension the following April. Now, let’s look at what Hamilton did this year and compare the numbers to the 8 players.

Josh Hamilton’s 2012 season:

148 games played, 103 runs scored, 160 hits, 76 XBH, 43 HR, 128 RBI, .285/.354/.577/.930, 3.4 rWAR

As one again can easily determine, Josh’s 2012 numbers are very similar to the other final seasons. What does this mean? Well, if Josh’s numbers are similar to the average final seasons of the 8 $100 million dollar players over the age of 30, one is led to believe Josh will produce similar numbers beginning in the first year of his new deal and beyond. Just to be sure, I thought I would perform another test. Since Albert Pujols was the most recent player to sign a $100 million dollar deal, I decided to average the first years of the 7 other $100 million dollar player’s contracts, and compare them to Pujols to find out if the numbers also look similar.

7 players other than Pujols 1st year of new contract:

146 games played, 96 runs scored, 159 hits, 67 XBH, 33 HR, 100 RBI, .285/.370/.530/.900, 3.8 rWAR.

The most eye opening thing one will notice is the decline in all major offensive categories. Jayson Werth’s 2011 season with Washington skewed these numbers slightly, but Giambi and Griffey pushed them up as they were the only players to hit more than 40 HR. Carlos Lee was the only player to appear in all 162 games for his team in the first year of his $100 million dollar contract., which is also the only 162 game season of any player who has ever signed a $100 million dollar contract over the age of 30. And, with Josh Hamilton’s well known inability to stay healthy, he will more than likely play less games than many of these other players who did not have health issues before signing their enormous contracts. Now, let’s compare the numbers to Pujols 1st year.

Pujols 2012 season:

154 games played, 85 runs scored, 173 hits, 80 XBH, 30 HR, 105 RBI, .285/.343/.516/.859, 4.6 rWAR

Again, the numbers are very similar. Based on the similar numbers, I believe we have enough statistical evidence to more or less provide ball park figures of what one can expect from Josh next season, and beyond, wherever he, his wife, and God decide is the best place to play baseball for the next five years.

I will now provide what type of production a team can expect out of Josh Hamilton if they were to sign him to a 5 year $150 million dollar contract which Jon Heyman believes he will sign. Again, all I did was average the 7 player’s years, not including Pujols,  by very simply adding up the total amount, and dividing the total by the number of players. Werth drops off in Year 3 from the equation, and Howard drops off in Year 4 because each has not played in that particular year of his contract yet. Year 1 was already provided.

Year 2:

119 games played, 70 runs scored, 121 hits, 51 XBH, 27 HR, 84 RBI, .281/.376/.517/.893, 2.3 rWAR

The numbers are continuing to decline as the players are beginning to experience injury problems because they are aging. Only 4 of the 7 players played more than 125 games in his second season of his deal. The rWAR has dropped 3 wins in two years.

Year 3:

105 games played, 46 runs scored, 100 hits, 38 XBH, 18 HR, 67 RBI, .252/.332/.443/.774, .3 rWAR

The third year is the worst statistical year as three of the players (Griffey, Soriano, and Giambi) all finish with negative rWARs. Lee played 160 games, but the next most in games played is Rodriguez with 137. Batting average, OBP, Slugging, and OPS has fallen for the third straight year.

Year 4:

119 games played, 62 runs scored, 107 hits, 46 XBH, 22 HR, 69 RBI, .260/.357/.495/.852, 1.5 rWAR

The numbers improve slightly, but not by very much. Lee actually had a rWAR of -2.4 in his 4th year of his deal. Michael Young was everyone’s favorite whipping boy this year, and even he had 38 XBH’s in his horrendous 2012.

Year 5:

126 games played, 65 runs scored, 117 hits, 50 XBH, 24 HR, 82 RBI, .259/.350/.484/.833, 1.7 rWAR

Giambi had the most productive 5th year as he had an OPS of .971. However, no player had a rWAR above 3.7.

5 Season average:

123 games played, 68 runs scored, 121 hits, 50 XBH, 25 HR, 80 RBI, .267/.357/.494/.850, 1.9 rWAR

Yes, this would be the average season one team is paying $30 million dollars a year if they choose to pony up the money and sign Josh. While these numbers are not exact, they give a good prediction of what is probable.

The most shocking number is a total of 9.6 total rWAR in 5 seasons. Meaning, if a team paid Josh Hamilton $150 million dollars over 5 seasons, the team would be paying $15,625,000 per win. Fans admire Josh for his incredible power, but only Jason Giambi averaged 30 home runs per season through the life of his contract. Chances are greater than zero that Josh would not hit as many home runs as he did in Texas.

Also, with Josh already being well known for his injury problems, including his caffeine issue in late September, signing Josh to a massive contract might not be wise based on the injury problems of the previous 30+ year old $100 million dollar players.

The $100 Million Dollar ManThe numbers I have provided are only numbers, but they do speak of what Hamilton will more than likely become later in his career because the numbers I have provided are what the players averaged during their expensive contracts. Essentially, the deal will be for one highly productive first season, two mediocre seasons, and two very disappointing seasons. Signing players to a long term deal for one to three decent seasons is just not wise, just ask the Los Angeles Angels.

I am sure Jon Daniels, Nolan Ryan, and the front office has done their due diligence in relations to the Josh Hamilton matter. However, based on past history, signing Josh Hamilton to a $100 million dollar deal would be a colossal mistake.

The safer and more intelligent move is to pursue a player like B.J. Upton who just turned 28, and is believed by Jon Heyman to be signed to a deal in the ballpark of 5 years and $60 million dollars. Upton is three years younger than Hamilton, strikes out a lot and has a lower OPS, but will cost $18 million dollars a year less that Hamilton will. Players such as Nick Swisher and AJ Pierzynski will also be available to fill the LH power bat void. Swisher can also hit from the right side of the plate as well. The Rangers could even use the extra money on a top of the rotation pitcher like Zack Greinke, or a solid #2 or #3 starter like Hiroki Kuroda.

While we do not know what will become of Josh Hamilton and the Rangers, one thing is certain, and that is the Hot Stove League is one of the most entertaining times of the year. The 2012 season might have ended in disappointing fashion for the Rangers, but things can turn around quickly with a great offseason. Fans should have complete faith in the organization based on their excellent track record that they will make the best decision for Texas Rangers in regards to Josh, and other players.

Follow Dustin Dietz on Twitter @DustinDietz18

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Mar 092012
 

Friday Morning KnuckleballsNeftali Feliz got his first Spring Training start out of the way yesterday, giving up 3 hits and 3 earned runs, striking out 2 and walking none across two innings.  Rangers lost the game 6-3.  Mitch Moreland had an RBI, and Elvis Andrus continues his march towards hitting .700 with a double and a single in the game.

  • He threw a total of 36 pitches, and it was really a tale of two different games for Neftali, and he gave up all the runs in the 1st inning off of a 3 run shot by Adam Dunn, and then shut the ChiSox down in the 2nd inning.
  • Not a bad start for Neftali, and keep in mind it’s the beginning of Spring Training.  I’m confident that he’ll only get better and I’m eager to see him when they get to the more stretched out (4IP+) Spring starts.
  • Feliz mixed in quite a few sliders and change-ups and had this to say regarding the approach, ”I know I’m not going to pitch like that, but I’m really working hard on them.  I’m obviously going to use my fastball more, but I know this is the time to work on all that stuff and not worry about the results.” – This is exactly the attitude and approach you would want to see from a young starter like Neftali at this point, and it shows that he has confidence in his stuff, as well as the Rangers management.
  • More from Feliz after the game, ”I’m not really focused on what happened today.  Obviously, Dunn got a hold of one. I’m just working on making my pitches, locating them where I want them, keeping the ball low. I’m just going to be focused on my goal and not going to worry about today too much.  In the second inning, I came out trying to attack the zone and keep the ball low, and I was more successful in the second inning than the first.” – I know it’s just talk, but it’s great to hear that he’s not too worried about that first inning.
  • Joey Nowak (MLB.com) writes about Neftali’s first Spring start, and includes some video footage of an interview with Feliz after the game.
For my thoughts on what I expect from Feliz in 2012, check out The Other New Guy.  Everyone has an opinion, and the transition that Feliz and Red Sox former-reliever-turned-starter Daniel Bard drew the attention of Jerry Crasnick and Gordon Edes (ESPN.com) who both state their cases for the success of each pitcher in 2012.  Crasnick took Neftali’s side.
  • Crasnick says “As a starter, Feliz will have more time to tinker and work on pitches in the bullpen between outings. And when he does, he’ll receive guidance from Maddux, one of baseball’s best pitching coaches, and Maddux’s brother Greg, who’s ready to share some serious baseball knowledge as a special assistant in Texas. Heck, even the team president, a guy named Nolan Ryan, might have some observations to pass along.”
  • Tristan Cockcroft (ESPN), also gives his take on Feliz in his 30 Questions: Texas Rangers article.
  • If you missed it, Feliz was my prediction for 2012 Surprise Player of the Year, which we discussed on our last podcast.

As we all, especially the team, continue to work on putting 2011 behind us, the beat writers just keep reminding us about it by writing about putting it behind us…, and to make it worse, we continue read it.  The Rangers vow to forget 2011 season’s end by Richard Justice (MLB.ccom).

  • Friday Morning KnuckleballsI like Kinsler’s quote, ”We’re still very motivated.  We’re very competitive. This year’s a completely different year than last year. Just because we went to the last two World Series doesn’t lessen our odds of going to the World Series this year. We have to prove ourselves again, and that’s the beautiful thing about this game.”
  • And of course, JD chimes in regarding the culture, ”That’s what I’m really proud of.  The people we have. The culture we have. They enjoy being with one another. We celebrate our successes, but we don’t spend a lot of time on it. By the same token, we don’t get too low when things don’t go our way.”

As you have probably all heard by now, the video clip of Nolan Ryan whipping Robin Ventura’s ass will no longer be shown in the pregame videos at Rangers Ballpark.

We’re not that sweet…

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Mar 012012
 
  • Thursday Morning ChangeupsMike Napoli will test the free agent market after 2012, “I’d love to be here, but I’ll test the market.  Every player plays to get to free agency. But it’s not something I’m going to worry about. That’s why I have my agent.”
  • Napoli’s ankle feels good after a week of workouts and he plans to catch 3-4 innings in tomorrow’s intrasquad game.
  • Yu Darvish put all 7 of his pitches on display yesterday during his BP session.  Mike Napoli, who got to catch the session, said “He has great movement.  He was throwing the sinker and it moved and he threw a couple of splits where the bottom just dropped out of it. He knows what he’s doing with the ball. He knows how to manipulate the ball.”
  • The Rangers are at the center of a international signing controversy with the signing of Dominican teenager Jairo Beras.  Beras, who according to Richard Durrett (ESPNDallas) “the club believes is 17 years old and eligible to sign with any organization now. But according to reports, other rival executives believe Beras is 16 years old and would not be eligible to sign until July 2.  If Beras is 16, he falls under the new rules governing international signings as part of the new collective bargaining agreement. Teams will have a cap of $2.9 million in bonuses it can hand out to international players for one year, starting July 2. After that, the bonus money will be based on record, giving the teams that finish lower in the standings more money to spend. “
  • Are you a bobble-head junkie?  Beltre, Kins and Wash will be the bobble-heads of choice in 2012 according to the 2012 Promotions schedule.
  • Ron Washington and Bobby Valentine are disagreeing on one of the all-time great defensive plays – Jeter’s “flip” during the 2001 ALCS.  Valentine argues that Jeremy Giambi would have been out regardless of the flip, and Washington says Jeter makes the out with the flip.  I agree with Wash and wonder if Valentine is getting vocal on this simply because he’s in Jeter’s division now.  I hate the Yanks just as much as all of you, but respect Jeter – that was one of the greatest defensive plays I’ve ever seen.
  • T.R. Sullivan (MLB.com) wrote a column on Michael Young embracing his current role.  Michael is simply a class-act, and I’m so glad he didn’t end up getting shipped to Colorado a year ago for some spare part…
  • Thursday Morning ChangeupsRichard Durrett (ESPNDallas) on David Murphy and his focus for 2012.  Murph is going into 2012 hoping for more playing time, but not at the expense of his teammates health, ”I have a positive mindset for my teammates.  I know that the last few years I’ve gotten my 400 at-bats because there’s been a lot of injuries and I don’t want Nelson to get hurt or Josh to get hurt. If Nelson gets 150 or 160 games, he’s an MVP candidate. I don’t want him on the bench.
    All the same, there’s no reason I need to stress out about anything. Things always seem to happen. I always am able to play some sort of role and that’s something that can’t be predicted and I guess there’s almost no reason to talk about it until the end of the season when it’s all said and done and the games and at-bats columns are final.”
  • Murph bring a ton of value to this team as a quality left-handed bat off the bench and a solid 4th outfielder.  Would he start for other teams?
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Feb 172012
 
  • Friday Morning Knuckleballs

    Gary Carter celebrating after winning the 1986 World Series over the Boston Red Sox. R.I.P. "Kid"

    Gary Carter passed yesterday at the age of 57.  Carter was a big part of my initial baseball consciousness.  He was diagnosed with four brain tumors last May, which he was fighting, but in January it was revealed that his doctors had found several more tumors on his brain.

  • Carter’s daughter, Kimmy Bloumers updated the family’s website yesterday afternoon with ”I am deeply saddened to tell you all that my precious dad went to be with Jesus today at 4:10 p.m. This is the most difficult thing I have ever had to write in my entire life but I wanted you all to know.
    It’s a sad day anytime we lose someone that has made an impact on any facet of our lives.  Carter was one of those people for many.  R.I.P. Gary.
  • ESPNNewYork.com has a good column about Carter and a video about Carter here.
  • CNNSI also has a great column on Carter here.
  • Tom Verducci (CNNSI.com) wrote a great tribute in “Gary Carter, the light of the Mets”.  That season was magical and provides the moments in time for which I’ll always remember Gary Carter.
  • Pitcher & Catchers report Wednesday.
  • Round 4 of the Baseball Do American League West Position Rankings is in the works and I hope to have it out this evening.  Check out the first three rounds if you need to catch up.
    Round 1 – Infielders and Catcher
    Round 2 – Outfielders and DH
    Round 3 – Bench and Manager
    Round 4 will cover all pitching including starting rotation, relief and closer.
  • Bryan Dolgin (ESPNDallas) wrote a short piece about Conor Jackson, and his approach with the Rangers.
    Jackson says ““They’re a pretty left-handed hitting team. First of all, I’ve got to make the squad. That’s the biggest thing for me.  I can’t have a usual slow spring training. I’ve got to come out bangin’ and show ’em I can still play. I’m just looking forward to an opportunity.”
  • Richard Durrent (ESPNDallas) wrote a brief column on Jon Daniels continued support of Josh Hamilton.
    Daniels said “There will be some additional steps that we’ll take as a club, along with Josh, just to continue to support him and to insure to the best of our abilities that this doesn’t happen again.  We have more ability to help with that during the season.”
  • Durrett also provides a look at ESPN’s Future Power Rankings for MLB, in which the Rangers took the top spot here (with a brief video).  The full article is available to those that have ESPN Insider access, so thanks to Durrett for at least extracting the Rangers portion of the article for those that don’t have that access.
  • The Rangers are ready to settle in for a productive and calm Spring Training after a busy off-season.  T.R. Sullivan (MLB.com) provides a good summary of the off-season with an eye towards Spring Training here.  The link also includes a video interview of Thad Levine from MLBTV’s Clubhouse Confidential.
    A great statement from JD, ”You name it and this team has dealt with it and thrived on it.  That’s a direct reflection on Wash and the leadership in the clubhouse, the players and the staff. These guys come to Spring Training ready to play and don’t let anything distract them.  We want to embrace and celebrate what was accomplished and reward the people that made it possible, but you need to turn the page at some point. What I have been encouraged by is in talking to people and the meetings we’ve had, our players and staff are hungry. They are as hungry and as motivated as ever. If we can keep that mentality, we can keep this going.”
  • Drew Davidson (Star-Telegram) wrote an article on the Rangers confidence level heading into Spring Training.
    Wash says “I think we head into camp pretty strong.  I think the key going in there is for everyone to stay healthy.”
  • On Yesterday’s episode of Sports Day on Fox Sports Southwest, Evan Grant and Anthony Andro shared their expectations of how Neftali Feliz will perform in 2012.
    Grant warns to not expect an Ogando type of performance, saying “Well, it depends on what you consider a successful starter. He’s not going to be Alexi Ogando from last year; he’s not going to be C.J. from two years ago. It’s going to be tough to have the conversion continue for the third consecutive year. He was really good last year when he was mixing up his pitches, but when he went back to the bullpen it was fastball, fastball, fastball. He can’t do that again. If he can win 11 or 12 games and be a starter for the entire year, that would be a successful year depending on where he’s come from.”
    Andro likes how the Rangers have prepped Feliz and the team for the move, saying “I think the Rangers took all the right steps in trying to create an environment where there is a closer in place with Nathan and they could move him early. I think what’s important between Neftali and the guys from the last two years is that those two made it clear from the start they wanted to be starters; they asked and did whatever it took to get there. I think the Rangers want to see the Rangers put a lot more into and as the spring goes on. They know he has a lot of work to do, and they know he has work to do with the breaking ball, but they think that’s all there.”
  • Wanna know what Baseball Do thinks about Neftali’s upcoming debut season in the starting rotation, check out “The Other New Guy”.
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Feb 142012
 
  • Tuesday Morning SlidersHappy Valentines Day to all our ex and current lovers.
  • Richard Durrett (ESPNDallas) wrote yesterday that Mike Napoli’s ankle injury continues to progress.  Regarding the ankle, Napoli says, ”I think I’m close.  I’m not really going to know until I get into the wear and tear of spring training and catching all the time. But I’ve been feeling good and getting better day by day.”
    And it looks like Nap is eager to get back, ”I can’t wait to get back there and see all those boys and get back into it again.  I wish I was leaving now. I’m ready to do baseball stuff and not just working out.”
  • Gerry Fraley (SportsDay DFW) writes “Cincinnati general manager Walt Jocketty indicated on Monday that he believes free-agent righthander Roy Oswalt eventually will land with the Texas Rangers.”  Jocketty spoke with the Cincinnati Enquirer recently and said that he believes Oswalt is “waiting for Texas to clear money.”
    This has been in the back of my mind all along.  We have asked the question many times of why is Oswalt waiting so long to sign somewhere.  Given that he’s a veteran that knows where he wants to be and probably values that more than money, he is either waiting for the Rangers to clear up some room to pay him or he’s waiting for the Cardinals to increase their offer to a respectable level.
  • T.R. Sullivan (MLB.com) wrote a good article summarizing some key questions, off-season moves, and leaders from 2011.  Check it out here. Jasen and I will be discussing the questions that the Rangers need to answer on an upcoming podcast.
  • Rangers Senior Director of Play Development (and former Astros GM), Tim Purpura, sat down with Rangers Magazine to discuss a number of hot topics.  Bryan Dolgin covers everything here.  Some highlighs:On Oswalt, “The fact of the matter is, I think, in any offseason other than this one, it might have been something that made a whole lot of sense. Given the fact that we already have six starters, adding another one to the mix and changing the dynamics of where we’re at … that’s something that I think has been part of the thought process.  Is that the right step? The right move for the Texas Rangers right now?”On JD, “He’s a very patient person. He’s a very analytical person. He looks at all sides of the issue which I think you absolutely have to as a general manager. He solicits opinions extremely well.  He’s got a very talented group surrounding him with Thad Levine, AJ Preller and Don Welke. And, he listens to everyone and then he makes his decision as to which course he wants to take which is exactly a way a general manager should operate.”

    On Rangers Pitching Prospect Martin Perez coming up to the big leagues this season as a closer, “Those are tough decisions from the point of view of this is a guy who probably is at the top of the list of our starting pitchers in the minor leagues as being a number one starter down the line. You have to balance the development process with the need to win at the major league level.  It’s a delicate balance.”

  • The A’s and Cuban free-agent Yoenis Cespedes agreed to a 4 year $36M contract yesterday.  The Marlins were considered the heavy favorites to sign Cuban mega-prospect.
    David Schoenfield (ESPN.com) asks three good questions now that Cespedes has signed.
  • Big Papi (David Ortiz) and the Red Sox avoided their arbitration hearing just hours before it was scheduled by agreeing to a contract for 2012 that will pay the slugger $14.575M.  Someone on Twitter pointed out yesterday that our DH makes more.  Not sure if this was a pride-point or said in jest, but a strong argument can be made for Young over Ortiz,  starting with he can play anywhere in the infield in a pinch (didn’t say he would be a gold glover…).
  • Dirk…
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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 082012
 
  • Wednesday Morning CurveballsThe 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.
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Jan 312012
 
  • Tuesday Morning SlidersThe Rangers have extended the contract of manager Ron Washington through 2014.  Financial terms were not disclosed.  Jon Daniel’s talked about Wash, saying “Our guys love playing for this man.  You see that every day. The national baseball audience has seen that the past two Octobers. You really see the way our guys respond to him.  He’s become a great manager, and a good personal friend and partner in all that we do, and obviously a huge part of our success, in my mind, is his ability to set the tone in that clubhouse to continue to teach the game to guys at the big league level and to demand a lot from our players.”
  • Washington is appreciative of the opportunity, saying ”Jon Daniels took a chance when you look back five years ago on a novice manager.  We hit it off. He just believed that I could be the guy that could take this organization in the direction that he knew it had the opportunity to go in. We’ve done that, and the most important thing, we’ve done that as a family, we’ve done it as a solid unit.”
  • From Evan Grant (DallasNews), “If Ron Washington stays through the end of the contract extension he signed with the Rangers Monday – his second extension in 14 months – he’ll have managed and won more games than anybody to ever spit in the dugout in Arlington.”
  • Richard Durrett (ESPN) provides more on contract extension here.
  • Ron Washington thankful for bond with GM by Richard Durrett (ESPN)
  • Ron Washington has grown with the Rangers with the Sports Center video clip by Richard Durrett (ESPN)
  • Roy Oswalt’s meeting with the Rangers yesterday included Jon Daniels, Nolan Ryan, Roy, Roy’s wife and his agent.  It was described as “good”.  I’m beginning to feel like the primary purpose of this meeting was for Nolan to let Roy know that the Rangers respect him and in just about any other year would have jumped at the opportunity.
  • Jeff Wilson (Star-Telegram) wrote a column regarding Oswalt’s fit in Texas, “St. Louis is said to be the only other club Oswalt is considering, and various reports have the Cardinals scrambling to meet his asking price of $10 million on a one-year contract.That’s out of the Rangers’ price range, perhaps even if they can trade Koji Uehara and the $4 million he will make this season. Uehara appears to be a man without a spot in the bullpen with Alexi Ogando expected to rejoin the late-inning mix after the signing of Yu Darvish.
  • Dave Cameron (FanGraphs) wrote a small piece on Roy Oswalt’s potential suitors, saying “No team in baseball needs a starting pitcher less than the Texas Rangers. Their starting pitchers combined for +19.8 WAR last year, third most in the Majors, and while they lost C.J. Wilson, they spent roughly $110 million to bring in Yu Darvish and have decided to bring Neftali Feliz to camp as a starting pitcher. Toss in Derek Holland, Colby Lewis, and Matt Harrison, and their rotation doesn’t even have room for Alexi Ogando, who himself probably belongs in a Major League rotation next year.
  • Tuesday Morning SlidersAlso from FanGraphs, an interesting article about Rangers Prospect Roman Mendez by Mike Newman.  Regarding Mendez’ potential, Newman writes “At present, Roman Mendez is still more lottery ticket than legitimate starting pitching prospect. The raw stuff borders on electric and it’s easy to dream on his fulfilling his potential. “
  • The Rangers are considered one of the off-season winners, according to Jeff Wilson’s (Star-Telegram) Top 5/Bottom 5 rankings.
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Jan 272012
 
  • Friday Morning KnuckleballsSorry for skipping the update yesterday and the late update today – sometimes life gets in the way of baseball.
  • The Rangers intend to take full advantage of the anticipated heavy media coverage around Yu Darvish while in Surprise for Spring Training. According to Richard Durrett (MLB.com), “With close to 100 Japanese media members expected to attend, including at least six major network television stations from Japan filming Darvish’s every move at spring training, the Texas Rangers are likely to sell advertising space. It’s just one of the ways the club can cash in off the field from Darvish’s celebrity on it.” First step to one day becoming Nolan Ryan’s Texas Beefers.
  • Great article by T.R. Sullivan on Eric Nadel and his contributions to the Dallas community.  Growing up, most of my friends wanted to be George Brett, Mike Schmidt or Ricky Henderson.  I wanted to be Marty Brenneman (Reds radio broadcaster) or Milo Hamilton (Astros radio broadcaster).
  • Jon Daniels joined the “The Ben and Skin show” on 103.3 FM this morning and had this to say about Roy Oswalt, ”But when you look at Roy and his track record with some guys in the organization having played with and for them in Houston, it’s intriguing.  It doesn’t fit perfectly for us and you can look at each one in the rotation and you can go through each one and why they deserve and should be and we want them to be in the rotation.” If you missed Jasen’s article regarding the potential of Roy Oswalt joining the Rangers, check it out here.
  • JD also spoke about resuming talks with Josh Hamilton, saying ”We’d like to keep Josh here for an extended period of time.  It’s got to be a deal that works for both sides. He’s got a unique set of circumstances because of how his career has played out and he’ll reach free agency at a different age than Prince or even Elvis. Josh will look at this, rightfully so, as the one time he hits free agentcy and how does he factor that in with his family and the different opportunities he has. We’re talking to them about this. We love Josh, love what he’s about and we want to keep him here and we’ll continue talking to him and hope we figure something out.”
  • Great stuff from JD above, but the absolute quote of the day was issued when he was talking about the inclusion of Prince Fielder in an already stacked Rangers line-up – “You plug him into our lineup, it has a chance to be silly.”
  • Jayson Stark (ESPN.com) did a great piece with the following premise,
    “We set out to change baseball. Our mission wasn’t to “fix” it or reinvent it. Our goal was merely to take a great sport and make it greater.”
    Stark and other writers put together a list of 5 proposed changes and then collected feedback from our very own Michael Young.  It’s a creative list, personally wouldn’t be on board with any of the changes. Michael’s feedback is insightful.  Check it out here.
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