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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Jan 192012
 
  • Thursday Morning Changeups   Yu Gotta Believe!If Yu ever had a doubt, Yu failed to trust in JD…6 years, $60M.  Yu Darvish is a Texas Ranger.
  • This is a monumental signing for the Rangers, representing well more than, but most importantly, bringing on board the potential ace of the pitching staff.  It’s about the Rangers taking the next step…which was a Texas-sized step…in solidifying themselves as an aggressive organization willing to spend smart money to compete and put a winning team on the field.
  • Jon Daniels - ”We saw a guy that we felt was built to pitch innings. It’s a classic pitcher’s build. He has a real commitment to his conditioning and work ethic and a lot of intangibles that lend him to pitch a lot of innings at a high caliber for a long period of time.”
  • Nolan Ryan - ”There’s a lot of unique things about Darvish.  Obviously his body type, his size, his durability, I think his feel for the baseball, the fact that he’s as comfortable throwing his breaking ball as well as his fastball and to me that he has several really quality pitches. I think, when you look at him, you realize pretty quick that he is special.”
  • Arn Tellem (one of Yu’s agents) – “The Rangers, more so than any other club, showed not only a scouting interest in Yu but also really developed a relationship with him.  There was an intimate connection between Yu, his family and the Rangers organization that was a positive going forward. It’s also a great team that is intent on taking the next step, and with Yu, hopefully they can achieve that goal. Yu is excited about helping them get there.”
  • Farsad Darvish (Yu’s Dad) - ”You are talking about [a] different culture. It would be nice to give it a little time and don’t judge things so fast. I know Yu will find his way. I think the fans are looking forward to the team getting another chance at the World Series, and I really hope Yu can be a member when they get there.”
  • Keith Law of ESPN – “The Rangers’ fallback options weren’t quite as dire, but I’d rather pay Darvish whatever it takes to get him under contract than sign the best remaining starting pitching option, Edwin Jackson, for four years and $40-odd million.”
  • Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas – “It took years of scouting, a gaggle of frequent flier miles, a face-to-face meeting in Arlington between Darvish and Rangers personnel a few weeks ago, a recruiting video and gallons of coffee. Oh, and a willingness by ownership to send a check for $51.7 million to the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters to go along with the $60 million they’ll be sending to Darvish.  The Rangers need to be right about his one.”
  • Thursday Morning Changeups   Yu Gotta Believe!

    Matsuzaka & Darvish Stats from Japan

    Joe LeMire of CNNSI – “Perhaps most compelling is that Darvish’s career ERA (1.99) is better than best single-season ERA (2.13) Red Sox starter Daisuke Matsuzaka had in Japan before coming to the major leagues in 2007.  There is too much hang-up on the recent failures and middling successes of recent Japanese starters in the majors — Matsuzka with the Red Sox and Kei Igawa with the Yankees, to name two recent examples — as Darvish is a very different pitcher.”

  • Evan Grant did a good Q&A related to the Yu signing here.

In non-Yu news, if there is such a thing today:

  • Several sources have reported that it’s doubtful that the Rangers will pursue free-agent slugger Prince Fielder at this point and Jon Daniels’ comments from yesterday’s press conference were in line with this belief – “After going through this process, I’m intimately familiar with our budget.  It’s very unlikely.”
    Just keep in mind that JD has an excellent poker face, and even if the Rangers were wrapping things up with Prince at that moment, he wasn’t going to tip his hand.
  • Rangers SS Prospect Jurickson Profar was ranked as the #2 SS prospect by MLB.com for 2012.  Profar just continues to get better and has some loft expectations in terms of his potential.  He represents a strong trade chip or the future at the shortstop position for the Texas Rangers.  We’ll track his progress closely in 2012.
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Jan 132012
 
  • Friday Morning KnuckleballsJosh Hamilton shared the extent of his injuries that were evident during the post-season, which required off-season surgery.  He had three detached adductors and a torn abdominal muscle.  While Hamilton acknowledged that he was in a great deal of pain during the post-season, he is now fully recovered after surgery and participating in full workouts in preparation for the 2012 season.  More from Josh on the injuries as well as his father-in-law, Michael Chadwick,  joining the Rangers staff in this article by Richard Durrett.
    It was no secret that Hamilton was suffering during the post-season in 2011, but it’s encouraging to hear that he’s healthy now.  It’s been relatively quiet on the contract-extension front for Hamilton, but I think Josh is a guy that wants to be in Texas, so possibly understands that waiting for the dust to settle around Darvish and any other free-agent deals (Prince??) should be the primary focus for the team.
  • Nolan Ryan expects Yu Darvish and the Rangers to reach an agreement.  So c’mon, if Nolan feels good about it, you should too!  Is Nolan your Homeboy?  Durrett’s article provides a little more detail, and my quote of the day from Michael Young – “Very good players are always welcome here.”  Sounds like a man beaten down by questions about Yu…
  • Gerry Fraley reported that the Rangers have inquired about Roy Oswalt.  I would have to believe that Oswalt would be a short-term option for the Rangers if a deal isn’t reached with Darvish.  I can’t imagine them signing both as the starting rotation will have plenty of strong competition for the 5 spots with Darvish included.
  • Michael Young received the Rangers’ Player of the Year award last night at the Rangers Awards Show. If you think about all that Young has gone through over the last few years, what he means to this team/organization, and his performance, I think it was a no-brainer – and that’s taking into account how many great players were on this team last year.  Young received the award in ’04, ’05, ’07 & ’09 as well.
    Jeff Wilson provides some more detail here, and notes that C.J. Wilson didn’t make it to the show even though he won Rangers’ Pitcher of the Year…go figure.
  • Fan Fest starts tonight and we’ll be there.  We’ll have updates from Fan Fest here on the site, as well as on Twitter (@baseballdo)  and Facebook.  Should be a good time as Jasen has guaranteed that he will astonish us all with his speed on the timed “3rd Base to Home Dash”!
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Jan 112012
 
  • Wednesday Morning CurvesRyan Madson, who the Rangers were rumored to have some interested in, is off the table as he came to a 1 year agreement with the Cincinnati Reds that will pay him 8.5M.
  • Rangers have invited 8 Minor Leaguers to their Major League Spring Training camp including Mike Olt, Tommy Mendonca, Tanner Scheppers and Robbie Ross.   This and more is covered in a minor league update from T.R. Sullivan here.
  • Sullivan also writes about the possibility of prospects Ross and Martin Perez earning a spot in the bullpen due to the need for a left-handed reliever after the departure of Darren Oliver.
  • And lastly from the same update – Jurickson Profar receives the Tom Grieve Minor League Player of the Year and Robbie Ross receives the Nolan Ryan Minor League Pitcher of the Year.  Profar (pictured) is the Rangers top prospect according to MLB.com.
  • In case you missed Evan Grant’s article regarding Prince Fielder, be sure to give it a read.  The general attitude from many baseball people seems to be that the longer Prince is available, the more sense it makes for the Rangers to be a major player and make an offer.  While 10 years, which is what Scott Boras wants for his client, would still have to be out of the question, Grant poses some good compromises in his article.
  • “Sources” have told CBS Sports that the Rangers and Darvish aren’t close on a deal.  It’s believed that the Rangers offered something similar to what Dice-K got from the Red Sox 5 years ago.  Darvish’s camp see Yu as younger and more talented and is looking for more – don’t hit the panic button – it’s all part of the process.
  • MLB Commissioner Bud Selig is expected to receive a contract offer that would extend him 2 more years (Buster Olney article)
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Jan 072012
 

Is Nolan your Homeboy??Baseball Do T-Shirts are here!

We’ll be doing giveaways here on the site, as well as on both Twitter (@baseballdo) and Facebook (Baseball Do Facebook) over the next several weeks, so make sure you follow us and like us (sounds creepy).

Leave us a comment and let us know what you think of the shirt.

 

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Dec 212011
 

Its all about Yu...The Rangers made the bold move.

They went out and got the rights to negotiate with the guy they wanted.  Was this the plan all along?  Was this part of the reason why we didn’t really compete for signing C.J. Wilson, or why we didn’t make a stronger push for Mark Buerhle?  Jon Daniels will never answer that question, nor should he, but it’s what I’m going to believe.

The Bid

$51.7 million.  The amount is fully refundable if a deal can’t be worked out in the next 30 days, which is standard for most Christmas shopping.  While I’m dropping $17.49 on a Harry Potter body pillow for Jasen, Nolan and team ownership dropped a little more on the exclusive rights to negotiate a contract with Yu.

The consensus was that Toronto had the highest bid, but that was based on posturing and not fact.  Daniels played this game perfectly, never tipping his hand one way or the other.  Remember, it’s a blind bid, so each organization had no idea what the competition was.  Sorry Canada.

Its all about Yu...While this was being dubbed as a “record posting”, and it was, it was only slightly above the $51.1 million posted by Boston in November 2006 for the rights to negotiate with Dice-K.  If you assume a 2.25% annual inflation rate (average of annual inflation rates since 2006) over that period, Dice-K’s inflation adjusted posting would be around $57.1 million.  Was the Dice-K posting absurd?  While his inaugural season with the BoSox was good (not great), the general consensus is that he has not lived up to the hype, nor the financial outlay Boston made in order to get him.  So, lesson learned and it helps in understanding why the winning bid for Darvish was not closer to the inflation adjusted Dice-K bid or higher.

There is a lot of debate over how this money counts toward the Rangers bottom-line, and in effect, their ability to pursue other free agents (Prince!).  From a fan’s standpoint, it’s all monopoly money anyways.  In the end, this is money that, assuming a contract is agreed upon and therefore the posting money is gone, is being spent this year,  that could have been used on other players.  That being said, you do not consider this towards next year’s payroll.  It is truly a one-time fee that, in my mind, you recoup through increased revenues from all the Rangers Darvish jerseys that are sold in Japan in the coming year.  It’s simply the price of doing business.

The Contract

It’s been rumored that Yu’s agents are looking for a contact in excess of what C.J. Wilson just received from the Angels ($77.5M/5 Years = avg. $15.5M/year).  That seems a little steep for a player that hasn’t pitched the in the majors yet.  In 2007, Dice-K got a $52M/6 year contact ($8.7M/year), with a $2m signing bonus and a no-trade clause.  Darvish has more hoopla surrounding him and seems to have more upside than what Dice-K had, so I think somewhere between what Dice-K got in 2007 and what C.J. got earlier this month is a nice range.

We’ve heard guesses of everywhere from $55M/5 to $90M/6.  Again, somewhere in the middle seems fair.

Baseball do says $77.5M/6 years.

The Player

Per Wiki, Yu is also known by the Persian name Farid, meaning “glorious”.  You don’t really need to know anything more than that, but just in case your interested…

Yu is a 6’5″, 220 lb 25 year old (will turn 26 in August) right-hander that features up to 7 pitches, with his primary pitches being his four-seam fastball and his slurve, which if you have viewed the “Career Highlights”  YouTube video below, is the pitch that buckles knees with a wicked break.

He’s the best in Japan, and it was time for his transition, which is seems to be excited about.  Stats from his time with the Ham Fighters below:

Its all about Yu...

Its all about Yu...

What’s interesting to note is the league ERA compared to what Darvish accomplished, especially over the last 5 seasons.  He was clearly performing at a much higher level than his counterparts.

Last thing that I think we’d be remiss to not bring up.  Yu is currently going through a divorce from his current wife, Saeko (pictured left).

Saeko is an actress and model.

They were married in 2007, in what Japanese tabloids reported as a good old-fashioned shot-gun wedding.

While we here at Baseball Do don’t believe this will impact his performance whatsoever, we needed a reason to include the picture.

The Future

This was a bold move.  Assuming an agreement is reached with Darvish, it’s a move, that at this point, will be the largest label on Jon Daniel’s tenure as Ranger’s GM whether you like it or not.  For it to be deemed a successful move, Darvish will have to exceed what Dice-K has done in his career (especially since he will probably be more heavily compensated), and will have to become a true ace for the Rangers.  If he does not, the further he is away from these marks will determine what impact it will have on the legacy of JD & company.

Only time will tell.

Just know this…Baseball Do is behind Yu.  <–sorry, but you knew I was going to go there at some point, right?

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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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