Jul 092012
 
State Farm Home Run Derby

One of the best parts of the MLB All-Star Game festivities is the Home Run Derby.  I can remember as a kid waiting with great anticipation to see which slugger could muscle a few dingers out of the park to stake claim as the ultimate power hitter.

All Star Week: Home Run Derby

Dave Parker, Cincinnati Reds, 1985 Home Run Derby Winner

Some will argue that it’s just glorified batting practice or that the derby doesn’t represent anything of value.  The derby has it’s critics, but to them I would say…just take it for what it is.  Forget about WAR, DIPS, BABIP and Bill James.  Separate yourself from the “mental/strategic game” for a couple hours and just watch.

While I have plenty of memories from the Home Run Derbies of my youth (mid to late 80′s) – including a larger-than-life Dave Parker (hit 6 to win) in 1985, Andre “The Hawk” Dawson (4) in 1987 and Eric Davis and Ruben Sierra (each hit 3) in 1989 – there has never been a Derby that could compare to 2008.

This is a Rangers blog, so I know I don’t have to recount the derby blow-by-blow (there’s a video below for that) and get into Josh’s story (there’s a book for that) and what his performance that night meant in the bigger picture of life, but here was my reaction – my jaw dropped…I laughed in disbelief…I laughed some more…I may have cried…and then I hit the rewind button on my DVR and watched it again.

I wanted to put together a dramatized video, recreating my reaction from that memorable night, but couldn’t get the funding…I’m not cheap.

Hamilton hasn’t been in another Derby since, and I’m actually grateful for that.

I’m not grateful because I’m glad Josh isn’t risking his health.

I’m grateful because that moment could never be recreated or topped.  Meaning that a return to the Derby for Josh, while it could result in a Derby win (Justin Morneau actually won the Derby in ’08), would more than likely be anti-climatic and too ordinary.

My point is this…enjoy tonight.  We don’t have any of our guys in the Derby, but there are some great players participating.  One of my favorite parts of the Derby is to watch the other players react to the bombs and watch how much fun they are having.  The next night…it matters, but tonight it’s all for fun.

My official prediction for tonight –  Prince Fielder over Mark Trumbo in the final.

Josh Hamilton 2008 Home Run Derby Video:

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
Jun 262012
 
YuJosh

Yu Darvish Dazzles as Hamilton and Kinsler Go Deep in 7 5 Win over Detroit

Hami is saying no to snuff, but continues to say yes to galactic moon-shots.

Yu Darvish picked up his tenth win of the year in typical Darvish fashion: he was frustratingly erratic early, then settled down enough for a solid start.

The victory puts Darvish in a tie with Matt Harrison for the most on the team. The game wasn’t as crisp as we’d like it to be, but hey, it’s a win. The Tigers are a tough team (just ask Grimm), and with the Angels winning last night as well, it keeps Texas ahead 4 1/2 games in the AL West.

Kinsler got the show started in the bottom of the first with a leadoff home run. Kinsler’s blast cut the Tigers lead in half, and was his first since June 8 in San Francisco. It marked the third time he’s hit a leadoff jack this season, and the 23rd of his career.

Even though the Rangers were trailing through the first three innings—and Darvish was a little wild—I never panicked or thought that Texas was in a poor position to win. The Yu is always—it seems—standing on shaky ground early on, but once he gets in a groove, he becomes nearly unhittable.

Darvish dealt back-to-back 1-2-3 innings twice last night—in the second and third innings, as well as the sixth and seventh innings. Take away the first and fifth and the dude might have thrown a no-hitter.

Thoughts from last night’s 7-5 win:

Cabrera’s Cabeza

• Tiger’s third baseman, Miguel Cabrera, came into last night with a sizzling .379 batting average at Rangers Ballpark. In his first at bat of the game, Darvish accidentally plunked him on the head with a 92 MPH fastball. Cabrera was 0-3 on the game…Evidently a heater to the noggin is Miggy’s Achilles’ Heel.

Darvish, the whirling dervish

• The term “effectively wild” is overused, but has their ever been a better embodiment of that phrase than Yu Darvish? Maybe not. He was all over the zone—especially in the first inning—but he only hit one batter (Cabrera) and walked just one as well (Austin Jackson.) From pitch-to-pitch you just never know where Darvish will put it, and that system worked well for him last night, as he surrendered just four hits and racked up 10 strikeouts.

Tough luck for the Napster

• Mike Napoli, who got the start at first base, was the only Ranger starter that didn’t record a hit. He barely missed a home run in the eighth inning though, and seems to be squaring up on the ball much better of late. Napoli might be close to getting locked in at the dish.

Josh Hamilton

• Much has been made about the slugging center fielder’s June swoon. After connecting last night for his 24th home run, Hamilton now has homers in back-to-back games for the first time since May. As we all know, Hamilton is talented enough to go from looking lost to suddenly putting on a Ruthian display. Don’t be surprised if Hami heats up enough to reclaim the major league lead in homers by next month’s All-Star Break.

The Tigers and Texas

• Remember when Detroit’s Comerica Park was a house of horrors for the Rangers? That all changed this past April when the Rangers rolled into Motown and took three of four games. Now, the Rangers are in a position to take their sixth-straight series if they can beat Detroit tomorrow night. The series is tied up one game apiece, yet the Rangers have actually been outscored 13-9. Over their first six meetings this year, the Rangers have outscored the Tigers 34-25.

Feeling Young again

• It’s no secret that “super utility man” Michael Young has struggled at the plate this year. Last night he rifled an RBI triple into the left-field gap that ignited the Rangers’ four-run fourth inning. Young wound up 2-for-4 on the night…He might be close to putting together a very MY-like hot streak.

Up Next:

The Rangers’ Roy Oswalt (1-0, 1.50 ERA) will make his second start of 2012 as he faces Detroit’s Doug Fister (1-4, 2.72 ERA), with the first pitch scheduled for 7:05 (CT).

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
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.
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
Jan 252012
 
  • Wednesday Morning CurvesScott Boras worked his magic once again  as Prince Fielder signed with the Detroit Tigers yesterday afternoon for 9 years at $214M.  It was the popular belief that the Nationals held the pole position as of yesterday morning and that the Rangers were out due to the demand of more than 5 years.  All along, there has been a mystery team…and the mystery team won.  Again.
    Full details of the contact haven’t been released yet.  One would speculate that there is some sort of club option and trade clause built into the deal, but we’ll have to wait.
  • With Prince officially off the market now, the Rangers will shift their focus to the contract needs of their existing core, most notably Josh Hamilton.
    According to T.R. Sullivan (MLB.com), “The Rangers’ biggest priority right now is outfielder Josh Hamilton, who can be a free agent after this upcoming season. The club is actively working with his agent, Michael Moye, on a possible contract extension that would prevent him from leaving, but an agreement does not appear imminent.”
  • Beyond Hamilton, the Rangers are expected to start or return to talks with Mike Napoli, Ian Kinsler, Derek Holland and Colby Lewis, with Holland being the only one of the five that the Rangers have under control beyond 2012.
  • Relief Pitcher Koji Uehara rejected a trade to the Toronto Blue Jays, which was one of the teams on his no-trade list.  The Blue Jays didn’t hesitate to move forward by signing Francisco Cordero to a 1 year/$4.5M contract to help fill the set-up role in their bullpen.
    Baltimore is still a likely trade partner for the Rangers with Uehara, Gerry Fraley (SportsDayDFW) reports “Baltimore remains interested in Uehara, who kept his home in the area after the Orioles sent him to the Rangers last summer.”
  • Alden Gonzalez (MLB.com) wrote a good piece on the escalating rivalry between the Rangers and Angels.  Gonzalez calls out the current off-season, saying “The rivalry reached a fever pitch during the offseason, in the comfort of air-conditioned offices and through the art of savvy business. The Angels and new general manager Jerry Dipoto — seeking a surge after back-to-back playoff absences — struck gold on Dec. 8, spending nearly $330 million to sign the best hitter of this era, Albert Pujols, and steal former Rangers ace C.J. Wilson. Then came the Rangers — eager to maintain their standing as back-to-back division and league champs — committing more than $110 million to pluck the heralded Yu Darvish out of Japan.”
  • After reading that, I stand up and emphatically yell “Can’t wait!” in my best Bart Scott impersonation.
  • Wednesday Morning CurvesDallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was one of more than ten bidders for ownership of the L.A. Dodgers.  While current owner Frank McCourt expects to get in the neighborhood of $1.5B for the club, Cuban went on record last year saying he would not bid more than $1B, saying “I don’t think the Dodgers franchise is worth twice what the [Texas] Rangers are worth.”
  • The Giants and Tim Lincecum (aka Jim Likelakeum; see below for Lincecum’s greatest moment) agreed to a 2-year/$40M.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
Jan 242012
 
  • Tuesday Morning SlidersHow about starting the day off with something other than Yu or Prince…
    Cuban left-handed pitcher Gerardo Concepcion worked out in front of Nolan Ryan and other team representatives yesterday at the Rangers athletic complex in the Dominican Republic.  Rangers are expected to be one of four teams in on your 18 year-old Cuban (including Yankees, Cubs & White Sox).
    According to Jesse Sanchez (MLB.com), “Concepcion, who was named Rookie of the Year in the Cuban Serie Nacional in 2010-11, after posting a 10-3 record and a 3.36 ERA in 21 games with Industriales de la Habana, defected from Cuba last June during the World Port Tournament in the Netherlands. He later established residency in Mexico, and was declared a free agent last week.”
    Rangers continue to show their commitment to identifying and pursuing strong international prospects.
  • Josh Hamilton spoke with fans and media at the Rangers Winter Caravan at Academy Sports in Ft. Worth yesterday.  Josh addressed his health by simply saying “Everything feels good”.
  • When asked about his thoughts on the recent debate of Prince vs. Josh, Hamilton said ”I think it comes down to what you want. When I see these guys comparing us, I’m like, ‘Stick him in the outfield and see how long he lasts. Stick me at first base and see how long I last.’ You never can tell about a player. He’s played 160 games a lot. I haven’t. So there’s pros and cons [on] both sides. It’s pretty funny to watch these guys compare us and share their thoughts. It’s always been trusting in the Lord to have me where he wants to have me and not stress about it. I haven’t stressed about it and I’m not going to stress about it.”
  • Josh has stated that if a contract extension agreement is not reached prior to the start of Spring Training, talks will not resume until after the season, but put the Ranger faithful at ease saying ”We’ve already told the Rangers that if it doesn’t happen before the season that they are the first ones we’ll come to after the season is over.”
  • Yu Darvish has issued the very Ted Williams-esque statement ”I want to become the kind of pitcher that will make people say ‘Darvish is the No. 1 pitcher in the world.”  Love the aspiration!
  • Prince Fielder speculation continues.  It’s still believed by many that the Nationals are the favorites, and that the Rangers are indeed in Prince’s “Final Four”.  Could this be exactly where we want to be?
  • Bob Nightengale’s (USA Today) take on the Rangers pursuit of “the big fella” – “The reality is that key members of the Rangers’ front office had a strong idea for the last month they would sign their future ace. It was just a matter of how much it would cost.  The Texas-sized truth is that while the Rangers now have Darvish, they still want Fielder, too.  But they also know publicly divulging their intentions will drive up Fielder’s price tag and spoil their surprise attack.  Sure, it will take a bit of ingenuity, and maybe some opt-out clauses, to sign Fielder. They won’t give him the same 10-year, $240 million deal that Albert Pujols got from the Angels, but they still want to find a way to sign the big fella.”
  • Jorge Posada will announce his retirement today.
  • Tuesday Morning SlidersESPN.com reports that new Astros owner, Jim Crane, is considering a new name and new look for the Astros.  Nothing for certain yet, but the change would coincide with their move to the AL West in 2013.  Leave a comment with your suggestion for the Astros new name for a chance to win a free “Nolan is my Homeboy” T-Shirt

 

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
Jan 232012
 
  • Monday Morning FastballsA football intensive Sunday still had a glimmer of baseball banter, as Twitter provided more rumors, speculation and flat silliness last night regarding the potential signing of Prince Fielder.  Just a sample – “Fielder agrees to 8 year deal with Nationals.”, “Fielder headed to DFW for physical tonight.”, “Prince has signed with the Miami Heat.”
    Twitter’s fun…
  • Newest entry in the Prince sweepstakes = LA Dodgers
    We’ll see…feels like some folks are just reaching for stories at this point.
  • Evan Grant tweeted this morning: “Regarding last night’s Prince Fielder rumor-fest, entire Rangers mgmt team in Dominican for next week.  Hence: No Prince news coming.”
  • John Heyman tweeted: “multiple teams still in on Prince but appears field has been narrowed to something close to final 4″
  • According to Tom Verducci, “There have been 19 contracts signed by free agents worth $100 million or more. Only two of them were signed as late as January: by Matt Holliday (Jan. 6, 2010) and by the current record holder of the longest wait, Carlos Beltran (Jan. 9, 2005). Holliday, Beltran and Fielder have at least one thing in common: all have been represented by Scott Boras in such protracted negotiations.”
    This comes from a great article Verducci wrote for CNNSI highlighting what the Nationals and Rangers have to offer Prince beyond the money.
  • In an interview with ESPN Radio’s local affiliate, Nolan Ryan had this to say about what it would take to sign Prince, ”Hard to say, because they’ve never made a firm proposal to us. They talk in generalities and numbers and other people’s contracts, and so you can speculate what it is. One time they’re talking eight years, one time they’re talking ten years, one time they’re talking about a contract bigger than Ryan Howard’s in Philadelphia.”
  • Co-owner Bob Simpson spoke with the Star-Telegram about the potential of signing Fielder and his preference of Hamilton to Prince, saying ”If they come around to something we can do, we’ll take a look at it.  My personal preference, at this moment, would be to re-sign him (Josh Hamilton) instead of having Fielder. But we could all debate that,” Simpson said. “The organization has its feelings. Everybody dreams about having both. Sometimes you can’t have both at some level. If they came around to something we’d do, we’d look at him. But we don’t think it’s likely.”
  • T.R. Sullivan has posted an excellent article giving some background behind the Yu Darvish signing.  Sullivan writes “The signing of Darvish is the Rangers’ biggest triumph in a six-year quest to establish a major presence in the Far East. The process really began just after Daniels was named Texas’ general manager a few days after the end of the 2005 season, and then the following spring during the the inaugural World Baseball Classic that was won by Japan.”
  • According to Richard Durrett, Josh Hamilton feels that Yu will successfully transition to MLB and living in America, saying  ”I don’t think the culture shock will be as big as people think, either.  As a competitor, as an athlete, the on-the-field stuff will be easier for him to handle. The off-the-field things will be hard, but he’ll have people to help him adjust.”
  • With all of the spotlight on Yu Darvish lately, I’ll be wrapping up and posting an article last this week around the other new guy to the Rangers’ rotation.
  • Quick non-baseball side note – The fools that are making death threats to Kyle Williams need to get a life.  It’s just a game folks, and you can point to plenty of other mistakes in that game which could have prevented overtime to begin with.
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
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.
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
Jan 182012
 
  • Wednesday Morning Curves   Darvish Deadline DayIt’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.
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
Jan 172012
 

The Prince Fielder and The PauperOn Friday, news broke that the biggest free agent left on the market, Prince Fielder, was having dinner and meeting with Ranger brass in a Dallas hotel. Although most saw (and still see) Prince as a pipe dream it’s becoming more apparent that there is some mutual interest between the Rangers and Fielder.

Prince Fielder is far from an unknown commodity even having spent his career in Milwaukee. He’s a mammoth 27-year-old left-handed power hitter of the highest order. A career .282 hitter that hit a career high 50 home runs in 2007.  While some have claimed that Prince will wear down with such a large frame he has been very durable. He played in every game last season and showed no signs of slowing down. The guy has some of the most incredible pull power in baseball and would be a beast in The Ballpark. Whether you are an advanced STAT person (better WAR than that Albert guy) or an “Eye test” person (2011 All-Star MVP and Silver Slugger) he is a top 3 1st baseman in MLB. While it’s still unknown what Prince will get in free agency, he should be able to get somewhere in the range of $20M a year.

That’s a huge investment for any team, especially one that is on the verge of signing a player they paid $50m just to negotiate with in hopes of signing a contract. This opportunity is one that doesn’t happen often. It’s also become even more important that the Rangers get better this year with the interdivision rival Angels signing two of the top free agents available this year.

The question that has to be asked is, is Prince Fielder that much better than Mitch Moreland when Mitch is making $500,000 a year? Mitch had a breakout 2010 postseason when he had some of the best at bats of the playoffs against great pitchers like Mariano Rivera. Hopes were high last year that Moreland would improve on a promising first year in the big leagues. Unfortunately he didn’t live up to those expectations. He managed a .259 average and struck out 92 times in 464 ABs.  Those signature Mitch ABs where he battled pitchers and got on base were farther and fewer between.

Although Mitch had a setback in 2011, does that mean its time to give up and invest big money in Prince Fielder? Well it’s not that simple. Signing Prince Fielder almost certainly means that you will have to lose Josh Hamilton in free agency as well. Josh is arbitration eligible this year and has a huge contract waiting for him after next year. Texas has several players they need to lock up and Prince and Hamilton contracts wouldn’t allow the team to keep the majority of the core together. In my opinion, a choice between a long-term Hamilton and a long-term Fielder is a no brainer. I love Josh Hamilton but the stress his body has been through and the durability issues he has experienced make it a much bigger risk to lock him up long-term.

The next month is going to be very telling about where the Rangers see the future of this team. It’s a great time to be a Ranger fan. Now, let’s go ahead and get that Yu thing done and let the chips fall where they may.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
Jan 172012
 

Baseball Do Episode 7   Yu, Prince & Fan FestWe discuss:

  • The looming deadline for Yu Darvish and the Rangers to come to a contract agreement.
  • Prince’s recent visit to DFW to meet with the Rangers
  • Fan Fest
  • Scott’s radio experience with Greggo
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
Login