- Contrary to the belief of Jasen and many others, T.R. Sullivan reports that the Rangers will not be in the hunt for Prince Fielder if they reach an agreement with Yu Darvish before Wednesday’s deadline.
- Sullivan also mentions in the same update that Josh Hamilton’s father-in-law, Michael Dean Chadwick, has decided not to accept the position of Josh’s “accountability partner” due to family considerations. Josh – I’m available, hit me up if interested.
- Bison Messink wrote a short article for CNNSI writing off the Fielder visit as nothing more than a leverage-play in negotiations with Yu. Stating “It’s a shrewd move by Nolan Ryan and the Rangers. No matter how ambitious they are seeking to be, there’s no way in hell the Rangers can afford to sign both Prince Fielder and Yu Darvish.” I don’t like Bison Messink, because I think there is a way the Rangers could make it happen, and it doesn’t involve hell or Jon Daniels selling his soul to the Devil. Might impact Josh Hamilton’s future with the club, but there IS a way…
- I had my facts wrong on the podcast we recorded last night (which will be posted to the site later this morning) concerning the scenariofor Yu Darvish if he fails to come to an agreement with the Rangers before tomorrow’s 4pm deadline. From Richard Durrett’s update, “Darvish could go through the posting process again after the 2012 season (no earlier than Nov. 1). His other option is to wait until after the 2013 season, when he’ll have enough years of professional baseball in Japan to come to the Major Leagues as a free agent, without going through the posting process. ” I was under the impression that Darvish would be an outright free agent next off-season.
- Durrett posted a good quandary yesterday over who would lose their spot in the rotation if/when Darvish signs. I think it comes down to Ogando and Harrison, and I think Ogando’s value in the bullpen trumps everything else, so I’ll say he makes the transition with Harrison getting the 5th spot in the rotation.
- Fan Fest was a good time last weekend. For those that didn’t make it out, I would highly recommend it next year.
- Cliff Corcoran wrote a good column for CNNSI about the Yankees snatching up Michael Pineda and Hiroki Kuroda on Friday night. Corcoran compares the Pineda-Montero swap to the Rays sending Delmon Young to the Twins for Matt Garza. Not the best comparison, but that’s partly what he’s getting at in that it’s pretty rare for two young players with such potential to be swapped liked this. Looks like a win-win, but only time will tell.
- Jasen and I both made it out to Fan Fest last night and had a great time. The featured Rangers last night were Ron Washington, Michael Young, Mike Napoli, Derek Holland and Colby Lewis.
- Nice crowd made it out to the Arlington Convention Center for a Friday night (I’m sure the crowd today is double if not more), and the event ran really smoothly with autographs, photo stages, fun activities for adults and youth, as well as some good vendors.
- Highlight of my evening came when I was presented with the opportunity to ask Ron Washington a question during his Q&A. We’ll get the video of that posted up on the site as soon as possible – let’s just say I got Ron up out of his seat!
- Bob Nightengale of USA Today broke the news yesterday that Prince Fielder was in town meeting with the Rangers at a DFW hotel. Could be just checking in…could be simply leverage in negotiations with Yu…could be the Rangers letting the big fella know that they are interested and working towards making something happen. Follow us on Twitter (@baseballdo) and we’ll keep you updated with what we hear.
- The Yankees made a little splash yesterday by improving their starting rotation. They dealt hitting phenom Jesus Montero to Seattle for SP Michael Pineda and signed free-agent Hiroki Kuroda. This is a major improvement to their rotation, which was relatively weak after Sabathia. While giving up a great bat in Montero, they filled their biggest void.
- Rangers Awards Show is tonight at the Arlington Convention Center. If you are thinking about going and looking for details, click here.
- Rangers Fan Fest begins tomorrow night. Click here for the schedule of events and details around who is going to be there for autographs/photographs and when. Jasen and I will be there on Friday night and we’ll be posting updates to the site, Twitter and Facebook detailing our conquests and adventures.
- Last night, Dirk did what we have come to expect him to do. Unbelievable. I don’t think I’m taking it for granted, but I’m in no hurry to find out.
- A source has told Bill Ladson of MLB.com, that there is a 99% chance that Nationals don’t sign free agent Prince Fielder. Do I dare suggest that the evil Scott Boras is not going to get what he is demanding this time? I still feel that the Rangers could be a player here, and this sentiment is starting to gain more steam with some of the baseball media. Last night on the MLB network’s Hot Stove, 3 of 3 analysts/former players felt that Prince would end up signing a contract of less than 5 years in length.
- Randy Galloway did a good article around the key that trust plays in what the Rangers are accomplishing and working towards. I think Randy hit this one right on the head – as much as it pains me to agree with him or give him any praise whatsoever.
- Richard Durrett wrote a short piece around the impression that Yu Darvish has made on both Ron Washington and Colby Lewis. Nothing new related to getting Darvish signed at this point. 6 days until the deadline. It’s natural to start feeling a little anxious about this whole situation, but I’m confident the Rangers and Darvish will get a deal done. The more video I watch/articles I read/people I talk to, I’m truly excited about Yu’s likely presence on this pitching staff. As a guy who was originally on the fence back in November, I’ve been fully converted.
- Ryan 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)
- Peter Gammons wrote yesterday about the Rangers as a team of interest in the Prince Fielder sweepstakes. I’d love nothing more, but trust in JD and the front office to not put us in a compromising situation that hinders us from competing down the road.
- Rangers linked to having interest in Brad Hawpe. 32 year-old left-handed hitting Fort Worth native has bounced around the last couple of years. Assuming he would be primarily of interest as insurance against injury in the OF or to Mitch Moreland, as he can play both OF and 1B.
- Numerous rumors arose over the weekend of the Rangers interest in RP Ryan Madson to fortify an already strong bullpen. I’m a big Madson fan, so I’d love to see this happen as he would bring another late-inning shut-down pitcher into the mix.
- The 2012 Hall of Fame results will be released today – Jayson Stark believes that Barry Larkin is a lock and I agree 100%. Jack Morris, Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines & Lee Smith should also make a good showing, and might possibly get the call this year as well.
- If you missed it, I wrote an article about our current Rangers, and the possibility of some of them to receive the call from Cooperstown someday. Click here to give it a read.
- Jorge Posada retiring – not going to rehash his entire career, but I think he’s in the same boat as Bernie Williams as far as Hall of Fame chances, if not even a little less likely. He’s got the Yankee thing (aka “Rings”) going for him and the fact that he was a catcher helps take a little focus off of his offensive statistics (catchers seem to get more leeway from Hall of Fame voters in regards to stats and career totals).
- Angels agree to 4 year extension with Howie Kendrick. Good player, but not worthy of the Best AL 2B Death Match that Jasen broke down a couple of weeks ago.
It’s been very quiet in Rangers country this last week. The entire baseball world is waiting with bated breath to find out who’s won the right to negotiate with Japanese pitching sensation Yu Darvish. While initial reports are that the Blue Jays of Toronto have made a “massive” $40m plus bid, those “in the know” feel like this is down to either your Texas Rangers or Toronto.
In the meantime the biggest free agent left on the market both literally and figuratively is Prince Fielder. Several teams are said to still be in the mix for the enormous first baseman and well-known shrimp cocktail lover. While many feel like the Rangers would also be in the mix for Fielder, their official response when asked has been tepid to say the least.
The most likely scenario for the Rangers would have them trading for another starter before the season starts. Several names have been thrown out there including John Danks, Gio Gonzalez and possibly Matt Garza. The Rangers are in a great position to trade for a big name starter thanks to a talent rich farm system built by John Daniels and the Rangers scouting department.
Its quiet…too quiet. Once the Yu decision comes down, expect the floodgates to open.
- CJ Wilson is all but gone. Expected to sign with the Angels today (5 year offer), with the Marlins still lurking in the background offering more years (6)
- With Buerhle off the table (Marlins), this removes the two top FA starting pitchers from the market – have to think Yu or trade at this point. If it’s trade, no reason to do it now…
- We’re in on Fielder…we’re out on Fielder…we’re “stealthy” on Fielder…in the end, feels like we are probably out of the mix here, but you never know.
- Yu Darvish expected to post today, and Rangers are considered to be one of three teams expected to make a serious bid – others being Blue Jays and Yankees. I think the Yankees are the most realistic after watching Cashman on with the MLB Network crew last night. He was very clear that the starting rotation is the #1 priority and something that they want to improve upon going into next season.
- Angels snag Latroy Hawkins to help their bullpen – nothing major, but a nice acquisition.
- Marlins continue to be rumored to be in on EVERY free agent – talk about putting it all on the line.
- Hamilton wants a new contract prior to start of 2012 season. Napoli does too, just don’t know that we’ve seen that put out their publicly. Let’s hope Rangers can get both of these locked up.
This time of year it always fun! The speculation sometimes can be overwhelming, yet exhilarating at the same time. And it’s nice when your team is involved in so much of the speculation, as the Rangers are.
With all the Hot Stove talk, I’m going to put my own plan/scenario out there for the 2012 Rangers.
- Extend Mike Napoli – Arbitration eligible this year, and free to walk after 2012. This guy became a fan favorite over the course of 4 months, and his development (at the plate and behind it) has been astounding. Nap should be the full-time catcher (as discussed in Episode 1), and locking him up now might bring some savings rather than waiting until the end of 2012 when the Rangers would have to deal with signing him in free agency.
- Extend Josh Hamilton – No need to elaborate on this one. The guy has been a huge part of the resurgence and like Nap, is a fan favorite. He needs to remain in a Ranger uniform throughout the remainder of his career for more reasons than production.
- Sign Prince Fielder – I’d love to see $147MM – $160MM over 7 years, but given Prince’s agent and the competition in the bidding, it may require upwards of $190 over 8 years. Prince will turn 28 this season, so that would lock him up through age 34-35, which should be right on the backslide of his prime years.
I think this move makes sense long-term as Prince will be ready to slide to DH right around the time that Michael Young is ready to retire (3-4 seasons?), which could allow Nap to transition to 1B permanently at the age of 33-34, which should help preserve him offensively.
- Trade David Murphy to Oakland for Andrew Bailey – may very well take a little more to make this happen, but I’d think it’d be a marginal prospect at best. Oakland has said that they want an OF in return for Bailey, and while it you don’t see inter-divisional trades that often, I think this make sense for both clubs (given the moves above). Bailey is another right handed arm in the bullpen (along with Adams and new closer Nathan), but gives you some insurance for Nathan and is someone that can close, so he could transition back into that role after 2013 when Nathan’s contract is up.
This move would mean that Mitch Moreland needs to work as an OF more frequently to maintain his usefulness with the big league squad. I think he’s capable.
- Let the current starting pitching rotation ride…for now – I want to see how Feliz is going to work out in the rotation and how Holland, Harrison, Ogando and company are going to continue to develop before throwing a big contract at CJ Wilson or Mark Buerhle. If we could get either of those guys at a good rate, I’d be all over it, but I think both are going to get contracts that are bigger than what the Rangers would be comfortable with.
If Feliz is not working out or injuries decimate the staff, then make a bold move before the trade deadline. The one thing the Rangers have a surplus of is strong prospects, which are better than money during mid-season deals.
I know this increases the payroll, but the time to strike is now, and the revenue generated over the last two seasons (playoff runs, increased fanbase) should be able to finance this.
Thoughts? Post comments and let me know what you think.