Nov 012012
 
Josh Hamilton 10

According to Dayn Perry (CBSSportsline), the odds-makers over at Bovada.lv have put out odds on where Josh Hamilton will sign this offseason.


Who will sign Josh Hamilton next?

San Francisco Giants: 3-1
Atlanta Braves: 5-1
Texas Rangers: 5-1
Philadelphia Phillies: 7-1
New York Yankees: 9-1
Chicago Cubs: 9-1
Boston Red Sox: 9-1
Pittsburgh Pirates: 10-1
Toronto Blue Jays: 10-1
Los Angeles Dodgers: 15-1


Let me be the first to say that there are a few teams on this list that I think have no shot or no interest in Hamilton

Phillies – No interest and no shot.  Unless they can find a way to unload some of the veteran contracts that they currently have in place, I just don’t see GM Ruben Amaro adding another large contract to the mix, especially a player north of 30 years old.  Here is a quick look at some of their top salaries for 2013:

  • Roy Halladay – $20M

    <b>Thursday Sound Off:</b> Hambones New Home...<br><b>Prediction:</b> Staying in Texas

    Hamels with Phillies GM Ruben Amaro

  • Cole Hamels – $19.5M
  • Ryan Howard – $20M
  • Cliff Lee – $25M
  • Jon Papelbon – $13M
  • Jimmy Rollins – $11M
  • Chase Utley – $15M
That’s $123.5M for 7 players, most of which are getting a little long in the tooth.  This is NOT a team that is going to give a 4-6 year contract to Josh Hamilton.  In addition, the fan base in Philly is quick to turn on poor performance and lack of effort – can you imagine the treatment Josh would have gotten from the fans down the stretch in 2012 if he had been playing for Philly?

Cubs – No interest.  Theo Epstein is in the process of rebuilding and while the Cubs will soon be at a point where they are ready to supplement a strong base of talent in free agency, they aren’t their yet.  Hamilton’s age and the potential for injury and fatigue due to his past and playing style just don’t fit in Theo’s plan.  Cubs fan’s would love Josh…but it’s not happening.

Pirates – Are you kidding me?  No shot.

Official Prediction

Don’t see any odds on the field (everyone else), but would assume they would be somewhere around 30-1, if not larger.  I’d bet on the field at 30-1 (heck, even 25-1) before I’d consider the Phillies, Cubs or Pirates.

In fact, the team that I think will sign Josh Hamilton is not even mentioned above.

My official prediction as to who will sign Josh Hamilton….as of right now….always subject to change….

The Houston Astros

<b>Thursday Sound Off:</b> Hambones New Home...<br><b>Prediction:</b> Staying in TexasIs this crazy?  Here is my thinking:

  • Money: They have to have money!  They don’t have anyone on their current roster that is deserving of a big contract, so they must have the money to make it happen, even considering they’ll have to overpay.
  • Ownership: Jim Crane is a crazy ass, looking for attention and desperately seeking any opportunity to make a big splash.  So much so, he was considering bringing the Roger Clemens circus to town late in the 2012 season.  Signing Josh Hamilton and being the “mystery team” would be a BIG splash.
  • Location: Josh and his family are clearly comfortable in the DFW area and while it’s still five hours away…it’s as close as he’s gonna get to staying here.
  • AL West: The Astros will be joining the Rangers in the AL West starting in 2013.  Josh is familiar with the lay of the land in the AL West, which benefits the Astros and provides a certain level of comfort for Josh.
  • Houston Fans: Low expectations…if any.  The excitement generated over the signing would follow Josh into the regular season and mask any lack of effort or disinterest – if those issues are still there – which I don’t think they will be.

Nevermind the fact that the Astros are horrible.  I think Josh will value the situation and the contract more than any team’s current level of play or postseason hopes.

Prediction #2 - Josh will play like a man possessed in 2013 and win the AL MVP despite:

  • Houston’s weak lineup which provides him no protection
  • The fact that the Astros will be out of the playoff race by mid-April
This sucks given his poor exit from the Rangers…but you know you agree.

So, what do you think?  Have I sold you on Josh in a Astros uniform in 2013?  Or do you trust the odds provided by Bovada?

Vote in the poll below and sound off in the comments section.

What uniform will Josh be wearing in 2013?
Toronto Blue Jays
Boston Red Sox
New York Yankees
Texas (Rangers)
Atlanta Braves
San Francisco Giants
L.A. Dodgers
Houston Astros
Other (leave comments)
View Result
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Oct 252012
 
Mike Napoli 7

With Mike Napoli entering free agency and the Rangers silent (as expected) in regards to trying to bring him back, much off-season trade talk is centering around the backstop position.

On Monday, T.R. Sullivan (MLB.com) wrote:

Texas could have interest in J.P. Arencibia, who was the Toronto starter the past two seasons. Arencibia hit .233 with 18 home runs, 56 RBIs, a .275 on-base percentage and a .435 slugging percentage over 102 games.

The 26-year-old has two-plus years of Major League experience and is not yet eligible for arbitration. He missed six weeks in the second half with a broken right hand and only threw out 18.5 percent of attempted basestealers.

Thursday Sound Off   Whos catching in 2013?

J.P. Arencibia

Sullivan goes on to mention Derek Holland or Alexi Ogando as likely candidates to swap for Arencibia.

Another intriguing backstop from the Jays organization is top prospect Travis d’Arnaud, but I think it’s less likely that the Rangers trade for d’Arnaud unless they are able to secure a stop-gap catcher (Ryan Hanigan mentioned by Jamey Newberg) as well to hold the position until they are convinced he is ready for the majors.

As of now, assuming Napoli were to sign elsewhere and nothing else was done to address the position, Geovany Soto would be the starting catcher on Opening Day 2013.

A few things to note:

  • Napoli will be 31 years-old on Halloween and there have been contract numbers estimated in the range of 4-6 years at $50-$80 million.
  • The 26 year-old Arencibia isn’t eligible for free agency until 2017.
  • Ogando and Holland are both under control through 2016, with a team option on Holland for ’17 and ’18.
  • Other catchers on the free agent market: Russell Martin, A.J. Pierzynski (die), David Ross, Gerald Laird, Kelly Shoppach.

A look at the numbers:

J.P. Arencibia

Year Age Tm G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2010 24 TOR 11 35 3 5 1 0 2 4 2 11 .143 .189 .343 .532
2011 25 TOR 129 443 47 97 20 4 23 78 36 133 .219 .282 .438 .720
2012 26 TOR 102 347 45 81 16 0 18 56 18 108 .233 .275 .435 .710
3 Yrs 242 825 95 183 37 4 43 138 56 252 .222 .275 .433 .708
162 Game Avg. 162 552 64 123 25 3 29 92 37 169 .222 .275 .433 .708
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/25/2012.

Mike Napoli

Year Age Tm G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2006 24 LAA 99 268 47 61 13 0 16 42 51 90 .228 .360 .455 .815
2007 25 LAA 75 219 40 54 11 1 10 34 33 63 .247 .351 .443 .794
2008 26 LAA 78 227 39 62 9 1 20 49 35 70 .273 .374 .586 .960
2009 27 LAA 114 382 60 104 22 1 20 56 40 103 .272 .350 .492 .842
2010 28 LAA 140 453 60 108 24 1 26 68 42 137 .238 .316 .468 .784
2011 29 TEX 113 369 72 118 25 0 30 75 58 85 .320 .414 .631 1.046
2012 30 TEX 108 352 53 80 9 2 24 56 56 125 .227 .343 .469 .812
7 Yrs 727 2270 371 587 113 6 146 380 315 673 .259 .356 .507 .863
162 Game Avg. 162 506 83 131 25 1 33 85 70 150 .259 .356 .507 .863
LAA (5 yrs) 506 1549 246 389 79 4 92 249 201 463 .251 .346 .485 .831
TEX (2 yrs) 221 721 125 198 34 2 54 131 114 210 .275 .379 .552 .931
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/25/2012.

Derek Holland

Year Age Tm W L ERA G GS CG IP H HR BB SO WHIP BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
2009 22 TEX 8 13 6.12 33 21 1 138.1 160 26 47 107 1.496 3.1 7.0 2.28
2010 23 TEX 3 4 4.08 14 10 0 57.1 55 6 24 54 1.378 3.8 8.5 2.25
2011 24 TEX 16 5 3.95 32 32 4 198.0 201 22 67 162 1.354 3.0 7.4 2.42
2012 25 TEX 12 7 4.67 29 27 0 175.1 162 32 52 145 1.221 2.7 7.4 2.79
4 Yrs 39 29 4.71 108 90 5 569.0 578 86 190 468 1.350 3.0 7.4 2.46
162 Game Avg. 13 10 4.71 37 31 2 195 199 30 65 161 1.350 3.0 7.4 2.46
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/25/2012.

Alexi Ogando

Year Age Tm W L ERA G GS CG SV IP H HR BB SO WHIP BB/9 SO/9
2010 26 TEX 4 1 1.30 44 0 0 0 41.2 31 2 16 39 1.128 3.5 8.4
2011 27 TEX 13 8 3.51 31 29 1 0 169.0 149 16 43 126 1.136 2.3 6.7
2012 28 TEX 2 0 3.27 58 1 0 3 66.0 49 9 17 66 1.000 2.3 9.0
3 Yrs 19 9 3.12 133 30 1 3 276.2 229 27 76 231 1.102 2.5 7.5
162 Game Avg. 8 4 3.12 55 13 0 1 115 96 11 32 96 1.102 2.5 7.5
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/25/2012.

Others if interested: Russell Martin, A.J. Pierzynski (die), David Ross, Gerald Laird, Kelly Shoppach

So, there are a few options in regards to the 2013 backstop.  What do you think?  Vote on the poll and sound off in the comments section.

What do you think the Rangers should do in regards to the catcher position this off-season?
Resign Napoli (4-6 yrs. @ $13-15M per)
Trade Holland for Arencibia
Trade Ogando for Arencibia
Sign stop-gap and trade for prospect
Roll with Soto
Other (add comments)
View Result
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May 272012
 

Texas Rangers Bruise the Jays Blue on Hamiltons Walk off Home Run Sometimes, even without RISP, there can be a reward.

After going 2-for-16 (.125) with runners in scoring position, while leaving as many runners on base as innings played (13); and then failing to plate the winning run after getting it on base with the leadoff batter in four consecutive innings

The Texas Rangers—thanks to Josh Hamilton—weren’t going to let this 13-inning affair end with a loss. And just like that Hamilton hit his 20th home run, and his third career walk-off home run.

You know, Josh, you’re spoiling the hell out of us Rangers fans. But, hey, after that whole “1972—2009″ stretch of Rangers’ mediocrity—with a few one-and-done playoff teams sprinkled in—we deserve a little pampering.

Aside from the obvious Hambone-heroics here’s a glance at some other highlights from, literally, the longest Texas Rangers game of the year:

• With two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning, and the Rangers trailing 4-2, Nelson Cruz, Yorvit Torrealba and Mitch Moreland (the 7, 8, and 9-hole hitters) each hit solo home runs to give the Rangers a 5-4 lead…

• Mitch Moreland is now hitting above .300 for the first time this season…his home run was his fourth in the last 10 games, and he is hitting .458, with 8 RBI over that span.

Nelson Cruz has hit as many homeruns (2) in the last two games as he had in the entire month of April.

• The Texas Rangers are now at their high-water mark, 11 games above .500, for the first time since May 13th.

•The Rangers are 3-1 in extra innings this season.

The Texas Rangers will go for the sweep of the Toronto Blue Jays this afternoon, with the first pitch scheduled for 2:05 PM .

Yu Darvish (6-2, 3.05 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, 10.1 K/9) will oppose Kyle Drabek (4-4, 3.27 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, 7.1 K/9).

Make sure to check back here for the pregame preview a la BaseballDo, foo!

Go Rangers!

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May 262012
 

Nelson Cruz Goes Nuclear, Boomstick Butt Kicks Blue Jays with 8 RBI

Cruz is heating up.

“…A friend who was troubled and weary he knew,
Who’d be glad of a lift and who needed it, too;
On him he would call and see what he could do
Tomorrow.”
Edgar Albert Guest, Tomorrow.

That succinctly summarizes what the Texas Rangers offense was able to do to Morrow—Brandon, that is—during last night’s 14-3 Blue Jays beatdown…not feeling it?

All right, how about:

“…An offense that was troubled and weary Nellie knew,
His team would be glad of a lift and needed it, too;
On his boomstick he would call and see what he could do
To Brandon Morrow.”

Hell yes!

And now for the fun, non-poetic, Rangers kicking-ass, feel-good stuff:

The Sorrow of Brandon Morrow (sorry, couldn’t resist)

•Morrow threw 14 pitches to leadoff batter Ian Kinsler, before losing him to a walk.
•He would only throw 30 more pitches before exiting the game, down 6-0. Surrendering an average of one run every five pitches thrown.
• Morrow’s ERA entering last night’s Texas Rangers slugfest was 2.63. Now it’s 3.47 and he needed just two-thirds of an inning to put Tiger Balm on his ERA’s bozack.
• Poor Morrow, I never new a “slump buster” could be tall, thin, bearded and—worst of all—a freaking dude.

Boom Shack-a-Lacka Shack-a-Lacka Boom Boomstick!

• Nelson Cruz’s first home run—Grand Slam style sucka Boo-ya! in 11 days was just one of his four hits on the night.
• He went 4-for-5 with 8 RBI. This tied him for the most RBI in a game this season with Josh Hamilton, who was 5-5 (with 4 home runs) on May 8th.
• Seriously? What team has two dudes knock in 8 in one game just 17 days apart? Answer: Our team!

No, Jeff, you can’t wear catcher’s gear on the mound…

• The only Blue Jays pitcher that didn’t allow at least two earned runs last night is not really a pitcher.
• Of course, Jeff Mathis isn’t much of catcher either, but that’s beside the point.
Delusional Angels skipper, Mike Scioscia, most likely viewed Mathis as a better pitcher than Mike Napoli too.

I’ve got your slump right here, pal!

• The Rangers 14 runs scored were the most they’d plated since their 13-6 win over the Los Angeles Angels of that city near Disneyland, on May 13th.
• Michael Young’s 3 runs scored last night were one more than he had scored in his previous nine games combined. His 3-for-5 night raised his average to .276—and he is now hitting over .400 against Brandon Morrow for his career.

The Dutch Oven is so HOT! right now…

• Derek Holland’s 9 strikeouts are the most he’s had this season and fell just one shy of his career high of 10.
• Holland struck out the side in the first inning and did the same in the sixth inning with the only blemish being Edward Encarnacion’s solo shot.

Timely Hitting, come and get some!

• The Rangers left 11 men on base, but hit .389 (7-for-18) with RISP.
• The Blue Jays hit .500 (1-for-2) with RISP; but who gives a shit?

Even though Koji Uehara is not currently sucking…

• There is no “Koji-has-to-suck-for-the-Rangers-to-succeed” hex. Whew! Now it’s just something silly I made up for a cheap laugh rather than a, you know, real “thing.”
Or maybe the onus has been passed on to Lowe’s anus, but who knows?

Up Next for the Rangers:

More potential Blue Jays bashing with the first pitch set for 2:05 PM today; check back here for the Colby Lewis (4-3, 3.30 ERA, 1.10 WHIP) vs. Henderson Alvarez (3-4, 3.30 ERA, 1.23 WHIP) pregame preview…

Go Rangers!

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May 252012
 

Breaking Down Brandon Morrow and Derek Holland: A Blue Jays PreviewOne week ago, the Texas Rangers (27-18) readied themselves for the Lone Star Series against pseudo-major league team, the Houston Astros.

Tonight the Texas Rangers prepare for battle with their long-time nemesis; that cold weather clan of Canadians, the Toronto Blue Jays (24-21).

From “Battle of the Silver Boot” to “Fracas with the ‘OOTs.’” This weekend’s series is less about “a boot” than it is about “aboot.”

You’ve got to love regional dialects, ay?

One thing not to love is the uncanny success the Blue Jays have had against the Rangers over the last several seasons.

The Rangers haven’t posted a winning season against the Jays since 2006, when they were 4-2.

Last year the Rangers went 4-6 against Toronto and a woeful 3-7 in 2010. The Rangers’ two AL Championship teams were 7-13 against a team that hasn’t made the postseason since their World Series Championship back in 1993.

This year hasn’t been much better for Texas, as the Jays took two of three in Toronto. In that series the Rangers were outscored 20-16.

Tonight it’s a battle between two top young hurlers and fellow 2006 MLB Draft picks.

For the Rangers it’s 2011 World Series Game Four hero, left-hander Derek Holland (26th Round) locking horns with Blue Jays right-hander Brandon Morrow (1st Round, 5th pick).

Here’s a look at how these two electric arms stack up against each other:

Derek Holland (3-3, 4.27 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 7.9 K/9) vs. Brandon Morrow(5-2, 2.63 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 7.9 K/9)

Holland

Dutch is coming off a rough outing against the aforementioned Houston Astros. In that start, he surrendered five earned runs on five hits with the majority of the damage coming from three home runs hit in three-straight innings.

Against the Blue Jays in his career, Holland has struggled. He’s 2-1 with a 5.55 ERA and just 18 strikeouts. However, the current group of Jays has batted just .226 against the left-hander.

Jose Bautista has had the most success against Dutch, with a .273 batting average and 2 RBI. Rajai Davis has touched him up with a .273 BA as well.

Holland has never faced fiery third baseman Brett Lawrie or second baseman Kelly Johnson.

Morrow

Whereas Dutch was poor in his last start against Houston, Morrow was on the opposite end of the performance spectrum.

The 6’ 3” Morrow was lights-out against the New York Mets, tossing his second shutout of the season, while limiting the Mets to just three hits while striking out 8 and walking just one.

Against the Rangers in his career, Morrow is 4-4 with a 4.01 ERA and 42 strikeouts.
Michael Young doesn’t mind Morrow too much as is indicative of his .400 BA and team-leading 5 RBI. MY has taken him deep once as well.

Mike Napoli has been given the night off tonight, and it’s just as well as he has struggled of late and has a paltry .143 BA against Morrow. David Murphy—who is in the starting lineup tonight—has hit .365 in his career against the former University of California hurler. Josh Hamilton, in a 11-game homerless streak, is hitting a pedestrian .222 against the big Toronto right-hander.

Morrow has never faced tonight’s starting catcher, Yorvit Torrealba.

At Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Morrow didn’t earn a decision last season but posted a solid 3.00 ERA and didn’t surrender a home run.

At home this year, Holland has gone 1-2 with a 5.60 ERA and has relinquished two long balls.

The Rangers and Dutch can win tonight if:

They hit like the Tampa Bay Rays do against him. If you take away the 11 innings Morrow’s thrown against the Rays and the 12 earned runs he allowed in those two ill-fated starts, Morrow’s ERA is a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it 1.07.

The Rangers have been scuffling at the plate for awhile now. Over their last 10 games they’ve gone just 4-6 with an offense that has been plating a mere 3.5 runs per game. Against a tough right-hander, the Rangers have their work cut out for them, and hopefully can rise from their offensive funk.

Of chief importance for Dutch will be to keep Bautista in the yard. After a tepid start to the season, the right-handed slugger has hit 7 home runs in his last 13 games.

Prediction Time

I look for Dutch to go six strong innings tonight, striking out 6 and minimizing the damage dealt by the Jays’ formidable offense. The Texas Rangers win tonight 6-2—now I could be wrong, but I’m sure that score sounds aboot right.

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May 252012
 

Rest

Friday Morning KnuckleballsThe Rangers got some much needed rest yesterday after a “20 games in 20 days” stretch that they finished with a .500 record.  With a record on the season of 27-18, Rangers fans are facing mixed emotions – optimism based on the make-up of this team and maybe a tinge of skepticism based on this most recent performance.

Regardless of where you stand on the ledge…don’t jump.  For fans, rest isn’t needed in the same way that it’s needed for players, but this short break can provide us with an opportunity to refill the tank as well.  To take a moment to step back and look at the big picture.

We live in a time of immediate judgement though the likes of Twitter, Facebook and blogs like the one you are reading right now.  Take some time today before this series with Toronto starts to really look at how good this team is.  Look at how well  they are positioned to play deep into October again this year.  Look at the front office and management of the team and how they have a unified approach.  Hell, even take a quick look at how bright the future is with a farm system stocked full of talent.

This is fun…

Joey Bats and the Jays are coming to town

Friday Morning Knuckleballs

Did you enjoy your rest?  Did you appreciate that moment to soak it all in and be an eternal optimist…now snap back to reality.  The Rangers have to bust out of this mini-slump NOW!

The Jays come to Arlington after a day off on their current road trip.  They lost 2 of 3 to Tamp Bay earlier in the week.

Derek Holland (3-3, 4.27 ERA) will face a Toronto offense tonight that is currently below the league average in battering average and on-base percentage, but boasts a respectable (not spectacular) .408 slugging percentage (a stat in which the Rangers lead the American League at .463).

Holland is looking to rebound from a disappointing start last weekend against the lowly Astros in which he gave up 5 runs over 5 innings of work.

“I’m looking forward to bouncing back,” Holland said. “I’ve been working in the bullpen on keeping the ball down. There were some mechanical adjustments, I was looking down rather than looking at my target. I’m looking forward to this start, I’m well-prepared for it and ready.”

On the whole, May hasn’t been too bad to Holland (1-1, 2.79 ERA), but he hasn’t fared well when pitching at home so far this season (1-2, 5.60 ERA). The Dutch Oven has taken the mound five times in his career against the Jays, and  2-1 with a 5.55 ERA.

The Blue Jays will counter with Brandon Morrow (5-2, 2.63 ERA) who was nothing short of exceptional in his last outing, shutting out the Mets while striking out 8.

Quick Hits

  •  Shifting back to the optimistic future…thinking long-term.  Good article by Jesse Sanchez (MLB.com) about Rangers teenage prospects Ronald Guzman and Nomar Mazara.
  • Kevin Matthews was promoted to Class A from the Arizona League yesterday.  Matthews was the Rangers’ first-round pick in last year’s First-Year Player Draft. In seven appearances (3 of which were starts) with the Arizona League Rangers, Matthews went 1-0 with a 1.50 ERA.
  • We are opening up the Forums this weekend, so check back and get into some heated discussions with Jasen about Robbie Ross and Cheese Fries vs. Garlic Fries.
  • Jasen and I went to Patty Shack yesterday for lunch…if you haven’t been there, what are you waiting for.  Burgers and atmosphere are great.  We’re planning to have a game watching get-together at Patty Shack sometime before the Field Trip, so stay tuned.

Take me to the Card Shop

Keeping with the tribute to Baseball cards that I started a month ago,  promised to fulfill every Friday, then promptly skipped for 3 weeks…

Friday Morning Knuckleballs

This 1980 Future Stars card is another reminder of how the future is bright in Texas.  It may not have been so bright back in 1980, but when you got one of these types of cards for your team in a pack back in the day, it didn’t matter how bad you were at the time, because you knew it was just a matter of time before Brian Allard, Jerry Don Gleaton and Greg Mahlberg showed up to save the day!

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Jan 032012
 

Episode 5   Catching up after Christmas, Torrealbas right hook and Oliver heading north...Maybe Yorvit was just wishing this umpire Happy New Year?

Episode 5 holds the secrets to what’s in store in 2012 for Baseball Do (psst…it’s not really a secret, just more of the same).

Jasen shares some of his favorite Christmas family traditions and we discuss the loss of Darren Oliver and the punishment of Yorvit Torrealba.

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Dec 302011
 

Oliver headed to Canada, need to fill the void...

Darren Oliver is headed to Toronto on a one-year contract with a club option for 2013.  The 41 year-old left-handed specialist spent the last two seasons with the Rangers, where he served as a productive late-innings reliever.  In 2011, Oliver was 5-5, with a 2.29 ERA, 44K’s and 11BB’s over 51 innings of work (4.0 K/BB, 7.8 K/9, 1.137 WHIP).

The thought was that Oliver would be back with the Rangers in 2012, with many sources citing that his residency in the DFW area would lead to only two options – Rangers or retirement.

It appears this isn’t the case, as Oliver prepares for his 11th stop in this career, heading to Toronto.  The Blue Jays will be his 9th different team in his career.

TEX – STL – TEX – BOS – COL – FLA – HOU – NYM – LAA – TEX – and now TOR

He’ll be missed as he played a vital role in the way Ron Washington and Mike Maddux game-planned late in close games.

Any potential trade opportunities or free-agents out there to fill the role left by Oliver’s departure?

The first option would be re-signing Mike Gonzalez (age 33).  It has been rumored that he wants to be back in Texas in 2012, and the Rangers have met with his agent, Scott Boras – remember, it was all about Gonzalez and Prince Fielder was never discussed…

While his overall line doesn’t look as good as Oliver’s, keep in mind he is 8 years younger and when you look at their splits side-by-side, you could argue that Gonzalez was a little better than Oliver solely against left-handed hitters.  So, if we can get Gonzalez signed, that should fill the void adequately.

If Gonzalez signs elsewhere, and the trade market becomes the best viable options, Matt Thornton of the Chicago White Sox seems like he could be a likely trade target for Daniels & Co.  Thornton (35 years-old) was rumored to be on the trading block during late-November, but there hasn’t been much out there about him lately.

What kind of package would Chicago demand for Thornton?  It’s hard to say, but he would clearly call for less than what Oakland just netted for Bailey.  And, while he’s under contract for the next two season, he’s not cheap at $5.5M per (there is also a team option for a 3rd year at $6m).  He also seemed to take a small step in the wrong direction in terms of his statistical performance in 2011 (ERA up to 3.3 from ~2.7 the previous 3 seasons; WHIP up to 1.36 from ~1.03 the previous 3 seasons).  Could 2011 be the anomaly?  If he’s a Ranger in 2012-13, hopefully so.

We’ll see what the Rangers front office has in mind, but regardless of age, Oliver played an important role and that role will need to be filled.

 

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Dec 192011
 

The Calm Before The Storm

 

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.

 

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