Blog Entry

Rangers big week: 1 superstar or 2 coming?

Posted on: January 17, 2012 10:11 am
Edited on: January 24, 2012 10:48 am

The Texas Rangers, the two-time defending American League champions, are at the center of the action this week, with the Yu Darvish deadline looming Wednesday and the continuing Prince Fielder intrigue, which began to boil over when Fielder was discovered to be meeting with top Texas brass in Dallas last Friday -- not to mention a couple other smaller talks ongoing thrown in for good measure.

The great likelihood is that the Darvish deal gets done for slightly more than "Dice-K money,'' say people familiar with the talks who are referring to the $52-million, six-year contract Daisuke Matsuzaka signed with the Boston Red Sox. That's logical because while Darvish is considered the better pitcher (18-6 with a 1.44 ERA and a Pacific League-leading 276 strikeouts in 2011), the posting fee of $51,703,411 for him was just barely above the $51,111,111 fee the Red Sox paid for Matsuzaka, and Darvish's agent Arn Tellem has no other alternative but to take him back to Japan, in what is seen as a generally unpalatable alternative for star Japanese stars who go to the trouble of posting.

While there was still said to be a difference on the years, with Darvish wanting five so he could become a free agent at 30, and Texas wanting to repeat Matsuzaka's six-year contract, everyone surrounding the negotiation suggested the deal is likely to get done before the deadline Wednesday if the range of $55 million. (side note: Boston's first offer to Matsuzaka had been half that, $28 million.)

If the Darvish deal does somehow fall through (unlikely), the Rangers would suddenly become the overwhelming favorite to land Fielder. But the bigger question is whether the Rangers would be willing to pay the freight for Fielder if more than $100 million is committed to Darvish.

Rangers people have consistently characterized that possibility of a Texas superstar two-step as "unlikely,'' and a $300-million week would indeed be extraordinary for a team that isn't in New York, Boston, Philadelphia or Los Angeles (or even Los Angeles of Anaheim). However, Texas, a team that recently had been receiving luxury tax payouts, is committed to winning and on the rise financially with its rapdily increasing TV and attendance revenues and relatively new oil baron owners.

Rangers people also are full of surprises, like last winter when they stole Adrian Beltre late, after the rival Angels and A's had bid earlier. This time, Texas may have even more incentive to make a big play, what with the Angels earlier having their own $317.5-million week between their pricey new imports Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson, the former Ranger.

Rangers people like to keep things secret, and their clandestine meeting last week with Fielder at the Four Seasons in Dallas only leaked because the wedding of Pirates star reliever Joel Hanrahan (yet another star player the Rangers have tried for this winter) happened to be at the same hotel at the same time, so the players and agents at the wedding started telling people they had seen Fielder and/or agent Scott Boras with Rangers brass Nolan Ryan, Texas' icon and managing partner, and GM Jon Daniels. Rangers people also knows it doesn't do anything positive for the psyche of incumbent first baseman Mitch Moreland or even incumbent positional superstar Josh Hamilton if Fielder speculation keeps mushrooming.

It's possible Ryan and Daniels were just covering their bases on the off chance Darvish doesn't get done. But the Rangers do seem to love the idea of signing Fielder, which while prohibitive could make sense if they allow Hamilton to leave as a free agent after this season. Hamilton has been a tremendous asset since Daniels acquired him in a deal for Edinson Volquez and a minor-league pitcher after Reds medical people forced the deal, but Fielder is younger, less injury prone and generally a safer bet (Hamilton's father-in-law Michael Dean just bowed out as his accountability partner).

Beyond the simultaneous dances with the two huge stars, the Rangers are looking to add a lefty reliever and bench player, and have considered Mike Gonzalez and Ryan Spilborghs. But of course, the first thing to do is figure out whether they will add one superstar or two.

Category: MLB

Since: May 8, 2008
Posted on: January 18, 2012 3:14 pm

Rangers big week: 1 superstar or 2 coming?

The Rangers don't need Darvish or Fielder and it woul dnot bother me if they sign neither.  Fielder in particular is a great risk as he proved he is a mental lightweight and clearly not mature, not ready for prime time, much like his juvenile cohorts in the Brewer clubhouse. Witness his post-game-five media interaction and continued childish disconnect with his father as proof of his limitation... prividing great likelihood he'd not be a fit with the current Ranger clubhouse.  Rangers current DH/Corner IF rotation of Moreland, Young and Napoli and others in waiting is plenty sufficient.

Darvish may be the exception to the rule for Japanese pitchers, but there is just as much likelihood he'll be a bust as well.

Clearly the Boss Hog Biliionaires are talking with their egos here adn wnating to be the Big Dogs, but I'd much prefer they hold tight, stay the coure and keep their powder dry and re-sign the studs who have taken them to the cus of two championships, rather than spending like fools, getting ripped off by Scott Boras, and messing with the current mix.

Since: Jan 16, 2012
Posted on: January 18, 2012 10:45 am

Rangers big week: 1 superstar or 2 coming?

If Fielder signs with the Rangers, he can DH and not even have to play defense at all at first base or anywhere else. His weight issues would be less of a problem, and if he belts his usual number out of the park, running the bases would not be a bother — at least for those hits.

Since: Jul 10, 2008
Posted on: January 18, 2012 9:41 am

Rangers big week: 1 superstar or 2 coming?

I will AGAIN what has pointed out 6 million times.  The Rangers were backed during the sale and currently by two oil tycoons (you have the OSU logo should know about that) who are worth billions.  You are incorrect about low attendance as it has climbed significantly last 4 years to just about cracking the storied 3 million range.  Lastly there is a new TV contract which will provide an additional 80 million a year in revenue to the Rangers.  By the way I had my 3 year old daughter look this info up just to see if she could and it was not a problem for her.

Since: Aug 23, 2006
Posted on: January 18, 2012 1:38 am

Rangers big week: 1 superstar or 2 coming?

Okay let me preface this by saying I have nothing against the Rangers but I am going to ask a controversial question.  The new Ranger's ownership group is spending money like drunken sailors.  I would like to have an answer to one of the following two questions - that's all:
1.  If the team did not have this money before - where are they getting it now?  Is Nolan Ryan's pocketbook that deep?  I don't think it is - I'd like to know how the team is able to now spend so much money when attendance (despite the Rangers doing so well the last couple of years) is still low.  I think that the best investment the ownership group could be is to enclose the beautiful ballpark that I will never again return to during any months other than April, May, or October because even when the games are held at night it is too damn hot.
2.  If this money was available to the team to spend on payroll in the past - what did the prior owner do with the money?  I would think that he would be fool for selling the team if he was profiting that much off of something. 

If you guys land Fielder I say good luck to you.  I think Fielder is a hell of a bat but his glove and weight are a liability.  David Ortiz is a heavy guy and I've been nervous (and so have the Red Sox for that matter) to sign Ortiz to a long-term extension because it is proven that if you're heavy you're more prone to injuries.  I think that the only smart move for ANY team in the MLB is to sign Fielder to the American League, that way if he falls apart at least you can start him at DH.  Unfortunately I think that the deal is going to be monsterous - not Pujols big or A-Rod big but BIG and way too long for his size.     

Since: Dec 23, 2009
Posted on: January 17, 2012 11:59 pm

Rangers big week: 1 superstar or 2 coming?

I really hope that the orioles are able to sign Prince. That they just dish out the money for a superstar

Since: Aug 12, 2007
Posted on: January 17, 2012 11:32 pm

Rangers big week: 1 superstar or 2 coming?

The Rangers will never get closer than last  year. One strike away 2 times to win it all, and it never happens. Nolan Ryan was always a bad loser, and with his brains and the oil money, it won't matter. Yu who knows what will happen after they pay him, we've seen it b4 with dicek, money will ruin your head when people are yelling for it.

Since: Dec 20, 2008
Posted on: January 17, 2012 10:46 pm

Rangers big week: 1 superstar or 2 coming?

It's said that the 3 teams in on Fielder are the Rangers, Nationals, and Marlins. I think Bora$ is just playing these teams against eachother to get the best deal he can. I think Texas will make a 7-8 year offer or something like that and Boras will go to the Nats and tell them they need to go 9-10 years if they want him. The Marlins are an unlikely landing spot for Fielder considering that they've already spent and given out longterm deals to other free agents. IMO it's down to the Nats and Rangers and will come down to whichever team gives more years.

Since: Dec 28, 2006
Posted on: January 17, 2012 7:50 pm

Rangers big week: 1 superstar or 2 coming?

It's unfortunate, but this isn't about the player it's about the agent. Just like baseball is giving way to the umpire. Boras and the MLB umps think they are more important than the game. NFL doesn't have to deal with this like MLB does, NFL will not tolerate people like  TO for too long. Not sure why that is, but it will be the downfall of baseball, we like the players and the sport not the backdrop.

Since: Dec 5, 2006
Posted on: January 17, 2012 7:28 pm

Rangers big week: 1 superstar or 2 coming?

Despite the several comments here that the Rangers could sign Fielder for reasonable money, the Scott Boros client is looking to exceed this year's Pujols contract. Boros is as shrewed as they come and will hold out for that kind of money. Will he get it? Maybe only from the Rangers but that would be surprising while signing Darvish as well. That would cost in excess of $350M. The Rangers would be strapped for the ten years with that contract and six year with Darvish and are gambling a lot to win now.

It is what teams do when in the window of contending -  bring an extra couple of high-priced pieced in and hope to go over the top. This is the year to do it for Texas. But then the fallout. There are plenty of folks that proclaim superstar for players coming from Japan. So far only Ichiro has filled the prophesy.

Since: Aug 2, 2011
Posted on: January 17, 2012 6:21 pm

Rangers big week: 1 superstar or 2 coming?

I can see Texas landing Fielder if the demands aren't over the top and he won't be a disruptive influence on the team in general that some free agent signings can be. Darvish looks like a good acquisition in the long term however may struggle to the new surroundings straight away. The West will be the pennant winners with the strength in pitching as well as hitters in the line ups. The A's and NMariners will surprise a number of teams as well and could take risk in bidding for Fielder for the short term.

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