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Tag:Rangers
Posted on: February 23, 2012 3:31 pm
Edited on: February 23, 2012 3:44 pm
 

The Winter Standings, from 1 through 30

The Angels and Marlins spent plenty, the Astros stood pat, and the Mets did worse than that. Here they, one through 30, from most improved team to least improved.

1. Angels. Anytime you add Albert Pujols when you don't really need a first baseman, that's quite a luxury buy. Maybe 10 years are too many, but he'll obviously make a major impact in the first years of that deal. C.J. Wilson gives them as good a first four as just about anyone. Plus, he comes directly from the main competitor.

2. Marlins. Jose Reyes is a monster get, when healthy, Mark Buehrle fits as the perfect veteran lefthander to pitch behind Josh Johnson and Heath Bell is a very good closer. Ozzie Guillen spices things up. Much more interesting team as they move to their new park.

3. Diamondbacks. Loved that they didn't rest on their laurels. Trevor Cahill bolsters their rotation and Jason Kubel their lineup. Also tried hard for Hiroki Kuroda, offering him $13 million, $3 million more than he got from the Yankees. Terrific effort by a team in an area hit hard by the economic downturn.

4. Nationals. I don't love Gio Gonzalez's 1.48 lifetime road WHIP, but he's a talented, young lefthanded starter who's exactly what they needed. Of course, they still could use a center fielder.

5. Yankees. Hiroki Kuroda is the solid starter they needed, and Michael Pineda has a chance to be better than that, especially if he masters his changeup. Jesus Montero will be a mega star but they needed the pitching, so it was a worthwhile gamble. A.J. Burnett is addition by subtraction.

6. Rockies. Michael Cuddyer is a huge get, even if he did cost $31.5 million over three years. Jeremy Guthrie steps in as the Opening Day starter and Tyler Chatwood has a chance, though rotation questions still remain. Casey Blake might not have a lot left at third base, but super prospect Nolan Arenado looks to be close.

7. Rangers. Yu Darvish is going to be better than Wilson. They flirted with Prince Fielder, but came up a few years short. Had they pulled that one off, too, they would have easily topped this list. A lefthander in the pen wouldn't have hurt, either.

8. Rays. Carlos Pena will bring a lot more punch than Casey Kotchman, and if healthy, Luke Scott brings more still. Somehow, they find a way.

9. Blue Jays. Sergio Santos, Francisco Cordero and Darren Oliver represent a nice bullpen upgrade over Frank Francisco and Jon Rauch. Never made the huge deal folks were expecting, though.

10. Reds. They gave up a lot for Matt Latos, a talented pitcher who'll have to adjust going from pitching-firendly PETCO Park to Great American Ballpark. The pen is better with Ryan Madson in as the closer and strong lefty Sean Marshall over from Chicago. Looks like a contender.

11. Tigers. Owner Mike Ilitch gets props for the $214-million, nine-year band-aid he bought in Fielder after Victor Martinez's brutal knee injury.

12. Phillies. They imported Jonathan Papelbon, who has a longer track record, to replace Ryan Madson. Jim Thome fills the resident nice guy role left vacated by Brad Lidge's departure (and Juan Pierre won't hurt in that dept. either, assuming he makes the team). They have more versatility with Ty Wigginton adding to their bench strength.

13. Pirates. The new killer B's are here -- Rod Barajas, Erik Bedard, Clint Barmes and A.J. Burnett. The Bucs certainly should be better.

14. Mariners. Hong-Chih Kuo, Shawn Camp and Hisashi Iwakuma have a chance to help. But their offseason will turn on whether Montero becomes a bigger star than Pineda. The guess here is, he does.

15. Padres. They maximized the Latos trade. Yonder Alonso and Yasmani Grandal could become stars, and Brad Boxberger may be the closer of the future. Huston Street ably replaces Bell. And Carlos Quentin may thrive back in his hometown.

16. Cubs. David DeJesus is a solid outfielder, and Paul Maholm will help. But their winter will turn on whether slugging first baseman Anthony Rizzo is the player they think he is. The real loss for them was the new rule limiting bonus pools for drafted players.

17. Royals. Jonathan Sanchez is just the type of high-ceiling pitcher who fits, Bruce Chen was needed back and Jonathan Broxton is worth a flyer.

18. Dodgers. They managed to cut to below $90 million as cash-strapped Frank McCourt sells the team, but they pieced it together pretty well. Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang are solid starters but most of the other imports are extras. They also made an exciting secret grab at Fielder but were outbid by the Tigers. Their best move, though, was signing Matt Kemp for eight years at $160 million,

19. Indians. Given the restrictions of the budget, not terrible. Casey Kotchman looks to be on the upswing, and Derek Lowe is a veteran presence needed especially now that Fausto Carmona is better known as Limbo Carmona.

20. Giants. Melky Cabrera and Angel Pagan are late bloomers, and they might do as well as the combo of Caros Beltran, Andres Torres and Cody Ross. The comeback of Buster Posey is probably the biggest key. Also like the smaller pickups of Clay Hensley and Ryan Theriot.

21. Cardinals. It's hard to lose Pujols (not to mention Tony La Russa and Dave Duncan) and not feel it. But somehow, the Cardinals seem to find a way. Beltran replaces some of Pujols' lost offense, if not his presence. Adam Wainwright's return is the biggest addition, though.

22. Orioles. Nobody did more different things, but it's tough to evaluate or guess what Wei-Yin Chen or Tsuyoshi Wada will become. Wilson Betemit was an odd signing in that no one saw a two-year deal coming.

23. White Sox. Love the Robin Ventura move (though I suspect they should have made him take a more-experienced staff). The team will be a lot younger, too, with all the kids acquired for Santos and Quentin. Buehrle is tough to replace, though.

24. Braves. Their big deal was for utlityman Jack Wilson, which says a lot. Never found the right deal for Jair Jurrjens or Martin Prado.

25. Twins. Josh Willingham has a lot of pressure on him to make up for the loss of Cuddyer and Kubel. Joe Nathan preferred to go to a contender. Not sure how much Jason Marquis has left.

26. Red Sox. I like the way they recovered from the loss of Papelbon by adding Mark Melancon and Andrew Bailey. Cody Ross and Nick Punto are nice complementary pieces. But I think they'll miss Jason Varitek more than think. And they still don't have a No. 4 or 5 starter or starting shortstop after trading Marco Scutaro in exchange for "flexibility.'' Bobby Valentine was a great call for manager, and he does his best work when there are issues, so maybe he pulls it all together.

27. A's. They did a nice job collecting prospects (Jarrod Parker, Brad Peacock and A.J. Cole could be stars) but will be hard-pressed to avoid 90 defeats this year after trading Cahill, Gonzalez and Bailey. Big Talent Yoenis Cespedes and Mannyball spice things up. Interesting offseason.

28. Brewers. Tough to make up for the loss of Fielder. Aramis Ramirez is a nice middle-of-the-order bat, Alex Gonzalez is an upgrade at shortstop and Nori Aoki may work. Also lost some bullpen depth with Takashi Saito and Hawkins gone.

29. Astros. They took a flyer on the oft-injured Fernando Martinez but after failing to unload Wandy Rodriguez, Carlos Lee or Brett Myers, they basically return the same team. Which is not necessarily good news when you lost 106 games.

30. Mets. They lost the heart of the team (though an of-injured one), and Andres Torres wouldn't be my first choice to replace the dynamic Reyes. Actually, Pagan would have been better. But that's nitpicky. Let's face it, no one that cuts an unprecedented $50 million can do well.
Posted on: February 8, 2012 12:44 pm
Edited on: February 8, 2012 1:10 pm
 

Here's an idea how Hamilton can repay Rangers


Josh Hamilton is said to have been seeking a contract befitting a superstar before he went on his recent bender. Whether that means eight years, or $200 million, or something a bit south of that, he should put that idea out of his head right now.

Hamilton and the Rangers both said aloud that contract talks, which were expected to get going soon, will be tabled indefinitely while he and they try to figure out where he went wrong and how it happened. And that's perfectly appropriate. But even after he thinks he has it all figured out, Hamilton owes it to the team to offer to do a one-year deal with the Rangers. It can have team options if he likes, but only one year should be guaranteed under the circumstances.

Hamilton surely understands that if the Rangers don't give him a contract rewarding his incredible talent while ignoring the obvious major negative that someone else probably will. But Hamilton should also understand now he belongs in Texas and with the Rangers, who have guided him and backed him, and really, saved him. He owes them big. It is time he defers the dollars for some common sense.

The reality, of course, is that Hamilton or any other ballplaying millionaire making such a one-year proposal is probably about as likely as Texas seceding from the union. Still, it would be refreshing under the circumstances. It would also be the right thing to do.

Hamilton acknowledged he owed his wife and his team for what he has put them through, and here's his chance to show at least the team that that wasn't merely lip service. The Rangers saved him by trading for him and watching over him these past few years. They assigned Johnny Narron, a professional baseball man, to be his "accountability coach,'' and now, after Hamilton's own father-in-law Michael Dean Chadwick turned down the job, they have brought in Shayne Kelley, a former team chaplain and baseball coach with the Univeristy of Alabama, to handles duties that are far more difficult than most of us realize.

Hamilton performed masterfully at his press conference beyond his hat being on backwards, his failure to answer questions and his rather casual jog off stage. But one must ask themselves whether it is all or mostly an act. He looks like he's gotten off scot free, except for the delayed talks. What exactly are the repercussions? Rangers GM Jon Daniels has acknowledged that Hamilton is unlikely to face punishment from MLB for his episode, which included by his own admission "three or four''' alcoholic drinks before a return trip to the bar after promising concerned teammate Ian Kinsler he'd stay in the rest of the evening.

Hamilton acknoweldged that he, as an addict, is adept at fooling people about what's really going on. The whole back story of that night isn't known, nor is very much else known about his recovery. He is mandated, as a player who regained admission to MLB after being banned for continuing drug test failures, to take at least three drug tests a week. So at the very least, he has been staying off drugs. But this is the second alcoholic episode that's been documented.

It is time for him to give back to the team. Rangers officials say they passed on eight years for Fielder not to concentrate on Hamilton, that they just saw the price as too high and the length too long for Fielder. But Rangers owner Bob Simpson suggested it was unlikely they'd sign both longterm when he expressed his preference for Hamilton. That was merely one recent act of kindness the Rangers have shown Hamilton over the years. They have saved his career. Now, as he suggested in his press conference, it is time for him to repay.



Category: MLB
Posted on: February 3, 2012 3:02 pm
Edited on: February 3, 2012 9:23 pm
 

Josh is a great guy but an even greater risk

The Rangers have hired a new "accountability coach'' for Josh Hamilton, who will try to make sure what happened Monday never happens again. Their heart is in the right place. And so is his.

Hamilton certainly did not soft sell his second drinking incident since becoming a Ranger today at his press conference, and that's a great sign. "I have a lot of soul searching to do,'' he admitted, among other things. Hamilton conceded to having "three or four'' drinks with dinner Monday at a Dallas-area bar before returning for more. He poured his heart out, too.

Hamilton, who's beloved by the Rangers for his almost superhuman level of transparency, admitted he can be tricky when he drinks. He said he fooled teammate Ian Kinsler Monday night, reassuring him he'd stay in after Kinsler dropped him at home, only to return to the scene of the drinking. But Hamilton showed his unvarnished self at his press conference, saying, "I feel terrible about this.''

It's hard not to root for this guy He certainly seemed sincere. He certainly seemed to be taking this transgression seriously. His recent past suggest he is. He had one previous "relapse'' since the Rangers acquired him, and he got through that to this point. His reaction today suggest he can get through this, too. But Hamilton understands how powerful his addiction is.

"I feel terrible about this,'' he said. "I am hurt by it tremendously.''

The Rangers love Hamilton, who became a superstar after a ban from baseball for multiple failed drug tests and a cocaine additcion, because of his otherworldy talent. But they also love that he wears his heart on his sleeve. He understands the seriousness of slips, even slips that may seem relatively minor to outsiders. He said his wife has been the strong one in their relationship and it's time for him to "take responsibility'' and to "step up.''

He also mentioned he understands now how his contract situation has to be on the "back burner'' now. That is assuredly true. The Rangers are a very loyal lot, and that loyalty seems to have paid off with manager Ron Washington, who they kept and supported after he failed a drug test in July, 2010, and recently gave a two-year contract extension, too, through 2014. But they are not crazy.

That organizational loyalty was at work when the Rangers held the line in contract discussions with Prince Fielder, deciding against going to eight years for Fielder, very likely in part because they had their own lefthanded middle-of-the-lineup superstar in Hamilton. Even before Fielder signed with the Tigers, Rangers co-owner Bob Simpson even said aloud that keeping Hamilton rather than signing Fielder was his "preference.'' It was clear what he meant. Hamilton is their guy.

The Rangers make more good decisions than almost anyone (for instance, they lowered their payroll $10 million in the first of two straight years they made the World Series, 2010). But one has to wonder whether their loyalty got the better of them in this case with their decision to pass on Prince (well, not go to eight years, anyway) and try to make a deal for Hamilton instead. Now those talks have to be on hold (as Hamilton admitted).

The Rangers made a great decision to acquire Hamilton in trade from the Reds for Edinson Volquez. Reds doctors worried that Hamilton would never be fully healthy, and they practically ordered a trade. It was a strict business decision on their part. And the Rangers made a business call to acquire Hamilton, calculating that his talent was worth the risk. But seeing his obvious charm, you have to wonder whether their decision to try to sign him instead of Fielder was based at least in part on his charms or their emotions. He is 31 with a long history of injury. He is to admired for coming this far. But you have to wonder whether all the abuse has taken a toll.

Hamilton is a great guy, and a great story. And he scored big with his terrific press conference. But let's face it, the Rangers took a real risk sticking with their guy.





Category: MLB
Posted on: January 28, 2012 1:01 am
Edited on: January 28, 2012 1:31 am
 

Oswalt may be headed south in locale & dollars


Longtime pitching star Roy Oswalt, who seems to have very strong geographic leanings, turned down a very large one-year offer of about $10 million from the Detroit Tigers, sources told CBSSports.com, and Oswalt is instead eyeing several other teams, most of them much closer to his southern roots, including the Texas Rangers and St. Louis Cardinals.

Oswalt's main criteria seems to be proximity to his home in Mississippi. Other teams said to be in the running include the Red Sox and Nationals, but indications are that he prefers the Rangers and Cardinals. Above all else, the locale seems to be the key to him as his decision nears. Otherwise, how to explain the out-and-out rejection of the powerhouse Tigers?

The issue seems to be that the two teams he seems to most prefer -- the Rangers and Cardinals -- aren't perfect fits. Neither currently has an opening for a starting pitcher, though it's possible either team might try to make one for him. One report, from @Jim_Duquette, suggested the Cardinals are the frontrunner.

One thing is certain, and that is that he won't be a Tiger. Detroit's offer, which was made well before they came out of nowhere to sign Prince Fielder to a $214-million, nine-year deal, is no longer on the table.

Though Oswalt's agent Bob Garber denied it, one other person familiar with the Tigers' discussions with regarding said Oswalt declined to accept Detroit's offer of about $10-million after it met Garber's asking price. That person said Garber requested $10 million, but after Tigers owner Mike Ilitch signed off on the $10 million, Garber later informed Detroit that Oswalt was not prepared to take the offer. Garber denied by text that he had asked for $10 million, saying, "I never gave the Tigers a number.''

Garber added that Oswalt has "his top three (teams) he's still focused on.''

He didn't name the three teams. But it's hard to bet on the Red Sox, who like Detroit is in the north, and what's more, are believed to have offered nothing close to the $10 million Tigers bid (the belief is that Boston's offer is closer to $5 million).

Texas and St. Louis seem more likely at this point. The Rangers, who already have six viable starters, would insist he take their price, which would presumably be less than even Boston's price. Nolan Ryan and pitching coach Mike Maddux are both Oswalt fans (Ryan like Oswalt was an Astros star and knows him well) so they may do it if he'd take a fraction of the $10 million he turned down.

The Cardinals don't have an overwhelming need for another starter, either. But St. Louis has talked to both him and another free agent, Edwin Jackson.

The Astros, his former team, were mentioned as a possibility in one report. And they certainly would fit his geographic preferences. But that report was denied by someone close to Oswalt.

Oswalt has such strong ties to his home area that he left the Phillies last year for eight days after his hometown was wracked by a hurricane even though his own home didn't suffer significant damage. Oswalt, who also battled back trouble last year, at one point last year ruminated about retirement last year.

Had he done so, he would have missed one of the most interesting free-agent plays in recent memory.



Posted on: January 24, 2012 10:44 am
Edited on: January 24, 2012 11:22 am
 

Prince field 4 or 5 teams; Nats, O's, Rangers in

Indications are Prince Fielder has narrowed the field of teams in his derby to four or five, and the Nationals, Orioles and Rangers are believed to be among those teams. So he's down to a "final four'' (or so), if you will.

The other involved team or two aren't known, but an unpublicized team can't be ruled out. Under-the-radar pursuers, often dubbed the "mystery'' teams, have become prominent the past couple years, as both Cliff Lee and Albert Pujols wound up signing with such a team. The other teams connected to Fielder at one time or other have included the Mariners, Marlins, Blue Jays, Cubs and incumbent Brewers, but none of those teams has been seen as a favorite in recent days.

The Nationals have been seen as a favorite for weeks, though some people connected to the team say they are reluctant to give out an ultra long deal again, after signing Jayson Werth to a seven-year, $126-million last winter. The Orioles, like their local rival, have seemed to downplay their interest. But their biggest issue may be luring Fielder with little immediate prospect of winning.

The Rangers, a team that came out of the woodwork to sign Adrian Beltre last winter, have suggested that they are "unlikely'' to sign Fielder based mostly on requests for a deal of eight to 10 years. They are clearly still involved after signing Yu Darvish. Though they don't seem likely to be the high bidder, they remain hopeful that a chance to be part of one of the game's great lineups will enhance their chances.





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

Rangers big week: 1 superstar or 2 coming?


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
Posted on: January 13, 2012 5:01 pm
Edited on: January 24, 2012 10:49 am
 

Prince starts new team tour; Texas is first stop


Top free agent slugger Prince Fielder has embarked on a second tour of teams today, and is expected to meet with multiple teams, perhaps four or more, on this excursion as he narrows his expansive field of free-agent options.

Fielder is in Texas today meeting with the Rangers, as @BNightengale reported. But that shouldn't be seen as prove they are about to sign Fielder. The Rangers are expecting to spend $100 million or so on Japanese pitching import Yu Darvish, and there have been mixed signals as to whether they might be able to sign both Darvish and Fielder.

The Orioles, Nationals, Mariners, Marlins and incumbent Brewers ave been seen as the other main players, but there may be more. The Cubs and Blue Jays are among others to have shown interest.

The other teams on the tour aren't known as of yet.

Posted on: January 9, 2012 11:19 am
Edited on: January 24, 2012 8:44 pm
 

Rangers' Darvish bid is about $52M; work to do

The Texas Rangers are offering about "Dice K money'' to star Japanese righthander Yu Darvish, sources told CBSSports.com, and there's no evidence a deal is at hand.

The expression "Dice K money'' would mean the offer is someone in the range of $52 million, although it isn't known whether the Rangers' proposal is for exactly that amount or exactly six years, as Daisuke Matsuzaka received from the Red Sox (it may be for five). In any case, it seems clear Texas wants to use Matsuzaka's $52-million deal as a barometer for a deal, while Darvish's side apparently hopes to successfully argue that he's the better pitcher and thus deserves a higher contract. Ultimately, the Rangers may go a bit higher than Matsuzaka's contract, but the plan seems to be to keep it within shouting distance, particularly with $51.7 million committed to the posting fee, money that goes to the Nippon-Ham Fighters.

Everyone has assumed there'd be a deal by the Jan. 18 deadline, and there would still seem to be too many reasons for the sides to come together. But at the moment, the evidece suggests they are not on the precipice of a deal for the pitcher who went 18-6 with a 1.44 ERA and led the Pacific League with 276 strikeouts while pitching for the Fighters.

The Rangers are concentrating completely on Darvish at the moment, and if a deal is struck, their chances to make a real run at star free agent slugger Prince Fielder would be diminished. However, in the event no agreement can be reached, the chances they'd pursue Fielder would probably significantly increase. They have checked in on free agent reliever Ryan Madson and there was a report they did the same with free agent starter Hiroki Kuroda, as well, although there's no evidence those contacts are related to any concern about the Darvish talks.

The Rangers' winning bid to negotiate with Darvish was precisely $51,703,411, with the 34 and 11 tributes to the uniform numbers of Rangers president Nolan Ryan and Darvish himself. The Red Sox won the right to Matsuzaka with a bid of $51,111,111. So there is a parallel in those numbers, anyway.



Category: MLB
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com