Speculation and Dreaming!

by Charles Parker on November 21, 2014

The Rangers have two solid starters, both of which have huge upside potential and neither has performed as the organization thinks they have the ability to do. Yu Darvish remains mysterious as nagging injuries continue to plague him, and he keeps tinkering with his delivery and different pitches for some reason. Darvish would benefit best with a consistent catching situation, especially if it were a veteran. On the Rangers, wish list will be a veteran backup catcher. Meanwhile, Derek Holland will live forever in Rangers minds as the man who dominated the Cardinals in game 5 of the World Series. If the dogs can stay out of his way, and the new manager can push him a little he could develop into a staff ace at some point. The potential is there. Beyond those two, there are large unknowns with probably the two Nicks, Tepesch and Martinez the best options under contract.

That means if the Rangers really want to sell the team as old-fashioned, pitcher-dominated baseball, and want to sell the ballpark that way, they need some more pitchers.

There are a few available, but don’t expect the big names like Jon Lester, Max Sherzer, or James Shields to be in that mix. Personally, I expect them to sign Edison Volquez who was with the Pirates, he knows new manager Jeff Banister, and Volquez was originally with the Ranger organization. His trade to Cincinnati brought Josh Hamilton to town. That trade worked well for both teams, and while Volquez is no superstar, he is a solid veteran pitcher and a good #3 of for the rotation.

If the Rangers want to make any other moves, it will have to be via trade. San Diego and Cincinnati are both good potential partners, but so are the Phillies. Personally, I still like the idea of seeing Cole Hamels come to Texas. He has a long contract remaining, and Philadelphia needs to get younger, and needs to unload some payroll. It would cost a pile of young talent to get him, but if the Rangers were willing to part with Robbie Ross Jr., Nick Martinez, and about 3 younger infielders not named Odor, or Gallo that might be a possibility. If the Rangers were to part with that many players, Philly might carry some of the contract. One never knows, but as best I can tell with the Rangers declining the Alex Rios option, and not signing some other guys, they have about $20-$25 million to spend this year and remain at last year’s payroll. It would take all of that to sign just one of the big name guys, and I think almost everyone around baseball knows that there is no way that the Rangers are going to over commit for a single player now. Especially since the Rangers need three starters, a backup catcher, another outfielder, and a firm decision at DH. Plus, there are still bull pen pieces to address, considering that Jason Frasor, Neal Cotts, and Joquim Soria are all no longer on the team. Trying to fix all of that for $25 million can be done, because the Rangers have a crowded 40 man roster now, and it is going to get even more crowded as the guys on the farm become Rule 5 draft eligible. It makes a serious case for needing to trades some to get what you really need.

I think they might be stretching the truth on the ball park being pitcher friendly now. Nobody except those that loved Bell Bottom pants wants to go back to the ‘70’s. I think they had too many injuries over the past couple of years to know if something other than global warming is affecting Globe Life Park.

You can read all about what the Rangers need from any number of articles, including the teams own website. The fact is that the Rangers have to have the following:

2 Starting pitchers
1 Corner Outfielder
1 Designated Hitter
1 Backup Catcher
3 bullpen arms

Conventional wisdom has the Rangers making some trades for starting pitching. One thing we do know about John Daniels is that he is anything but a conventional guy. He saw slippage this year in veterans play, I highly suspect that is why you saw Elvis Andrus elevate his game the last month of the season. We all loved Ron Washington, but one disadvantage of having a player’s coach is that sometimes players get lazy when they realize they are just playing ball and not for a title. I think that happened this past season with several guys, and one of the things that helped their play the final month was Wash being gone, suddenly players were accountable.

The new coach knows all about tough times and will expect nothing more from his players than he has gone through. So I expect John Daniels to try to bring in some clubhouse type guys who know how to win at the MLB level. What does that mean? It means that someone like a Torii Hunter, or a Mike Cuddyer would be a very nice veteran piece to bring in to fill corner outfield and DH. Think what a difference Michael Young made to the good teams we used to have, and I think you will see that underestimating clubhouse leadership is a mistake.

If you want to really, think outside the box, how about a trade with the Dodgers. They have Hyun-Jin Ryu, Zach Grienke, and Dan Haren, all of them outstanding pitchers not named Kershaw, which only 3 teams in baseball can afford. I submit that the Dodgers would trade one of those other guys for Elvis Andrus straight up, without any other players to be named. The Dodgers are in desperate need of a short stop, and Andrus money would almost wash with one of those guys. They also, might sign Edison Volquez, who was the Rangers/Reds trading partner, which brought Josh Hamilton to Texas. Volquez, also had the new Rangers skipper as his manager last year with the Pirates. If they made the deal with Dodgers, that would free up Profar and Odor to be the new Ranger middle infield. Signing Volquez would bring a solid #4 starter, and Ryu, Grienke, or Haren all would represent solid #2-3 guys.  If you want to go for another Ace on the staff, then make the trade with the Phillies for Cole Hamels, it would cost a few more young players than just Elvis, but it should be considered.

In fact, I would guess that Daniels will sign either Hunter or someone else, but Torii would be most likely to be a bargain because he lives in Texas. Another free agent might be a Michael Morse another corner outfielder, who just finished the year with the World Series Champion Giants.

How would this lineup look:

RF—Choo
CF—Martin
1B—Fielder
3B—Beltre
DH—Hunter
LF—Morse
C—Chirinos
2B– Odor
SS—Profar

Bench: Ryan Rua, Adam Rosales, Lois Sardinas, Michael Choice (I think he needs another year at AAA, Jake Smolinski, or Mitch Moreland

Starting pitchers:
Yu Darvish
Derek Holland
Hyun-Jin Ryu, Zach Grienke, or Dan Haren (take your pick)–or my wish of Cole Hamels
Edison Volquez
Nick Tepesch or Nick Martinez

Bullpen:
Neftali Feliz
Tanner Scheppers
Robbie Ross Jr.
Alexi Ogando
Shawn Tolleson
A player to be named

The great thing about this scenario is that it is closer to something John Daniels is likely to do, and it would actually fit within the existing budget. Would my fellow Rangers fans be happy with that until we can develop the rest of the young talent on the farm? This lineup can hit the ball, has some speed, there is plenty of depth to move players between positions, allows for young talent to come up, has solid veteran’s who know what it takes to win, with great clubhouse guys, and can win right now. I know I would love it! Don’t get me wrong, I love Elvis, the singer and my short stop, but if trading him brought me a title, I would love him even more!

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Winter Time

by Ben Dieter on November 18, 2014

power rankings Winter TimeNot a whole lot is going on in Texas Rangers town right now. They had talks with Colby Lewis, but not a lot happened with that and he decided to try free agency. Jon Daniels got a contract extension, which upset some people and made other people happy, and of course there have been rumors that Elvis Andrus may be traded during this off-season.

 

Personally, I believe that Colby Lewis will wind up resigning with the Texas Rangers, and I don’t think that Elvis is going anywhere anytime soon. I am okay with the Jon Daniels extension, because the Rangers were most likely not going to fire him after one season of a new manager anyway. Here are some of my main questions that I have this winter:

1. What will become of Mitch Moreland? Mitch was going to be the first baseman after Prince Fielder went down last seaon, but it wound up never happening because Mitch had season surgery as well. So where are the Rangers going to put Moreland next season. There really is no room at first, unless the Rangers are worried that Prince will not be the same player after his surgery. With Leonys Martin, Jake Smolinski, Jim Aducci, Michael Choice and others in the minors, there really is no place for him in the outfield, and I personally don’t think he is a good fit at DH. Will Mitch return with the Rangers?

2. Who will the 5 starters be? We know Yu Darvish and Derek Holland, but we don’t know who comes after that. The Rangers have candidates like Nick Martinez, Nick Tepesch, Miles Mikolas, Scott Baker and others, but I believe that the Rangers need to go out and get a good solid number 3 starter. And get Colby Lewis back. Should be interesting to watch the off -season progress.

3. Who will be in the pen? Did Neftali Feliz cement himself as the closer? Will Robbie Ross go back to the bull pen? Tanner Scheppers? Will Joseph Ortiz be back? The Rangers have a lot of questions going forward in the bull pen. They need a lot of answers this winter.

 

So those are my top three concerns this winter right now, of course they are always subject to change.

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Texas Rangers in Talks with Colby Lewis

October 30, 2014

The Texas Rangers have contacted Colby Lewis and his agent today according to T.R. Sullivan of TexasRangers.com   Rangers make offer to free agent pitcher Colby Lewis http://t.co/AD0W5IErGN — TR Sullivan (@Sullivan_Ranger) October 30, 2014 Colby Lewis is the winningest post season pitcher in Texas Rangers history, and I for one am glad that the […]

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Texas Rangers Off Season Review: The Infield

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Adrian Beltre and Elvis Andrus were the glue that held a ever changing infield together for the Texas Rangers in 2014. Beltre had another stellar season both at the plate and on the field while Elvis struggled at the plate early but wound up turning in a pretty decent season overall. The Rangers also have […]

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Rangers Higher Jeff Banister as the next Skipper

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Jeff Banister spent the last 29 years of his life in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He was the Pirates bench coach for the last 5 years. Now, he is leaving Pittsburgh to come to Arlington, Texas to be the Rangers next manager. He was one of three that were left yesterday, and news broke yesterday that Tim […]

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