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Rosenthal on the Rangers: Sign ALL THE FREE AGENTS

Nov 9, 2011, 10:04 AM EDT

Prince Fielder Reuters

There isn’t a lot happening in free agent land yet. As Olney notes today, a big reason for that is the pending Collective Bargaining Agreement, which is likely to alter free agent draft pick compensation pretty substantially, thereby changing the overall value/cost of a big name free agent.

Thank goodness for folks playing the “what if” game, then, because we need some sort of creativity around this sport until we complain about awards votes next week. Ken Rosenthal is playing it in his latest column, with specific reference to the Rangers:

The Rangers need to change the conversation … I’m talking about spring training, when the team will want to move past its crushing Series defeat. I’m talking about finding a new direction, a new energy, a newraison d’etre. I’m talking about doing something big — something so big, the players will regain their swagger and re-emerge as one of the favorites in the American League.

He thinks the Rangers should go after Prince Fielder. And Mark Buehrle. And one of the top closers like Heath Bell. He acknowledges that it would be crazy-expensive to do that sort of thing but thinks it’s worth it to shake things up.

I like the idea of Buehrle because I think the Rangers could use some rotation bolstering, but going after one of the big first baseman and a closer seems a bit much.  They still have the three-headed Napoli/Young/Moreland monster at first base to deal with. They have a fantastic bullpen already, its World Series shortcomings being a matter of fatigue, not lack of talent.

Mostly, though, I see a team that won its division by ten games. And which doesn’t look to be any worse next year. And whose competition isn’t likely to be any better.  And a team who, if Nelson Cruz didn’t feel the wall looming in Game 6, would have won the World Series.

The Rangers doesn’t seem like a candidate for a tone-change. Just some better luck and another crack at it next year.

  1. bravojawja - Nov 9, 2011 at 10:18 AM

    While they’re adding payroll, maybe they should outbid the Royals and get Zambrano from the Cubs.

  2. stlouis1baseball - Nov 9, 2011 at 10:28 AM

    Good article Craig. For what it’s worth…I couldn’t agree more.
    The Rangers are stacked and will be next year as well.
    In my opinion the most glaring need is Ogando and Feliz developing another “go to” pitch.
    Those young guys can really bring it.
    The problem is (as evidenced in the WS)…when you force feed opposing teams fastball after fastball the good hitting teams simply sit on it.
    More problematic…when your one and only true “out pitch” is not being trown for strikes those same good hitting teams will force you to find the strike zone.
    If and/or when you do find the zone they hit frozen ropes as a result of sitting on the only pitch in your arsenal.
    Ogando and Feliz developing another pitch would help them tremendously.

  3. yankeesfanlen - Nov 9, 2011 at 10:30 AM

    Wait, What? Thought signing all the big free agents was the job of the Universe.

  4. The Common Man - Nov 9, 2011 at 10:33 AM

    When did the Rangers become the Yankees?

    • hardjudge - Nov 9, 2011 at 2:12 PM

      About a year ago.

    • miketreedy - Nov 9, 2011 at 3:26 PM

      It helps having a young talented team and not being tied to any really bad contracts like the Yankees and Red Sox. They need to avoid making any real bad mistakes (see Lackey, Crawford, A-Rod, etc) and they should be good for years to come.

  5. Kyle - Nov 9, 2011 at 10:51 AM

    Obviously, it was lack of swagger that caused Nelson Cruz to miss that baseball and the team to lose game 7.

    • stlouis1baseball - Nov 9, 2011 at 11:03 AM

      Absolutely Kyle. “Swagger” is also what allowed Nyjer to do a face plant into the CF Wall during the NLCS.

  6. hk62 - Nov 9, 2011 at 11:39 AM

    Am I mis-remembering that Buehrle’s numbers at Rangers Ballpark are pretty awful? He is the kind og guy that Nolan likes (works fast, comes at hitters) but the top mph on his FB would be the lowest in the Org, not just the ML roster…

    • miketreedy - Nov 9, 2011 at 3:23 PM

      I read an interview with him once and he mentioned not liking to pitch in real hot temperatures. So doubt he would like 110. He said he just focused on throwing strikes to get off the mound and get the game over. I am sure lots of money might change his attitude but I don’t see him as a real fit.

  7. bkarbour - Nov 9, 2011 at 11:51 AM

    What a very journalist-centric perspective. The key focus here is on what type of questions the players are going to have to answer in Spring Training, and the analysis presumes that the tone of questioning will be an important element of the mindset of the players going forward. “Oh noes, the questions will give the players a sad. Let’s sign a bunch of free agents.”

    It’s frustrating analysis that I don’t buy at all.

  8. ultimatecardinalwarrior - Nov 9, 2011 at 12:06 PM

    What does “a candidate a tone-change” mean?

  9. dparker713 - Nov 9, 2011 at 12:27 PM

    Neither Moreland nor Young should be considered an impediment to signing a player like Pujols or Fielder.

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Nov 9, 2011 at 1:18 PM

      If they sign one of those guys they will dump Moreland or Young in a heartbeat. Given Young wants out anyway I’m sure it wouldn’t be too hard

      • heystastny - Nov 10, 2011 at 10:45 AM

        Young doesn’t want out.

    • miketreedy - Nov 9, 2011 at 3:20 PM

      I think the big equation that people are missing is that Josh Hamilton will be a free agent next year. What will it cost to sign him (I am sure a lot if he has a good 2012)? Do they want to spend that much money on Josh considering his constant health issues. If not why not sign Puljos or Fielder to be the big bat over the next 7-10 years.

  10. cur68 - Nov 9, 2011 at 12:55 PM

    I’m for getting a 1st baseman. Shoring up 1st base would be a good idea. Young as the full time DH is ideal but get Fielder (unless the Blue Jays get him. Which I’d way prefer, but that’s another thread). In no way shape or form are either of Napoli, Moreland, or Young an answer at 1st. I know I’m going against the established doctrine of a long term MLB manager here, but Mike Napoli is the everyday starting catcher because he plays very good defence, calls a great game and swings a thunder stick mighty fine too. Morleand, while his D was adequate, looked like he couldn’t hit water if he fell out of a boat during the post season and is only marginally better in the regular season. Do not get me started on Young’s deficiencies at first. What I will note though, is that Mr. Classy clanked a few sure outs that would have ended innings or sat down a runner in key spots. He and Cruz can hold hands and skip along the ‘woulda, shoulda, coulda’ path together.

    Spend the dough and get Fielder for 1st. Make Cruz work like the devil was chasing him around in right field to get his fielding up (and maybe have him spit out that 10lbs of chaw he stuffs in his mouth every at bat) and the Rangers have legit chances of “3rd Time Lucky-WS Champs, 2012”. If they shore up 1st base and get a shade better fielding out of Cruz then I’ll call them again for the WS. They don’t need Mark Alan Buehrle, IMO.

  11. PanchoHerreraFanClub - Nov 9, 2011 at 1:38 PM

    Craig, the screw up on Cruz missing the ball in the 9th was in the dugout. Cruz wasn’t playing deep enough. The book in that situation is to play deep enough so any ball that gets over your head is a home run.

    • cintiphil - Nov 9, 2011 at 3:04 PM

      I think you are right on with that comment about the ball hit too far. I don’t think that the Rangers were aware how much power Freese had to right field. Additionally, if anyone thinks that the ball should have been caught, they are dreaming. I don’t think Jay Bruce could have reached that ball, as it was hit on line like a rocket. Maybe playing deeper or especially further toward the line would have helped him make the catch, but that is just second guessing. Then if he hits it in the gap, same outcome.

      • heystastny - Nov 10, 2011 at 10:38 AM

        You guys are right on. Any fool who blames Nelson Cruz for the Rangers not winning the world series should lose his press credentials. There is plenty of blame to go around on the Rangers side of it and a lot of credit to the Cards for getting the job done.

  12. artisan3m - Nov 9, 2011 at 2:18 PM

    On paper, Fielder would be a good choice based on prior performance. But anyone who follows much baseball knows that success does not always follow a trade or free agent purchase. There is no doubt that the Rangers need a solid starter at 1st. How Fielder would mesh into one of the best team chemistrys in MLB is a guess. Wilson isn’t going anywhere after his playoff performances ~ besides he says he wants to stay a Ranger. Young won’t be a desirable trade as about all he has left is a fairly dependable stick. The rotation has considerable promise ~ they carried the Rangers into the WS two years ago with Lee and this year without him. They are young, they are strong, and they have posted some impressive numbers. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. A couple of poor management calls, an outfield catch, and two 1st base errors stood between the Rangers and a ring. A batting coach might be worthy of consideration. No team in MLB allows more heart-of-the-plate strikes to go by than Texas ~ and every opposing manager knows that.

    • cintiphil - Nov 9, 2011 at 3:11 PM

      I agree that the Rangers need a guy like Fielder and will improve if they get him. They need an everyday 1st baseman. However, you have to assume that the current players are going to repeat last ear’s performances. I think you can count on Young, Hamilton and Kinsler, will give you a good year, but remember the guy who won the ALCS for them is Napoli, who had a career year and especially the playoffs. Will he repeat? They also have other good bats, but remember the Tigers may have beaten them without Napoli.

  13. Ari Collins - Nov 9, 2011 at 4:19 PM

    Nice Hyperbole and a Half reference.

    • coachbrew - Nov 9, 2011 at 5:32 PM

      Glad I’m not the only one who caught that. Sign ALL the free agents?? 😦

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