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Will the Rangers try to keep up with the Angels?

Dec 8, 2011, 6:18 PM EDT

Jon Daniels AP

The Rangers can come close to matching their AL West rivals; all they’d need to do is commit $150 million-$200 million to free agent Prince Fielder and then another $80 million-$100 million in the form of a posting fee and a contract for Yu Darvish. What’s the big deal?

As things stand now, the Rangers are currently looking at about a $111 million payroll with a 25-man roster that looks like this:

C Mike Napoli
1B Mitch Moreland
2B Ian Kinsler
3B Adrian Beltre
SS Elvis Andrus
LF Josh Hamilton
CF Leonys Martin
RF Nelson Cruz
DH Michael Young

C Yorvit Torrealba
OF David Murphy
OF Craig Gentry

SP Colby Lewis
SP Derek Holland
SP Neftali Feliz
SP Alexi Ogando
SP Matt Harrison

CL Joe Nathan
RP Mike Adams
RP Koji Uehara
RP Darren Oliver
RP Scott Feldman
RP Yoshinori Tateyama
RP Mark Lowe

I’m assuming that an Oliver deal gets done for about $4 million, leaving the utility infield spot as the only hole on the roster. The Rangers could opt to non-tender Lowe, making Mark Hamburger the favorite for the last spot in the pen, but that’d only save about $1 million. Trading Uehara, on the other hand, would free up $3.5 million.

The Rangers opened last year with a $92 million payroll, so it’s not at all likely that they’d jump all of the way to the $140 million-$150 million range, which is what it would take to include both Fielder and Darvish. Still, it’d sure be nice if they could squeeze in one of the two. Fielder would look awesome behind Josh Hamilton in the lineup, and Darvish’s arrival would push Ogando back to the pen, giving the Rangers a potentially dominant setup man or closer if Nathan falters. Carlos Beltran is another who would make sense for the team. Young could then play first base most of the time, with Beltran, Hamilton and Cruz all sharing time between the outfield corners and DH.

Texas did win the AL West by 10 games in 2011, so it’s not as though the Rangers necessarily need an impact player. Still, a lot of things did go right last season and GM Jon Daniels can’t count on Napoli, Kinsler and Harrison to perform so well again.

  1. Mike Luna - Dec 8, 2011 at 6:37 PM

    One thing this front office doesn’t do is panic. If they sign Darvish, it’s because they were already hoping to sign Darvish. If they sign Fielder, it’s because they fooled everyone and he was in their plans all along.

    They often act, but rarely do they react.

  2. isujames - Dec 8, 2011 at 6:48 PM

    They dont need fielder,they need starting pitching help as evident by them getting clubbed in games vs. cards.They have enough power hitters,though i do believe they will foolishly sign fielder to a mega contract because they have the income to do it.

    • xmatt0926x - Dec 8, 2011 at 7:05 PM

      isujames just took the words out of my mouth..or my keyboard. The Rangers don’t need Fielder at all. Their offense is better than the Angels, Pujols or not. They need a real good starter. Spend that Fielder cash on getting Darvish. Thats’s the splash that team needs to make.

      • stex52 - Dec 8, 2011 at 11:15 PM

        Pitcher is by far the clearest need. Of course everyone needs pitching. But they just lost the #2-3 that masqueraded as their ace. They need some depth.

    • JBerardi - Dec 8, 2011 at 7:10 PM

      Everyone needs starting pitching help. But regardless of how many power hitters they have already, replacing Mitch Mooreland with Fielder would be a massive upgrade for them.

      • Old Gator - Dec 8, 2011 at 8:06 PM

        Absolutely. And their signing him would keep Scrooge McLoria, in his current Tennis Court Oath mode, from signing that hulking one-man DL of the future and unloading Gaby Sanchez in his rush to play mine’s-bigger-than-yours with the Feelies.

  3. miketreedy - Dec 8, 2011 at 7:13 PM

    Rangers have big decision to make on Josh Hamilton this off season. How much he will he cost to resign is the elephant in the room. Napoli will also be a free agent after next year. Besides that Young has the next biggest contract that comes off the books in two years at over $15mm a season. So they have lots of flexibility. I think the Rangers can stand pact and still win the AL West or at least the wildcard next year. Then add players through trades at the trade deadline if needed. It would allow time to see how our younger pitchers perform next year including Feliz & Holland.

    If they really like Fielder they have the room to sign him and be OK. The years and how he will do in Texas heat is all that scares me. On signing Darvish, there is no guarantee he will help next year. He carries the same risk/return as Naftali.

    • uyf1950 - Dec 8, 2011 at 7:21 PM

      About your comment on the wildcard next season. The AL could easily have 5 teams that win at least 95 games. It’s unfortunate that one of them could get knocked out after a 1 games playoff.

      • Old Gator - Dec 8, 2011 at 8:04 PM

        Au contraire. As a connoisseur of narratives, I think the AL situation will be a rich source of pathos. I like that.

      • purnellmeagrejr - Dec 9, 2011 at 11:13 AM

        as long as it’s the Yankees I don’t think anyone will mind.

    • purnellmeagrejr - Dec 9, 2011 at 7:58 AM

      “how he will do in Texas heat is all that scares me” I’m melting; I’m melting… you’ve destroyed my beautiful power!”

    • unclemosesgreen - Dec 9, 2011 at 8:16 AM

      That’s the rub with Fielder, signing him would be a clear sign that Josh Hamilton is not in their future plans.

  4. marinersnate - Dec 8, 2011 at 8:13 PM

    Front page advertisement seen in today’s Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

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    Up for bid:

    One top of the rotation starting pitcher. Three years remaining on fairly team friendly contract. Comes complete with Cy Young award. Ideal for East-Coast usage.

    One #2 starting pitcher. Last years model. Very low milage! Comes in very large package (FOB shipping). Top of rotation potential.

    One very used, but still serviceable right field lead-off hitter. 200 hit potential! Perfers west-coast location. One year guarantee only.

    One, like new, starting second baseman. 2011 model! Top of the order potential! $7.5M invested. Will consider trades on newer, cheaper model.

    Other items to choose from!

    ALL reasonable offers considered!

    Dial 1-800-GO-MARINERS

    Ask for Jack.

  5. unclemosesgreen - Dec 9, 2011 at 8:13 AM

    Love the idea of Beltran and Darvish for the Rangers. Ogando was a beast in the bullpen, and Moreland would become the best bench player in MLB. Hamilton and Cruz could use nights off from the field during the regular season – great idea.

  6. purnellmeagrejr - Dec 9, 2011 at 9:51 AM

    Sorry – is everybody supposed to know who the guy in the picture is? Is it Michael Young?

    • gt929 - Dec 10, 2011 at 4:12 PM

      He’s too young to be Michael Young. Try GM Jon Daniels. I hope that was a serious question.

  7. gt929 - Dec 10, 2011 at 4:19 PM

    Don’t be surprised if the Rangers stick with Moreland at 1B, and he has a very good year. Most baseball fans only saw him in the playoffs, where it was later revealed that he was playing with an injured wrist. Also, granted, Napoli had a career year, so he could drop back down to a sub-.250 hitter, but there’s no reason to think that Kinsler or Harrison will fade. Kinsler has been pretty consistent in his career, and Harrison is very young and coming off his first full year as a starter. He could easily get better with experience and greater endurance.

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