Category Archives: Contract Extension

For Those of Who Wanted the Rangers to Keep Teixeira…

… I hope today’s revelation that he recently turned down an 8-year $140 million offer finally has you waking out of the coma you’ve been in, dealing with your prolongued state of denial and taking off your Rangers-blue blinders.

Teixeira Looking Stupid

As I (and many others) have said since early this season, Teixeira was walking as a free agent after 2008. With the team out of contention with little hope to find contending form without a major rebuild, trading Tex now was the Rangers only option.

Today’s Leader in the Teixeira Trade Sweepstakes: The (not sure where we’re from) Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim?

Still loving all the rumoring that’s flying around. Some idiot on ESPN said today he doesn’t think a Teixeira trade will happen before the deadline. Let’s hope my impression of his idiocy and the diminishing ineptitude of Jon Daniels are proven true in the next few days.

Today’s rumors that place the Angels in the lead baffle me.  Apparently the deal would be Tex for Kotchman, Santana and another major leaguer (maybe Joe Saunders?).  If the deal includes Saunders, I think the Rangers should do it in a hearbeat.  He’s a young left-handed arm who’s had success in the majors – in the AL no less.  Santana’s decline this season is disturbing; if the Angels haven’t been able to get him right, the odds are lower that the Rangers could.  Kotchman is no Tex (yet), but especially as a lefty, his numbers would improve in The Ballpark and his hot May (.435/.575/.363) including a 6-for-14 performance with 1 HR over 4 games against the Rangers in The Ballpark that month provided flashes of what could be. 

But why would the Angels make this move? The one reason that keeps leaping to mind is that they see a short two-year window for contending.  If so, grabbing Tex makes sense for them.  But with Colon on the DL (and clearly struggling with nagging injuries when he’s been on the field) and the Mariners chasing hard, can Lackey and Escobar and something from Weaver plus a big offensive spark from Tex paired with Vlad carry them to the post-season? I think so, but it’s going to be a tight a race unless the inconsistent Mariners have their wheels fall off. 

Once in the playoffs, the Angels should be feared, especially if they can nurse Colon along through the season and let him cut loose in the 3 spot in the post-season. With Lackey and Escobar pitching about as well as anyone in the league, the Angels could threaten Boston or Detroit, especially in a 5-game series. In a 7-game series, their offense may have to win at least one game for them, but with Vlad getting protection from Tex, I’d like those odds if I were an Angels fan.

But for the long-term, this deal would probably favor the Rangers.  Don’t see Tex (with Boras) signing long-term with the Angels.  But the problem with long-term is that there are so many variables.  At his current rate of decline, Santana could be stuck in the minors for the rest of his career, or he could rebound and become a key cog in the Rangers rotation.  Kotchman and Saunders are pretty solid bets to be very productive major-leaguers by 2009 (again, the first season the Rangers should be seriously eyeing for contention) and beyond, but you never know.  Injury, decline after a change of scenery, teams, ballparks, weather, time zones – you name it could dampen things. Same if these guys stay with the Angels.  I guess what I’m getting at is the more I think about it, the more it makes sense for the Angels.  They KNOW what they’ll get from Tex, and they KNOW what they need to do this season.  And although Detroit and Boston look hard to stop, the Angels could become that one team that seems to pop up every year that nobody wants to play.

Trade Rumors Continue – It’s Crazy Talk Time

Listening to the rumors this weekend, makes life fun. 

The latest “rumor” is that the Rangers will be signing Gange to a contract extension.  Why would the Rangers do that?  Why would Boras do that?  Gagne would command more in the off-season.  Meanwhile, why would Jon Daniels peg the Rangers’ long-term hopes to a 31-tear-old injury-prone reliever without first trading Gagne for some prospects to whatever teams he’s not blocked or would consider waiving?  I’d rather see Daniels wait and evaluate a whole season of Gagne’s return before making what would probably be a minimum 3-year committment, even if it costs more in the winter.  The added cost would be mitigated by whatever return the Rangers could get in trade value for Gagne now, and then if he blows his arm out before the end of the season, it’s not on the Rangers’ squad.

Also, why would the Angels trade for Teixeira? Yes they need first base help, but unless they think their window of opportunity is only this year and next (which may be valid), why would they give up Casey Kotchman plus probably Ervin Santana and a prospect to a division ‘rival’? Sure, Tex could help them this season and next, but in the meantime, they’d be arming the Rangers to come at them hard in 2009.  If it’s really out there, Hicks and JD should consider this deal under the added value of taking away long-term talent from the division rival that’s owned them for the past several years.

A Response to T.R. Report on Rangers Officials Situation Report Regarding Gagne and Otsuka Trade Possibilities

According to T.R. Sullivan’s blog post today:

“Rangers officials are saying there appears to be more interest in Akinori Otsuka and a greater need for setup relief than there is for Eric Gagne or a closer.”

If Jon Daniels can’t close a valuable deal for Gagne (that for a change benefits the Rangers more than the team he trades with), then he’s more in over his head than anyone thought!  First, how stupid is it to announce that there’s no interest in Gagne?  If you’re really shopping him, you don’t announce that there’s no demand. 

What’s more likely is that the above statement is bogus positioning for rationalizing why the Rangers may make a bad decision and resign Gagne, which has been discusseda lot  lately – especially since Gagne really seems to like it here.  But Daniels should be able to get some return value for trading Gagne, and when a team needs a lot of new pieces to become competitive, you trade a free agent who has value and get some of those pieces.  Then, if you want, turn around and bring Gagne back in the winter.

If I were GM, I’d go to Gagne right now and say:

“We’d like to resign you. But, don’t you want this team to be better if you stay?

So here’s the plan.

We’re getting good offers to trade you. Offers that will send guys here who can help this team be more competitive next season and beyond. So we have to do that.

But, we like guys with your attitude and ability. You fit with the team on and off the field. So we very much want to resign you in the offseason.

In the meantime, you get to go play for a contender for a few months – maybe make a run in the postseason. We get better. And if all works out, by the time you’re a Ranger again next Spring, we’re all better and happier.

And the team you leave in free agency gets two compensory draft picks in addition to whatever help you provide them down the stretch. So it’s a win-win-win for all three parties.

There’s no guarantees, but don’t you agree this would be an ideal way for things to go over the next 5 months?”

Alex Rodriguez Contract Extension, and Tom Hicks’ Contribution to the Yankees Future

Let’s all reminise for a moment before getting to the current ARod situation and how Hicks’ stupidity is still at the heart of it all.

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Remember when Hicks bid against himself (Boras “owned” him and Hart in those negotiations) and signed Alex Rodriguez to a contract worth 1/8th of a B2 Bomber (The contract he signed is still the most lucrative contract in sports history: a 10-year deal worth $252 million – worth $63 million more than the second-richest baseball deal.)?  Well, most Rangers fans thought that was a good thing.  Me included.

The team had won its third division title in four years in 1999.  Then the 2000 season – the first where Hicks’ ownership had any real impact on team performance since he bought the team mid-season of 1998 – was a huge, last-place letdown.  So, in the winter before the 2001 season, adding Alex Rodriguez’s future Hall of Fame bat to the order looked like we had an owner willing to spend whatever it took (as stupid as we all thought that amount of money was) to turn the team around and break through to the next level and actually win more than one playoff game.  Of course, in addition to the money, ARod was attracted to the Rangers by the Ballpark and Hicks’ promise that the size of ARod’s contract wouldn’t stop Hicks from aquiring other pieces necessary to become Champions.

Of course we know the rest.  Hicks broke his promise to fans and to ARod, and didn’t add the pitching and team depth needed to build a Championship caliber team.  Hicks would love to have us believe that it’s all Chan Ho Park’s fault, and while that underperforming multi-millionaire deserves some blame, Hicks could have thrown good money after bad to make up for the Park mistake (or just sent him packing while paying for some of his over-priced contract).

Instead, he names Alex Rodriguez the Rangers’ team captain after his 2003 MVP season (the Rangers’ fourth straight last-place finish – after 3 division titles in 4 years before Hicks’ meddling) in an attempt to appease Alex’s growing frustration with the organization and its owner.  Things unravel because – and we should just hate the guy for this – ARod wants to win (how terrible) but Hicks and Hart keep vascilating between winning and rebuilding. Finally, ARod approves a trade to the Yankees (in which Hicks absurdly agrees to pay the Yankees – they are the richest team in baseball – for a large chunck of ARod’s contract).  On his way out, ARod, in a somewhat unclassy but still understnadable way, rightly blasts the Rangers organization (his comments mostly aimed at Tom Hicks) for it’s lack of committment and quality.

Fast forward to today.

After more than a year of speculation bordering on hope from the Yankees that Alex Rodriguez would opt out of his contract at the end of this season and leave New York in free agency, the Yankees are suddenly talking about keeping ARod.  In addition to ARod’s monster first half, why the sudden urgency?  Because if they’re going to keep him, they want to put something together now – so the Rangers and Hicks remain on the hook for more than 40% of ARod’s money!

As AP sporter reporter Jim Litke reports, “Rodriguez gets a $27 million salary this year, but thanks to the shrewd deal general manager Brian Cashman cut to bring him to New York, Texas Rangers owner Tom Hicks still has to kick in about $11 million of the total. As one of the tabloids noted, that means the Yankees are getting A-Rod’s services for about 60 cents on the dollar.”

To put Hicks’ stupidity in perspective, Barry Zito is only getting $10 million this year. Mark Buehrle $9.75 million. Brad Penny $7.5 million. Josh Becket $6 million. Johan Santana $12 million. Jason Schmidt $12.5 million. Roy Oswalt $13 million.

Get the point?

Hicks not only let a reigning MVP and future Hall-of-Fame hitter walk, but he also basically agreed to give up enough money to sign an Ace-caliber pitcher (or more) in the process. What if instead, Hicks had kept ARod and signed Bartolo Colon heading into 2004 (Colon signed that winter with Angels for 4 years/$51 million)? WHy in the world would you give up the best hitter in the game AND enough money to sign an ace pitcher?

So wouldn’t the Yankees be even crazier to let ARod walk now when he’s playing lights out and the Rangers are paying enough for the Yankees to sign a free agent pitcher to shore up there rotation next season?

If you agree that the Texas Rangers need a new owner, please add your voice to the petition encouraging Tom Hicks to sell the team:

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/rangersfansagainsthicks/

Trade Rumor of Interest: Dontrelle Willis May Be Avalilable!

For years, I’ve been saying that the Rangers should make the Marlins an offer they can’t refuse for Dontrelle Willis.  At only 25, Dontrelle is THE premiere young-but-developed lefty in the game today.  The Rangers need a lefty. In his column today, Ken Rosenthal mentions that now that Mark Buehrle is off the market, the D-Train’s value hasn’t been higher in some time, which could open the Marlins’ ears to trade offers.

The same was said last season.  And I have to believe that if Little Jon DanielsHart had put a package together out of some combination of John Danks, Fransisco Cordero, Laynce Nix, Kevin Mench, Nick Masset and Jacob Rasner, Willis would be a Texas Ranger right now.  Instead, we have McCarthy and Cruz left from deals that sent those guys packing.  Wouldn’t you gladly take Willis for as many as four from that list and not have McCarthy or Cruz? 

Before you accuse me of using hindsight that’s 20/20 – I said this last year, in repeated posts on T.R Sullivan’s blog and elsewhere.  When the Rangers didn’t try and the Marlins pulled back from shopping Willis, I suggested the Rangers turn their eye toward acquiring the next-best, developed young attainable lefty – Mark Buerhle (who they had and missed a chance to get).

It’s rare to get a second chance.  If the Marlins’ door is even slightly cracked open, Hicks and Daniels ought to kick it in with whatever it takes.  They should go “All In” if they have to.

Seriously, if it takes sending the entire Oklahoma Red Hawks roster to the Marlins to get Willis, that’s what the Rangers should do.  I truly believe that they’d be more successful over the next 5-7 years with Willis (assuming they resign Dontrelle after 2009 and he stays healthy for most of that time) than they would be with all of the prospects they have at AAA (maybe 3-5 of whom will ever make any meaningful contribution to the Rangers).

OK, that’s nuts, and I am exaggerating to make a point.  But if it took packaging Hurley, Rupe and Botts – I’d do it in a heartbeat.  Botts would be the hardest to let go of, but the Rangers don’t seem to want to bring him up anyways.  Hurley and Rupe – they’re still prospects.  We have NO idea what will become of them, but history shows the odds are stacked against them ever developing their full potential as Rangers or in The Ballpark.  A bird in the hand is worth two prospects in the bush leagues – easily. 

In fact, that offer may not be enough for the Marlins.  OK.  We’ll throw in Tex (we’ll pay 30% of his salary next season) and the Marlins’ choice of Cruz, Tejeda or Kasey Kiker but they have to throw in Mike Jacobs.

Many say Willis is over-rated.  He does need to do better against righties, but he would immediately be the Rangers’ ace… head and shoulders better than any pitcher they’ve had this millenium.  He’d make the entire rotation better by pushing Millwood to #2, lowering the need to sign a free agent this winter from a top-of-the-rotation guy to a mid-rotation winner, while McCarthy, Loe, Padilla, Volquez, Wright, Wood and Mendoza compete for the last two spots.

Robbers Evidence: Bye Bye Buehrle

In several previous posts, I’ve mentioned how Mark Buerhle could have already been a Ranger(https://rangersorrobbers.wordpress.com/2007/04/19/robbers-evidence-exhibit-a-revisited-no-buerhle-no-no/) and should be the free agent pitcher the Rangers sign this winter (https://rangersorrobbers.wordpress.com/2007/06/27/announcing-the-2008-texas-rangers-25-man-roster-2/).

Well, all that’s a pipe dream now as the White Sox resigned Mark Buehrle to a 4-year, $54 million contract

That narrows the field of starting pitchers the Rangers should consider signing this winter (Buehrle topped my list, and I think only Carlos Zambrano could be argued to be a better signing amongst the would-be class of winter free agents).

And without a single starter with a winning record or an ERA under 5.30 going into this week’s All-Star break, a shrinking free=agent pool increases the pressure on Ron Washington and pitching coach Mark Connor to develop at least one (if not two) of the young or trying-to-comeback Rangers pitchers into a contributing starter who can win more games than he loses (in order of liklihood at present:  Loe, McCarthy, Wright, Tejeda, Hurley, Wood, Koronka, Rheinecker, Rupe).  It also makes the return to form of Millwood and Padilla more important, because the caliber of free-agent starter the Rangers can sign this winter just went down unless they ink Zambrano, which I don’t think is likely nor do I think he’d be worth the price as he’s not a great fit for the Rangers or The Ballpark.  That probably means Millwood will be the Opening Day starter again, and he’s really a #2 at best.  Finally, it puts more importance on Jon DanielsHart and Hicks getting a trade done (and done well) with Teixeira – as Tex is the only chip they have left to acquire a pitcher with top-of-the-rotation talent (Chad Billingsly is looking really nice at this point – maybe too nice for the Dodgers to part with after going 1-0 in 2 July starts with a 2.25 era and 14 Ks in 12 IP). 

So congratulations to Buehrle and the White Sox, and to Tom Hicks, the Rangers front office and coaching staff and their pitchers aspiring to be worth a spot in a competitive major league rotation:  TIME TO GET ROLLING!