Blog Entry

Rangers big week: 1 superstar or 2 coming?

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

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

Since: Oct 24, 2006
Posted on: January 17, 2012 5:42 pm

Rangers big week: 1 superstar or 2 coming?

The A-Rod deal was bad for the Rangers because at the time they didn't have the finances to accomodate it. The revenue stream in Texas is much much better now, and the team is a much much better team. Chan Ho Park and Ismael Valdez aren't quite the 1-2 punch you want at the top of your rotation.

Now the Rangers are on the cusp of a big TV deal hitting, they are doing a good job of filling the stadium and have built a winning team from the ground up. They invested in the draft and international free agency. They were able to win two pennants and no longer scare away free agent pitchers.

Having a couple billionaires backing the team isn't such a bad thing either.

Since: Jan 17, 2012
Posted on: January 17, 2012 5:41 pm

Rangers big week: 1 superstar or 2 coming?

There is definitely a lower risk with Darvish. He has a better arm, and he has better tools, although no one can beat Dice-K's gyroball.

Honestly, this is definitely a publicity move by the Rangers. They want to let Darvish know that if they can't reach a deal sooner or later, they will move on from him, and then no one will be able to sign him. He will go back to Japan, where he will have a stellar, but boing year.  

Since: Nov 29, 2007
Posted on: January 17, 2012 4:05 pm

Rangers big week: 1 superstar or 2 coming?

And if he doesn't want that you throw the extra money at Josh who I'd rather see stay...he's like Rusty Greer with power.  Injuries are going to come with that...tell him thanks for the effort.

Since: Nov 29, 2007
Posted on: January 17, 2012 4:03 pm

Rangers big week: 1 superstar or 2 coming?

I would offer Fielder 3 years with considerable money and tell him that he is walking into a launching pad that will get him a contract like Albert's if he maintains a fighting weight.  Shorter contract is a better incentive to keep him away from the table and on the field.

Since: Dec 28, 2006
Posted on: January 17, 2012 3:20 pm

Rangers big week: 1 superstar or 2 coming?

Not gonna happen.   This is simply a ploy to get Darvish signed.   The  Rangers are showing him that they will not overpay and they will "move on" to Prince if needed.  

Since: Aug 12, 2009
Posted on: January 17, 2012 3:15 pm

Rangers big week: 1 superstar or 2 coming?

Tx Sports, I had the same feeling about CJ.  My understanding is that the Rangers never offered him a package.  Just the parameters of what they would do and that didn't match the Angels.  But, having said that, I think we would have had to overpay (significantly) what the Angels offered to re-sign him.  He was a California boy and as you said he wanted to go home. 

I think the Rangers believe that Darvish will match CJ's number and give them a better chance in the playoffs.  Why else would they put that much money out there for him.  I don't know anything about him other than the fact that Rangers' fans will be doing Yu/you puns for the next 5 to 6 years.

I don't think the AROID comparison works in this case.  If the Rangers can get Fielder for the right price then I believe they see it as switching out Hamilton.  Big IF with Boras as the agent.  What would Yu do...I mean you?  Wow, it's already annoying.

Since: Sep 19, 2011
Posted on: January 17, 2012 3:04 pm

Rangers big week: 1 superstar or 2 coming?

All I keep thinking about is Alex Rodriguez and how bad that turned out for Texas
Keep in mind that was under another owner and management, The Fielder deal if it happen could come close to Rodriguez deal.  I bet that Rangers fan would hope that Fielder play as good as A-Rod when he was with the Rangers, In the 3 years A-Rod was with the Rangers he hit .300 52-121 per season.

Since: May 16, 2011
Posted on: January 17, 2012 2:48 pm

Rangers big week: 1 superstar or 2 coming?

The problem for the Rangers with the ARod deal was that they didn't have the financial details in place to make it work. Clearly Tom Hicks' wealth was a mirage and they ddin't have the huge TV contract at the time or a groing fan base that comes from going to the World Series a few years in a row. If they sign Fielder, they have an amazing offense and could make a run at a championship. When the season ends, Fielder's offense basically replaces Hamilton and they get draft picks in compensation if he signs elsewhere. If they want they could probably trade Moreland for a younger outfielder and then basically replace Hamilton with him in 2013. The only other team I can see Prince signing with is the Nats but it remains to be seen whether they are willing to spend that kind of money.

Since: Jan 22, 2008
Posted on: January 17, 2012 2:44 pm

Rangers big week: 1 superstar or 2 coming?

If the Rangers can land Prince, wow, that would be huge!  Darvish should be the 2nd priority of the two.  I'm sure there is a young arm in the Texas minor league system that could do a decent job.  Who would you rather have? Darvish the Iranian, or Prince Fielder. Hmmm. . .

Since: Sep 29, 2011
Posted on: January 17, 2012 2:33 pm

Rangers big week: 1 superstar or 2 coming?

Blick...I don't think any amount of money would have kept C.J. Wilson...he wanted to go home...the Rangers and Marlins both offered more than the Angels did if the reports are correct.  CJ was good during the regular season but disappeared both time in the playoffs/world series.  I don't expect Darvish to win 20 games this year if he signs...hopefully Holland becomes that 20 win guy (or Lewis). 

As for Fielder, I expect Nolan try to convince him to reasonable money or he won't be a Ranger.....Nolan is weary of the A-Rod deal years ago too...LOL. 

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or