Tag:AL West
Posted on: January 21, 2012 11:02 am
Edited on: January 21, 2012 1:46 pm
 

Ryan: Rangers unsure of Fielder's demands

Prince Fielder

By C. Trent Rosecrans


Prince Fielder is still a free agent, but it may be because Fielder and agent Scott Boras haven't told anyone exactly what they're looking to get in a new contract.

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Rangers president Nolan Ryan said he doesn't know what it would take to sign Fielder, despite having meetings with the slugger and the superagent. Speaking to ESPN Dallas 103.3 (via the Washington Times), Ryan said he didn't know what it'd take to sign Fielder.

"Hard to say," Ryan said. "Because they've never made a firm proposal to us. They talk in generalities and numbers and other people's contracts, and so you can speculate what it is. One time they're talking eight years, one time they're talking 10 years, one time they're talking about a contract bigger than Ryan Howard's in Philadelphia."

Howard signed a five-year, $135 million extension in 2010 that begins in the 2012 season. Howard's contract will pay him $20 million in the next two seasons and $25 million in the last three with a $23 million club option  for 2017 with a $10 million buyout. Fielder, though, is five years younger than Howard.

There's also Albert Pujols' megadeal out there as well for comparison. Pujols signed a 10-year deal worth $240 million.

Another member of the Rangers' brass, co-chairman of the board Bob Simpson, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that the Rangers aren't necessarily out of the bidding for Fielder, but would need Fielder's price to come down and accept a backloaded deal.

"If they come around to something we can do, we'll take a look at it," Simpson told the newspaper.

However, Simpson told reporters (via the Star-Telegram) that the team would rather re-sign Josh Hamilton than Fielder. Hamilton is a free agent after the season. Simpson said it's unlikely the team could afford both.

"My personal preference, at this moment, would be to re-sign him instead of having Fielder. But we could all debate that," Simpson said. "The organization has its feelings. Everybody dreams about having both. Sometimes you can’t have both at some level. If they came around to something we’d do, we’d look at him. But we don’t think it’s likely."

The Nationals and Rangers are the teams most often linked to Fielder, but don't be surprised if a "mystery team" gets involved -- and remember the "mystery team" has a pretty good track record the last two seasons, signing both Cliff Lee and Pujols.

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Posted on: January 20, 2012 10:19 pm
 

Photos: Yu Darvish introduced in Texas



By C. Trent Rosecrans

It wasn't quite Beatlemania, but Yumania hit the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex on Friday, as newest Rangers Yu Darvish was introduced to the Rangers' media and fans at Rangers Ballpark on Friday.

The press conference was telecast live in Darvish's native Japan

Darvish said he had "no worries" and was made to feel at home with the Rangers when he visited Nolan Ryan earlier this month. He also said he read a book on Ryan and will try to adjust to the Texas heat. He also said he wants to learn English, though he will use an interpreter. Darvish said he would return to Japan and be back in the United States by the Feb. 22 reporting date.

As Kevin Kaduk at Big League Stew noted, that was not a marijuana leaf on Darvish's shirt as he left the airport, instead it was a Japanese maple leaf, which looks similar to a pot leaf.

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Posted on: January 20, 2012 6:30 pm
 

Report: A's interested in Manny Ramirez

Manny Ramirez

By C. Trent Rosecrans


Billy Beane's Home for Wayward Designated Hitters may have found its next resident. The A's are "very interested" in bringing in Manny Ramirez, ESPNDeportesLosAngeles.com reports.

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Ramirez, 39, will have to serve a 50-game suspension at the beginning of the season, but then would be free to DH for whatever team will have him. According ot the report, the Orioles and Blue Jays watched Ramirez at a batting cage and liked what they saw.

Last season Hideki Matsui was the celebrity guest star in the A's lineup, but the team has decided not to bring him back.

Ramirez had one hit in 17 plate appearances in five games for the Rays before he was suspended for 100 games for his second positive drug test and subsequently retired. Ramirez applied for reinstatement in December. His suspension was reduced to 50 games after missing the entire 2011 season.

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Posted on: January 20, 2012 1:27 pm
 

A's agree to deal with OF Jonny Gomes

Jonny GomesBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Jonny Gomes is headed home. The Petaluma, Calif, native has agreed to a deal with the Oakland A's, CBSSports.com Insider Jon Heyman reports.

Gomes, 31, will serve as a designated hitter and extra outfielder for the A's, especially against left-handed pitching. In his career, Gomes has crushed lefties to a tune of .281/.375/.501, while hitting .224/.306/.427 against right-handed pitchers and .242/.299/.366 overall.

Last season Gomes hit .209/.325/.389 with 14 homers for the Reds and Nationals in 120 games and 372 plate appearances.

Gomes hit 21 homers as a rookie in 2005 with Tampa Bay and 20 the next season, but as the team improved his playing time dwindled. He was inactive for the 2008 postseason run and signed with the Reds aftr the season. He hit 20 homers in his first season at Great American Ball Park. He was traded to Washington in July.

Gomes is also considered one of the best clubhouse guys in the game. Even though he wasn't on the Rays' active roster in 2008, he was the team's biggest cheerleader from the bench. He was also seen as a positive influence on some of the younger players as the Reds won their division in 2010. He could take over the "good guy" role in Oakland that Hideki Matsui held last season.

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Posted on: January 20, 2012 1:13 pm
Edited on: January 20, 2012 5:32 pm
 

Would You Rather Have: Lincecum or Hernandez?



By C. Trent Rosecrans

So, would you rather have a King or a Freak?

Today's Would You Rather Have isn't easy, that's for sure. We're talking about two of the best pitchers in the game, two right-handers both in their 20s and two guys who lost 14 games in 2011. You want proof that wins is an overrated statistic when it comes to judging a starting pitcher? Felix Hernandez was a .500 pitcher in 2011 and Tim Lincecum was a sub-.500 pitcher. You think either of those guys is a scrub? Yeah, not so much.

The case for Linecum

Lincecum has two Cy Young Awards under his belt before his 28th birthday (this June, by the way) and has thrown at least 212 innings in each of his first four full seasons in the big leagues and he's led the league in strikeouts in the first three of those seasons.

Last season Lincecum went 13-14, but he still had a 2.74 ERA, a 130 ERA+ and a 3.36 xFIP. He also struck out better than a batter an inning and recorded a 1.207 WHIP, while allowing just .6 homers per nine innings.

The case for Hernandez

Hernandez has just one Cy Young, but he arguably deserved another. Oh, and he's not even 26 yet (his birthday is in April). Hernandez came up as a 19-year-old, so he already has seven seasons under his belt, so while young he's hardly inexperienced.

Would You Rather Have
Since his 22nd birthday, Hernandez has thrown at least 200 innings a year, including his 2010 Cy Young year when he was an out from 250 innings on the season.Last season he was 14-14 with a 3.47 ERA but saw his strikeout rate rise to a career-bet 8.6 per nine innings, while his walk rate increased by just a hair.

As for contract status, neither comes cheap -- nor is either locked up long-term. Hernandez is signed through 2014 for a total of $59.5 million, while Lincecum has two more years of arbitration before becoming a free agent after 2013. Lincecum made $14 million last season and has asked for $21.5 million in arbitration this winter, while the Giants are offering $17 million.

Our call

There's no wrong answer to this (and no right answer, for that matter), both are amazing talents. I'd expect the poll to be pretty split. Both pitchers are young, durable and dominant. Both pitchers have home parks that are pitcher-friendly and the money is nearly a wash. There have been injury concerns about both, Hernandez because of his workload and Lincecum because of his slight frame, but neither has had serious injuries. In the end, I'll take Hernandez for his youth, experience and one more year of team control (plus cost certainty).

Fan Vote: Would you rather have Lincecum or Hernandez on your favorite team?



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Posted on: January 20, 2012 10:05 am
 

Failed imports may replace Darvish in Japan

Kei Igawa Kenshin Kawakami

By C. Trent Rosecrans


If you're a Japanese team and you lose your best player to the big leagues, what do you do to replace him? Well, besides cashing a check for more than $51.7 million, you turn to former big-league pitchers.

The Nippon Ham Fighters (and once again, let me stress that it's the Nippon Ham… Fighters, not the Ham Fighters) are looking at former Japanese big leaguers Kei Igawa and Kenshin Kawakami, according to Daily Sports in Japan (via YakyuBaka.com). The Rangers hope it's not an even trade, as neither Igawa nor Kawakami lived up to expectations in the United States.

Igawa, 32, was posted after the 2006 season and the Yankees paid a posting fee of more than $26 million before signing to a five-year, $20 million contract with New York. For all that money, the Yankees got 13 starts and three relief appearances out of the left-hander, and he hasn't appeared in a big-league game since 2008. In MLB, he went 2-4 with a 6.66 ERA. Last year he was 3-2 with a 3.86 ERA at Double-A and Triple-A. With the Hanshin Tigers of Japan's Central League, he led the league in strikeouts three times and won the 2003 Eiji Sawamura Award, Japan's Cy Young equivalent.

Kawakami, 36, signed with the Braves as an international free agent in 2009, meaning the Braves didn't have to pay a posting fee. He won the Sawamura Award and Central League MVP in 2004. With the Braves, Kawakami was 8-22 with a 4.32 ERA in 41 starts and nine relief appearances in 2009 and 2010 before being outrighted to Double-A after the 2010 season. He struggled in Double-A in 2011, going 2-4 with an 8.41 ERA in 16 appearances (six starts) for Double-A Mississippi.

As Matt Snyder already pointed out, the fact that other Japanese pitchers have failed, doesn't mean Darvish will. Of course, that didn't stop our Taiwanese friends to make the comparison in one of their infamous videos, where Walker "Tex-xas" Ranger is handing over the checks to Darvish to face off Albert Pujols.



The Rangers will have a press conference with Darvish to make the signing official Friday night at 7 p.m. Texas time at Rangers Ballpark.

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Posted on: January 18, 2012 2:08 pm
Edited on: January 18, 2012 5:40 pm
 

Darvish, Rangers agree to six-year contract



By Matt Snyder


Starting pitcher Yu Darvish has agreed to terms with the Texas Rangers, sources have told CBSSports.com insider Jon Heyman. Heyman has also learned the contract is for six years and $60 million. The Rangers paid a reported $51.7 million simply for the right to negotiate with Darvish.

More Darvish coverage
Darvish, a 25-year-old right-hander, has been the ace of the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters for five years. In those five seasons, Darvish is 76-28 with a sparkling 1.72 ERA and 0.89 WHIP. He's struck out 9.5 batters per nine innings and walked just 1.9 per nine. He's also thrown 50 complete games and 15 shutouts. In 2011, Darvish went 18-6 with a 1.44 ERA, 0.83 WHIP and 276 strikeouts in 232 innings with 10 complete games and six shutouts.

The $51.7 million posting fee will be paid by the Rangers to the Fighters. Had the Rangers been unable to come to terms, they would have kept said fee.

Darvish will join Colby Lewis, Derek Holland, Neftali Feliz and probably Matt Harrison in the Rangers' rotation while Scott Feldman and Alexi Ogando are likely ticketed for the bullpen -- but still could emerge as starting options if need be -- in front of Mike Adams and Joe Nathan.

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Posted on: January 18, 2012 9:06 am
Edited on: January 18, 2012 5:18 pm
 

Would You Rather Have: Yu Darvish or C.J. Wilson



By Matt Snyder


We now know that the Rangers have signed Yu Darvish to a 6-year, $60 million contract, which is more than they were reportedly willing to pay C.J. Wilson. Plus, the Rangers now owe the NPB's Fighters a $51.7 posting fee on top of the contract. So they were willing to shell out $111.7 million for Darvish, but not half of that for Wilson.

So this marks the perfect opportunity to continue our offseason series and see if our answers equal the answer of the Rangers organization ...

Would you rather have C.J. Wilson or Yu Darvish?

Rangers general manager Jon Daniels and company would rather have Darvish. Do we agree with that decision?

The case for Darvish

I've already made the case that Darvish is unlike any pitcher we've ever seen come from Japan. Seriously, if you haven't seen the stats, please click on that link. He's head and shoulders above the likes of Dice-K and Hideo Nomo at this point in his career, so it's unfair to lump him in with past imports just because they came from the same league. Darvish is a different kind of talent.

Would You Rather Have
Also, there's the fact that Daniels personally flew to Japan to watch Darvish pitch and the Rangers scouting department was watching him very closely as well. Considering the quick turnaround the organization has made into an American League powerhouse under Daniels and his scouting department, are we seriously going to question what they think they see in Darvish? I'm sure not.

Additionally, Darvish is only 25 while Wilson is 31.

The case for Wilson

The left-hander has only been a starter for the past two seasons, but he's been damn good. In 2011, he was good enough to finish sixth in Cy Young voting, as he went 16-7 with a 2.94 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 206 strikeouts in 223 1/3 innings. Keep in mind, Rangers Ballpark in Arlington was the top hitters' park in all of baseball in 2011, too, so Wilson was throwing roughly half his games in a pitchers' worst nightmare. He wasn't bad at home (3.69 ERA, 1.23 WHIP), but the difference showed when he took the ball on an opposing mound. He sported a 2.31 ERA and 1.15 WHIP on the road in 2011. And now he's headed to the Angels, who play in what rated as a pitchers' park in 2011.

But much of the case for Wilson is that he's a known entity in Major League Baseball. More to the point: Darvish is not. So this part is actually a case against Darvish.

Pitchers in Japan throw once a week while pitchers in the majors are expected to pitch once every five days. Darvish did cut down his schedule to once every six days last season, in advance of knowing he was probably going to post, but that's still one day longer than in America. Also, many scouts liken Nippon Professional Baseball to be either Triple-A level or between Triple-A and the majors. So we don't have any large samples upon which to judge Darvish adjusting to real big-league hitters over the course of a long season or dealing with real adversity when, say, Albert Pujols crushes a grand slam off of him. Then you have the travel issue -- in Japan, all the games are played within one time zone. And how will Darvish handle the wilting heat of Texas in the middle of the summer?

There are many fair questions to be asked. 

Our call

It's incredibly tough, considering the only bits and pieces I've seen of Darvish came in the 2009 World Baseball Classic -- where he was dominant, but I just don't trust numbers in March. On the other hand, I very much trust Daniels and his operation. With Darvish being six years younger and an imposing 6-foot-5 power pitcher, the possible upside is intriguing. Ultimately that, the age difference and my trust in Daniels has me begrudgingly picking Darvish here. I wish I had at least one major-league start to judge, but no MLB teams were afforded that luxury.

Fan Vote:



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