The Texas Rangers are a few days removed from the winter meetings and, to the surprise of most, didn’t make a single move through the entire week.
They were rumored to be interested in plenty of names, including bringing back left-hander C.J. Wilson, though it seemed they didn’t make a huge effort in that chase, and left hander Mark Buehrle, who ended up going to the Miami Marlins because Texas refused to go to a fourth year on their offer.
This week, they get another chance to land another free-agent pitcher, this time it’s Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish. The bidding period comes to an end this week, and we find out just how serious CEO Nolan Ryan and general manager Jon Daniels are about acquiring the 25-year-old phenom.
What will it take to land Yu Darvish?
If you listen to most of the reports from the Internet as well as on the radio airwaves, the majority of those who have talked about Darvish expect his bidding price to be somewhere in the neighborhood of $50 million. On top of that, his contract is expected to be anywhere between $60-$70 million.
That brings up the biggest question in this process. Are the Texas Rangers willing to shell out $120 million for a pitcher with no experience in Major League Baseball? Even more than that, is Darvish just another Daisuke Matsuzaka?
It’s hard not to make the comparisons as the last Japanese pitcher to get this kind of hype was Dice K himself, and you have to wonder if the Boston Red Sox wouldn’t love to re-do that point in time in their organization.
The Texas Rangers have long been rumored to be one of two teams who were serious about acquiring him. Daniels himself flew to Japan to see Darvish. That should tell you just how much they like this young right-hander. If he’s as good as they say he is, and he isn’t just like every other Japanese pitcher that has come through the big leagues, they may just have a certified number-one pitcher in their rotation.
The Prince Fielder rumors won’t die
No matter how many times Jon Daniels or Nolan Ryan tell the media that free agent Prince Fielder isn’t a fit for the Texas Rangers, the stronger the rumor and the chatter from fans seems to get. They don’t believe anything Ryan or Daniels are selling on the rumors and they call it “posturing” or “throwing another team off the trail.”
Sure, the Texas Rangers have a new television deal, but that deal isn’t expected to kick in until the 2013 season. While these fans know the Rangers are focused on pitching and not the offense, they still believe they should give Fielder, whatever the asking price. Except there’s one problem with that.
“This organization is not comfortable giving any player a seven- to eight-year deal,” said Ryan before the start of the winter meetings this past week. Even that quote, all by itself, was brushed off.
The Texas Rangers are not going to sign Fielder to a deal longer than six years. The only way they will be introducing him as the newest member of the Texas Rangers is if he accepts a four- or five-year deal with an option year included. When the team’s CEO says the organization isn’t comfortable pulling an Albert Pujols, you can pretty much take that to the bank.
No matter how much these fans expect their baseball team to sign this big-time free agent, they may as well get ready for disappointment because of those very expectations.
Could Roy Oswalt still be a Texas Ranger?
It’s hard to pass over this name simply because of the respect free agent right-hander Roy Oswalt has for Nolan Ryan, as well as the Houston connection they both have.
The hard thing to overcome, as far as signing a guy like Oswalt, is the back injury that sidelined him for a lot of the 2011 season. His agent, Bob Garber, continues to sell teams on the fact his client is 100 percent healthy, but there’s just no guarantee he’s going to stay that way. While he may be healthy now, how is he going to be after start number 10 or 15?
Oswalt is looking to sign a three-year contract with a new team, and while most will probably not give him three years guaranteed, there are some teams that may be willing to give him a two-year deal with an option after the second year. If he starts to realize he’s not going to get the kind of contract he wants, he’ll look at the teams he’d want to play for.
When he sees the Texas Rangers and the chance to win a World Series, don’t be surprised if these two sides are talking sooner rather than later.