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With just nine days left until the January 18th deadline, the Texas Rangers have very little room for error when it comes to signing Japanese right-hander Yu Darvish, a guy they spent more than a year scouting.
Not to mention the kind of money they ponied up just to have the opportunity to negotiate a contract. While reports have said the Rangers have tabled any other discussions until this contract is completed, some are beginning to wonder if a deal will ever be struck. Knowing Texas, however, general manager Jon Daniels and CEO Nolan Ryan could wait until the very last minute to announce anything.
Is Yu Darvish the be-all, end-all?
All the talk on the radio stations and print media, where the Texas Rangers are concerned, centers around Yu Darvish. He’s the man everyone is waiting on. Either the Rangers will end up coming to a contract agreement with the right-hander in the next two weeks or the two sides will move on to other things.
But is Darvish really the be-all, end-all type player? Is he really the difference-maker the Rangers seem to be making him out to be? That’s the question most want the answer to and the question most will answer with his lack of experience.
You can say that about most teams that don’t do their homework on a guy like Darvish. You might even say that was the downfall of the Boston Red Sox after going all out for Daisuke Matsuzaka just a few years ago. They wanted him because of the “unhittable pitch” they said he had. We’ve yet to see that one pitch.
That’s where the Rangers differ from the chase of Dice K. The Rangers have done their homework and they’ve scouted every one of his starts from the 2011 season. They know the guy they want and they bid accordingly.
The only thing to do now is wait and see if the two sides can reach an agreement. Experience or not, this young athlete has a bigger build than any other Japanese pitchers we’ve seen in quite some time. Whether he can bring the same kind of dominance to Major League Baseball is yet to be seen.
Rangers flirting with Ryan Madson
After his deal with the Philadelphia Phillies fell through, Ryan Madson has been a free agent looking for a new home. Unfortunately for him, he’s yet to find one.
The Los Angeles Angels have been known to have interest in him along with a few other teams. But one team has stuck its name into the pot and apparently called his agent, Scott Boras, to at least to homework on the reliever. Most believe the Rangers won’t go as far as Boras wants them to go, but what they won’t question is the fact Madson would make the Rangers bullpen arguably the strongest in the American League.
Question becomes, do the Rangers really need Madson? Don’t they already have enough in their bullpen with the acquisition of former Minnesota Twins’ closer Joe Nathan and the acquisitions of both Mike Adams from the San Diego Padres and Koji Uehara from the Baltimore Orioles?
The answer to those questions could mean the difference between serious interest in Madson or just a passing fancy.
In Mitch Moreland they trust
For the better part of two months, the talk hasn’t just centered around Yu Darvish. Even after the Rangers won the bidding and the rights to negotiate a contract with the right-hander, all fans wanted to know was whether or not their team was going to make a run at free agent first baseman Prince Fielder.
Even though both Ryan and Daniels have repeatedly said Fielder isn’t a fit for this team, social media still blows up with fans refusing to believe that as the truth. They say it’s nothing but a poker game and the front office just trying to throw other teams off track.
But if that is really the truth, wouldn’t other teams know exactly what the Rangers are doing?
The reason Texas seems willing to stay out of the race for Fielder is the belief in the young first baseman they already have on their roster — Mitch Moreland.
For most of the 2011 season, Moreland dealt with tendenitis in his right wrist, keeping him from swinging the bat freely or playing without pain. After going through surgery just a few months ago, the Rangers believe Moreland is ready to take on the role of their first baseman and become a strong bat in the lineup.
They don’t need him to hit 30 or more home runs every season, they have guys like Josh Hamilton, Nelson Cruz, Adrian Beltre and Ian Kinsler for that. What they need from Moreland is the ability to play solid defense at first, as well as provide a dangerous bat towards the back of the lineup.
It’s understandable why people would want Fielder in a Rangers uniform because there’s no doubt he would be able to launch home runs at a place that doesn’t hold many fly balls inside the ballpark. But what Texas is unwilling to do is give the kind of contract, or money, his agent is looking for to get a deal done.
Moreland isn’t Fielder. Expecting him to be may be the biggest reason fans want the Rangers to do what they can to bring in the big bat and get rid of the one they know isn’t going to be quite as big.
But the Rangers have made it clear. In Mitch Moreland they trust.