Texas GM’ Jon Daniels Needs To Step His Game Up! Rangers State Of The Union Fall 2013

The Rangers have cobbled together 370 wins over the last four years, however they are now 2 years withdrawn from being a solitary strike away from winning the World Series.  They have done a great job assessing their club over the last few campaigns, and with a great winter, the club's competition window should be reset for many years to come.  With Nolan Ryan leaving the franchise, the heat will be on Jon Daniels to administer such a daunting task.  The Rangers have great attendance, so more National TV dollars are also being kicked their way for 2014, it is time to go and lure the top Free Agents in the game of MLB towards The Ballpark in Arlington!

The Rangers have cobbled together 370 wins over the last four years, however they are now 2 years withdrawn from being a solitary strike away from winning the World Series. They have done a great job assessing their club over the last few campaigns, and with a great winter, the club’s competition window should be reset for many years to come. With Nolan Ryan leaving the franchise, the heat will be on Jon Daniels to administer such a daunting task. The Rangers have great attendance, and more National TV dollars are also being kicked their way for 2014, it is time to go and lure the top Free Agents in the game of MLB towards The Ballpark in Arlington!

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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Jon Daniels is more like the “Lone Ranger” now with the brass over in Arlington being astonishingly diminished by Texas native Nolan Ryan leaving.

He is effectively on the “hot seat” now.

His team is now 2 years removed from back to back World Series Appearances, followed up with an epic collapse down the stretch in 2012, and just falling short of the playoff bar in 2012.

The Rangers actually had a pretty decent season in 2013 at 91 – 72 (losing the play in game to Tampa Bay), when you consider they lost Mike Napoli and Josh Hamilton‘s services – and really only replaced them with “Fat Elvis” AKA Lance Berkman, who like Presley, has eaten themselves out of their careers at times.

Nelson Cruz Highlights Before Suspension 2013

Jon Daniels and gang have to live with the stupid contract they doled out for Andrus at 8 YRs/$120 MIL.  The SS rewarded (note sarcasm) that with a 3 Slash Line of .271/.328/.659 in 2013.  The best thing the club could do is acquire enough depth, so they could potentially trade Andrus.

Jon Daniels and gang have to live with the stupid contract they doled out for Andrus at 8 YRs/$120 MIL. The SS rewarded (note sarcasm) them with a 3 Slash Line of .271/.328/.659 in 2013. To be fair, he did have 42 SB and scored 91 runs.  The best thing the club could do is acquire enough depth, so they could potentially trade Andrus.  Either that, or bite the bullet at some point in the near future, by trading Jurickson Profar, or move Ian Kinsler to the OF.  With zero luck in Free Agency during last winter, Daniels can’t have a repeat performance this offyear.

Also, I am still trying to find out why they decided to sign Elvis Andrus to an 8 YR/$120 MIL extension.  What they have here is a (potentially) great average guy who can steal – with little power, and might be the worst leap of faith on a guy like that former since Catcher Jason Kendall was inked to an outrageous deal last decade.

This started the mess they are in – because you positioned blocked Jurickson Profar, and then Andrus had an off – year to follow it up.

I am not blaming Daniels at all here, he is actually in a favorable post.  You actually have to see this from “the glass is half full mentality – withstanding the one signing.”

The franchise did not waste $133 MIL over 5 years like the Angels did for diminishing asset Josh Hamilton.

The club did not bring back Napoli either, however they received similar production from the platoon of Mitch Moreland and Jeff Baker at the spot for way less cash.

The 2013 version of the Rangers were hit hard with the injury bug to key pitchers like Alexi Ogando, Matt Harrison, Neftali Feliz and Colby Lewis

If 2 of these 3 guys come back to be effective at all, the 2013 storyline could have been different.

Texas also was screwed by the decision of Nelson Cruz to take his 50 game suspension for the PED case.  I was really shocked when the guy did that too, because I think a better play was to finish out the string like Alex Rodriguez did, and then face your punishment.

Cruz was having a great season, and could have added 50 more games to pad his stat totals.

Instead what occurred was he came back to late, pissed off the Rangers, and know everyone has massive doubts as to whether he can put up big numbers clean.

You can say what you want about this fact, but that decision was the biggest impact on the Rangers losing out on a playoff spot down the stretch.

If Cruz would have played, it would have enhanced his chances to return to the Rangers squad, and quite likely improved the ability to command bigger dollars.

I am not saying he still won’t ink a deal with the Texas organization, because they do need help on offense.

Personally, I think they need to make a statement.

Cruz made a mistake by not appealing his PED use suspension in my view. It likely cost the squad a chance for the playoffs, plus it saddled the team with the Alex Rios contract for 2014.  The franchise should walk away from this guy just for that reason alone.  Lest we also forget this guy is injury prone, and has spurts of hot and cold play.  With a plethora of RHB - and young talent , it should be 4th and 40 time for Cruz.

Cruz made a mistake by not appealing his PED use suspension in my view. It likely cost the squad a chance for the playoffs, plus it saddled the team with the Alex Rios contract for 2014. The franchise should walk away from this guy just for that reason alone. Lest we also forget this guy is injury prone, and has spurts of hot and cold play. With a plethora of RHB – and young talent, it should be 4th and 40 time for Cruz!

Options:

Signing Robinson Cano works on so many levels, because you could move Ian Kinsler to the OF, and the parlay the asset of Jurickson Profar or Elvis Andrus into some more organizational depth.

The mere fact Cano is Left Handed is also key to this order of events.  You place him in the 3 slot, and you still have clutch RBI guy Adrian Beltre backing him up for the next 3 years.

I would also sign Mike Napoli to a 3 year deal to play 1B/DH for your team.  The Rangers should consider themselves lucky he never put his name on the dotted line more than one year with Boston.

I am in the mindset they also resign A.J. Pierzynski, because he is the kind of tooth and nails character you need on a winning ball club.

McCann should be the second choice for the team in FA - if they can't land Cano. The 30 Year old has clubbed 20+ HRs in 7 of his 8 seasons, including smacking 20 in 2013 - in just 356 AB.  His Career 3 Slash is .277/.350/.823.  McCann could also be used as a DH by the team to maximize his AB.  Another good reason why they extended on Geovany Soto.

McCann should be the second choice for the team in FA – if they can’t land Cano. The 30 Year old has clubbed 20+ HRs in 7 of his 8 seasons, including smacking 20 in 2013 – in just 356 AB. His Career 3 Slash is .277/.350/.823. McCann could also be used as a DH by the team to maximize his AB. Another good reason why they extended on Geovany Soto.

If for some reason the don’t resign Pierzynski or Cano, then I would definitely be in the market for Brian McCann and a few other players to round out the lineup.

This team is cash rich, and because of their awesome Drafting record over the last several years, players like Martin Perez, Jurickson Profar and Martin Perez are on livable and Team Controlled contracts.

The club was also bright enough to understand the market, and traded for Alex Rios and a 2014 contract of $13 MIL and a Team Option for 2015 – with a $13.5 MIL.

Yes the team made that move to counter the Nelson Cruz suspension, but this also gave them a capable OF for essentially a 2 YR/$26.5 MIL deal in 2014 and 2015 if all goes right.

Starting Staff

Your Starting Staff includes a very team friendly long term deal for Yu Darvish, who has turned in great ace like seasons in his 1st 2 campaigns.

They have him signed until the end of the 2017 season.

Darvish has provided Texas with ace-like material ever since coming over from Japan.  At his current $10 MIL a year salary, this gives the club a bunch of financial freedom to sign other long term deals.  Darvish finished 2nd in AL CY Young Voting with a 13 - 9 record, a 2.83 ERA and a league leading 277 SO in his 209.2 IP worth of work in 2013.

Darvish has provided Texas with ace-like material ever since coming over from Japan. At his current $10 MIL a year salary, this gives the club a bunch of financial freedom to sign other long term deals. Darvish finished 2nd in AL CY Young Voting with a 13 – 9 record, a 2.83 ERA and a league leading 277 SO in his 209.2 IP worth of work in 2013.

Derek Holland is emerging as a solid #2 arm in the rotation, and he is locked up potentially until 2018.  The LHP, known widely for his great Haray Caray impersonations, featured his best ERA of his career in 2013 at 3.42 in 33 GS.

With Martin Perez asserting himself in the Rotation with the #3 slot, and potentially Matt Harrison coming back as a contributing pitcher to the Starter Staff, the 2014 Pitching Staff could be great.

Nick Tepesch will return for his sophomore – to probably take the #5 position.

Alexi Ogando also remains a Wild Card, and maybe be better suited to head back to the Relief Core, with the exiting of Joe Nathan.

Of course, the September duty that Neftali Feliz saw, was probably enough for him to join a great Bullpen that had Tanner Scheppers (1.88 ERA in 76 APP) , Neal Cotts (huge surprise at 1.11 ERA in 57 IP), Jason Frasor (2.57 ERA in 49 IP – and only costs the club $1.75 MIL In 2014), and former elite Closer Joakim Soria threw in some quality innings after recovering from Tommy John Surgery.

Soria was signed coming fresh off Tomny john Surgery in 2013.  It was a move designed with a long term goal.  With Joe Nathan leaving the ciub, Soria is among several other Bullpen arms that could assume and challenge for the Closer's Role in 2014.

Soria was signed coming fresh off Tomny john Surgery in 2013. It was a move designed with a long term goal. With Joe Nathan leaving the ciub, Soria is among several other Bullpen arms that could assume and challenge for the Closer’s Role in 2014.

When you add Robbie Ross and Joe Ortiz to the mix, then you are talking about one of the teams strong points.

The club should probably sign a #4 or #5 Starter for depth.  Maybe a guy like Joe Saunders, Chris Capuano or Scott Kazmir.

A Left Handed guy would probably be more preferred as you just don’t know what to expect with Holland.

Again, a lot of this depends on how aggressive that Daniels is as the GM.

The Rangers projected payroll is just currently at $106 MIL.  With that additional TV revenue, plus a fanbase coming through the turnstiles at over 3 Million times per year currently, you have to spend some cash on top Free Agents.

The team needs a Starting Catcher, an OF, and a DH/1B type of guy for sure.

Texas had a great 4 years stretch they have just completed, where they have reeled in 370 wins (92.5 Wins per year Average).

Usually by the time one of these runs is over, the team has to start trading everyone they have due to expense, and a lot of the guys are heading towards being over the hill.

Adrian Beltre is still not receiving enough credit for his overall play in the MLB during the last 4 years.  The 34 Year Old (elder stateman of the club) hit for a 3 Slash of .315/.380/.880 in 2013, and finished 7th in AL MVP Voting.  He led the AL with 199 hits last campaign.  In 3 seasons with Texas, the man has an OPS of ,898 - while cracking 98 HRs and 299 RBI in  441 Games Played.

Adrian Beltre is still not receiving enough credit for his overall play in the MLB during the last 4 years. The 34 Year Old (elder stateman of the club) hit for a 3 Slash of .315/.380/.880 in 2013, and finished 7th in AL MVP Voting. He led the AL with 199 hits last campaign. In 3 seasons with Texas, the man has an OPS of ,898 – while cracking 98 HRs and 299 RBI in 441 Games Played.

Texas has several of their players just still entering their prime years.  Adrian Beltre is their oldest signed offensive player in the lineup at 34 years of age.  Kinsler is 32, but he has several decent years left.

Mitch Moreland is 27 years, and is probably best served as a platoon player, but he could always head into the year as your 1B.

The club has speed with Martin (36 SB), Andrus (42 SB) and Craig Gentry (24 SB – who would continue to be a great 4th OF).

The power needs to be brought in through Free Agency.  This is where the $40 or $45 MIL should be spent.

Yes, the Rangers should be able to handle a payroll in the $140 – $150 MIL range.   Do you think the Angels are just going to sit idly by and rest on their current lineup?

The Athletics are also a brutal force in the Division, but if there is anything we know, is that they have a limit on spending, which will catch up to Billy Beane and CO. at some time frame.

Last years O’fer Free Agency Spending may have been a blessing in disguise for Jon Daniels, this time around, he has to execute – and pull in some awesome signings this winter.

If there is any team that could stand to gain by Cano coming to their team at a high price point, it is the Rangers.  With many team friendly Pitching contracts, and a lot of young offensive players that are under Team Control, Texas could offer the ALL - Star 2B in the $30 MIL a year range for the next several seasons.

If there is any team that could stand to gain by Cano coming to their team at a high price point, it is the Rangers. With many team friendly Pitching contracts, and a lot of young offensive players that are under Team Control, Texas could offer the ALL – Star 2B in the $30 MIL a year range for the next several seasons.  As a Left Handed Batter in this predominantly Right Handed lineup, it would be an incredible fit.  Better yet, is that it would open up a huge bargaining chip in Profar or Andrus, to acquire any other parts necessary for a World Series.

For all of the Rosters, Depth Charts, State of the Unions and Salaries Posts that we do, please visit our dedicated page link here.

A big thank-you goes out to Our ‘Chief WriterHunter Stokes for preparing today’s featured article.  Hunter is a Baseball Writer for MLB reports.

Hunter grew up in Lynchburg, Virginia and played baseball with Sheldon Bream (Sid Bream‘s son) at Liberty University in the NCAA.

His favorite player is Brian Wilson (how could you guess?), and he hates when people can’t think outside the box! 

His favorite expression – is ‘ this At Bat is about ten seconds away from a Toe – Tag!

You can reach Hunter on Twitter  

a hunter stokes

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Posted on November 20, 2013, in MLB Teams State Of the Unions, MLB Teams: Articles and Analysis, The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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