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Philadelphia Phillies State Of The Union For 2016

The Phillies have not had a winning season since 2011 after putting forth a decade straight of them. A promising second half to the year - coupled with full seasons by Aaron Nola and Maikel Franco could have them inch closer back to achieving that mark in the next few years. The management finally started the rebuild halfway through the year - and the financial flexibility in going forward should really be shaped up in a few more years. Philadelphia has $110 MIL in approximate Team Salary already committed for next year. I would keep the course and build through the Draft. Spending money on any premiere Free Agents is a little premature right now. In addition, the club could really trade away anything not nailed down.

The Phillies have not had a winning season since 2011 after putting forth a decade straight of them. A promising second half to the year – coupled with full seasons by Aaron Nola and Maikel Franco could have them inch closer back to achieving that mark in the next few years. The management finally started the rebuild halfway through the year, have continued it so far this winter – and the financial flexibility in going forward should really be shaped up in a few more seasons.   It may be a tough campaign in 2016 for the win loss column, however the team has a lot of young players to watch and be excited about.

Chuck Booth (Owner/Lead  Analyst) 

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I was lucky enough to watch a record 224 MLB Games live last year – spread across all 30 MLB parks in every day of the campaign last season.

Unfortunately I saw the most home games (33 Games) in Philadelphia with my brother living close by.  There is nothing wrong with Citizens Ball Park, it was the team that was tough to watch.

When you have Jeff Francouer as your #4 hitter for half of the year, there is something wrong with that. I love the guy, and Frenchy had a decent year, it just said a lot about the depth of the Roster in 2015.

At the end of the year Philadelphia’s management started to trade away Veterans from the glory days of the World Series, and you can start to see the healing begin.

The dealing continued with Ken Giles sent to Texas for a bunch of stud arms coming back. Now the Phillies are looking forward to a bunch of young talent coming to the big leagues in the next few seasons.

The old guard is still there with Ryan Howard and Carlos Ruiz holding down the Starting First Base and Catcher respectively.  Howard is an average offensive threat only now that makes $25 MIL. Read the rest of this entry

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Injuries To Pitchers Cost The Most Harm To Teams For Financial Flexibility

Zack Greinke makes $34.4 MIL per year with the Diamondbacks. It represents about 30% of their entire payroll. A lot of small market teams have laid off spending 9 figure contracts on Starting Pitchers because they are more susceptible to breaking down with long term injuries from their arms. 30 MLB Pitchers had Tommy John Surgery in 2015, and that comes with a 12 - 18 months healing period.

Zack Greinke makes $34.4 MIL per year with the Diamondbacks. It represents about 30% of their entire payroll. A lot of small market teams have laid off spending 9 figure contracts on Starting Pitchers because they are more susceptible to breaking down with long term injuries from their arms. 30 MLB Pitchers had Tommy John Surgery in 2015, and that comes with a 12 – 18 months healing period.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer) 

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Player contracts are sure to hit well over he 4 Billion Dollar mark in 2016.  While the war is waged in the trenches of General Managers offices, the MLB will tell you that there is nothing wrong with the current system in baseball in terms of parity.

After all, the Kansas City Royals just won the World Series and they were not a top 10 salaried team.  The Mets also not in the top 10, were in the Fall Classic.

Record 9 figured contracts are being doled out like Benjamin Franklin’s are going out of style.

In 2015, $579 MIL worth of cash was paid out to guys on the Disabled List, and Pitchers took 57.7% of the pie in that category.  Starters were almost worth $248 MIL – and Relief Pitchers took down the other $86 MIL of that.

$334 MIL worth of payroll is about the sum for 3 average teams.  That is a lot of dough spent to guys that only pitch 30 – 34 Starts – or produce just 4 – 70 Innings worth of work in Relief. Read the rest of this entry

Texas Rangers State Of The Union For 2016

The Rangers rose from the AL West ashes in 2015 and won their first Division Title in 4 years. It came off the heels of 2 injury riddled seasons that plagued any chance to make the playoffs. The club has about $140 MIL worth of salaries to pay in 2016 but should consider spending out another $10 - $15 MIL. They have a need for a Starting Pitcher and could use a breakout campaign from either Joey Gallo or Jurickson Profar to add depth for mid year trade to acquire a proven playoff Starter to add. The club will also hope Yu Darvish can come back at full strength. While they have 5 of the top 46 contracts of ALL - Time on their salary, 3 of them came via trade where the former team is picking up some of the dough.

The Rangers rose from the AL West ashes in 2015 and won their first Division Title in 4 years. It came off the heels of 2 injury riddled seasons that plagued any chance to make the playoffs. The club has about $140 MIL worth of salaries to pay in 2016 but should consider spending out another $10 – $15 MIL. They recently filled their need for Starting Pitching and could use a breakout campaign from either Joey Gallo or Jurickson Profar to help the cause.  The club will also hope Yu Darvish can come back at full strength.

Chuck Booth (Owner/Lead  Analyst) 

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The Rangers have done a decent job in adding depth in the last few days to the Starting Rotation.  The club has brought back fan favorite and 17 game winner for them in 2015 – Colby Lewis on a 1 Year deal worth $6 MIL.

Then John Daniels agreed to sign A.J. Griffin to the Pitching Staff even though he hasn’t pitched in the Majors of the last 2 years in recovering from Tommy John Surgery.

These are small moves in the grand scheme of things, but should help make sure that Yu Darvish can come back from his own Tommy John Surgery in his own good time.

You also have to factor that Derek Holland has faced a multitude of health issues over the last 2 years, most notably his spinal injury in 2015.  It is a good thing the club traded for Cole Hamels last year. Read the rest of this entry

Philadelphia Phillies Payroll In 2016 + Contracts Going Forward

The Phillies have not had a winning season since 2011 after putting forth a decade straight of them. A promising second half to the season - couple with full seasons by Aaron Nola and Maikel Franco could have them inch closer back to achieving that mark in the next few years. The management finally started the rebuild halfway through the year - and the financial flexibility in going forward should really be shaped up in a few more years. Philadelphia has $110 MIL in approximate Team Salary already committed for next year. I would keep the course and build through the Draft. Spending money on any premiere Free Agents is a little premature right now. In addition, the club could really trade away anything not nailed down.

The Phillies have not had a winning season since 2011 after putting forth a decade straight of them. A promising second half to the season – couple with full seasons by Aaron Nola and Maikel Franco could have them inch closer back to achieving that mark in the next few years. The management finally started the rebuild halfway through the year – and the financial flexibility in going forward should really be shaped up in a few more years. Philadelphia has $110 MIL in approximate Team Salary already committed for next year. I would keep the course and build through the Draft. Spending money on any premiere Free Agents is a little premature right now. In addition, the club could really trade away anything not nailed down for 2017.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer) 

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The Philadelphia should have a payroll of near $110 MIL after Arbitration dollars are handed out next year.  Of that money, Ryan Howard and 3 players (Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee and Chase Utley) rake in $49 MIL of the salary on players that no longer play on the club, or in Howard’s case – are very unproductive.

I love the deals the franchise has made since the Trade Deadline – and even loved some of the Veterans they have picked up for the coming year like Charlie Morton and Jeremy Hellickson.

Between the half a dozen Starters or so they have acquired through trades, and their nice young Starter in Aaron Nola, they now have a promising future in the Rotation.

Mark Appel was also acquired in the Ken Giles trade.  This is a #1 overall pick who may just need some more seasoning in the Minors.

Read the rest of this entry

Texas Rangers Payroll In 2016 + Contracts Going Forward

The Rangers rose from the AL West ashes in 2015 and won their first Division Title in 4 years. It came off the heels of 2 injury riddled seasons that plagued any chance to make the playoffs. The club has about $140 MIL worth of salaries to pay in 2016 but should consider spending out another $10 - $15 MIL. They have a need for a Starting Pitcher and could use a breakout campaign from either Joey Gallo or Jurickson Profar to add depth for mid year trade to acquire a proven playoff Starter to add. The club will also hope Yu Darvish can come back at full strength. While they have 5 of the top 46 contracts of ALL - Time on their salary, 3 of them came via trade where the former team is picking up some of the dough.

The Rangers rose from the AL West ashes in 2015 and won their first Division Title in 4 years. It came off the heels of 2 injury riddled seasons that plagued any chance to make the playoffs. The club has about $140 MIL worth of salaries to pay in 2016 but should consider spending out another $10 – $15 MIL. They have a need for a Starting Pitcher and could use a breakout campaign from either Joey Gallo or Jurickson Profar to add depth for mid year trade to acquire a proven playoff Starter. The club will also hope Yu Darvish can come back at full strength. While they have 5 of the top 46 contracts of ALL – Time on their salary, 3 of them came via trade where the former team is picking up some of the dough.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer) 

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The Texas Rangers have 5 of the top 50 MLB Contracts of ALL – Time on their roster with Prince Fielder (10th), Cole Hamels (32nd), Shin-Soo Choo (37th), Josh Hamilton (42nd) and Elvis Andrus (tied for 46th).

Yes 3 of them came over via trade after chunks were already off, and their former team is still subsidizing some of the money going forward as well, but the Rangers are still already at over $120 MIL already committed in total team salary for 2016.

We have also heard grumblings that the team will look to extend Adrian Beltre this week in order to have him finish out his potential Hall Of Fame Career in Texas.  This won’t hurt the bottom line in 2016 – but will also put some dough on the future of the teams finances should it occur. Read the rest of this entry

On The Trading Block In The NL East

The Phillies have not had a winning season since 2011 after putting forth a decade straight of them. A promising second half to the season - couple with full seasons by Aaron Nola and Maikel Franco could have them inch closer back to achieving that mark in the next few years.

The Phillies have not had a winning season since 2011 after putting forth a decade straight of them. A promising second half to the season – couple with full seasons by Aaron Nola and Maikel Franco could have them inch closer back to achieving that mark in the next few years.

Jordan Gluck (Part Owner/Featured Writer): 

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On the Trading Block NL East

Atlanta Braves: The Braves have quite a few players that they can trade and under John Hart you don’t know what direction they will go in this offseason.

Can they be in a position to compete moving into the new Sun Trust Stadium next year or is it a longer term rebuild

I think this team really isn’t 2 bad and could compete for a wild card this season with the addition of a 3B (Rio Ruiz?) and consistent starting pitching.

However it is clear their sights are not set on this season but on the future as indicated by their trade of Andrelton Simmons. Read the rest of this entry

The Best Teams In The MLB From 1980 – Now: SF Cements Their Place From 2010 – 2014 With WS Birth

The Giants won the World Series in 2010 and 2012, if they make a World Series Appearance in 2013, they could break up the best teams for the years to include the Red Sox from 2004 - 2007, the Phillies from 2008 - 2009, and then you would have to place the Giants as the best overall team from 2010 - 2014.  Can they keep up the format of winning a World Series every 2 years again next campaign?

The Giants won the World Series in 2010 and 2012, and now are in the 2014 World Series – with a great chance to win 3 titles in 5 years against Kansas City.   The best teams for the last several years include the Red Sox from 2004 – 2007, the Phillies from 2008 – 2009, and then you would have to place the Giants as the best overall team from 2010 – 2014. Can they keep up the format of winning a World Series every 2 years again this year? The Red Sox (3 Titles), plus the Giants and Cards each having 2 Fall Classics, are the only 3 teams to have multiple World Series Trophies since the 2004 year.

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner):

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There is only so much one can read in an article, otherwise I would make these lists up from the turn of the 20th century. 

If you gave me enough time as a reader, I promise to backdate this topic with another article featuring the best teams dating back further in years. 

Eventually, all of the years may be dissected and we can have a healthy debate on some of my selections.  I really started watching baseball in the early 1980’s. 

As I became older and discovered ways to research the history of the game, my knowledge and curious mind grew for more information. 

I have studied and read baseball stat books and breezed through the odd Bill James novel. 

If I ever take a break from writing or baseball park chasing, I may find some time down the road to watch the 9 part PBS documentary that Ken Burns did on baseball’s history.

Read the rest of this entry

How All Of The Texas Rangers Hitters Were Acquired (2014 Roster Tree)

The Rangers had back to back World Series Appearances in 2010 and 2011 - and have 4 straight seasons of collecting 90+ Wins - with 370 victories overall.  2014 has been an injury plagued season, robbing the club perhaps of putting forth a 5th consecutive 90 win campaign.  Despite this, the organization has done spade work to be mentioned as a top franchise over the last 5 years.  This Roster Tree proves a little of this.

The Rangers had back to back World Series Appearances in 2010 and 2011 – and have 4 straight seasons of collecting 90+ Wins – with 370 victories overall. 2014 has been an injury plagued season, robbing the club perhaps of putting forth a 5th consecutive 90 win campaign. Despite this, the organization has done spade work to be mentioned as a top franchise over the last 5 years. This Roster Tree proves a little of this.

How All Of The Rangers Hitters Were Acquired:

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner):

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The Rangers set up their franchise for years to come in 2007, when they pulled off a trade of ALL – Star Mark Teixeira – to acquire several players in the franchise that they are still seeing solid returns.

My absolute favorite transaction tree is finding out the Michael Choice branch of trades.

It dates back to the team signing Todd Van Poppel as a Free Agent before the 1998 season.

Out of all of the players the team currently has, only Leonys Martin, Mitch Moreland and Rougned Odor and Jurickson Profar are composed of team draft picks – with the latter being hurt right now,

The rest of them were picked up via another route. Read the rest of this entry

Rangers Losing Fielder For The Year May Be A Fatal Short Term Blow: But Maybe Not For The Long Term

Losing Prince Fielder for the year is somewhat catastrophic to the team, but it doesn't have to be a death sentence to the 2014 year.  The big 1B was not part of the 15 - 9 start the team put forth, before a rough 8 - 15 slide since then.  Pitching will save the day, and the organization may look to add some players that don't require a ton of assets to ascertain.  If the club has bad next month,, it could also be time to sell some players off and retool for 2015.

Losing Prince Fielder for the year is somewhat catastrophic to the team, but it doesn’t have to be a death sentence to the 2014 year. The big 1B was not part of the 15 – 9 start the team put forth, before a rough 8 – 15 slide since then. Pitching will save the day, and the organization may look to add some players that don’t require a ton of assets to ascertain. If the club has bad next month,, it could also be time to sell some players off and retool for 2015.  Fielder will have neck surgery, and when you are talking about possible spinal fusing, it is not an injury to be recovered from quickly

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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The Rangers have quite likely lost Prince Fielder for the year – with pending neck surgery.  He joins a long list of players currently on the ‘MASH’ unit.

Derek Holland, Matt Harrison, Leonys Martin, Donnie Murphy, Joseph Ortiz, Martin Perez, Joe Saunders, Tanner Scheppers, Geovany Soto, Dan Robertson Jurickson Profar, Engel Beltre, Kevin Kouzmanoff, Josh Wilson, James Adduci, Pedro Figueroa are all on the sick bay right now.

About half of them are not coming back this year potentially.

Adrian Beltre and Yu Darvish have also spent time on the DL this campaign.

The 16 players currently on the list above could virtually make up 2/3rds of the team. Read the rest of this entry

Angels State Of The Union For 2014: A Hot Start Is Paramount For Success

The Angels have spent almost a half of a billion in Free Agency over the last 3 years, and all they have to show for it, is back to back 3rd place finishes in the AL West.  The team also featured an anemic Bullpen in the 2013 campaign. But with AL West rivals all having significant injuries both to start the year and long-term for 2014, this has opened up the door for the start of campaign at least.  It is incumbent that their top guys stay injury free, and spend exactly no days on the DL, because they don't have suitable replacements to step in.  With poor starts to both of the last 2 years, this squad looks to break this trend in 2014.

The Angels have spent almost a half of a billion in Free Agency over the last 3 years, and all they have to show for it, is back to back 3rd place finishes in the AL West. The team also featured an anemic Bullpen in the 2013 campaign. But with AL West rivals all having significant injuries both to start the year and long-term for 2014, this has opened up the door for the start of the 2014 campaign at least. It is incumbent that their top guys stay injury free, and spend exactly no days on the DL, because they don’t have suitable replacements to step in. With poor starts to both of the last 2 years, this squad looks to break this trend this seasom.

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner):

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Hunter Stokes (Our chief writer) wrote a piece that was picked up by MLB Trade Rumors blogroll, stating that Jerry DiPoto has done a poor job in constructing the current team based on the roster tree here.

I agree with him 100% on this, especially on the moves, the Bullpen not being 100% finished yet, the Starting Rotation too reliant on their top 2 pitchers – and we have had several of their fans take some jabs at us for going with these notions.

The club’s brass has had a better winter in 2013 going into 2014, then they had last year, however it still doesn’t alleviate the fact, this team can’t sustain one injury to any of their top players because of said moves to deplete their depth.

The Starting Staff is composed of 60% of youth that is not used to toting long innings in Garrett Richards, Hector Santiago and Tyler Skaggs.

The team has a lot of players that will strikeout a lot, so it is also important to receive key HRs at crucial times in the game.

The club will also lose 34 HRs worth of power they received from Mark Trumbo in 2013, but it was the right time to move him.  Whether they received enough of a return is yet to be determined, but it also cut down the whiffs for 2014.

Read the rest of this entry

The Texas Rangers Organizational Depth Charts (All Affiliates) – Spring 2014 (Majors and Minors)

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner): & Jeff Kleiner (Org Depth Chart + Payroll Expert – find his website here)

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This has been the most successful run in Rangers history in the last 4 years.  2 World Series Appearances (albeit losses) – and the club has 4 straight 90+ Win Seasons.

Nolan Ryan envisioned this kind of progress when he anchored the current regime.  While he has left the nest, many of the players have been stocked up in the Minors and Majors.

The Rangers have many young players like Jurickson Profar, Leonys Martin, Martin Perez and Elvis Andrus that are entering their prime.

The greatest job done by the brass was to assemble a pitching unit of homegrown products, as this has kept the teams payroll within reason – even as some of these guys mature. Read the rest of this entry

The Top Remaining Free Agents Left In The MLB 2014 Season + The Rest

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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With the latest signings (by Baltimore) of Nelson Cruz and Ubaldo Jimenez, there is now just 3 Free Agents who come with the price tag of your 1st RD pick (or 1st available pick if you have been busy already this winter).

SS Stephen Drew is still on the open market despite several rumors about the Big Apple,  DH/1B Kendrys Morales is on the board, with teams dwindling in interest, and SP Ervin Santana rounds out the list.

Agents of these gentlemen are now threatening to hold out their players until after the MLB Amateur Draft (when the Draft Pick is no longer forfeited), in order to turn the leverage back to their guys.

I am not sure that is such a great idea, particularly in the cases of the hitters, who are not likely to warrant more than 3 year deals apiece. Read the rest of this entry

Texas Rangers Payroll in 2014 + Contracts Going Forward Part 1

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's high posting bid was not part of his salary, or converted towards the total team payroll

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’s high posting bid was not part of his salary prior to 2012, or converted towards the total team payroll.  Texas is lucky his yearly hit is so low – as the team already has $116 MIL towards the Luxury Tax Threshold before Arbitration Players are paid in the next couple of weeks.  The Rangers could still potentially sign more guys to raise this figure even more.

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner): & Jeff Kleiner (Org. Depth Chart/Payroll Expert)

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This is part 1 of our 2 part payroll piece we will do for each club.   The Rangers are entering with the heavy payroll clubs in the game of MLB.

Their salaries after Arbitration Eligibles are paid, could range anywhere from $125 – $140 MIL, and even higher if they are able to land another Free Agent Pitcher or hitter.

They have spoken loud with the checkbook.  With 370 wins over the last 4 seasons, and 4 straight 90+ win campaigns, the Rangers are hoping to cash in with the 2014 squad.

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

Yu Darvish Highlights Mature Lyrics So parental guidance is advised

By the time this offseason ends, the Rangers may have acquired the two best players for it.  Placing Choo at the top of the lineup - as the OBP machine that he ends, followed by Adrian Beltre hitting 3rd - and Prince Fielder 4th, all of a sudden the Texas Rangers are looking like their vintage "offensive" selves.  Based on this, go and pick up their World Series ODD win at +1100 (3rd favorite in the AL) anywhere you can as they should be the favorite.  Choo signed for a 7 Year Deal worth $130 MIL this winter

By the time this offseason ends, the Rangers may have acquired the two best players for it. Placing Choo at the top of the lineup – as the OBP machine that he ends, followed by Adrian Beltre hitting 3rd – and Prince Fielder 4th, all of a sudden the Texas Rangers are looking like their vintage “offensive” selves. Based on this, go and pick up their World Series ODD win at +1100 (3rd favorite in the AL) anywhere you can as they should be the favorite. Choo signed for a 7 Year Deal worth $130 MIL this winter. It is an annual average contract of $18.43 MIL, but the man will only pocket $14 MIL for his services in 2014 and 2015 as well..

Texas Rangers Payroll in 2014 – 2016

POS  Name  LG  XP  AGE 2014 2015 2016
SP1- Yu Darvish ML 0 x $10,000,000 $10,000,000 $10,000,000
SP2- Derek Holland ML 3 27 $5,400,000 $7,400,000 $10,000,000
SP3- Matt Garza ML 3 30 FA
SP4- Martin Perez ML 3 22 $750,000 $1,000,000 $2,900,000
SP5- Matt Harrison ML 6 28 $8,000,000 $13,000,000 $13,200,000
SP6- Nicholas Tepesch ML 0 25 NON-ARB2 NON-ARB3 ARB1
SPS- Alexi Ogando ML 6 30 ARB1 ARB2 ARB3
RHMR-
LHMR- Michael Kirkman ML 5 27 NON-ARB3 ARB1 ARB2
RHSU- Jason Frasor ML 5 36 $1,750,000 FA
RHSU- Tanner Scheppers ML 1 26 NON-ARB2 NON-ARB3 ARB1
RHSU- Chaz Roe ML 6 27 NON-ARB1 NON-ARB2 NON-ARB3
RHSU- Shawn Tolleson ML 1 25 NON-ARB3 ARB1 ARB2
LHSU- Robert Ross ML 2 24 NON-ARB3 ARB1 ARB2
LHSU- Joseph Ortiz ML 3 23 NON-ARB1 NON-ARB2 NON-ARB3
CL- Cory Burns ML 2 26 NON-ARB1 NON-ARB2 NON-ARB3
CL- Joakim Soria ML 3 30 $5,500,000 $7,000,000
CL- Neftali Feliz ML 5 25 ARB2 ARB3 FA
13 $21,400,000 $28,400,000 $26,100,000
POSITION PLAYERS LEV MiL AGE 2014 SALARY 2015 SALARY 2016 SALARY
C- Geovany Soto ML 7 30 $3,050,000 FA
1B- Prince Fielder ML 3 29 $24,000,000 $24,000,000 $24,000,000
2B- Jurickson Profar ML 1 20 NON-ARB2 NON-ARB3 ARB1
SS- Elvis Andrus ML 4 25 $6,750,000 $15,250,000 $15,250,000
3B- Adrian Beltre ML 4 34 $17,000,000 $18,000,000 $16,000,000
LF- Mitchell Moreland ML 4 28 ARB1 ARB2 ARB3
CF- Shin-Soo Choo ML 7 31 $14,000,000 $14,000,000 $20,000,000
RF- Alex Rios ML 5 32 $13,000,000 $13,500,000
DH- Lance Berkman ML 4 37 FA
C- J.P. Arencibia ML 4 27 $1,800,000 ARB2 ARB3
C- Robinson Chirinos ML 10 29 NON-ARB2 NON-ARB3 ARB1
1B-
3B-
UTL-
UTL-
OF- Leonys Martin ML 0 25 NON-ARB2 NON-ARB3 ARB1
OF- Engel Beltre ML 4 24 NON-ARB1 NON-ARB2 NON-ARB3
OF- Nelson Cruz ML 11 33 FA
OF- Michael Choice ML 1 24 NON-ARB1 NON-ARB2 NON-ARB3
10 $79,600,000 $84,750,000 $75,250,000
Prince Fielder was signed to a 9 YR/$214 MIL contract before the start of the 2013 season.  He is not Slugging as much as his Brewers days, however his OBP is just slightly lower in the regular season.  Fielder has a chance to have a Hall of Fame Career.  If he can bring a World Series to Detroit, he will enhance his chances.  The Big man has to step up in 2014, or the team may fail to capitalize on the World Series Caliber team they have built over the last half a dozen years.

Prince Fielder was signed to a 9 YR/$214 MIL contract before the start of the 2012 season. He is not Slugging as much as his Brewers days, however his OBP is just slightly lower in the regular season. Fielder has a chance to have a Hall of Fame Career. If he can bring a World Series to Texas, he will enhance his chances. The Big man has to step up in 2014, or the team may fail to capitalize on the World Series Caliber team they have built over the last half a dozen years.  After a few years with Detroit, that club will be on the hook to the big man for $76 MIL out of the deal, leaving Texas to pay $138 MIL over the 7 seasons he is signed with the club.

Note From Chuck Booth:

You guys are all in for a treat.  Jeff Kleiner has developed a site (prosportsrosters.comthat covers all organizational affiliates in the Minors for all of the Major League Baseball Clubs. 

We are going to combine efforts to bring you the best look at salaries, current 25 Man Player Rosters and Depth Charts for all 30 teams. 

Jeff is going to provide the documents in form of spreadsheets and I am going to accompany the posts with deep analysis of what the numbers tell us from my perspective. 

If you can’t wait for all of my assessments for each club, go and visit Jeff’s website over at http://www.prosportsrosters.com.

In Speaking with Jeff, he is one of the more passionate fans I have come across towards the game of baseball.  He spends enough time in updating his MLB Facts for it to be a Full-Time Job. 

Jeff updates this page below on a daily basis.  After you click on it….Bookmark it.  There is a 3 year salary forecast and stats not listed here on this page.  Jeff updates these pages daily and these changes include any Roster moves!

Authors for this post:

Jeff Kleiner:  “I have been a sports fan since the first Baseball game I went to at Comisky Park in Chicago in 1959, when baseball for me turned from black and white to color.

I have attended or watched thousands of games, always paying attention to statistics, rosters and salaries of all professional sports.

Luckily I had the advantage of watching WGN TV and seeing hundreds of games in the 60’s. Collecting Baseball Cards and then later dealing them gave me an extra sense of the sport, both good and bad.”

For all of your Salaries, Roster and Depth Charts for all 4 Major Sports (entire organization – Minors and Majors) click here or Follow Me on twitter 

prosportsrosters.com is the best source for following entire organizations in all 4 Major Sports

prosportsrosters.com is the best source for following entire organizations in all 4 Major Sports.

Chuck Booth – Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner and author of the Fastest 30 Ballgames:   To learn more about my  “The Fastest 30 Ballgames Book” and how to purchase it, click here .

You can also follow my Guinness Book of World Record Successful Bid to see all 30 MLB Park in 23 Days – click here

I am happy to be part of such an awesome Magazine-Style Baseball Website and am looking forward to talking to all of the fans of the MLB. 

You can reach me on Twitter here

Chuck At Arlington April.11/2012

Chuck At Arlington April.11/2012

Please e-mail me  at: mlbreports@gmail.com with any questions and feedback.   To subscribe to our website and have the Daily Reports sent directly to your inbox, click here and follow the link at the top of our homepage.

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The Best Teams In The MLB From 1980 – 2013: The Biggest Question Is, Who Owns 2004 – 2013, BOS or STL?

The Boston Red Sox started out the season 21 - 8 after their 1st 29 games in 2013.  They rolled it all the way to their 3rd WS Title in a decade - but are they the best team in the MLB during this stretch

The Boston Red Sox started out the season 21 – 8 after their 1st 29 games in 2013. They rolled it all the way to their 3rd WS Title in a decade – but are they the best team in the MLB during this stretch from 2004 – now?

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner):

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There is only so much one can read in an article, otherwise I would make these lists up from the turn of the 20th century. 

If you gave me enough time as a reader, I promise to backdate this topic with another article featuring the best teams dating back further in years. 

Eventually, all of the years may be dissected and we can have a healthy debate on some of my selections.  I really started watching baseball in the early 1980’s. 

As I became older and discovered ways to research the history of the game, my knowledge and curious mind grew for more information. 

I have studied and read baseball stat books and breezed through the odd Bill James novel. 

If I ever take a break from writing or baseball park chasing, I may find some time down the road to watch the 9 part PBS documentary that Ken Burns did on baseball’s history.

2013 Boston Dream Season – Mature Lyrics – Parental Guidance is Advised

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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

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Rangers’ Trade Deadline Possibilities

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Tuesday, July.30, 2013

Alex Rios is one option that the Rangers could go with to meet the need of a right-handed bat in their lineup. He has a .272 average and a .752 OPS in 397 at-bats for the White Sox this season to include hitting 12 HRs and having 49 RBIs. The right-handed outfielder is also very adept at stealing bases, as he has already stolen 22 bases while being caught just six times. He also play good defense in the outfield as well with only committing three errors. Rios is a right-hander, but he excels in facing left-handers with a .296 batting average and an OPS of .829.

Alex Rios is one option that the Rangers could go with to meet the need of a right-handed bat for their club. He has a .272 average and a .752 OPS in 397 at-bats for the White Sox this season to include hitting 12 HRs and having 49 RBIs. The right-handed outfielder is also very adept at stealing bases, as he has already stolen 22 bases while being caught just six times. He also play good defense in the outfield as well with only committing three errors. Rios is a right-hander, but he excels in facing left-handers with a .296 batting average and an OPS of .829. He does most of his damage in 6th inning, as indicated by him hitting .352 with 19 hits in 54 at-bats this season.

By Chris Lacey (Lead Baseball Columnist/Minority Website Owner)  

For most baseball teams that won’t make the playoffs, the Trade Deadline is a way for them to trade players away that will be impending free agents the following season.

The teams don’t see these players as a part of their long-term plans for the organization will want to get something in return rather than just allowing the player to sign with another team and they get nothing in return. 

Joe Nathan 2011 Highlights – Parental Guidance Is Advised

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30 MLB Team Power Rankings: Week 14

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Monday July.01/2013

The Bucs have won 9 straight games and now possess a record of 51 - 30.  You have to think that the club will put the nail in the coffin on its 20 year losing streak - with just needing to win 31 of their 81 games remaining.  Better yet, ESPN has them listed as a 88 Percent chance to make the playoffs for the first time since the 1992 season.  At the halfway point in the season, the Bucs have the best record in the MLB - and have reached #2 in our power rankings

The Bucs have won 9 straight games and now possess a record of 51 – 30. You have to think that the club will finally put the nail in the coffin on its 20 year losing streak – with just needing to win 31 of their 81 games remaining. Better yet, ESPN has them listed as a 88 Percent chance to make the playoffs for the first time since the 1992 season. At the halfway point in the season, the Bucs have the best record in the MLB – and have reached #2 in our power rankings.

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner):

Another Week has come and gone in the MLB.

Week Stats Ending – June.29/2013

(MLB Reports) AL Hitter Of The Week –  Jason Kipnis (CLE – He reached base 24 times in the 8 games (14 hits, 9 Walks and 1 HBP) – with 3 HRs, 6 – 2B, 9 Runs and 11 RBI.  He hit .519 for the week).

Runners up were:  Miguel Cabrera (DET – OPS of 1.583, with 4 HRs and 7 RBI), Dustin Pedroia (BOS – .560 BA, 14 hits), and Raul Ibanez (SEA – OPS of 1.455 – 3 HRs and 5 RBI.)

(MLB Reports) AL Pitcher Of The Week–  R.A. Dickey (TOR – 2 hit CG Shutout versus the Tampa Bay Rays.)

Runners up were: Koji Uehara (BOS – 3 Perfect Saves) and Joe Blanton LAA (1 – 0, with a 1.88 ERA in 2 GS). Read the rest of this entry

The Texas Pitching Staff In April

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Sunday, April.28/2013

Rookie RHP Nick Tepesch has had an impressive start to the season with 14 SO over 21 Innings Pitched.  RHP Tepesch was drafted in the 14th round by Texas in 2010 (same as Grimm) spent two years in the Minor League system, never pitching above AA Frisco. He had a career ERA of 3.77, and had only recorded one shutout in his Minor League career. Once LHP Martin Perez was set back by a hand injury, the 24 year old was finally given his chance in the Majors.

Rookie RHP Nick Tepesch has had an impressive start to the season with 14 SO over 21 Innings Pitched. The 24 Year Old man from Kansas City, Missouri was drafted in the 14th round by Texas in 2010 (same as Grimm).  After he spent two years in the Minor League system, never pitching above AA Frisco, he had a career ERA of 3.77, and had only recorded one shutout in his Minor League Career. Once LHP Martin Perez was set back by a hand injury, Tepesch was finally given his chance in the Majors.

By Brooke Robinson (Rangers Correspondent):

It’s the last weekend in April, we’re 23 games into the season, and the Texas Rangers are tied for the best record in baseball (16-7). Sounds a little bit like 2012 right?

The strange part is… they didn’t get there with the monster offense of the previous season. For about the first time since 1983- the Rangers have incredible pitching.

Tepesch’s Nearly unhittable on Apr.25/2013 Start

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Texas Rangers Payroll In 2013: Rangers Organizational Rosters + Depth Charts – (MLB + MiLB)

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Saturday, Apr.27/2013

The Texas Rangers have been the most consistent American League Franchise since Nolan Ryan took over as CEO of the club midway through 2010.  They made the World Series in 2010 and 2011 - losing to the St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco in back to back years.  The club has done a great job assembling a Minor League system full of talent - and a great amount of talent via Free Agency.

The Texas Rangers have been the most consistent American League Franchise since Nolan Ryan took over as CEO of the club midway through 2010. They made the World Series in 2010 and 2011 – losing to the St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco in back to back years. The club has done a great job assembling a Minor League system full of talent – and a great amount of talent via Free Agency.  Will the Rangers be able to finally win a World Series in the coming years?

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner): and welcome Jeff Kleiner (Salary, Roster and Depth Chart Expert for the MLB) – visit his website  here  

You guys are all in for a treat.  Jeff Kleiner recently contacted me about a partnership merge for the website.  He has developed a site (prosportsrosters.com) that covers all organizational affiliates in the Minors for all of the Major League Baseball Clubs.  We are going to combine efforts to bring you the best look at salaries, current 25 Man Player Rosters and Depth Charts for all 30 teams. 

Jeff is going to provide the documents in form of spreadsheets and I am going to accompany the posts with deep analysis of what the numbers tell us from my perspective.  If you can’t wait for all of my assessments for each club, go and visit Jeff’s website over at http://www.prosportsrosters.com.

In Speaking with Jeff, he is one of the more passionate fans I have come across towards the game of baseball.  He spends enough time in updating his MLB Facts for it to be a Full-Time Job.  So after the usual Video Clip and READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY button, you will find some serious &*!@?!#!

For a Full 3 year Salary Outlook plus last years Stats for every player in the Rangers Organization click here

2010 ALCS Highlight Video

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Texas Rangers Staff – A Preseason Pitching Analysis: State Of The Union

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Saturday, March.30/2013

Ortiz was brought up from the farm system, and although he is only 22 years old, has spent six years with the Rangers. Ortiz has had an impressive spring, and has caught the eye of fans as well as pitching coach Mike Maddux.Ortiz posted a 1.97 ERA in 24 Appearances with AAA Round Rock last season, and has officially made the big league bullpen for 2013. Lindblom was acquired in the Michael Young trade with Philadelphia during the offseason, and adds more depth to the Bullpen.

Joe Ortiz was brought up from the farm system, and although he is only 22, he has spent six years with the Rangers. Ortiz has had an impressive Spring Training – and has caught the eye of fans as well as pitching coach Mike Maddux. Ortiz posted a 1.97 ERA in 24 Appearances with AAA Round Rock last season – and has officially made the big league Bullpen this year.

By Brooke Robinson (Rangers Correspondent):

Though baseball season begins in Texas just hours away, there were many questions left for the team to answer throughout Spring Training. Who will become the fifth starter? Who will recover from surgery this season? And who will revive the Bullpen?

In the past month of training in Surprise, Arizona, some of the answers of these questions have come to light. The Rangers were plagued with injury in the latter part of the 2012 season, particularly with their pitching.

So it was no surprise that the front office brought in and up some new faces to test out this spring. Pitchers that will still be recovering at the beginning of the season include: RHP Colby Lewis, RHP Neftali Feliz, RHP Joakim Soria, and LHP Martin Perez.

Neftali Feliz hits 100 MPH!

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Texas Rangers: How They Can Regain Their A.L. Supremacy

Thursday October 11th, 2012

Jake Dal Porto:  The Texas Rangers were this year’s 2011 Boston Red Sox for the lack of a better explanation. After retaining the American League West lead and even the best record in the entire American League for the majority of the season, they hit a wall at the wrong time.

The final few days of the 2012 season for Texas was comparable to a blur. Their time from the best team in the A.L. to losing the sudden death Wild Card playoff game to the Orioles happened so fast, that it’s hard to unravel what the heck happened. But the answer is now clear thanks to some time to digest the events.

The Rangers’ wobbly pitching staff and Josh Hamilton’s woes both defensively and offensively can be deemed the two main variables in their collapse. Over the final ten games of the season, the Rangers’ staff as a whole posted a 5.83 ERA. That includes the bullpen corps as well. Texas’s starting rotation was never a dominant one per say. They had 11 different pitchers start a game due to injuries and struggles from several players. With that said, the only three pitchers the were reliable were Yu Darvish, Derek Holland, and Matt Harrison. Outside of that capable trio, the Rangers had a tough time piecing together anything consistent. Read the rest of this entry

MLB Reports Monthly Power Rankings: September 2012

Monday, September.3/2012

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer):   To say that this year has been a good year for baseball is an humongous understatement.  I thought after last years finish, that nothing was going to duplicate the experience.  Everyone forgets (or maybe not) that there should not even have been many races last year with Atlanta and Boston having such substantial leads on playoff spots.  The Red Sox and Braves collapsed like a couple of bowling pins with King Kong Bundy splashing down on them!  

This year, there are 15 teams still vying for 10 playoff spots.  So far the only probable locks are Washington for a playoff spot-and Cincinnati to probably win their division  The player races for all of the categories is almost as fascinating.  Will Andrew McCutcheon catch Melky Cabrera for the Batting title? Or will 2012 be forever cemented in baseball folklore by a stained player like Cabrera?  He could still end up determining who wins the World Series in the Fall Classic by his Testosterone filled antics in his MVP ALL-Star Game.  The big question is, will the San Francisco Giants fans cheer for him if he comes back in the playoffs?  They cheered for another league leader before when it was obvious he was guilty.  Right now if you are the Giants, you will take an opportunity to boo or cheer for Cabrera because that means you would  be in the playoffs.

Will the spending happy Dodgers have to wait another year to capitalize on their new plan to make the playoffs? If they ultimately  miss the playoffs outright, are they going to buy every player they can in the off-season?  I sure hope Magic knows that there are Luxury Tax penalties for spending over 178 Million Next Year.  1st year fine is 22.5%, 2nd year is 30%, 3rd year and beyond is 40%.  So if they plan on having a 250 Million Dollar Payroll in 2013 (by adding 2 or 3 more top Free Agents) will the Dodgers just forego the worry of any financial penalties on a yearly basis– just to dominate the whole National League (plus baseball for that matter.) Every other team has to consider the urgency in cashing out a World Series right now while the Dodgers have not had a full off season with the new management yet.  Can Oakland and their ‘New Money Ball philosophy’ make it to the playoffs for the first time since 2006? 

The Best Players over the last month were:  Buster Posey, Prince Fielder, Giancarlo Stanton, Adrian Beltre, Josh Hamilton, Yovani Gallardo, Kris Medlen, Adam Wainwright, Aroldis Chapman and Felix Hernandez.  The best teams have been Oakland, Washington, San Francisco, San Diego, Baltimore and Texas.  The worst teams have been Houston (at least its better to go down hard and stockpile #1 Draft Picks guys.)  I have a feeling you will be there for a while with the division you are heading into and may even challenge the 120 Loss Single Season Record.  At least you are not going into the NL West  to compete with the LA Dodgers!  The Cleveland Indians have fallen to an epic drop-off as well.  Toronto misses their top sluggers.  What has happened to the Minnesota Twins? The Mets have ownership and payroll problems, so at least they have an excuse.  Plus they lead the world in guys being hurt.  When David Wright has been your healthiest player, you know the season has been backwards!  So sit back, get your notebook and popcorn ready for this Month’s Rankings! Read the rest of this entry

The Best Teams from 1980-2012: Will Texas claim the title this year from 2010-2012?

Wednesday July.11, 2012

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)-  There is only so much one can read in an article, otherwise I would make these lists up from the turn of the 20th century.  If you gave me enough time as a reader, I promise to backdate this topic with another article featuring the best teams dating back further in years.  Eventually, all of the years may be dissected and we can have a healthy debate on some of my selections.  I really started watching baseball in the early 1980’s.  As I became older and discovered ways to research the history of the game, my knowledge and curious mind grew for more information.  I have studied and read baseball stat books and breezed through the odd Bill James novel.  If I ever take a break from writing or baseball park chasing, I may find some time down the road to watch the 9 part PBS documentary that Ken Burns did on baseball’s history.

Baseball lends itself more to the history than any other sport because of how it has been chronicled throughout their past.  Writers, announcers, former players, parents etc.. have always carried on with the stories of America’s favorite pastime.  I will never be sold that NFL is the greatest pastime in sports right now.  NFL is the greatest gambling sport presently.  It is my firm belief that the only reason why the NFL draws in more cash from its sport is because of the gambling factor.  If you took that aspect out of it, I believe baseball is the #1 sport.  Can you imagine how much attention we would pay to baseball if there were only a 16 game schedule?  Enough with that rant, let’s get down to the list.  Who were the best teams at any specific time period for the last 32 years?  We will start with the Philadelphia Phillies from 1980-1983. Read the rest of this entry

MLB Reports Monthly Power Rankings: July 2012

Wednesday July.4, 2012

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)-We are going to bring you monthly power rankings every month of the season.  There will be a few notes written for each team.  Please feel free to let us know your thoughts.  The Texas Rangers are the top ranked team yet once again, although teams are certainly gaining on the them in the last month. If this report was being done last week I might have put the New York Yankees in 1st and Texas in 2nd.  A 7 game winning streak help preserve another month for Texas on the leader-board.  There were superior months by Aaron Hill, Jose Bautista, Joey Votto , Jason Heyward and a new phenomenon was born with Jose Altuve.  It was a great month for the MLB.  With 20 teams within 5.5 games or less for the playoff races, we are sure to see some serious movements in the Power Rankings in the 2nd half of the season.

Standings taken before play Tuesday July.03/2012

July Power Rankings-Last Month Rank in Parenthesis

1. Texas-50-30 (1) The Rangers rode a 7 game winning streak to end up 18-8 for the last month. David Murphy, Adrian Beltre and Elvis Andrus all hit over .300 in the last 30 days.  The Rangers were able to weather a slow spurt from Josh Hamilton, in which he hit .222 with only 4 HRs for the month.  Matt Harrison has asserted himself as an ace on the staff with a 5-0 month with a 1.29 ERA, while leading the American League with 11 wins on the year.  The Rangers have 6 players going to the ALL-Star Game including 3 starters.  Yu Darvish can make a 7th if he is voted into the final roster spot with his rookie campaign of 10-5 so far.

2. NY Yankees 48-31(5)  The Yankees have ridden good pitching and a hot bat from Robinson Cano to a 19-7 record over the last month, with a 5 games lead over their competition in the AL East.  Cano hit .370 with 12 HRs and 24 RBI in the last month.  Derek Jeter is hitting .298 overall but saw his average go from .389 in April, to .283 in May to .232 in June.  He still tops a list of 4 Yankees heading to the ALL-Star Game including 23 HR homer man Curtis GrandersonPhil Hughes went 5-1 in the month with a 2.59 ERA and Ivan Nova won his 3 decisions with a miniscule 1.32 ERA.  Rafael Soriano has converted 18 out of 19 save opportunities since taking over as team closer.

3. San Francisco 45-30 (9)  The Giants went 16-11 in the month and saw a perfect game from Matt Cain, with a few other 1 hitters.  The team shutout the Dodgers 3 games in a row in a series last week.  The Giants have Pablo Sandoval, Buster Posey and Melky Cabrera starting in KC next week.  The Melkman continues to show that last year was no fluke with his .352 Average and he is leading the Major Leagues with 111 base hits.  The Giants pitching staff has coped with the loss of Brian Wilson and the ineffectiveness of starter Tim Lincecum, by the rest of the staff having career years.

4. LA Angels 45-35 (12) The Angels have been really steady since the end of May.  They just finished going 17-8 in the last 25 days on the backs of ALL-Stars Mike Trout, Mark Trumbo and resurgent Albert Pujols.  Trout might be the most exciting player on the planet these days and is a lock for AL Rookie of the Year if he keeps this up.  Trout hit .367 over the last month and has taken over the AL batting lead with a .342 AVG.  Trumbo hit 10 HRs and drove in 28 RBI for the month and Pujols hit .337. to raise his average 40 points.  C.J Wilson was good enough in June to be named as CC Sabathia‘s replacement at the ALL-Star game.

5.  Washington 45-32(9)  Mike Morse has returned to the lineup with a vengeance during the last week with a .484 average.   Super Sub Tyler Moore has also hit .415 in the last 14 games with 4 HRs and 12 RBI.  Ian Desmond had 16 Extra base hits for the month to go along with 20 RBI, while he made the ALL-Star game as a reserve.  Ryan Zimmerman awoke from a season long slump to plate 17 RBI.  Adam LaRoche still contributed 7 HRs and 15 RBI despite a paltry .191 average in June.  Stephen Strasburg is 9-3 on the year with a 2.81 ERA and a league leading 122 SO.  Gio Gonzalez is 11-3 with a 3.01 ERA.  Both Gonzalez and Strasburg made the ALL-Star squad. Read the rest of this entry

Yu Darvish to Texas: Samurai to Become a Ranger

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Sam Evans: On Monday, the Nippon Ham Fighters announced that the Texas Rangers had won the posting fee for 25 year-old pitcher Yu Darvish. The Rangers surrendered a record $51.7 million for the rights to negotiate a contract with Darvish. The Rangers are taking an expensive risk on Darvish, who should be penciled into the top of their rotation.

The Rangers now have thirty days from the signing to work out a contract with Darvish. My guess is the contract will be anywhere from four to six years at $35 to $60 million. That is a lot of money for any team to give to a prospect, but given the Rangers new TV deal, they can certainly afford it.

Over the last five years, Darvish posted a 1.72 ERA and struck out roughly one batter an inning in a league known for its pesky hitters. He quickly became a superstar in Japan, unlike any current American baseball player’s stature. He also led Japan to the 2009 WBC championship.

Yu Darvish is not only a Japanese baseball superstar, he is a pop culture icon as well.He is married to a Japanese actress (although reports indicate the couple is splitting), and he has his own blog called “Thoughts Of Yu”. Added pressure shouldn’t be a problem for Darvish because he has gotten used to it ever since cameras started following him around in high school. Realistically, Darvish shouldn’t have as much trouble with the language barrier as previous Japanese players.

Darvish is 6’5” and weighs only 185 pounds. If he were a traditional teenage prospect, then scouts would claim that he would need to “fill out his frame”. However, he is twenty-five and it’s probably too late for him to develop physically much more. Nonetheless, don’t rule it out. There are 255 Chick-Fil-A restaurants in the state of Texas, and hopefully Carlos Lee has left some wholesome American cuisine for Darvish to enjoy.

Darvish throws a four-seam fastball that sits around 94 MPH. He also throws two types of sliders, a cutter, a curve, and a shuuto. A shuuto is thrown around 90 MPH with movement that propels the ball inward on right-handed hitters. From what I have heard, Darvish is very projectable as a number two MLB starter. However, if he were to add a change-up to his repertoire, I think the Rangers could develop him into an ace. Not to mention, Yu Darvish will have the pitcher behind the greatest change-up of all-time, Greg Maddux and pitching coach, Mike Maddux, to work with throughout the season.  Also team President, Nolan Ryan, know a thing or two about pitching as well.

If Darvish struggles in 2012, it will be because of command, above other things. Japan has built a reputation for a strike zone much larger than the one in the US, and that might be hard for him to get used to. Additionally, going from playing games indoors to under the sweltering Texas sun, wouldn’t an easy transition for anyone.

The Rangers don’t have the strongest rotation compared to other teams, but they definitely have depth. Assuming that Darvish will seamlessly transition to North America, the Rangers rotation will probably include Matt Harrison, Neftali Feliz, Colby Lewis, and Derek Holland. Still, this leaves out Alexi Ogando, who was one of the Rangers brightest hurlers from last year.

The Rangers could use Ogando out of the bullpen, like they did effectively in the playoffs. Nevertheless, it would be a smarter decision if they traded one or two of their starters. With top prospect arms Neil Ramirez and Martin Perez hanging around in Triple-A, the Rangers have the depth to trade some of their arms.

A reasonable expectation for Darvish’s 2012 would be 180 IP, 3.50 ERA, and 165 IP. That is pretty impressive for a first-year player in the majors. It is questionable as to whether that is worth the 100+ million that the Rangers will likely shell out, but I believe that the Rangers front office management know what they are doing.

Even if everything doesn’t work out as planned for the Rangers with Darvish, the team is so loaded at every position that they can overcome almost any obstacle. Rangers GM Jon Daniels has led the Rangers to two straight World Series, and the Rangers believe that a Darvish acquisition would help them finally get over the hump. With the best pitching prospect ever to come out of Japan leading the way, there is no reason not to believe that the Rangers won’t finally fulfill their destiny and win it all in 2012.

***Today’s feature was prepared by our Baseball Writer, Sam Evans.  We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers.  You can also follow Sam on Twitter***

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