So what if the Rangers end up doing nothing…

So we know that Rangers owner Tom Hicks is trying to decide between two proposals from groups trying to buy the club.

On one side is Pittsburgh sports attorney Chuck Greenberg, whose group includes Nolan Ryan. On the other side is Dennis Gilbert, the former players’ agent who now works for the Chicago White Sox. His group does not include Ryan.

A decision is due in the next week or two but the whole situation will probably not be resolved in time to have a significant impact on the Rangers off-season plans. Instead they will have to forge ahead in a limited financial position trying to be as creative as possible.

chris-davis.jpgThe Rangers had a payroll of $68-70 million in 2009. They shed about $30 million of that with the departure of Vicente Padilla, Hank Blalock, Marlon Byrd, Frank Catalanotto, Joaquin Benoit and others. But they’ll have to target about $16 million of those savings towards raises for players already on the club: Josh Hamilton, C.J. Wilson, Scott Feldman, Ian Kinsler and others.

That leaves a difference of about $14 million but it’s doubtful that all of that will be available. The Rangers payroll is likely to go down, at least until the ownership situation is resolved.

So what if the Rangers do nothing this winter? Absolutely nothing?

“We’d still be contenders,” Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said.

So what would such a roster look like?

Here is one opinion

Starting rotation: Kevin Millwood and Scott Feldman for certain. Then comes Derek Holland, Tommy Hunter and Matt Harrison. C.J. Wilson and Neftali Feliz stay in the bullpen.

Bullpen: Frank Francisco remains the closer. Wilson, Feliz and Darren O’Day are the setup relievers. Brandon McCarthy and Dustin Nippert are the middle relievers. That leaves one more spot in a seven-man bullpen that could go to either Doug Mathis, Willie Eyre or Warner Madrigal.

Guillermo Moscoso and Luis Mendoza start at Oklahoma City. Pedro Strop is the closer there. If the Rangers decide they need a second left-hander, they could either flip-flop McCarthy and Harrison. Or they could go with Michael Kirkman or Zach Phillips.

Catcher: Obviously the Rangers stay with Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Taylor Teagarden. Max Ramirez and Kevin Richardson are in reserve in case something happens to Saltalamacchia’s shoulder.

Infield: This is easy: Chris Davis at first, Ian Kinsler at second, Elvis Andrus at short and Michael Young at third. Look, no matter what the Rangers do, Chris Davis is huge. Huge. The Rangers need much out of him.

They also need a utility infielder. Esteban German is still with the club but is not considered a viable alternative at shortstop. Joaquin Arias is if his shoulder is healthy. That has been a dubious proposition the past few years but the Rangers are getting good reports this winter from the Dominican Republic.

Outfield: The Rangers go with Julio Borbon in center, Nelson Cruz and Josh Hamilton in the corners and David Murphy is the designated hitter. Craig Gentry would be the fourth outfielder.

Plus one more: The last spot on the bench needs to be the right-handed bat. Justin Smoak, a switch-hitter, is one possibility but he needs to play every day in Triple A. Chad Tracy might be the best fit as a possible platoon partner for Murphy and Davis.

In a perfect world, the Rangers get Vladimir Guerrero, Ben Sheets or Rich Harden, Ivan Rodriguez, Bobby Crosby and Mike Gonzalez.

If they were the Yankees: Jason Bay, John Lackey, Bengie Molina.

But they aren’t the Yankees. We knew that.


Truth is, I’ve got no problem with the above. spending just to spend is ill advised. That said, It seems that around $10 mil guaranteed could potentially land Vlad, D. Oliver, and a reliable utility guy. That still shaves $4 mil or so off last years payroll.

Probably the only way to free up $ for a Harden/Sheets low base w/incentives is to have a deal in place for Millwood, which I’d be good with. So essentially you swap gambles, a potential workhorse year from Millwood vs a potential ace performance from Harden/Sheets. Worth probing, in my view.

I’d like to get Sheets, but aside from that, this team looks pretty good on paper (and healthy). I would love to see Murphy get some more playing time – which this proposed line up would give him.

I can’t help but believe that if the team does little, it will be a repeat of last season – a competitive team which just can’t keep pace with the Angels. And even if the team were to reach the playoffs as the wildcard, it would get smoked in the playoffs.

However, maybe doing little (or taking small risks on guys like Harden/Sheets) is the best long-term option for the team.

It’s obvious that the team will not spend money on top-tier FAs, and IMO there really isn’t a TORP out there willing to come to Texas aside from the two injured guys metioned earlier. I say this believing that Jon Lackey is not a true TORP, and will never be worth what he’ll get paid this winter. A trade for a TORP will likely require giving up a guy like Feliz or Perez as part of a LARGE package, and I couldn’t support that. Adding a proven RH hitter would be nice, but it needs to be something better than a broken down Vlad.

As frustrating as it is to continue to wait, it seems we have few viable alternatives…

“WE AREN”T THE YANKEES.” 27 World Series Titles to our zero. You bet we aren’t the Yankees and it just isn’t about the money. The Yankees want to win, they expect to win, they do everything within their power to try to win. Not so much here, our “owner” is more pre-occupied with whatever his goals are. I am sure the Rangers Marketing team will be so glad to get rid of Hicks if in fact that is what happens. He can’t even decide if he wants to sell the team. “It has never been my goal to sell the team.” So are Gilbert and/or Greenberg going to be the majority owners or are they just going to purchase 49%? If Hicks completely divests himself and or sells out, i am buying season tickets period end of story.

I am so sick of seeing David Murphy projected as a fourth outfielder or DH. He has played in the majors now for 2 complete years and two partial years and has only had five errors in al that time. Also, last year he had the same amount of assists (as wonderboy Byrd). He was honored
as the TOPPS rookie of the year last year and there was a mention of it in a column. This year Andrus was named to the team and it has been posted on the ranger website for over a week. As I have mentioned before I would hate to lose David on our team but I think he would be a starter someelse/ The way he has been treated and used by Ron Washington does not help his career.

“David Murphy projected as a fourth outfielder or DH.”

I’m curious about this also. I’ve never understood the knock on his defense. He’s quick, got a strong arm, and makes good decisions. His offense went through a dismal slump at the begining of the year and warrented some time on the bench or even a trip to OKC. But if it’s his bat that keeps him out of lf, then why dh?

Truth is…I too have almost no problem with the situation as it is. Sure would like Sheets but not at the cost that one of our front 5 goes to relief. I’d like Pudge back…I think there must be a utility infielder available if German isn’t around. I’m not convinced by Gentry but overall those are the hosses who took us to a winning season. What are we waiting for “lets play ball!”

David Murphy: Solid Platoon vs RHP:
Category…………………… OBP …..SLG….. AVG
vs. Righthanded Pitcher .357 …. .476 …. .279
vs. Lefthanded Pitcher .274 …. .353…. .235

‘Nough said.

Now, pick up the opposite hitter, say Cody Ross of the Marlins, who can only hit lefties, but to this tune:
vs. Lefthanded Pitcher .347 …. .612…. .284

and that PLATOON is an .850 OPS Combo pack that bats .280… an All-Star (if they can get 2 players into one all-star roster spot).

Having 4 OF’s who can all field well means we’ve got our OF and DH all set vs. RHP. It’s vs. LHP that we have only 1 OF and no DH. Smoak isn’t the answer there: he struggled against LHP. Moreland and (our) Chad Tracy are the most attractive. They mash LHP, and can play OF, 1B or DH. Tracy can even catch in a pinch, allowing our back-up C (hopefully Max Ramirez or Pudge) to be another option to DH vs. lefties.
That’s why I’d prefer Moreland or Tracy to the Kneeless Vlad.

Heck, even our brand new waivers acquisition, Voodoo Joe Inglett (who saves us a roster spot as both a 5th OF and a UIF) can platoon with Murphy to change one OF spot from a .785 OPS to an .840 OPS. Another smart pick-up by JD!

Murphy shouldn’t play againtst LHP. He’s a straight up liability against them. He’s good against righties and should be in the line-up either in the OF or at DH when they pitch. He played 128 games last season and he should play about that in 2010 unless he miraculously learns to hit lefties.

TJ, shouldn’t the Rangers be looking at Scott Posednik? He’s an amazing player and quite cheap.

Those of you who are critizing Murphy for his AB against left handers should look at Marlon Byrds stats. He OPS was only 294 against lefties and he is right handed he should hit better against lefties that a lefty. In the final two months of the season Murphy hit much better against lefties.

You’re right, txmemaw, most of the team stinks against lefties. Murphy is only part of the problem.

I found this interesting. I have a Rangers program from June, 2008, and there are just 10 players still on the 25-man roster today. That’s hardly a year and a half.

The 10: Scott Feldman, Frank Francisco, Eddie Guardado, Josh Hamilton, Ian Kinsler,
Doug Mathis David Murphy, Dustin Nippert, C. J. Wilson and Michael Young

Is this much turnover normal for clubs these days?

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