Offseason In Review: Texas Rangers

Next in our Offseason In Review series, the Rangers.

Major League Signings

  • Rich Harden, SP: one year, $7.5MM.  Includes $11MM mutual option for 2011 with a $1MM buyout.
  • Vladimir Guerrero, DH: one year, $6.5MM.  Includes $9MM mutual option for 2011 with a $1MM buyout
  • Colby Lewis, SP: two years, $5MM.  Includes $3.25MM club option for 2012 with a $250K buyout.
  • Darren Oliver, RP: one year, $3.5MM.  Includes $3.25MM club/vesting option for 2011 with a $500K buyout.
  • Total spend: $22.5MM.

Notable Minor League Signings

Trades and Claims

Notable Losses

Summary

Rangers GM Jon Daniels chose to gamble on upside this winter with the signings of Harden, Lewis, and Guerrero.  Harden could provide 150 innings of sub-3.00 ball, but he could also succumb to injuries or continue his homer-prone ways of '09.  Lewis could prove his massive success in Japan the last two years was no fluke, or his skills could be lost in translation.  Vlad could return to his 600 plate appearance/.900 OPS glory days, or he could have another injury-plagued year.

I like the strategy.  Daniels did not play it safe with the money he had available, yet his moves will not hurt the franchise long-term.  Don't forget that the Rangers have the best farm system in baseball.  Given the club option, Lewis could even be helping the Rangers affordably in 2012. 

If Vlad and Josh Hamilton are able to stay healthy, the Rangers should have a slightly above-average offense (based on CHONE projections).  Their attack looks powerful – only Elvis Andrus projects to slug under .400.  The rotation seems unpredictable.  We already discussed Harden and Lewis, while projections suggest Scott Feldman and Tommy Hunter will regress.  Options run deep, with studs like Derek Holland and Neftali Feliz in the mix, Martin Perez drawing raves, and Brandon McCarthy and Matt Harrison battling for innings.

The Rangers deserve credit for a strong offseason.  If they're in contention midseason and need another piece, no team is better-positioned to trade for a star player.


33 Responses to Offseason In Review: Texas Rangers Leave a Reply

  1. Guest 5 years ago

    how did Colby Lewis get anything more than a minor league deal…

    • tmoney352 5 years ago

      I 100% agree. I know he had success in Japan, but the fact that he’s been given the #3 spot, taking a place away from either Feliz, Holland, Harrison, or Hunter (though it looks Hunter has #4 locked up) really frustrates me. If Lewis goes out and dominates in camp then so be it, but locking him into the rotation without proving much at all in majors here in the states just seems foolish to me.

    • laxtonto 5 years ago

      He actually had 10 to 20 teams interested in 1 year MLB deals and 2 other teams offered him a 2 year deal.

      You need to look at what he did in japan. He is a much different pitcher than when he was here in the states the last time

      • Guest 5 years ago

        Japan is different.
        for example, Iwanura was a power hitter there.
        The baseballs aren’t even the same size…
        there are a lot of differences.
        (not that I did a very good job at explaining them)

      • Guest 5 years ago

        well, he has a 7+ ERA this year, so far.
        He sucks.
        Japan means nothing.

      • Guest 5 years ago

        well, he has a 7+ ERA this year, so far.
        He sucks.
        Japan means nothing.

  2. The A’s and the Rangers offered Lewis major league deals. I’m actually bullish on Lewis as his K rate in Japan was quite good (he lead the Central league in strikeouts). Strikeouts tend to translate from league to league.

  3. jpkinney7 5 years ago

    22.5 Million spent very unwisely on Harden, Guerrero, Lewis, and Oliver. At the end of the day, the Rangers probably will get about 9 millions worth of value.

    • j6takish 5 years ago

      I disagree…22.5m spent on four players, who all have amazing potential. It’s a gamble yeah, but who said baseball was a safe game?

      • start_wearing_purple 5 years ago

        I don’t think potential is the right word to use with Harden any more. We all know he’ll throw a lot of strikeouts, be somewhere between an ace and a #3 pitcher, and at some point be injured during the season.

    • Ricky Bones 5 years ago

      Oliver is a pretty safe bet. You know what to expect out of him.

    • lol they got 9 mil out of Guerrero alone dude 😐 Lewis another 9 mil or MORE, Oliver did very well as well quite sufficing for the 4 mil he earned. A very good deal indeed 😀

  4. So even if Harden gets hurt and doesnt throw one pitch he has 11 mill coming in 2011?????

    • start_wearing_purple 5 years ago

      No. It’s a mutual option, they both have to agree to pick up the option.

    • JerseyJohn32190 5 years ago

      No, it’s a mutual option. Both parties must choose to exercise it. The Rangers can use the buyout to pay him $1 Mil and be off the hook for the $11 Mil, making Harden a free agent.

  5. Allright thanks, seemed to good to be true for Harden. But why would you even put that in. isnt that just the same as a new negotiation next year? What are the odds that both parties think 11 mill is fair?

    • JerseyJohn32190 5 years ago

      Odds probably aren’t good. If he makes 25+ starts and pitches well, he’ll probably look elsewhere for more than $11 mil. If he doesn’t pitch well or is injured, the Rangers aren’t picking up that option.

  6. bjsguess 5 years ago

    I’m a huge fan of the Rangers farm system. I think they will good in ’10 – very good. However, it won’t be on the back of their FA acquisitions.

    — Oliver is great. Hard to knock the signing other than the cost. But he is good for a low 3’s ERA and possibly better.
    — Vlad is done. Wish him the absolute best but I would be surprised if he played in more than 120 games and had an OPS over 800.
    — Harden is Harden. Never know with that guy. However, his 09 campaign was extremely disappointing (injuries + mediocre performance).
    — Lewis is a total wildcard. No idea what he will do. However, at the price they paid he just needs to be a somewhat reliable 5th starter.

    Projecting between 87 and 90 wins. Battling it out with the Angels for 1st place.

  7. Cosmo3 5 years ago

    Here’s the deal with Harden: to be the really effective Harden of old, he needs to be able to throw his slider and split-finger pitch. Unfortunately, that screws up his shoulder. That’s why last year, he was mostly limited to just his fastball and change-up, and we all saw the results: an ERA over 4. When he tried to go back to throwing the slider to be more effective, he started having shoulder problems right away. That’s why the Cubs let him walk, and I’m glad they did.

    He’s in a Catch-22: he can’t throw his slider because it will mess him up, but he can’t pitch effectively without throwing his slider. I wish the guy the best and hope I’m wrong, but I think the Rangers made a big blunder by signing this guy, especially for that money.

  8. philly_red 5 years ago

    Count me among the people who are surprised that Hank Blalock still doesn’t have a job – not even a minor league deal. He finally got over the injury problems that’ve seemed to plague him for the past few years, and I think, given a full season this year, he could return to the numbers he put up back in 2003 to 2005. I don’t think he’s the kind of guy who will carry a team, but he’s a corner infielder who plays serviceable defense, and has a good bit of power.

    • wiserangerfan 5 years ago

      Blalock has turned into an all or nothing guy. His OPS has been declining steadily over the past few years. He also can’t play 3rd base anymore due to his arm/shoulder issues. I loved having him in Texas but most of us are glad to see him go.

  9. alxn 5 years ago

    Don’t know how much I like the Harden signing. With that kind of depth they can afford to take a gamble, but does Harden still have the type of upside he used to have (ace)?

    I can’t see Vlad falling off the cliff. He’s too much of a natural hitter. I would expect an improvement on last season, but not the MVP-type production he used to have.

    I think the Rangers look the best on paper in the AL West.

    • bjsguess 5 years ago

      He has already fallen off the cliff …

      2007: 150 games – 950 OPS
      2008: 143 games – 886 OPS
      2009: 100 games – 794 OPS

      That’s not the trend you want to be seeing out of your #3/#4 hitter. Honestly, Vlad should hit 6/7 in that lineup. I also would hesitate to bring in Smoak to DH if Vlad doesn’t take off.

      • alxn 5 years ago

        Not sure how you would consider that falling off the cliff. He was still a productive player. As I said, the MVP years are behind him but I don’t see any reason to see that he won’t be worth his contract. He rakes in Arlington for what it is worth.

        • Ricky Bones 5 years ago

          He’s in his upper 30’s, struggles to stay healthy, & his OPS has dropped over 150 points in the last two seasons. Yeah, that sounds like a pretty solid guy to build your lineup around.

          • alxn 5 years ago

            I don’t know how you managed to get all that from me simply saying that I don’t think he is going to fall off the cliff.

            It is a one year contract on the cheap. There is virtually no risk involved.

            His OPS has dropped yes. He used to be a perennial MVP candidate. I’ve said twice already that he will no longer be that player. That does not mean that he can’t still be productive. Just because his OPS has dropped does not mean that he sucks. It dropped from an incredibly high mark.

            I don’t know where you get this garbage about the Rangers building their line-up around him. I never said anything like that and I highly doubt the Rangers are building their line-up around an older player signed to a 1 year deal. He might hit clean-up just because he is the best option (on a team with many good options). They’re not going to keep him there all year if he isn’t cutting it. That line-up is built around Kinsler, Cruz, Hamilton, and their other promising young players.

          • Ricky Bones 5 years ago

            Traditionally, the DH is a power hitter in the heart of the order. That’s where my wacky idea of them building the lineup around him comes from.

  10. RedbirdRuffian 5 years ago

    I see the Rangers battling the A’s for last place, neither team has enough proven pitching to compete with the Angels or Mariners. Rangers may able to score some runs expecially if Hamilton stays healthy, but none of the starting pitchers aside from Harden IF healthy have shown they can shut other teams down. Bullpen is another problem, the season could go south in hurry… As everyone knows, good pitching beats good hitting…

    • CT23 5 years ago

      Are you kidding me? Do you follow the AL West at all? Yes the Rangers have some question marks but who doesnt? The Angels wont be as good as last year and the Rangers battled them down to the last month, The M’s have potentially a top 5 rotation in baseball but their offense has to improve a TON to compete. The A’s are gonna finish last period. The Rangers have waaayy too much pitching depth to not pitch well (maybe not as good as last year) and their bullpen is in question? Feliz and CJ have some of the nastiest stuff in baseball as set up men to Frankie, O’day and oliver and not to mention the pitchers that dont make the rotation (Holland, McCarthy, Harrison etc) IMO one of the best pens in aall of basebll. Their offense CANT be worse than last year either. Best farm in baseball with Perez,Smoak, Moreland, Scheppers and many many more waiting in the wings.

      Mark my words the TEXAS RANGERS will be one of the most dangerous teams in baseball for many many years startinf in 2010.

      96-66 AL WEST CHAMPS

    • CT23 5 years ago

      oops double post

  11. kevmill21 5 years ago

    i don’t get average offense, they have a ton of question marks with the starters so i question the decision to bring in more questions, ala harden and lewis.
    they had an off year last year offensively, but their lineup 1-9 is up there or above anyone in the al save the yanks, maybe rays, and probably every bit as good as the ’10 Sox.

    borbon (19 steals in 46 games, blazing speed, proto lead off hitter)
    young (michael young will be solid, i don’t have anything)
    hamilton (?)
    vlad (?)
    kinsler (30/30 potential, rather see more 08 out of him if he isn’t so pull happy)
    davis (immense power, if he doesn’t prove it right away, smoak is a top 5 prospect and would be glad to put him in now if davis doesn’t produce out of the gate)
    cruz (30 homers, batting 7th)
    catcher (teagarden/salty…meh…salty could still prove us wrong if he stays healthy)
    andrus (could have been al ROY, continues to improve with the glove and hopefully the bat, oh yea and should be good for 30 steals himself)

    i count 5 possible 25+ hr guys, 2-3 30 steal guys, some high avgs and maybe the downside is their big bats, hamilton and vlad aren’t obp guys.

    the bullpen is also not a weakness. francisco had rough games, but his total season was not bad. oliver/ODAY/feliz/wilson…couldn’t be happier

  12. Heliosphan 5 years ago

    Great offseason, I like how nobody is signed to more than a 2-year deal, and I like how they got something for Millwood (who might be useless nowadays). Should be an 87 win club, unless the rotation falls apart.

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