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
- Acquired RP Clay Rapada from Tigers for a player to be named later or cash considerations
- Acquired RP Chris Ray and Rule 5 pick RP Ben Snyder from Orioles for SP Kevin Millwood and $3MM
- Acquired 1B Mitch Hilligoss from Yankees for OF Greg Golson
- Marlon Byrd, Kevin Millwood, Hank Blalock, Andruw Jones, Omar Vizquel, Ivan Rodriguez, Jason Jennings, Eddie Guardado, Kris Benson, Joe Inglett, Greg Golson
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.