Sunday, December 3, 2006 , Updated 5:38 p.m., December 4, 2006
Rangers’ offseason hasn’t been exciting but it hasn’t been ruinous
UPDATE: Ken Rosenthal reports Barry Zito may get $102 million, six-year offer.
Even though I'm a big Rangers fan, I've refrained from posting anything about any speculation about whom Texas is considering signing during the offseason. Yeah, that's awesome they might get Crispus Attucks or Joe Buttfoot or Sammy Fatface. I know I'm in the minority with this thinking, just come and get me when the team does something.
But I can't hold back on this bit of speculation: The Rangers want Mike Piazza? It's nice the team wouldn't have to sacrifice a draft pick for this free agent, because Piazza wasn't offered arbitration. But this and a Barry Zito signing may (operative word) be the dumbest moves by GM Jon Daniels, someone I admire, if he is indeed the one fully behind these potential pickups. I don't think he is.
Mr. Moneyball is reportedly interested in Piazza, too. You tell me how this is a Moneyball decision?
An aside - until Mr. Moneyball wins a World Series, stop drooling over that team.
But aren't you being harsh on Mr. Moneyball? They won the division in 2006.
Yes. But they are in the AL West, so screw them. However, winning championships is what baseball is about. I haven't seen a new pennant raised in Moneyball's town since 1990. That's going on 17 years, for you A's fans who might be slow. This team wilts when it counts.
Getting back to Piazza: The talk is $5 million to $8 for two years. Wow. He is so not worth that as a DH/backup catcher.
But worth is what someone pays for.
Yeah, I know what worth is. Piazza's numbers are not worth the money numbers bandied around. Henry Blanco was cheaper and a better catcher and almost the same with the bat. Hell, give me Barajas back. At least twice the cash for nowhere near twice the improvement is not worth it.
Regarding Zito, as a friend and I were discussing: Yes, he is 28. But you have to be worried about his walks and hits going up the past few years, and him pitching frequently in a park like Ameriquest, even though he has been not that bad at Ameriquest in his career. The Rangers would also have to give up a draft pick because the A's just offered him arbitration. What's the asking price for Zito? $8 million per year, like last year? HAHAHA, and his agent is who?
Tom Hicks tells the S-T that Zito is a "high-impact player." Is he talking about how hard balls thrown from Zito fly off the bat these days?
Zito gives you innings, which is important, and which the Rangers need. He also gives you walks and homers and hits. His numbers have never indicated he is heading back toward his 2002 season, for example. They trend the other way. Call him an "innings eater" or "not bad." Just don't call him "high impact."
What scares me the most about a Zito deal (he is not horrible, of course) is the money. It's been a terrible offseason for bargains, and because the Rangers are so needful of pitching I just don't want to see them make dumb deals like they have in the past, and like Scott Boras loves to dish out. When Boras and Tom Hicks are at the table. . .
. . .working sensible demands into a Zito deal is pure fantasy.
Boras: 500 million dollars, a BMX Airmaster cartridge for the Atari 2600 (they are incredibly rare, Tom), a 60% reduction in worldwide carbon emissions by 2025, learn how to have one healthy relationship before having any more and don't belittle my craft projects before taking them on yourself and not doing any better than I would have.
On another side note, I don't think alarm bells should be going off with the loss of all the Ranger free agents so far. As T.R. Sullivan points out, the average value of the contracts for Gary Matthews, Adam Eaton, Carlos Lee and Mark DeRosa is roughly $40 million for 2007 alone. I love Gary Matthews, he was my favorite player for the past two seasons. I called him Mr. Excitement. But the value for these players for the money was not to be found in Arlington.
Besides, this team cannot win by living on a free agent diet. The Rangers need to put their farm system on steroids, uh, figuratively speaking. I am not convinced John Danks is a MLB quality pitcher yet. (That doesn't mean write him off.) I am even more convinced Thomas Diamond is not. Same with Joaquin Arias. And Jason Botts? Ugh. Eric Hurley is a possibility. I hope he pans out. But he's so young. Having worked at Baseball America before this job, one thing I learned is that people can blabbedy blah blah about prospects all day long. But for many of these guys, until they get to the Major League level and play for several years, all bets are off.
I don't want to appear alarmist and say the Rangers have gone in the tank. They haven't. And it's not as if you can't make any moves after this week's winter meetings. I still have faith in where the Rangers are headed. But that doesn't mean I don't have concern.
Update: Ken Rosenthal reports Zito may get a $102 million, six-year offer.