Being the first to admit that, for as much as I've loved baseball over the past 4 years and change, my sports intellect is still firmly seated somewhere on the basketball front, I have some questions about the Rangers' offseason options and was hoping you guys could help me along.
For as long as I've been capable of doing so, I've considered myself to be what I like to call "anti-stupid". This means I don't typically haul of at the mouth and say things I don't have a firm grasp on. Baseball houses as many of these things as it does "sure things" for me, and chief among them is the processes that go into player acquisitions and the logic behind them. Basketball obviously offers a more user friendly approach, lacking much of the minor league pipelining and prospect talk that is much more prevalent in the baseball realm. While the minors and prospect players themselves don't need much of an explanation, there are things that do confuse me quite often. Luckily, most of these questions are based off of things that happened to us in the World Series at crucial junctures, so hopefully I can have some light shed on this stuff.
- Despite my knowledge that you can't always guarantee improvement by spending huge money (see: Basketball; Rashard Lewis), one of the things I'm wondering is why there seems to be so much apprehension towards the prospect of signing Prince Fielder. When I look back on the revolving door of players who occupied the first bag during the series, I see guys who were either responsible for, or involved in critical gaffes that, even then, had game altering consequences. I certainly can't blame Napoli for anything except being short on that botched-throw-to-blown-call during game three, but Michael Young certainly displayed his propensity for error-making during the series. Add to that Moreland's struggles and all out disappearing act at the plate (HR notwithstanding), and I become curious as to why they remain the best options for the club moving forward. I know Napoli is most easily excused from this argument due to the fact that 1st isn't his natural position, but I feel like Young's time is running shorter, and that Fielder is at least worthy of a serious glimpse. I don't fully geek out over his bat because I grew up with Rangers teams that had no shortage of those, yet still struggled mightily. Still, I have to think that a guy who owns both a .992 career fielding average and the ability to provide a lot of people with souvenirs, is somebody that might be worth a chance.
- Obviously, Fielder's chances of appearing in a Ranger's uniform would be subject to these next two questions, so with that in mind, let me ask about Yu Darvish. Not having actually heard of him until these playoffs, most of my research was actually hearsay mixed with youtube and LSB table scraps. From what I was able to learn, he seems like the type of player that teams like the Yankees will print their own money for. I feel like a lot of speculation towards Darvish is due to the uncertainty surrounding CJ Wilson, but is he a better option outright than making a play for Fielder and trading for a starter, or working with more readily available pieces. Not a lot of people bring up the fact that Japanese Pro Baseball isn't the majors, and that there's nothing in writing that says he might not simply get blasted. Couple that with the fact that what would likely be a long negotiating process likely disclosing the fact that Arlington isn't exactly a pitcher's dream house, and I wonder what the realistic situation becomes for him suiting up in Ranger Blue. None of this is to say that I haven't liked what I've seen of Darvish, but with the always prevalent uncertainty surrounding pitchers arriving in the big leagues, you at least have to consider the downside.
- Sticking with pitching, I feel like I'm not the only one who felt at once like CJ was unfairly shelled, and yet completely deserving of every shred of flak he got during the playoffs. The guy has proven that he can deal with the grind better than a lot of starters out there, and yet he does so in a fashion that places him what seems to be a notch or two below what most would consider to be an ace. That said, it seems like the consensus is that the Rangers fan base wants him back, if nothing can be said for the actual Rangers just yet. With there being a large amount of grey area as far as his FA leanings, I wanted to ask whether or not is was worth it to keep him simply to prevent "another team from having him." I know the Angels have been listed as a possible destination, and with them being in our division, would it make sense to outbid them simply to prevent him from showing up in the other dugout whenever LAA rolls through town. I don't know Los Angeles-Anaheim's cap situation, but I hesitate to say he'd have been mentioned if they couldn't make it happen.
- What in the hell are we going to do with Alexi Ogando? Aside from me having to "donate" my jersey of his to Goodwill, I can't imagine his performance resonating all that well with people who actually know what they're dealing with. Between him and Feliz, are we potentially dealing with damaged goods. I know Feliz was scrambled by his blown save in game 6, but what of Ogando's appearances having an effect on him. He provided St. Louis with absolutely crucial runs during seemingly each and every appearance, and I have to think that'd have some kind of effect on him, especially if we wind up back in the WS next year. I know there's been talk of Feliz converting to a rotation guy, but what would we do with Alexi if any of those moves are actually made during the offseason and/or spring training?