I'm already tired of waiting for the upcoming changes and am ready to see them transpire. This is another drawback of the postseason. Being out of it but forced to wait through extra baseball is getting in the way of our Hot Stove action.
T.R. Sullivan writes that while much of the focus will be on what the Rangers do to replace Josh Hamilton, should he leave, the Rangers will also have some retooling to do with the pitching staff this winter.
Richard Durrett has a couple of quotes from Ryan Dempster and Mike Napoli about their time in Texas with both saying they would like to return next season. Of the two, it seems like there's a far better chance that the Rangers would attempt to retain Napoli. I'd assume the Rangers won't have much interest in bringing back Dempster unless several other plans fall through.
Anthony Andro runs down six questions the Rangers must answer this off-season. I'm having morning links déjà vu because it feels like just yesterday I was linking a similar column after the end of last season.
Let's see how these questions were answered. At the end of the 2011 season, here are the questions the Rangers needed answers to according to Andro and many Rangers' writers:
- How do you get over the World Series loss? Answer: Surely by not doing what the Rangers did to us in September/October of 2012.
- Do the Rangers re-sign C.J. Wilson? Answer: The Rangers did not re-sign C.J. Wilson. Instead, the Rangers showed very little interest in signing Wilson--and feigned being broke for much of the off-season--so Wilson signed with the Anaheim Angels for $77.5 mil and had a fairly rough first season with his new club. The Rangers then signed Yu Darvish and ended up with a 5 WAR pitcher with Cy Young upside.
- What do you do with Neftali Feliz? Answer: Quickly into the free agency period the Rangers answered this by signing Joe Nathan and telling everyone that Feliz was joining the rotation. The Nathan part worked out far better than anyone expected but the Feliz part ended in injury as Feliz started just seven games in 2011 before going under the knife for Tommy John surgery on Aug. 1. This is now a question for 2013. When Feliz is ready will he have a spot in the rotation waiting for him or will the Rangers put him back in the bullpen?
- Is it time to lock up some players? Answer: Yes. Derek Holland and Ian Kinsler were extended early in the season. Both players then went on to have fairly disappointing 2012 seasons. Whoops.
- Who is expendable? Answer: Brandon Snyder.
Evan Grant writes about the "mess" in the middle infield. I don't know if that's exactly how I would describe the situation, however. (In fact, later today, you'll see the middle infield described much differently on this very website.)
Durrett begins a 2012 Timeline series by detailing the Rangers' early off-season work which happened mostly in the month of November 2011.
Grant broaches the subject of what to do with Michael Young in 2013.
Finally, in another Durrett series, Durrett tackles the topic of what the Rangers should offer Josh Hamilton in free agency this winter. Durrett thinks a three-year offer with a vesting fourth year might be as far as the Rangers would go.