Sunday, October 30, 2011

Free Agent Wish List

This week I will post my free agent wish list. I have listed the six free agents that I want the most, the reason why I want them, the contract I would be willing to give him, and whether that contract will be enough to get him.

I did not post anything on the World Series, because I am still too depressed to think about it.

1. Prince Fielder, MIL

Prince is not only one of the best hitters in baseball, but would fit perfectly into our lineup. The Rangers lineup is righty-heavy, and is only lacking a first baseman and center fielder as far as hitting goes. Mitch Moreland is an average player both offensively and defensively, and that may be all he will ever be. And you can’t go wrong with Prince Fielder, as he is an unbelievable hitter. This past season, he hit .299 with 38 home runs and 120 RBIs. The year before that, he had a down year, hitting just .261 with 32 home runs and 83 RBIs. But in 2009, he had a monster year, hitting .299 with 46 homers and 141 RBIs. He has now had an OBP of over .400 for three consecutive years, which is unheard of.

What I Would Be Willing To Give: 8 years, $225 million, $28.125 million per year
Will That Be Enough: Probably, most offers are rumored to be at 7 years and around $180 million

2. Yu Darvish, JAPAN

Darvish is probably the most talented available pitcher this off-season. He is 25 and currently pitches for the Nippon Ham Fighters in Japan. He is widely believed to be headed to the US this offseason, and the Rangers are one of the favorites to land him. Darvish has absolutely dominated Japanese hitters, with a 1.81 career ERA. In his four seasons, he has had ERAs of 1.82, 1.88, 1.73, and 1.78 in 207.2, 200.2, 182, and 202 innings pitched, respectively. He averages 9.2 strikeouts per 9 innings in his career. Scouts have said that he has as many as four plus pitches, and I would love to have him on the Rangers. He should be a true ace.

What I Would Be Willing To Give: $55 million posting fee, 5 years, $75 million, $15 million per year
Will That Be Enough: Probably, $55 million should be the top bid, and then Darvish would definitely accept 5 years, $75 million

3. CJ Wilson, TEX

CJ posted a 2.94 regular season ERA, was an All-Star, and threw 223.1 innings, but I still don’t consider him to be an ace even with those ace-like numbers. He is a great pitcher, and I would love to have him back, but his 0-3 postseason with a 5.79 ERA are not numbers that an ace would have in the playoffs. I would want to bring him back even if we get Yu Darvish, but I don’t want to give him ace money regardless of what happens with Darvish. The best-case scenario here would be to bring him back as our number 2 starter.

What I Would Be Willing To Give: 4 years, $65 million, $16.25 million per year
Will That Be Enough: Probably not, 5 years, $75 million has been rumored from some teams

4. Michael Cuddyer, MIN

Cuddyer would be a very good fit on a Rangers team that already has great hitting. Obviously, if the Rangers got Prince Fielder, which would be awesome, Cuddyer would not be considered by Texas. However, Michael plays first base and would definitely be an improvement over Moreland, and Cuddyer can also play right field if/when Nelson Cruz gets hurt. Michael made his first All-Star team this year, hitting .284 with 20 home runs and 70 RBIs. He is a very, very solid player that I would love to have. He is also known for being a great leader and is supposed to be great for a clubhouse.

What I Would Be Willing To Give: 3 years, $35 million, $11.67 million per year
Will That Be Enough: Probably, the highest offers rumored are 3 years, $30 million; only a home-town discount would make that offer not be enough

5. Ryan Madson, PHI

While the Rangers have a great closer in Neftali Feliz and a great replacement closer in Mike Adams if Feliz moves to the rotation, it would be good to get either a closer or an 8th-inning man in free agency so that Feliz can move to the rotation without the bullpen taking a major hit. And Madson fits that bill. He has been both a closer and a set-up man, but would almost surely be a closer if the Rangers were to sign him in free agency. Last year, Madson had 32 saves and a 2.37 ERA, and in 2010, as a set-up man, Madson had a 2.55 ERA. On top of regular season success, Ryan has pitched well in the postseason, with a 2.31 ERA in 35 career playoff innings on 33 appearances.

What I Would Be Willing To Give: 3 years, $25 million, $8.3 million per year
Will That Be Enough: Probably not; there are so many teams looking for closers this year, Madson will probably end up with around $10 million a year

6. Grady Sizemore, CLE

I know, he’s injury-prone, he hasn’t hit over .250 since 2008, and he strikes out way too much. But, still, on a one-year deal, Grady would be a great get, as long as you weren’t expecting the 2005-2008 form. What Grady still provides, when he is healthy, is unbelievable defense, very good speed on the basepaths, and some solid pop. And on a one-year deal, that allows him to play center next year, and then in 2013 Leonys Martin can take over, since he should be ready by then. Last year, Grady hit just .224, but he still had 10 home runs and 32 RBIs in only 71 games. Over a full season, those power numbers are about 25 homers and 80 RBIs. Those are very good power numbers to go along with his great defense.

What I Would Be Willing To Give: 1 year, $7.5 million
Will That Be Enough: Definitely, nobody will be willing to give him a multi-year deal, and the Indians just turned down a $9 million option, showing that they won’t go that high. And it doesn’t sound like anyone else will, either.

Come back next week for my free agent predictions.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

World Series Predictions

This week the Rangers won the ALCS over the Detroit Tigers 4 games to 2 (which I predicted would happen) and punched their ticket to the World Series for the second straight year. I was there Saturday night to see them clinch and will be there this weekend for the World Series. I am so pumped and can’t wait for Wednesday, when the Series starts.

Below are my predictions for both potential World Series scenarios.

Rangers vs. Cardinals:

Game 1: CJ Wilson, TEX vs. Chris Carpenter, STL in St. Louis

CARDINALS WIN – While Carpenter has only had one good start out of three so far this postseason, he still has a 3.71 postseason ERA, and had a great start in his only ever World Series appearance, going 8 scoreless innings. Also, CJ has been really struggling so far in these playoffs, with an 8.04 ERA, allowing 6 home runs, and allowing 6 earned runs in 2 of his 3 outings. He is doing this despite ending the year with a 1.21 September ERA. However, in his only World Series start last year, he allowed just 2 runs in 6 innings.

Game 2: Colby Lewis, TEX vs. Jaime Garcia, STL in St. Louis

RANGERS WIN – Colby will probably start Game 2 since it will be on the road, and he had a 3.43 road ERA this year compared to a 5.54 ERA at home. So far these playoffs he has had one great start and one bad start, totaling up to a 3.86 ERA. In his career, he has a 2.37 playoff ERA, and had a great start and picked up the win in his start in the World Series last year. Meanwhile, Jaime has struggled so far in the playoffs, with a 5.74 ERA. He didn’t get out of the 5th inning in either of his two NLCS starts, and I see those struggles continuing against this great Rangers lineup.

Game 3: Derek Holland, TEX vs. Edwin Jackson, STL in Arlington

RANGERS WIN – While Edwin Jackson has done well so far in these playoffs, I don’t think that will continue. I think the Rangers offense will get to him early and often, and get to the bullpen early in the game. Meanwhile, Holland has been awful so far in these playoffs, with a 5.27 ERA, and I think the Cards will get to the Rangers bullpen early, too. Both bullpens have been great so far in the postseason, and so I give this game to the Rangers based on the hitting edge. By the way, I think that Scott Feldman should take Holland’s spot in the rotation.

Game 4: Matt Harrison, TEX vs. Kyle Lohse, STL in Arlington

RANGERS WIN – While Harrison hasn’t gone deep into either of his two starts, he has allowed only 2 runs in 5 innings in each game, which is enough to let the Rangers shutdown bullpen win the game. Kyle Lohse, however, has been awful in the playoffs so far, with a 7.45 ERA, and 9 runs, 8 earned, in just 9.2 innings. In his 8 career playoff outings, Lohse has a 5.09 ERA.

Game 5: CJ Wilson, TEX vs. Chris Carpenter, STL in Arlington

CARDINALS WIN – Carpenter shows up big in big games, and CJ hasn’t shown that this postseason.

Game 6: Colby Lewis, TEX vs. Jaime Garcia, STL in St. Louis

RANGERS WIN – Lewis has been good on the road and in the playoffs in his career, but the major reason the Rangers win this one is because of the run support Colby should get.

Rangers win World Series 4 games to 2.

Rangers vs. Brewers:

Game 1: CJ Wilson, TEX vs. Zack Grienke, MIL in Milwaukee

RANGERS WIN – This one will probably be a very high scoring game, as CJ has an 8.04 playoff ERA and Grienke has a 6.48 playoff ERA, and both are facing prolific offenses. I think the difference here will be that CJ has World Series experience while Grienke does not.

Game 2: Colby Lewis, TEX vs. Randy Wolf, MIL in Milwaukee

RANGERS WIN – Once again, Colby will probably go in Game 2 since he has been much better on the road than at home this season. And while Colby has been good in the playoffs throughout his career, Randy Wolf has not and has an 8.10 ERA this postseason, allowing 4 home runs in 10 innings to offenses that are nowhere near as powerful as the Rangers’. Also, the Rangers bullpen is better than the Brewers, which should have a big effect in this one, as I don’t expect either starter to go deep into the game.

Game 3: Derek Holland, TEX vs. Shaun Marcum, MIL in Arlington

RANGERS WIN – While Holland has not been good in these playoffs, with a 5.27 ERA, and having no starts in which he has gone more than 5 innings, Shaun Marcum has been much worse. In two starts so far, Shaun has a 12.46 ERA, allowing 7 runs, all earned in 4.2 innings in his first start, and 5 runs, all earned in 4 innings in his second start. Also, the Brewers were 39-42 on the road during the season, and are 1-4 on the road so far in the playoffs.

Game 4: Matt Harrison, TEX vs. Yovani Gallardo, MIL in Arlington

BREWERS WIN – Gallardo has been the only good pitcher for the Brewers in the playoffs so far, with a 2.84 ERA, but even he has had a bad start, allowing 4 runs in 5 innings in his first NLCS start. Unfortunately for the Brewers, he will have to pitch Game 7 of the NLCS (if there is one), most likely making him the Game 4 starter. And while Harrison hasn’t been bad, he hasn’t been good, either.

Game 5: CJ Wilson, TEX vs. Zack Grienke, MIL in Arlington

RANGERS WIN – This should be another high scoring game, but the Rangers get the edge due to the Brewers’ road struggles and the team’s experience.

Rangers win World Series 4 games to 1.

Come back next week for more World Series coverage.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

LCS Predictions

I had a great weekend in Arlington last weekend (two Rangers playoff games plus a Cowboys game) and am about to head out for tonight’s ALCS game, followed by another one tomorrow night. It’s definitely a good time to be a Rangers fan.

This week I made my predictions for the two League Championship Series.


Rangers vs. Tigers

Game 1: CJ Wilson, TEX vs. Justin Verlander, DET in Arlington

TIGERS WIN – While neither pitcher has pitched too well so far in the playoffs, CJ with a 10.80 ERA and Verlander with a 5.00 ERA, this one should be a pitchers’ duel. However, Justin has the upper edge in this one as he is definitely the best pitcher in the American League right now. Both starters have only faced the other team once so far this year. However, if it can be a 1 or 2 run Tigers lead and Verlander gives the ball to the bullpen, the Rangers could definitely make that up, as the Tiger bullpen has been shaky so far this postseason.

Game 2: Derek Holland, TEX vs. Max Scherzer, DET in Arlington

RANGERS WIN – Derek and Max each allowed just 1 earned run in their first postseason start this year, and they both picked up the win. They also both finished the year off well. However, Derek had both a better year and a better finish to the year than Scherzer did. Also, Scherzer didn’t exactly shut the Rangers down when he faced them this year, as he allowed 9 runs, all earned, in 17 innings in his 3 starts on the year against the Rangers.

Game 3: Colby Lewis, TEX vs. Doug Fister, DET in Detroit

RANGERS WIN – While based on the pitchers’ regular seasons, it would appear as if Detroit had a huge advantage in this game, that actually is not the case. During the season, Colby had a 4.40 ERA, including a 4.66 September ERA. Meanwhile, Doug Fister had a 2.83 ERA, including a 0.53 September ERA, a month in which he went 5-0. But Doug has been awful so far in the playoffs, and in 2 games against the Yankees in the ALDS, he went a total of just 9.2 innings, allowing 7 runs, a 6.52 ERA. And in Colby’s first start, he backed up his clutch pitching in last year’s playoffs (where he went 3-0 with a 1.71 ERA in 26.1 innings), by allowing only 1 run on 1 hit in 6 innings of work.

Game 4: Matt Harrison, TEX vs. Rick Porcello, DET in Detroit

RANGERS WIN – Matt has the edge in this match-up in both the regular season and postseason stats. While Harrison had a very good regular season, with a 3.39 ERA, Porcello really, really struggled, as he posted a 4.75 ERA. Also, Rick had a bad first start of the postseason, allowing 4 runs in 6 innings, while Matt allowed 2 runs in 5 innings in his only start so far. Also, the bullpen should play an important role in this game, with Porcello not known for going deep into games, and the Rangers have an advantage in this category.

Game 5: CJ Wilson, TEX vs. Justin Verlander, DET in Detroit

TIGERS WIN – Once again, it should be a pitchers’ duel, and I could see the Rangers pulling out a close one here, but Verlander is just too good. The guy won the pitching triple crown this year and should be the MVP of the league.

Game 6: Derek Holland, TEX vs. Max Scherzer, DET in Arlington

RANGERS WIN – Derek has pitched better than Scherzer this year, and has a knack for pitching very well in big games.



Brewers vs. Cardinals

The Cardinals have not yet announced their pitching rotation, but they will be outmatched in most games. In game 1, they will be facing Zack Greinke, who has an 11-0 record and a 3.13 ERA at home this year. They will also have to face Shaun Marcum, who posted a 3.54 ERA, and Yovani Gallardo, the ace, who had a 3.52 regular season ERA, and has a 1.29 ERA so far this postseason. The Brewers also have a dynamite offense, with Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder, both MVP candidates, anchoring the lineup. Not to mention Milwaukee’s shut-down bullpen.

However, the Cardinals do have a solid rotation, with Jaime Garcia (3.56 ERA), Chris Carpenter (3.45 ERA), Kyle Lohse (3.39 ERA), and Edwin Jackson (3.79 ERA). But, they just do not have the offense or the bullpen to match up to the Brewers, and it would be very surprising to me if the Cards won this series.


Come back next week for more playoff coverage.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

End Of Season Awards

This week the Rangers defeated the Rays 3 games to 1 in the ALDS. They will play either the Yankees or the Tigers in the ALCS, and I think they match up well with both teams. I will make my predictions once I know which team they will face.

This week I will do my end-of-season awards for the AL, NL, and Rangers.


MVP: Michael Young, TEX (.338 AVG, 11 HR, 106 RBI) – Michael led the Rangers in batting average, and was second in the AL in that category. And while he didn’t have many home runs, he still got over 100 RBIs.
Runner-up: Adrian Beltre, TEX (.296 AVG, 32 HR, 105 RBI)

Cy Young: CJ Wilson, TEX (16-7, 2.94 ERA, 206 K) – CJ led the team in ERA, strikeouts, and tied for the team lead in wins. He obviously deserved this one.
Runner-up: Derek Holland, TEX (16-5, 3.95 ERA, 162 K)

Rookie of the Year: Craig Gentry, TEX (.271 AVG, 1 HR, 13 RBI) – Craig played well, as he stole 18 bases on 18 attempts, played great defense, and had a respectable batting average. But, he won this award because of weak competition. The runner-up had 8 at-bats on the year.
Runner-up: Leonys Martin, TEX (.375 AVG, 0 HR, 0 RBI)


MVP: Justin Verlander, DET (24-5, 2.40 ERA, 250 K, 251 IP) – Verlander was amazing, and despite being a pitcher, he deserves the MVP. He had 24 wins, which is a crazy number nowadays, to go along with a league-leading 2.40 ERA, and 250 strikeouts in an astounding 251 innings pitched.
Runner-up: Miguel Cabrera, DET (.344 AVG, 30 HR, 105 RBI)

Cy Young: Justin Verlander, DET (24-5, 2.40 ERA, 250 K, 251 IP) – If he won my MVP, he obviously is going to win the Cy Young. He won the pitching triple crown.
Runner-up: Jered Weaver, LAA (18-8, 2.41 ERA, 198 K)

Rookie of the Year: Jeremy Hellickson, TB (13-10, 2.95 ERA, 117 K) – Hellickson had an ERA in the 2.00s on a playoff team in his rookie year. That is just unbelievable.
Runner-up: Mark Trumbo, LAA (.254 AVG, 29 HR, 87 RBI)

Manager of the Year: Joe Madden, TB (91-71, wild card) – Joe brought a team back from the largest September deficit ever for a playoff team. This one is a no-brainer.
Runner-up: Jim Leyland, DET (95-67, AL Central Champs)


MVP: Ryan Braun, MIL (.332 AVG, 33 HR, 111 RBI, 33 SB) – Braun’s stats might not be quite as good as Matt Kemp’s, but the difference is that while Braun is on a playoff team, Kemp was on a 3rd-place team. Braun hit over .330, and was a 30-30 man this year. He had an amazing year.
Runner-up: Matt Kemp, LAD (.324 AVG, 39 HR, 126 RBI, 40 SB)

Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw, LAD (21-5, 2.28 ERA, 248 K) – Kershaw won the pitching triple crown in the National League, so there is no way you can pick against him. He had 21 wins, the best ERA in the major leagues, and almost 250 strikeouts.
Runner-up: Ian Kennedy, ARI (21-4, 2.88 ERA, 198 K)

Rookie of the Year: Craig Kimbrel, ATL (46 SV, 2.10 ERA, 127 K) – Despite a late-season collapse by Kimbrel, he still had an incredible season. He set the rookie saves record with 46, had an ERA just above 2.00, and had a crazy 127 strikeouts in just 77 innings pitched.
Runner-up: Josh Collmenter, ARI (10-10, 3.38 ERA, 100 K)

Manager of the Year: Kirk Gibson, ARI (94-68, NL West Champs) – Gibson manages a team that was projected to finish in last place this year, after finishing in the cellar of the division last year, and made them into the runaway NL West Champions. He definitely deserved to be the NL Manager of the Year.
Runner-up: Tony La Russa, STL (90-72, wild card)

Come back next week for my ALCS and NLCS series predictions.