This week I will provide my analysis on both of the Rangers’ moves this week, the signing of Yu Darvish, and the signing of Brad Hawpe. I also provided a look-ahead for the rest of the offseason. This post will be a fairly short one as I was gone all of Saturday at a church retreat.
YU DARVISH: I really like this signing, as I think Yu is a future ace, and the Rangers are getting him right at the beginning of the prime of his career at age 25. He has a career 1.99 ERA in Japan, including an ERA of 1.44 this past season. Scouts have said that he has 7 pitches, including 2-3 great ones. He has great command of his fastball, which is normally at about 93-95 mph. He also is supposed to be a hard worker with a lot of drive and determination. I think that he will be one of the top 5 pitchers in baseball in the very near future, and if he is that, then 6 years and $110 million will be a bargain.
GRADE: A, it is very hard to get aces to sign here in Texas with the hitter’s ballpark and with the heat, and so this is a great way for the Rangers to get an ace. I love this move.
BRAD HAWPE: I also like this pick-up, as Hawpe will be very good depth, and is a low-risk, high-reward addition. Brad had a rough year last year, and has really had a rough 2 years, but has been an All-Star as recently as 2009. Before having back-to-back years with batting averages of .245 and .231 and combined power numbers of 13 home runs and 63 RBI’s, Brad had really been playing well. Starting in 2006, Hawpe had averages of .293, .291, .283, and .285, and hit 20+ home runs to go along with 80+ RBIs in each of those four years. Also, the depth he gives is important in case Mitch Moreland struggles, especially coming off of his wrist injury, and also gives us the depth we need to trade Mitch for starting pitching or for a center fielder if the Rangers sign Prince Fielder.
GRADE: A-, I’m always in favor of depth-adding, low-risk, high-reward moves, just because they cost you almost nothing, and give you so many options. And if they work out well, the players can be an integral part of the team.
REMAINING RANGERS NEEDS AND OPTIONS AVAILABLE:
UTILITY INFIELDER WITH SHORTSTOP ABILITY: The most likely options here would be Edgar Renteria and Miguel Tejada. They are both veteran players, who will not get a starting job, and although neither excites me much, there just are not many options left at this position.
LEFT-HANDED RELIEF PITCHER: Mike Gonzalez is by far the most likely player to fill this role, as the Rangers have been in talks with him, and already have familiarity with him from last year. I would love to bring him back, and I think he will have a really good season next year. There really aren’t any other options at lefty. If they don’t sign a lefty, they will probably sign a righty, such as Juan Cruz, or maybe even Michael Wuertz.
PRINCE FIELDER: I wouldn’t necessarily call him a need, but there are a lot of rumors connecting him to the Rangers, and I would love to sign him. He would be a huge addition to the line-up, and would also open up the Rangers to trade Mitch Moreland for a Wade Davis type pitcher, or in a package for a Matt Garza caliber one.
Come back next week for more offseason analysis, hopefully on the signing of Prince Fielder.