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Texas Rangers Have Interest in MLB Free-Agent Pitcher A.J. Burnett

The Texas Rangers have shown some interest in MLB free-agent pitcher A.J. Burnett. This being reported by Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas on Twitter.

Pittsburgh Pirates reporter Travis Sawchik of the Tribune-Review broke the news in a January 28 article that Burnett would indeed be returning to Major League Baseball.

After keeping the Pirates and the rest of the baseball world in wait for nearly the entirety of the offseason, veteran free agent A.J. Burnett has decided to pitch in 2014, a source close to the situation told the Tribune-Review.

Burnett’s decision to return does not mean he will limit himself to pitching for the Pirates, though Burnett indicated that was his preference last season. The 37-year-old Burnett led the National League in groundball rate and strikeout rate last season showing no signs of diminishing skills. The Phillies and Orioles also have reportedly expressed interest in Burnett.

Burnett could be a good fit for the Rangers who will start the season without veteran left-handed pitcher Derek Holland. Holland suffered a knee injury while playing with his dog, per multiple sources. According to the Rangers’ depth chart via the team website, Holland was slated to be the No. 2 starter.

Burnett certainly fits the mold of a pitcher wanting success at the hitter’s friendly Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. In 2013, Burnett had a 56.5 percent ground ball rate which was first in the NL , and he struck out 209 batters which was No. 10 in the MLB.

Other teams that have interest in Burnett include the Philadelphia Phillies and Baltimore Orioles, per Sawchik on Twitter.

At 37-years old, Burnett might be a liability because of age. However, the Rangers did bring in veteran Joe Nathan two seasons ago, days before his 37th birthday. A one-year deal might be enough for Burnett to fill the roll of the No. 4 or No. 5 starter if someone like Robbie Ross or Colby Lewis doesn’t rise up during spring training. If he can replicate his stats from the previous two seasons, signing Burnett will have been a smart move by general manager Jon Daniels, if he chooses to pursue the starting pitcher.

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Seattle Seahawks’ Russell Wilson Appears on Texas Rangers Baseball Card

In the middle of the 2014 NFL Super Bowl week, Seattle Seahawks’ quarterback Russell Wilson is making his way around the Internet for appearing on a Texas Rangers baseball card.

NFL on Fox tweeted a picture of the Bowman brand baseball card on January 27.

Bowman brand is part of Topps, a popular baseball card company. Topps‘ marketing manager Marc Stephens spoke as to why the company decided to run with the card which is set to release in May, per Anthony Andro of Fox Sports Southwest in his January article.

There are two reasons we decided to put him in. First he switched teams. Plus, for the same reason the Rangers picked him up, he’s an exciting story, a big story. As soon as he switched teams we wanted a prospect card of him. It seemed like a good idea considering the success he’s had. We wanted to showcase a dual-sport athlete.

Could Wilson be a big story after the Super Bowl? Rangers’ general manager Jon Daniels is rooting for the Seahawks to win in hopes the, “Super Bowl MVP walks in [to spring training] two weeks later and puts on a Rangers’ uniform.” Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas reported the quote via Twitter.

Wilson, who is 25 years of age, could see baseball as a new challenge after he conquers the NFL—winning the Super Bowl MVP would constitute as exactly that. Of course, there is no guarantee he makes the team and pans out, see Michael Jordan’s transition, but Wilson actually has some minor league experience. And looking even deeper into sport-to-sport transitions, Deion Sanders was a recent athlete who was successful in both football and baseball.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame cornerback was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the sixth round of the 1985 MLB draft, but elected to go to Florida State University. In 1988, Sanders was again drafted, this time in the 30th round by the New York Yankees. He actually made his MLB debut for the Yankees on May 31, 1989.

Sanders even thinks Wilson should seriously consider baseball as he tweeted this back in December of 2013.

Wilson was drafted in the fourth round of the 2010 MLB draft by the Colorado Rockies. He hit for a .230 and .228 batting average in two minor league seasons, respectively, before deciding to return to college with one year left of eligibility to play football for the University of Wisconsin.

Hey, maybe Daniels is onto something with Wilson and his athleticism. He’s currently listed to the Round Rock Express roster, the Rangers’ Triple-A affiliate. Nonetheless, there really is the slimmest of chances Wilson makes his way to Arlington for a full season if he really does gear up and play.

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Scouting Reports, 2014 Projections for Texas Rangers Pitchers and Catchers

It’s just about three weeks before pitchers and catchers report for the MLB spring training and scouting reports and projections have been made.

Currently, Derek Holland’s future is to be determined as he won’t return until midseason due to the rehabilitation process from surgery on an injured knee, per multiple sources. His projections will be omitted. With several free-agent pitchers left on the market, do the Rangers make a move or depend on a new candidate to help fill the void?

Free-agent names like Ubaldo Jimenez and Ervin Santana remain unsigned. With the loss of Holland and the uncertainty of who will replace him, we’ll hold off on making any projected rotations. However, a good guide to go by when looking at the possible rotation is the Rangers’ depth chart, per team website.

Going off the standard five-man rotation, Nick Tepesch looks to now gain the last spot in the rotation with Holland out. At times during the 2013 season, Tepesch flashed brilliance but ended the season with a losing record. Again, we’ll hold off on making a projected rotation, but we’ll use the depth chart as a guide.

As for the other part of the battery, there should be two primary catchers for the Rangers this season. One of those catchers that could emerge as an every day starter is J.P. Arencibia. The former Toronto Blue Jay signed an offseason deal with the Rangers and replaces A.J. Pierzynski from 2013. Arencibia hit 21 home runs last season but struggled elsewhere with a .194 batting average. However, don’t expect him to make too much noise this year as Soto is the expected starting catcher by Daniels, per Evan Grant of SportsDay DFW in a November 2013 article.

Let’s look at theses players and others as we review scouting reports and make projections for the Rangers pitchers and catchers in the 2014 MLB season.

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Ranking the Best, Worst Pre-Arbitration Deals in Recent MLB History

With negotiations between agents, All-Star players and MLB teams, the best and worse pre-arbitration deals occur during the offseason.

Curious as to what exactly arbitration is? 

In a January 2004 article by Jack McDowell of Yahoo! Sports he simplified the meaning, “Arbitration establishes a system in which salaries from top to bottom are reviewed and adjusted to mirror those of equal players.”

In other words, players that sign smaller contracts and become stars get a chance to have a contract reflect what they are worth. With the case of many young, top prospects, MLB teams have a security blanket in terms of a smaller contract. But, if a player does succeed their worth then many teams do renegotiate a contract before that player enters that arbitration period.

AP sports writer Ronald Blum highlights that “Arbitration-eligible baseball players get average 119 percent Raise” in a February 2013 article on Komo News.

Players like Clayton Kershaw and Tim Lincecum gained hefty raises before having to enter the arbitration period. And in the case of Kershaw, who was eligible for arbitration in 2014, is expected to sign a contract extension worth $215 million, via Ramona Shelburne of ESPN on Twitter. Kershaw won’t have to deal with arbitration coming up.

In comparison to both sides of Kershaw‘s deal strictly looking at MLB All-Stars, we’ll rank the best and worst deals in recent MLB history. 

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Texas Rangers’ Best Prospect at Every Position at the Start of 2015

The majority of the top prospects at each position for the Texas Rangers won’t likely make their way up to the MLB until at least 2015.

One prospect who has a chance of making the Opening Day roster, per B/R’s MLB prospects lead writer Mike Rosenbaum in his January article, is Michael Choice. Choice could see himself as a platoon player at the designated hitter spot and in the outfield.

With the injury to Derek Holland, a prospect like first-round pick Alex Gonzalez could find his way to an extended roster spot on the MLB, which would negate his prospect status for 2015. Gonzalez, however, doesn’t have history on his side when it comes to making the majors less than one year after getting drafted.

According to Matt Stamp’s April 2010 article at Examiner.comDarren Dreifort of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1994 was the last player to skip the minor leagues prior to Cincinnati Reds pitcher Mike Leake doing it in 2010.

One player that will be considered a prospect in 2015 is catcher Jorge Alfaro. Alfaro is the Rangers’ No. 1 overall prospect and should start the season in Class A.

According to Bernie Pleskoff of, Alfaro is an “elite catching prospect.” With that being said, he should most likely end the 2014 season in Class AA or even Class AAA, but with Geovany Soto and J.P. Arencibia in Arlington as catchers, Alfaro won’t make it further.

Here’s a look at all the Rangers’ top prospects who will be the best at each position in 2015.

Information was gathered from the team’s affiliated site All ETAs projected by 2013 Prospect Watch.

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Texas Rangers Options for Replacing Derek Holland Until Midseason

Texas Rangers might be weighing trade options with bringing in a starting pitcher for replacing Derek Holland who is out until midseason after he suffered a knee injury on Tuesday.

Sportswriter Anthony Andro of reported the news via Twitter.

Also per Andro, “Holland has had knee problems in the past but those were with his right knee. Tweaked in (start) in 2010 and again later that season.”

Holland is the projected No. 2 starter for the Rangers by You can see the full depth chart listed in the embedded image below also found on the Rangers’ website.

So where does this put the Rangers for the start of the 2014 season?

General manager Jon Daniels shouldn’t panic as the Rangers have a solid pitching staff. But, Holland’s health will be a big question moving forward for the team and the uncertainty might sway Daniels into making a move. What options does Daniels have?

The Rangers have Prince Fielder at first base and still have a chance to sign a free-agent bat.

Mitch Moreland could be on the trading block for the Rangers if they are looking to add another starter. Also, per staff writer Marc Topkin of The Tampa Bay Times in a November 2013 article, Moreland could be a good fit for the Tampa Bay Rays. This might mean that David Price, who was once rumored to be on the trade market per Topkin, could make his way over to Arlington.

However according to Roger Mooney of The Tampa Tribune, the Rays are considering keeping Price on the team for the upcoming season.

They are willing to listen on Price, who has two seasons until free agency, but it’s going to take a lot — in terms of young talent — to get him. Fair conclusion: They haven’t been made a good-enough offer yet.

In essence, the Rays are waiting to see if someone makes it worth their while to trade Price and take the accompanying step back team-wise.

Are Moreland and possibly other prospects enough to reel in Price? Or, do the Rangers look towards free agency?

Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka is in America looking to make the move to an MLB team per multiple reports. And via T.R. Sullivan of, the Rangers are monitoring the Tanaka situation closely.

There are also a couple of other available free agents out there in Ubaldo Jimenez and Ervin Santana, but those two pitchers wouldn’t be a good enough fit to fill in as the No. 2 starter.

If the Rangers go after a pitcher now, it will certainly be someone who can make a difference in the long run especially when Holland is healthy. Jimenez and Santana are too shaky for the Rangers to bring in, but nonetheless Daniels could still look at them as free-agent options.

With Holland’s future unclear at the moment, what do the Rangers do moving forward? For a team that was unimpressed by Matt Garza in 2013, per columnist Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News, the Rangers could strongly be looking to acquire Price for 2014 Opening Day.

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Texas Rangers Should Pursue Designated Hitter Kendrys Morales

Make no mistake about it, the Texas Rangers have a top lineup for the upcoming 2014 MLB season, but they should still pursue a designated hitter in Kendrys Morales.

The DH spot is regularly used by manager Ron Washington to give an everyday starter some time off from playing the field. And going into the 2014 season, the Rangers are planning to use a platoon at the offensive position, per columnist Drew Davison of The Fort Worth Star-Telegram in his late December article:

Daniels said the plan is to go with a platoon at designated hitter, with Mitch Moreland facing right-handers and Michael Choice or another right-handed bat against lefties. A caveat to that, Daniels said, is when manager Ron Washington uses the DH slot to give regulars a “mini” break.

Recently acquired outfielder Michael Choice has plenty of room to grow. Twenty-eight-year-old first baseman Mitch Moreland is yet to establish himself as an everyday starter. In fact, the Rangers trading for a first baseman this offseason, in Prince Fielder, exemplifies this.

Bringing in a player to fill the DH role for the Rangers wouldn’t be a bad idea either. Yes, there was the failed Lance Berkman experiment in 2013, but he was much older than the prospective Morales. Notably, Boston Red Sox power hitter David Ortiz has made a career out of the position.

Enter the switch-hitting Morales.

In November, Morales turned down the Seattle Mariners‘ qualifying offer of $14.1 million for one year, per baseball insider Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. And per Jon Morosi of Fox Sports, a team would have to surrender a draft pick by signing Morales.

In his Dec. 19 article, he highlighted that Morales could potentially be a good fit, but that the Rangers were looking elsewhere at the time:

Morales appears to be a good fit for the Rangers (DH), Athletics (DH/first base), Pirates (first base), or even Brewers (first base), but each of those teams would need to give up a first-round draft pick. And those clubs seem to have other priorities at the moment.

Two days after Morosi‘s article, Shin-Soo Choo agreed to a deal with the Rangers. And more than a week later, Morales is still available.

As the days continue to grow for Morales, who doesn’t have a new home yet, the price could drop on a new contract. He’s 30 years old and is primarily a DH. That certainly won’t make a team’s mouth water. But he has power and is a switch-hitter, which means that the Rangers wouldn’t constantly worry about playing the matchup.

That’s salivating.

Not having a guaranteed spot in the lineup could work one of two ways when platooning players. Either one player steps up or both players struggle without having a chance to get in a groove all season.

Morales could be the replacement in the lineup to former Rangers slugger Nelson Cruz. He could also find success in Texas much like Mike Napoli did, a once-tenured Los Angeles Angels player just like Morales was. Napoli hit for a batting average of .320 and 30 home runs in his first year in Arlington.

Could Morales replicate that? See if the embedded video reminds you of Napoli‘s high-flying home runs.

Morales spent six seasons with the Angels and hit 34 home runs in 2009. And in 2010, he had 11 home runs through 51 games before breaking his leg in a game-winning celebration. Morales bounced back by hitting 22 home runs in 2012 and 23 home runs with the Mariners in 2013. He also had a batting average over .270 in both of those years.

The bat is there. So what about Moreland and Choice?

As stated before, Choice is a great prospect who can make an impact in a year or so. But Moreland is excellent trade bait to lure in a starting or relief pitcher. The Pittsburgh Pirates, per Heyman on Twitter, and the Tampa Bay Rays, per staff writer Marc Topkin of The Tampa Bay Times in a November article, believe that Moreland could be a good fit for their respective teams.

If there is one thing to be learned from this offseason, it’s that Daniels is putting the Rangers in a position to be a contender for a long time. Morales should be the next target that can help them further compete, especially in October 2014. 

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New Year’s Resolutions for the Texas Rangers in 2014

2014 is almost here, and that means time for New Year’s resolutions, Texas Rangers style.

After falling short of the 2013 MLB playoffs, the Rangers have had an extremely entertaining offseason. Big splashes, including the trading of Ian Kinsler for Prince Fielder and the signing of Shin-Soo Choo, have made this offseason almost as fun as the regular season.

The Rangers fell short of expectations in 2013. As noted, they missed the playoffs, losing the regular-season tiebreaker to the Tampa Bay Rays. Clearly a huge expectation for the Rangers in 2014 is to make the playoffs, but many want a World Series.

And maybe if general manager Jon Daniels signs Masahiro Tanaka, as the Rangers are a team of interest per ESPN’s Jim Bowden, then winning the World Series could become the only expectation.

With the team at hand now, what are some resolutions to be made so that the Rangers can ultimately reach great expectations?


Get healthy

In 2013, the Rangers had 11 different starting pitchers. The pitching staff was depleted. Starter Matt Harrison lasted only two games after going out for the season with a back injury. He won 18 games in 2012.

Starter Colby Lewis didn’t see any action in 2013. Lewis spent almost a year recovering from a torn flexor tendon but needed hip surgery in August, per Fort-Worth Star Telegram.

Another starter Alexi Ogando started 18 games in 2013. But it was less than what it should have been after heading to the disabled list three separate times.

This is just a portion of the list of Rangers players that need to get and stay healthy in 2014. On the other side of the ball, Adrian Beltre needs to get healthy. Beltre was really slowed down by a hamstring injury he suffered in June against the Royals.

Beltre talked about his injury in a June article by T.R. Sullivan of

A lot of guys are playing hurt here. If the pain is something you can control, then you can kind of nurse it a little bit. Pretty sure if it was different, I wouldn’t be able to play. I’m pretty sure all the guys here are doing all the same stuff I’m doing.

So here’s to Mr. Beltre and the rest of the Rangers players with injuries. Get healthy. And to the entire team, stay healthy in 2014.


Win it for Yu

Win it for you? No, win it for Yu! Starting pitcher Yu Darvish that is. Win some games for him. Who knows, maybe he’ll win the Cy Young Award in 2014 if he gets more run support.

Darvish had an ERA of 2.83. He struck out 277 batters, which ranked first in the MLB. But he went 13-9.

What? 13-9?

Yes, Darvish went 13-9 with 277 strike outs and a 2.83 ERA. Of the nine losses, six of them were decided by two runs or less. Of those six, four were 1-0 losses.

If the Rangers got run support for Darvish in six of his nine losses, plus maybe a strong showing by the bullpen in another loss, Darvish would have been a 20-game winner.

So for 2014, score runs in Darvish starts and win it for Yu.

What are some resolutions that you have for the Rangers? Let me know in the comment section below.

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Texas Rangers Must Sign Japanese Phenom Masahiro Tanaka

The Texas Rangers must sign Japanese phenom Masahiro Tanaka for the 2014 MLB season.

It’s pretty simple: Pitching wins in the playoffs.

Meanwhile, given the big-bat signings by the Rangers this offseason, ESPN’s Buster Olney has Texas’ potential lineup ranked as “the best in baseball,” via former Rangers outfielder Gape Kapler on Twitter:

The Rangers were unsuccessful in two consecutive World Series appearances.

In 2010, the team’s hitting went cold against the San Francisco Giants‘ lethal rotation.

The Giants have won the World Series twice behind their talented pitching. Starter Tim Lincecum won back-to-back Cy Young Awards before becoming a World Series champion in 2010. He also went 4-1 in the 2010 postseason, but his performance there was outdone by ace Matt Cain.

In the 2010 postseason, Cain went 2-0 without giving up any runs over 21 innings. In the 2012 postseason, he pitched his way to a second World Series title, as did Linceum and starter Ryan Vogelsong.

How many players in the Giants lineups can you even name from the 2010 and 2012 teams?

Pitching was the key.

Sure, the St. Louis Cardinals should have lost in 2011, but starter Chris Carpenter was 4-0 that postseason. He shut down the Rangers in Game 1 and Game 7. Meanwhile, the Rangers lacked a second ace to complement arguably the franchise’s most complete lineup.

Imagine if the Rangers were able to re-sign Cliff Lee going into that season.

C.J. Wilson lost Game 1 of the 2011 World Series. In Game 2, the Rangers got it done and were able to keep the score close, thanks to Colby Lewis and company.

If Texas had a second ace, Game 1 would have been the Rangers’ first win, and Lewis would have won Game 3. Instead, starter Matt Harrison lasted less than four innings in the third game, leaving the Rangers in a 2-1 hole for the series.

The collapse from Game 6 will live forever among Rangers fans from that World Series, but Lee could have saved them earlier in the series.

However, there are some exceptions for a team automatically having a strong postseason with two aces.

The Tigers didn’t get it done with Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer. The Los Angeles Dodgers didn’t get it done with Clayton Kershaw and Zach Grienke. Adam Wainwright and the emerging Michael Wacha didn’t get it done either. The list goes on from previous years.

However, all of those teams were still World Series contenders.

The 2013 Rangers pitching staff was plagued with injuries. From Matt Harrison to Alexi Ogando, the staff found its way on the disabled list throughout the year, as the Rangers were never truly a contender.

Rangers players are coming back from injury in 2014 and, according to Roto Champ, even third projected starter Alexi Ogando will be healthy. But is Ogando really a No. 3 on a contending pitching staff? The former outfielder would only be a fifth starter or bullpen reliever on a contender.

Tanaka would add depth and create competition among the other starters to fight for that fifth spot in the rotation. Adding Tanaka strengthens the bullpen, making another current projected Texas starter move to the pen. That should be Ogando.

The most important reason as to why the Rangers need to add an ace is because they only had two starting pitcher from 2013 qualify for the ERA title, Yu Darvish and Derek Holland. They didn’t do much in terms of adding pitchers for 2014 and there’s no guarantee that everyone will stay healthy.

So why not go into a bidding war for a 25-year old phenom while already boasting the projected top lineup for 2014? He’s the best available starter who could instantly make the Rangers pitching staff miles better than if the team were to add any other free agent out there.

Rangers sports writer Jamey Newberg of the Newberg Report says that he would rather extend Darvish than throw money at Tanaka, via Twitter.

Darvish is signed through 2017. He has four more seasons with the Rangers before potentially becoming a free agent. Signing Tanaka, with Darvish and a cast of other Rangers fighting to prove their worth in the rotation, would make for a team that can win now. Let them create the chemistry with the 162-game regular season and get hot come October.

If the Rangers get Tanaka, with that lineup, they might set a record in 2015 for most regular-season wins and then move on to a World Series title. Maybe even a second title in as many years in 2015.

At the end of the day, if the Rangers want to win now, they’ll either sign Tanaka or they’ll trade for another ace. But on this day, Tanaka is the missing piece to the puzzle.

What’s better, having two aces or just one? See the video below.

It’s not complicated. “Two times is awesome.”

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How Texas Rangers Match Up Against Every Potential AL/NL Playoff Opponent

The Texas Rangers are on the cusp of the playoffs as the MLB season is reaching its end. Their potential road to the 2013 World Series would include possible series against several different AL and NL teams.

One team the Rangers could face is the Detroit Tigers. The Tigers are currently in first place of the AL Central and might match up against the Rangers if they were to win the AL West. The Rangers played the Tigers seven times this season and won four of those games.

If the Rangers were to reach their ultimate goal of a World Series, one potential matchup would be against the Pittsburgh Pirates who are a wild-card team if the playoffs were to start today. The Rangers are currently in a three-game series against the Pirates in Arlington. Andrew McCutchen leads the Pirates offense, while the pitching ERA is ranked third in the MLB.

As the Rangers continue to battle for the AL West and try to secure a playoff spot, check out some of their potential matchups on the road to the World Series.

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