Good morning, Rangers fans. Not much happened in Rangerland this week, but you get your Roundup all the same. That's what hebdomadal transaction reports are for. Be sure to check in later this afternoon for part two of our position-by-position 2012 preview; today we're on First Basemen. Without further ado, let's dive into the inner-workings of the most popular baseball team in Texas.
Minor League News:
- January 3: Signed 1B Brad Nelson to a minor league contract, acquired C Brandon Snyder from Baltimore for cash considerations
Major League News:
- January 3: P Yu Darvish made his first visit to Arlington
- Much of the buzz around the Rangers this week involves Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish, who made his first trip to Texas yesterday to get a better feel for the area and organization. The Rangers have until January 17th to sign Darvish after paying a reported $51.7 million for the rights to negotiate with him (In a "Wait, really?" moment, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reports via Twitter that the New York Yankees bid a paltry $15 million for the rights). Heyman also reports Darvish will be looking for at least 5 years and around $65 million, and emphasizes that it seems like just a matter of time until the deal gets done — the team isn't going to drop upwards of 50 million on the guy and then say "Thanks, but no thanks." While some may be scratching their heads and thinking, "That's really similar to the deal CJ got with the Los Angeles Angels…why not just go with the proven commodity?" the thing to remember is that Darvish is only 25, while Wilson is 31. So there's no need to hold your breath here; Darvish will be a Ranger, and probably before the deadline.
- While the Rangers aren't completely out of the Prince Fielder Sweepstakes, the Washington Nationals seem to be the prohibitive favorite at this point. The team, like many others this offseason, is about to start a new TV deal, which translates to boatloads of cash to spend. They've got Jayson Werth as a serviceable stopgap in center field until Michael Bourn or others come on the market in coming years, a bona fide star in Ryan Zimmerman at third who benefits from having powerful lefties like Fielder in the lineup with him, and a pitching staff that includes phenom Stephen Strasburg and the recently-acquired Gio Gonzalez. With Fielder in the lineup, this team, along with their upstart NL East counterparts the Miami Marlins, could compete for a wildcard spot as early as this coming season. With talent like Bryce Harper in the minors, this is a team to watch for years to come, even if they don't sign Fielder, and it appears they draw closer to hammering out that deal every day. Again, don't count the Rangers out, but it's safe to assume the Nats will end up with the slugging first baseman.
That's about all that's going on in Rangerland this week, fans, but we'll be posting on anything noteworthy as it happens, so keep checking in at Rangers 101 to stay up to date. As a send-off, here is another lovely compilation of Yu Darvish making Japanese hitters look just terrible.
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