It's the middle of January, and I can practically smell the fresh Spring Training grass. Can you?
- The Rangers and reliever Neftali Feliz avoided salary arbitration, agreeing to a one-year deal worth $4.125 million, which is pretty much in line with what he was projected to get. It's always tough to project the value of relievers, but if Feliz can be something closer to what he was in the final month or so of 2014, he'll probably provide a bit of surplus value.
- Jeff Wilson reported on Twitter yesterday that Texas made a run at a trade for Evan Gattis from Atlanta, but the Braves were asking for a package of Alex Chi-Chi Gonzalez and/or Nomar Mazara. A few of us had a spirited debate on Twitter starting with Jeff Cavanaugh in which he said, "An average defensive catcher with a bunch of pop? He's Napoli. And you're afraid to give up a coinflip player?"
Of course, I whole-heartedly disagree with the notion that Gattis is anything comparable to Mike Napoli. For starters, Napoli at least added value by drawing walks. Second, Gattis is, at best, a platoon hitter, and his catching acumen was such that Atlanta was prepared to play him... in the outfield. He's a platoon hitter without a real position, and wouldn't fill any real need for Texas, so I'm certainly glad the Rangers weren't swayed in this instance. The organization can flip prospects for more valuable assets. Cole Hamels, anyone?
- Speaking of Cole Hamels, Gerry Fraley says that the Rangers are still in pursuit of him, and that the current stumbling block is how much money Philadelphia is willing to kick into the deal. Of course, the more money they kick in, the more -- and/or higher quality -- prospects they will require from Texas in exchange. Keep staring them down, Daniels.
- Buster Olney has an article up behind the ESPN Insider paywall -- a worthwhile investment if for nothing else other than to read some good baseball opinions from guys like Olney and Keith Law -- in which he ranks the Texas lineup as the 7th best in baseball. He seems to believe, as do I, that Prince Fielder, Shin-Soo Choo, and Elvis Andrus are all due for bounce-back seasons, although I tend to believe that Elvis will see much of his value return on the defensive end rather than the offensive end. In any case, it's at least worth noting that people like myself aren't alone in having some optimism for this 2015 ball club.
- Jeff Wilson writes that the Rangers continue to search for a backup catcher to slot behind Robinson Chirinos. The options that appear to be currently on the table include Geovany Soto and Carlos Corporan.
Another interesting thing to note is that, during the debate on Twitter yesterday, it was indicated that not too many are fond of Robinson Chirinos, instead feeling that Gattis would have been a superior option at the position. It's important to note that in 2014, Gattis put up an fWAR of 2.3. Chirinos posted an fWAR of 2.4. To top it off, Chirinos came in at about $20,000 cheaper, which, while is almost nothing in the baseball world, it's certainly worth mentioning when considering that perhaps Chirinos provided a ton of excess value on the wins/$ scale.