The Twelve Days of Rangers Offseason

Christmas
On the first day of the offseason, the Rangers gave to me: A J.D. presidency

Technically, Jon Daniels was promoted to president last offseason, but this offseason it is supremely more clear that he is in charge of baseball operations, particularly because…
On the second day of the offseason, the Rangers gave to me: Two old guys gone

It’s reductive to only label Nolan Ryan and Jackie Moore as “old guys”, as they are two well-respected and well-deserving baseball lifers. But the vibe from their current duties with the Rangers wasn’t a positive one, so it appeared to be a good time for them to go. However, the wisdom of the baseball lifer shouldn’t be minimized, such as…

On the third day of the offseason, the Rangers gave to me: Three Wash quotes

Ron Washington is always good for a nugget or three. His vibrant personality is one of the best things about him. Sometimes, it almost overshadows his game management decisions. He’ll probably need to ramp up the personality even more to help us all feel more at ease with how he’ll treat…

On the fourth day of the offseason, the Rangers gave to me: Four closer options

Neftali Feliz, Joakim Soria, Tanner Scheppers, and Alexi Ogando. Throw them in a hat and grab one. They could all do it, some have already done it, and all have their pros and cons. Whoever gets the job will hopefully have a busy year because of…

On the fifth day of the offseason, the Rangers gave to me: Five young starters

The Rangers’ starting rotation virtually being in place has meant that Texas hasn’t been forced to get into a free agent starting pitching market that has seen Tim Hudson and Scott Feldman get three-year deals. Signing Martin Perez to a club-friendly contract extension was the exclamation mark. Continuing to produce starting pitching from within is a trademark of successful organizations, and that has never been more true, placing an added importance on…

On the sixth day of the offseason, the Rangers gave to me: High prospect ceilings

Did you see the Baseball Prospectus Top Ten Rangers’ Prospect List? All ten of the Rangers’ top prospects have the potential to be All-Star level players. Most all of them are boom or bust players, but the potential is there for Texas’ investment in these young players to pay big dividends, another example of the strength of the franchise and their commitment to always getting better, just like…

On the seventh day of the offseason, the Rangers gave to me: Bogar’spositioning

While Jackie Moore was the bench coach, it was difficult to ascertain what his responsibilities were. With Tim Bogar as the new bench coach, it is clear that one of his duties will be to help Texas improve in its defensive positioning and efficiency, something that he has done with prior ball clubs before. His contributions should help offset…

On the eighth day of the offseason, the Rangers gave to me: Prince’s big bat swinging

In one dramatic move, Texas solved two riddles simultaneously by trading Ian Kinsler for Prince Fielder. They got better at first base and opened up a spot for Jurickson Profar. Despite a down year last year, there is reason enough to believe that Fielder will rebound to his former All-Star self. This was a move for both Texas and Detroit that makes them better right now, unlike…

On the ninth day of the offseason, the Rangers gave to me: A Choice trade fleecing

The Michael Choice-Craig Gentry swap will hurt Texas in 2014, but could produce huge gains in the future for the Rangers. Because this was intra-division with the contending A’s, it is more of a zero-sum move. It’s a big risk for Texas, but could be a big reward, just like…

On the tenth day of the offseason, the Rangers gave to me: #TheLegenddreaming

Jorge Alfaro, a.k.a. #TheLegend, tore up the Arizona Fall League to the tune of a .386/.438/.500 line in 19 games, while leading his team to the championship. He’s a catching prospect and he’s 20 years old. He also threw out 50-percent would-be basestealers and elicited all kinds of prospect reports to dream on. It’s fun to imagine dreams coming true, such as…

On the eleventh day of the offseason, the Rangers gave to me: E’erything we were wanting

Here is what Texas has accomplished this offseason, and it’s not yet Christmas:

– Improve the offense, particularly first base, left field, and designated hitter
– Get pitching healthy
– Maintain financial flexibility
– Held on to prospects and draft picks to keep the pipeline stocked
– Get fresh minds/blood into the coaching staff
– Overall kept the team competitive for 2014 while leaving the “winning window” open for years to come

The crowning achievement of doing all that was…

On the twelfth day of the offseason, the Rangers gave to me: Shin-Soo OBP-ing

Texas landed the biggest remaining free agent fish in Shin-Soo Choo to play left field and hit leadoff. In 2013, Texas left fielders had a .309 on-base percentage. Their leadoff hitters had a .336 on-base percentage. Choo’s career on-base percentage is .389. That means that for the 732 plate appearances Rangers leadoff hitters had last year, Choo’s career average would have got on base 40 more times than what Texas got from the first spot in the order.

Sure, seven years and $130 million is a lot for a 31-year old left fielder. Too much, probably. But Texas has a TV contract that begins in 2015, and Major League Baseball is flush with cash that will flow to them beyond that. The assumption here is that this is a move that wouldn’t impede Texas from future additions, when necessary, in 2014 or in the future. And if that is the case, then this isn’t a deal about getting surplus value above what Choo is paid, it’s a deal solely about getting Choo’s production on the field.

Choo could realistically be the difference between Texas being a 90-win team next year, and a 93 or 94-win team. That is worth paying for, and that is worth overpaying for.

Merry offseason to all! The Texas Rangers have blessed us, everyone.

Sing with me now, with gusto:

On the twelfth day of the offseason, the Rangers gave to me:
Shin-Soo OBP-ing
E’erything we were wanting
#TheLegend dreaming
A Choice trade fleecing
Prince’s big bat swinging
Bogar’s positioning
High prospect ceilings
Five young starters
Four closer options
Three Wash quotes
Two old guys gone
And a J.D. presidency

Dustin Copening

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