Rangers off season news and notes

by Dan M | Posted on Saturday, October 29th, 2016


The World Series is assured to last through this weekend as the
Cubs and Indians split the first two games. The winning pitchers, who
are from the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, Corey Kluber (Coppell) and Jake
Arrieta (Plano East) were brilliant. The hottest hitter so far in the
series – Ben Zobrist – also has ties to the area. He played his
senior year at Dallas Baptist University. Zobrist had five hits in
the two games.
In Tuesday’s opening game, Kluber struck out eight batters in
the first three innings and completed six shutout innings allowing
four hits and striking out nine.
Catcher Roberto Perez was the hitting star. He knocked two home
runs to drive in four. Cleveland took game one 6-0.
Arrieta was equally brilliant for the Cubs on Wednesday. He
held the Tribe hitless over the first five innings and finished the
night with one run allowed on two hits over 5-2/3rds innings to earn
the win. The Cubs staked him to an early lead with a run in the first
inning. They followed with another in the third and three more in the
Kyle Schwarber was the surprising offensive hero for the Cubs.
He went 2-4 with a pair of RBIs and scored a third run.
Lefties Mike Montgomery and Aroldis Chapman finished off the 5-1 win
after Arrieta left the game.
The Cubs in the World Series story continues to captivate fans.
Chicago effectively has a national following after being plastered all
over television on superstation WGN in the 80’s and 90’s. This is the
first trip to the Series since 1945 for the Chicagoans. They last won
the World Series in 1908. Television ratings for game one were the
highest in seven years.
Tickets on the resale market for this weekend’s games in Wrigley
Field are setting records. Asking prices for standing room tickets
are in the thousands, and quality tickets near the dugouts have
$15,000 asking prices. That’s $15,000 for one ticket to one game!
Major League Baseball’s edict is for teams to hold off on
significant announcements until the Series ends, so there is little
Ranger news to report at this point. Lucas Harrell and Shawn
Tolleson, both of whom finished the season on the 60-day disabled
list, were placed on waivers. Both cleared and have the option of
accepting or rejecting an outright assignment to Round Rock. Tolleson
has already rejected the assignment making him a free agent.
Of more note is the news that assistant general manager Thad
Levine will be named as the new general manager of the Minnesota
Twins. The official announcement is expected shortly after the end of
the World Series. This is a huge loss for Texas. Levine was one of
Daniels’ first hires when he became general manager in 2005.
Certainly Daniels has done a more than outstanding job as the Rangers
have made the playoffs five times in the last seven years, including
two trips to the World Series. However, there are some that think the
team would be better off with Levine as GM. He’s that good.
It’s a great opportunity for Levine. The Twins have a farm
system with a number of top prospects at the upper end of the farm
system. It’s a team that is positioned for quick success.
The World Series will end perhaps as early as Sunday night. In
any event, it will be over by next Wednesday, weather permitting.
That signals the start of the winter player merry-go-around. Eligible
players will start filing for free agency. Teams will make qualifying
offers. For Texas, it also signals a five day period to exercise
their 2017 option on Derek Holland. The salary is $11 million, and
the buyout if they choose not to exercise the option is $1.5 million.
It’s a close call as to which way this one goes.
The team held meetings in Arizona this week to plot the strategy
for remaking the roster this winter. The general managers will meet in
November, followed by baseball’s winter meetings in December, which
will be in the Washington, DC area.
This year’s free agent class is considered weak, certainly in
pitchers and outfielders. Consequently, there is the prospect of more
trades than usual. The Rangers finished the year with four players
eligible for free agency in their batting order – Carlos Gomez, Ian
Desmond, Carlos Beltran and Mitch Moreland. That’s a lot of firepower
to either re-sign or replace.
Also of note is the upcoming November 8 vote in Arlington to
approve the city’s commitment to fund half the $1 billion cost of a
new stadium. There is strong opposition this time around. Arlington
Mayor Jeff Williams has taken to television and radio with ads urging
a “yes” vote. WFAA and the Ft. Worth Star Telegram commissioned an
independent poll in the past two weeks that shows a very close race.
42% indicated they would vote for the proposal. 42% indicated they
would vote against. 16% were undecided.
The poll however indicated that more than half the potential voters
polled felt that a new stadium is not necessary and the Rangers will
likely stay in Arlington if the new stadium is not built.
The basic deal has been criticized in the media. A recent
Dallas Morning News article outlined how the city was getting fleeced
and the deal would cost far more than $500 million. However, the deal
in regards to leaving naming rights to the stadium and the sale of
seat licenses to the team is normal.
The real question that the Rangers have carefully avoided is
where their half of the $1 billion construction cost will be coming
from. The likelihood is that a hefty amount of it will be funded by
John Q. Public in the form of seat licenses; much like Jerry Jones did
to fund the Cowboys new digs. The bottom line is that the price of
watching live baseball in Arlington will sky rocket in the next decade
if the new stadium becomes a reality.

– Adrian Beltre and Mitch Moreland are finalists to win the Gold
Glove Award for fielding excellence at their respective positions.


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