RANGERS OFF SEASON NEWS AND NOTES

by Dan M | Posted on Saturday, November 12th, 2016

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BY: Dic Humphrey

ARLINGTON, Texas – The General Managers meetings took place this week in Scottsdale. The Rangers are expected to be more active in the trade market than the free agent market in rebuilding the next year’s roster, but the meetings ended with the Rangers failing to make a player trade. That’s not unusual as not much happens in terms of actual deals made at these meetings. However, the ground work is laid for trades that will be completed at the winter meetings in early December or even earlier.

The top Ranger story this week though was the vote in Arlington to approve the city’s funding of half of a projected $1 billion cost of a new stadium. The “fors” easily won taking more than 60% of the vote. There was vigorous opposition that forced the city to spend more than $1 million for radio and television ads to campaign for approval.

When the idea of a new park was announced, it was projected to open for the 2021 season, three years prior to the end of the current lease that the Rangers hold with Arlington for Globe Life Ballpark. The city’s ability to tear up the current Ranger lease and get the new park in place sooner was a significant factor in the Rangers committing to this new stadium instead of looking for a new venue. The Rangers first step is to hire an architectural firm, but it now looks feasible to complete the park to be ready for the 2020 season.

Certainly, it’s difficult to cast out the park initially known as the Ballpark In Arlington. It’s a magnificent structure that now has history of an All-Star game and multiple playoff games, which includes six World Series games. It is still a wonderful setting for baseball, but the missing element is the retractable roof allowing the field to be air conditioned.

It’s difficult to imagine that the new park will help attract more crowds. Only twice has the attendance at Globe Life Ballpark failed to exceed 2,000,000, and one of those was strike shortened 1995. Twice it exceeded 3,000,000. At the end of the day, the best promotion for good attendance is a winning team on the field. The new park by the way is projected to have a smaller capacity by 6,000 – 8,000 seats.

The real question is what fans will have to pay to attend games in the new park. For sure, there were a number of long time season ticket holders that hoped the vote last Tuesday would be “No”. Seat licenses to keep comparable seats to their current locations are likely to be extremely expensive and ticket costs will certainly increase dramatically. It’s safe to say that a number of current season ticket holders will be priced out of their seats.

Jayce Tingler was a coach with the Rangers last season. His title was field coordinator coach. This week, he joined the Ranger party in Scottsdale. He apparently is part of the answer to the hole left behind in the front office when assistant general manager Thad Levine departed for Minnesota.

The Gold Glove Awards for fielding excellence were announced earlier this week. To no one’s surprise, Adrian Beltre won for American League third basemen. It was his fifth Gold Glove Award, winning previously in 2011 and 2012 as a Ranger and in 2007 and 2008 as a Mariner.

Mitch Moreland won the first base award. It was his first. He is the third Ranger first baseman to win the award, following Rafael Palmeiro in 1999 and Mark Teixeira in 2005 and 2006.

This is the first year the Rangers have had two infielders win the award, and the first time since 2006 that the Rangers have had multiple Gold Glove Award winners. Pitcher Kenny Rogers was the other Ranger Gold Glove winner in 2006.

Former Ranger and fan favorite Ian Kinsler won the second base award. It was his first.

The deadline for making qualifying offers was earlier this week. The significance of qualifying offers to free agents is that if they sign with other teams, the signing team forfeits a high draft choice in the amateur draft, while the team losing the free agent gains a sandwich pick between the first and second rounds. The Rangers extended a qualifying offer to Ian Desmond. A total of ten free agents received QA’s. A year ago, three free agents accepted QA’s for the first time, but none are expected to accept this season.

Major League Baseball and the MLBPA are working on a new collective bargaining agreement. Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred indicated this week that he expects the new agreement to be in place by December 1, when the current agreement expires.

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