Texas Rangers News and Notes

by Dan M | Posted on Saturday, December 3rd, 2016

Cole-Hamels-Texas-Rangers-shut-down-St-Louis-Cardinals

BY DIC HUMPHREY
DIC.HUMPHREY@YAHOO.COM

The new collective bargaining agreement between Major League
Baseball owners and players was finally agreed this week. The
negotiations apparently got contentious toward the end, but with
bargaining sessions that went late into the night, an agreement was
reached less than four hours before the old agreement expired at
midnight November 30.
Had agreement not been reached, owners would have suspended all
player acquisition activities. Free agents could not have been
signed, trades could not have been made, etc. Indeed, next week’s
winter meetings scheduled for the Washington,
D.C. area were endangered as the teams would not have taken part. It
was clearly the most contentious negotiation since the players’ strike
that ended the 1994 season in August and delayed the start of 1995.
At this point, details are sketchy. There are general concepts
that have been agreed to, but the final wording has not been released
and perhaps not even finalized. A few of the highlights are:
Owners had proposed a draft for international players. Actually,
the Rangers opposed this one. Texas has done a tremendous job
developing scouting and development in Latin America. It has yielded
players at the Major League level such as Nomar Mazara and Rougned
Odor. The draft would have negated the advantage that the Rangers
have built over a number of years. This proposal was ultimately
scrapped, but a hard cap of approximately $4.75 million per year to
spend on international players was agreed. This is not the Rangers’
preference. They would much rather have more money to spend on these
players.
The qualifying offer system for compensating teams that lose
premium free agents was tweaked. From the Rangers standpoint the
rules didn’t change for this year, so if they lose Ian Desmond to
another team, they will get whatever they expected to receive.
(Desmond is the only player that received a qualifying offer from the
Rangers this year.) The picks in the June amateur draft that are
forfeited by teams signing free agents that received qualifying offers
will no longer be first round picks, and the exact picks will be tied
to the luxury tax threshold. I.E., teams that exceed the threshold
will forfeit more picks than teams that don’t exceed.
The compensation that teams receive for losing a player that
received a qualifying offer will vary according to the amount of the
contract the player receives in free agency. If the contract is for
at least $50 million, the team losing the free agent receives a
compensatory pick sandwiched between the first and second rounds of
the amateur draft. It he signs for less than $50 million, the
compensatory pick is after either the second or fourth rounds,
depending on whether the team is above or below the luxury tax
threshold. If the Rangers lose Yu Darvish in free agency after the
2017 season as expected, they will likely receive the same
compensation as they would have under the old system.
One other change to the qualifying offer system may benefit the
Rangers. A player can now receive a qualifying offer just once. It
has been speculated that Desmond may seek a one year deal for 2017 and
be a free agent again next winter. With this new rule, he could not
receive a qualifying offer again and would thus be more attractive to
teams looking to sign him. He is more likely to return to the Rangers
if he is willing to sign a one year deal.
One other interesting change is reducing the minimum stay on the
disabled list from 15 to 10 days. There is a question as to whether
this applies just to pitchers and not position players.
There were discussions of adding a player to the roster during the
first part of the season up to September and limiting the available
roster in September games. In the end, neither of these was enacted,
though the reduction to 10 days on the disabled list should
theoretically accelerate the use of the DL and effectively create
another roster spot.
The determining factor for home field advantage in the World Series
has been the winner of the All-Star game. The pennant winner with the
better record will now be the team that has the home field advantage
in the World Series.
None of these terms are known to be the final word. The old
saying that “the devil is in the details” most certainly applies here.
The good news is that the winter meetings will go on as planned next
week. The slow moving trade and free agent market this off season
should loosen up. Indeed, next week may be explosive in terms of
trades.

AND ALSO:
o   The Hall of Fame ballot was announced and former Ranger Ivan
Rodriguez is one of the leaders of the list. Rodriguez is thought by
many to be the best defensive catcher in the history of baseball and
should get elected to the Hall on the first ballot.
o   The final negotiating meetings on the CBA were held in Dallas and
were attended by a number of players. Elvis Andrus was the Ranger
that attended fueling speculation that he will replace Derek Holland
as the Rangers’ player representative.
o   Cole Hamels was 15-5 with a 3.32 ERA in 2016. He was selected as
the Rangers’ Pitcher of the Year by the local chapter of the Baseball
Writers’ Association of America.

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