This is the first post of 2011 and it’s not going to be a “year in review” because we all know what happened last year. Let’s talk about the future!
Both Brandon Webb and Arthur Rhodes are officially official.
Webb came as no surprise because everything was already out there days before the signing happened. Now we just wait to see if he’s Rich Harden or Colby Lewis or Filip Bondy’s ghost.
The Rhodes signing is a little more intriguing. He obviously wasn’t going to get nearly as much press as a former Cy Young winner. I like that it happened, though.
Rhodes seems like Darren Oliver 2. Crafty lefty veteran type. From what I’ve read he’s tough on righties and tougher on lefties. A place-holder for the still marinading Clay Rapada (who was designated for assignment today).
The Rangers rode Oliver pretty hard last season and, hopefully, he can split some time with Rhodes in 2011. A 40-year-old just doesn’t need to pitch every other day, so we’ve got a 41-year-old to pick up some slack.
Then there’s Adrian Beltre, who isn’t officially official or even official yet. Some Dominican newspapers were reporting yesterday that he was, but he wasn’t. At this point you can’t believe anything you hear, but we can approach this as if it’s inevitable.
I see a few drawbacks to signing Beltre. For one, his agent is Scott Boras, who is the baseball equivalent of Ari Gold. Not the Ari Gold that just comes off as a scumbag, but the Season 1 Ari Gold that actually was a scumbag. He specializes in tricking teams into paying way too much money for his clients (like A-Rod).
Money aside, there’s the whole question of what to do with Michael Young. I know that he’s been playing for forever, but I don’t think I had considered that Young would be moved to 1B/DH so soon. I figured it would be at least 2012 before that measure was taken, but according to what I’ve read that’s what we might be looking at on Opening Day. If so, kudos to MY for once again nodding his head (reluctantly) when asked if he’d be willing to move for the betterment of the team.
Beltre signing also pretty much shuts the door on Vlad Guerrero, which is a shame for Vlad and a little surprising. By all accounts, he still wants to come back and the club still wants him back. But there’s really not much sense in paying him all that money to pinch hit once a week.
While it’s true that Beltre will be a defensive upgrade at 3rd, I still wonder about his offense. Will he get fat and happy on Chuck Greenberg’s dime? There is that chance and I’m not sure it’s a risk I want this team to commit to.
His 2004 numbers were such an anomaly that he was suspected of using steroids, but the prevailing theory now is that he wanted to get paid, which is what he was playing for last season.
The only thing we don’t know is how he might perform after getting payed and during a playoff run. To date he has never really been on a serious contender and maybe that would light a fire in him when he isn’t worrying so much about his pocketbook.
These possibilities worry me a little, but there is a lot of potential for upside. If he plays the way he can, it would be huge. An addition of Beltre would also be a subtraction to those hated Angels, who have done a considerable amount of nothing at this point.
The only other thing to consider is that the Rangers had no trouble winning the division in the mid-to-late-90s, but their offensive dominance didn’t lead to a whole lot of success when it really mattered. Pitching should still be priority.
One last gripe…
If we’re about to pay Beltre a whole bunch of money, then why are we not doing the same for Josh Hamilton? He’s two years younger and an MVP. Can we see about getting something like that in the works?