What is your opinion of the A.J. Pierzynski signing?
MJH on accountability
From Buster Olney of ESPN (via twitter): "Heard this: Rangers actively trying to lure Jim Thome to Texas." (posted about 2:15 pm).
I saw that today as well. Thome would make us one of if not the single most feared team in the league against RHP. I am on the fence about Thome, and I sure don't want to pay him $8 mil, but his presence would be huge in our lineup.
Do yourself a favor and go watch Thome's sweet swing on mlb videos. Awesome. Maybe people could post any Thome HR videos in this forum.
To get Thome in the lineup MY could platoon with both Moreland at 1st and with Thome at DH. This would work with half of all games but not much more, depending on how often you want to sit Moreland. Therefore, Thome would be able to hit against the majority of games against RHP but not all of them.
It would be nice if Young could play 1st for 40% of the games with 10% at the other three infield positions, and maybe we could sign Thome to DH for the other half. Thome probably wouldn't be up for only 300 at bats, but maybe the Rangers could tack on another million to compensate him for that loss. To get Murphy in the lineup you just sit Borbon for at least a third of the games (200 at bats) with Hamilton in CF and you rest him at DH when Young plays the middle infield or the hot corner.
Andrus, Young, Hamilton, Thome, Cruz, Kinsler, Beltre, Torrealba, Borbon
Andrus, Young, Hamilton, Cruz, Kinsler, Beltre, Moreland, Torrealba, Borbon
Andrus, Young, Hamilton, Cruz, Kinsler, Beltre, Murphy, Torrealba, Moreland
Andrus, Young, Hamilton, Thome, Cruz, Kinsler, Beltre, Torrealba, Moreland (with Young or Moreland in left field)
We would still get the rest all around and Murphy's bat in the lineup if Wash was willing to put Hambone in CF instead of Borbon for one third of his games (and sit Borbon for that third). Also, we could get Thome in the lineup for half of the games with Young playing 1st maybe one third to 40% percent of the time with the other 10% of games in the middle infield and the hot corner (resting the 3 big Defensive guys). The good thing about this is that you get the benefits of Borbon in CF for two thirds of the games while getting Thome in the lineup at DH, and Murphy's bat for 200-250 at bats. In addition, the guys that have to pay are rookies, Moreland and Borbon who would play 50-65 percent of a 162 game schedule (not bad at all). And that would take the pressure off of them so that they could develop and perform at the plate. I REALLY think that Wash putting the pressure on Borbon last year to hold down CF and a full time job at the plate set him back. That could happen again and Borbon could become a Chris Davis type player, or a quadruple A player at the plate.
No doubt you would like to believe that the Rangers being in on Thome means they are also considering trading MY? I can't see this happening. Would you be open to a Thome scenario like the one I've described above in the hypothetical case where a MY trade is not going to happen (which also seems to be the reality by the way). Or if we are going to keep Young at DH/Super Sub would you rather us miss out on Thome for another player like Thames who you discussed in the 25th man forum?
I want Thome, period. Young can stay if he wants to. He'd be great to have. But the guy who would be unhappy about it isn't me, it's going to be Young (possibly). Because there won't be a scenario where Thome is OPSing .250 better than Young and we're in a pennant race and the Rangers say "Young gets his ABs, we'll see where we can find ABs for Thome". It will be "Thome gets his ABs, we'll see where we can get ABs for Young". That's just the reality. If Thome comes in, and Young can't beat out Mitch Moreland as the #1 1B, then there are just not a lot of ABs for Young. THis is doubly true since Thome will start almost every game vsRHP at DH, with Young as the DH in 55-60 games vsLHP. So the question will be can Young beat out Moreland as the 1B vsRHP, with Moreland having the advantage of being a LH hitter vs Young as a RH hitter? Plus, there's the defensive question. If Young isn't very good at 1B defensively, he may end up being the vsLHP DH only. Will he pitch a fit? Frankly, I don't really care if Young likes it. If Thome comes aboard and Young gets squeezed out of his ABs, then he can suck it up and be a good soldier for $16m/yr. And if Young proves to be a very good defensive 1B (certainly a possibility), then great. It all works out, then. And if Kinsler goes down for 2 months and Young plays 2B for 60+ games, then great, it all works out then. But if the IF stays healthy and Thome hits like he did last year and Moreland outplays Young, then Young won't get nearly the 145 or so starts he is expecting. I'm fine with that. Are you? Is he?
When I said I am not sold on Thome, I meant as being the best option for the Rangers. I am well aware of how great of a player he is. I just don't know that we absolutely need to take the AB's away from Moreland or Borbon. The scenario you laid out is well thought out and I admit I enjoy reading your posts. I just want to develop homegrown players that will be controllable for several years. IMO our offense is already strong. I have no doubt our offense would be stronger with Thome in it. It might already be improved over last year when you account for how bad 1B was, Ian's injury, and Vlad's poor second half. I don't see the need to pay a guy 6-8 million when our offense is already so strong. I think we need to let Borbon and Moreland play if for no other reason than to up their trade value when we need a TORP.
Also there is no guarantee that MY will be able to handle 65+ games at first. I think he will make a capable 1B but that might be next year before he is ready for that much time at first.
Joe, What I meant was-Would you be averse to Thome playing catcher? Your thoughts lFloyd.
8 mil a year to Thome better than 8 mil a year for Soriano?
While I'm not a huge fan of either move, I would go 3 yr 24 mil to Soriano over 1 yr 8 mil to Thome. That forces us to make Feliz a SP and that is where I personally would love to see him. If he can be a true homegrown ace it's worth it.
I want Scoober the Goober to be the Angel's GM.
With Thome in the line up it would be dangerous to sit in the homerun porch in right field!
A situation where Young isn't an everyday player is not going to materialize, period. I don't see any point to entertaining scenarios where Young will have to beat out Moreland or anyone for that matter. Young is an everyday player on this team, period. If the Rangers are going to bring Thome in it is because they have worked out a scenario where he will not take significant at bats from Young. The scenario I outlined is a possible fit for that. I mean no disrespect but I feel you need to come to terms with reality, and the reality is that MY, whatever you may think about this, is a locked in everyday player who will not sacrifice more than 10-20 games maximum to Thome if he were to be brought in.
I just think we can have the best of all worlds in this scenario. I think not putting full pressure on Borbon and Moreland will actually serve to facilitate their development better than putting them out there as an everyday at bat.
You say we can score runs. I'm not so sure about that. We lost the Series because we couldn't score. There were times in the season when the offense was very iffy. Especially in the event of injury it sure would be nice to have Thome quick bat around.
If the only negative to bringing Thome in for you, assuming MY can learn first, is taking at bats from the rookies, I have to disagree strongly with that reasoning.
I know we couldn't score runs in the WS but I attribute that to an amazing pitching staff that was very hot at the time. As for Moreland and Borbon having pressure put on them, I think Moreland earned the right to play full time at the end of last year. He proved he can hit at the big league level and even proved to be at least decent against lefties. Borbon is not a rookie, but we need to figure out what we have. By signing Thome I feel like we are assuming failure on their part. I think if a left handed DH becomes a need, I feel like we could trade for one mid season.
What is stills strange about this is that Murphy could platoon with MY at DH. I know his bat would not be as feared as Thome's, but this move only makes sense if we're trading Murphy for SP. Why would we do that since we just signed a 1 year deal with Murphy. The only other thing that makes sense as MY as the every day 1B (scary), Thome as the DH, and Moreland back to the minors, which seems like a sucky way to reward the guy who gave the Rangers their ONLY WS win.
Signing Thome, which is a high possibility, is a hugh digression and an absolute slap at Michael Young. What more should he surrender. DHing is a harder enough pill to swallow for an everyday player. Even lsast year before he signed, Wash had to promise Vlad he would play in the field. And if a power hitter is all JD wants to sign and preference to a righty then sign Vlad. The Rangers are still best served by making Davis the 25th player for defensive purposes alone. Davis may even realize the vast potential envisioned by many after the 2008 season. So what the Rangers would spend for Thome is best served if spent on Soriano or Chris Young or Jeff Francis or better long term contracts for Josh, Nelson or C..J. It is important to send to the Team the right message and support Ie allowing MY full time play.
The best laid plans... I'm sure the idea is to play Young at 1B a bunch and have Thome pick up the rest of the DH ABs. But every professional baseball player earns his spot again every year. Read what I said again. IF a pennant race is on, and IF Thome is hitting like he did last year, he's going to get every DH AB there is to get vs RHP. Never in his career has Young hit as well as Thome still did last year as a 40 year old. Down the stretch, when it's on the line, the guys who are playing the best will play. If Thome is hitting like he was last year, there is zero chance that he won't be by far the best everyday option at DH vs RHP. Period. Which means if Michael Young isn't at least close to a push vs Mitch Moreland at 1B, then his ABs will start to evaporate. I'm not saying that's the plan. I'm saying that if Moreland, Young, and Thome are all on the team, and Young is clearly not as good a DH option as Thome, and clearly not as good a 1B option as Moreland, that's how it will play out. For what it's worth, I suspect Young can play 1B and hit close to par with Moreland and that he will still get his ABs. But if Thome comes in, it's far from a lock that Young is in the regular starting 9 vsRHP.
I just don't agree that the scenario I've outlined takes away from developing those young guys. There is a possibility that it will slow their development to some extent, but there is an equal possibility that giving them an everyday job will slow their development.
The possibility that regression could set in (not sure there's much to regress from in Borbon's case, pretty sure he had a very poor offensive showing in winter ball) would be mitigated by the decreased playing time. In other words, bringing Moreland and Borbon along slowly as opposed to trying to make them pretend they are big league players already, could serve to develop them even faster in the long run if you avoid a regression caused by a lack of mental toughness and readiness. I think this is what happened to Borbon last year. Not only did Wash ask him to hold down CF, but also asked him to hit lead off. That was a big mistake that caused mental problems with Borbon. I think if Wash had brought him along more slowly, not trusting him with a full time big league job right away, that he would be a better big league player at the current moment with better trade value to boot (we see an example of this with how Andrus developed slowly into a decent hitter in the low pressure 9 hole and I believe that he is a better hitter than his numbers showed last year considering his superior numbers with runners in scoring position, he just needs to transfer his clutch focus to his every at bat focus to be a great hitter).
So the question is could a similar problem happen with Moreland. Everyone has his WS HR stuck in their head because it was the best WS moment for us, and he was phenomenal hitting .450 or .460 (is that right?). However, I seem to recall, correct me if I'm wrong, that Moreland had a great first couple of weeks when he first came up, followed by a period where he had good at bats while his BA fell to .250. This is a mini regression, of course these are to be expected. The idea that Moreland will not have one next year, I think, is sort of wishful thinking. I admit to the possibility he could pick up where he left off, but I think a regression at some point is more likely. He has yet to experience the grind of a big league season, and the punishing effect big league pitching can have on a rookie. When he does regress it will be better for him not to be under the pressure of holding down a full time job so that he can get through it and learn what he needs to learn mentally in order to develop faster. This will increase his trade value or his long term value for the next 6-7 years of control. If anyone doubts the possibility that this could happen to Moreland I present exhibit A: Chirs Davis, 4A ball player possibly, I certainly hope not, for good. And remember how high people where on Davis after the 2008 campaign? All I'm saying is that you ought to be careful what you wish for.
Bottom line, I like your argument, but I think there is another side to it, and if we can get Thome in the lineup I would rather take my chances and bring Moreland and Borbon along a little slower rather than putting their feet to the fire. As far as you knowing we can score runs I am not nearly as confident there. Say Andrus, Kinsler, and Beltre all have lackluster years at the plate. Say Moreland and Borbon produce to a similar league average or below? Sure we have an improvement at 1st base and catcher, but Yorvit could easily hit .230 or .240 for a good portion of the year with poor OBP. What if Hambone or Cruz go down with 30-40 game injuries? I just don't share your confidence on the offensive side. I think its better than last year on paper, no doubt, but Thome would give us some insurance as well as something to put us over the top if we are hot at the plate. If all this doesn't move you a bit closer to my position I'm done, and it was a nice back and forth (not saying I won't read your response of course).
PS I never thought you didn't know that Thome was a great bat. You must have misunderstood something I said or maybe jdb is up to antics again.
If you want to return to the pre-2010 team then by all means sign Thome, swing for the fences, K in crucial situations- it will catch on with the others in the lineup and we can have a whole lineup og 2009 ians - "chicks dig the long ball". Very entertaining and definite recipe for .500 ball and third place. BUT if looking to repeat the run to WS emphasize TEAM and Defense.
Thome is a World Class clubhouse guy and a future HOFer. He Ks a lot, but posts a pretty solid OBP as well. He's a savy veteran hitter. And in 2010 he was one of the 10-15 best hitters in baseball against righties. This is not Rangers '09. Also, for all the talk about team and defense, the biggest difference between 2009 and 2010 was the season Josh Hamilton had at the plate and the seasons Wilson and Lewis had on the bump. This will not be the 2009 Rangers, with or without Thome, unless we get 2009 Hamilton and/or Wilson/Lewis decide to turn back into pumpkins.
I get you now. That is a good argument. However, the only way that Moreland supplants Young in that situation is if Young is pretty awful at 1st. If he's adequate with the occasional miscue I think Young is your guy for obvious clubhouse and other reasons. You can't just say if Moreland beats out MY because the only way that Moreland does that is if he is awesome, NO, not even if he is awesome defensively, the only way he gets the starts in that case is if MY is awful at 1st, and by awful I mean a major defensive liability. The main reason for this is because Ranger brass, if they sign Thome, would have already made the decision to go with MY at first for substantial innings understanding the potential liabilities that could arise there. That is why I say the only way MY loses the job is if he is just terrible at 1st, and frankly I don't know how likely that is. Maybe it is likely to some degree, maybe it isn't, hard to say.
But lets say that MY might just be that bad at 1st. That brings me back to the major risk with bringing in Thome. Scooby, you might have hit on the best argument against a Thome signing inadvertently.
If that happens, the Rangers are in a TIGHT pennant race, maybe you are right, I believe Thome's bat will be preferred at DH maybe every game against RHP. So then MY has to start at 1st for those games, and if he's awful there you have a BIG HUGE PROBLEM.You have a problem if you leave Young in because you would be fielding a significantly inferior defensive team, and you have a bad clubhouse problem if you bench him for however many games that would be. Assuming such a close race would be down the stretch you could be looking at as many as 20 games MY might sit if his defense was bad enough for Wash to prefer Moreland over him. And remember, I don't think you can disagree Scooby, its not just that Moreland has to be the better defensive option, it is that MY has to be the awful one. Lets be realistic here, Wash left Vlad in when he was in a terrible slump down the stretch. You could make the argument that the race wasn't that tight, but we could have gotten better production out of someone else at DH last year. Wash chose the "presence" of Vlad, which means his reputation and clubhouse impact were more important to Wash in that situation (plus holding out for him to come back because he knew he needed him for the playoffs). There would probably be a similar situation with MY in the pennant race scenario you've outlined.
So this is my question to you Scbooy. Being realistic about the risk that MY could be benched and the negative impact that could have on the club during a pennant race, do you still sign Thome in the absence of a MY trade? The other scenario is that BBTIA readers are screaming for Moreland and Wash goes with MY all the way even in the event his 1st base defense is poor but not awful. Both possibilities are real threats, to the clubhouse and to the field respectively (not to mention people like you would be outraged if MY is playing 1st with poor defense during a pennant race).
Save yourself a heart attack, or take the real risk one of these worst case scenarios could play out? Pick your poison Scoobs. And remember Scoobs, if it were you you would bench MY but Wash is not you. Don't be so sure you would get your way. I also pose the question to anyone else willing to think about it.
As for me, I don't know, I tend to think I still want Thome, mostly because I covet his swing and production (and I'm not as confident as Floyd in our ability to score runs), and perhaps the likelihood of one of these worst case scenarios is rather slim, or is that just what I am telling myself?
What sayest though BBTIA readers? The plot thickens. Role the dice or play it safe? Would it be better to sign Soriano assuming that it would be either Thome's 8 mil OR Soriano's 8 mil and not both. Of course if I had the choice I would go with both, especially if one or both could be gotten for 6 mil.
Just for facts:
Thome's OBP in 2010 was .412 with a .283 BA. His career OBP is .404 with a .278 BA. He does and always has struck out WAY too often. But he also walks just a ton. To have a .126 difference between BA and OBP for a 19 year career as a free-swinging, high-k slugger is amazing. Also, his exact OPS vs LHP in 2010 was 1.154. That's nuts.
Latest ESPN reporting has Rangers in "serious pursuit" of Thome.
JGamble that MY can Handle 1B. Just be ready to trade him or ask him to make only 100ish starts if 1B is a problem for him OR Moreland just pushes him off of 1B with his bat (not too likely, but possible).
The big issue is that you're putting things in place NOW whereby MY has to move to 1B to keep playing everyday, but you won't know until MARCH if he can handle the defensive duties there or not. Which means there has to be a plan for what to do if you get to Spring Training and you decide you're just not comfortable with 80-plus games at 1B.
All of this is academic, Thome will sign with The Twins. Which brings us back to Soriano? Be quick, before he re-ups with TB for 1 year and tries FA in 2012.
I thought the Rangers fare pretty well against RHP last year. I distinctly remember Rangers struggling against almost every left handed pitchers unless the left handed pitchers is just horrible or below league average. How does Thome rectify that problem with Rangers offense? Wow, I guess the Rangers is trying to absolutely destroy rh pitchers while taking their lumps against LH pitchers; yeah that sounds like a good plan. Great. I once again get to see the Rangers wilting against 75% of LH pitchers.
Adding Thome will only marginally improve our offense against RH pitchers.
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