This probably isn't going to be a super-hot topic over the next couple of weeks, because for a variety of reasons I don't think the Rangers will be rushing to re-sign Vladimir Guerrero -- or eschew his services -- until they're more certain about what's going to happen on the Cliff Lee front, but hopefully the new poll on the left-hand sidebar will provide some degree of insight as far as the maximum amount that the community would be willing to pay to Guerrero in 2011:
● The 2010 American League Gold Glove winners have been announced, and included squarely among the honorees is Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, who defensively graded out at minus-4.7 runs (via Ultimate Zone Rating) and minus-13 runs (via Defensive Runs Saved) in 2010 (Craig Calcaterra, NBCSports.com)
[Nothing stirs the hornet's nest that is the baseball blogosphere quite like off-season awards voting -- particularly when the award is conferred based on reputation rather than merit (Rafael Palmeiro was a good example of this), and particularly when it involves an endlessly polarizing player on the best-known baseball team in the world. The award itself is intended to reward "superior individual fielding performances," which I take to mean that observed performance should carry far heavier weight than true talent ... but, hell, performance, talent, it doesn't really matter. We know Jeter isn't close to Gold Glove territory. We know that the voting process is flawed, and we also know that there is no impetus to change the process, and so the annual ritual of mocking and ridiculing poor selections will endure -- even beyond the point when Jeter finally calls it quits.
I won't argue that Elvis Andrus should have won the award because, frankly, I don't know that he should have. I'd be inclined to bet against it, actually. What I will do is quote the grand finish of Colin Wyers' column today, and quietly chuckle at the notion of New York paying him big money this winter: "All of the available evidence seems to suggest that Jeter is a worse fielder than most defensive metrics indicate, perhaps on the order of 20 to 30 runs below the average shortstop. This makes it possible that Jeter, in 2010, was performing at roughly the same level as a typical replacement—in other words, his ability to hit like something resembling an average shortstop doesn’t offset his inability to field like one." Good luck with that.]
● Ron Washington has reportedly shot down any notion of Josh Hamilton moving to first base, stating that Hamilton would only undertake that switch if his career in the outfield was over; meanwhile, MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan suggests that there is a greater-than-zero chance of the Rangers offering arbitration to Jeff Francoeur (who would stand to bank at least $4-5 million through that process), but another report states that Francoeur will clear waivers and become a free agent by the end of this week (Bryan Dolgin, CBS Radio; Jon Paul Morosi, FOXSports.com)
[Given all available information, I think the Rangers are better served rolling with Josh Hamilton in left field through at least 2012, so this makes sense -- and as I've argued before, moving a guy with some history of back issues to a position known to be difficult on backs (and which he's never played before) is, well, a risk in itself. Francoeur, meanwhile, wants a full-time gig (despite being essentially replacement level over the last three seasons), and even if he were to back off of that request, I've already explained why I don't think he really works as a platoon partner/fifth outfielder in Texas. Maybe he'll leverage that "veteran leadership" into full-time work elsewhere?]
● If [the Rangers don't sign Cliff Lee], they could turn their attention to Carl Crawford, who as a left-handed-hitting outfielder with speed would be a good fit for them as a No. 2 hitter. Adding Crawford would allow Hamilton, Cruz and David Murphy to rotate through the other two outfield slots and DH. Crawford is a safer bet than is Lee, and he's also attractive in that keeping him away from the Angels, who desperately need offense, would benefit the Rangers. Texas' best trait last year was a stifling defense; Crawford would make it even better." (Joe Sheehan, SI.com)
[FanGraphs crowdsourced Crawford in late August, and the average length/salary worked out to 5.5 years at an average annual value of $16.4 million, or a total commitment of $90 million. Texas can sustain that sort of payroll hit, but there's a not-so-subtle distinction between feasibility and prudence. Yeah, the Rangers could sign Crawford and measurably improve their 2011 roster, but assorted reports have indicated that Crawford doesn't want to play center field, and with that being the case Texas would have to slot Josh Hamilton into the DH hole (with little playing time being available to David Murphy), or stick Hamilton in center field and hope for the best. And hope isn't a strategy. This topic probably deserves a closer look in the near future.]