1. Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan is reporting this morning that it's the number of years, rather than the total guaranteed value, that's the primary sticking point in the Yu Darvish negotiations right now. To make a long story short, the Rangers want to offer Darvish a six-year deal worth appriximately as much as the six-year, $52 million deal that Daisuke Matsuzaka received from the Red Sox in 2006, while Darvish wants a five-year deal that would enable him to hit free agency a year earlier -- or, in this case, a deal that would allow him to take his free agency going into his age-30 season, as opposed to his age-31 season.
Also per Passan, the relationship between Darvish and the Rangers is "strong and respectful," and there remains a strong expectation that a deal will be hammered out ... which leads me into this question: Let's say Darvish is willing to agree to a five-year, $60 million deal right now, but the Rangers want that sixth year of team control tacked onto the end. Based upon what you know at this time, how much are you willing to pay for that sixth year of control? $15 million? $20 million? Infinity billion?
2. Ian Kinsler has apparently been fighting right ankle pain since spraining his ankle two springs ago, and only achieved 100 percent health after receiving a PRP injection at the site of the original injury back in November. In these last two seasons, Kinsler has hit .267/.365/.462 (124 wRC+) in the aggregate with 41 home runs and 45 steals in 54 attempts -- a list of feats rendered more impressive when you consider that the problem forced him to "cheat" at stealing bases and, by his own admission, sapped him of some of his power.
Now that we know this, peer into your crystal ball and tell me what you believe Kinsler will do next season in terms of AVG/OBP/SLG, SB, and HR.
3. Everyone seems to be getting properly giddy about the prospect of Prince Fielder landing in Arlington, so let's go ahead with this obligatory question: What do you think are the percentage odds of the Rangers signing Fielder, at this point? And if they do end up signing him, how much do you believe that contract will be worth in terms of dollars/years?