Texas Rangers: Contracts

Daycare helps break David Murphy news

November, 19, 2013
The news that David Murphy was finalizing a two-year deal with the Cleveland Indians (one that was confirmed via sources familiar with the negotiations to ESPNDallas.com and others) wasn't exactly broken in a conventional way on Tuesday night. You can thank Jamie Kelly (@JamieSportsTalk) for getting the scoop, thanks to Murphy's daughter and her daycare.

One of Kelly's followers on twitter sent her a direct message that Murphy was signing with the Indians. Kelly then did some digging and discovered why one of her followers knew the information.

"He said that Murphy’s daughter at daycare was telling all the teachers that her daddy was going to be an Indian," Kelly said. "They asked Murphy when he picked her up and he confirmed it."

Sure enough, Murphy is closing in on a deal with the Indians.

Kelly, 35, is editorial chief at Paranoid Fan, a social app for sports fans and also writes for Mavs.com and blogs on the Rangers at Shutdown Inning.

"I like David Murphy and it means a lot getting the scoop," Kelly said. "Once I put it out there, it was confirmed."

You never know where information might come from, do you?

Rangers invest long term in young rotation

January, 16, 2013
With Wednesday's news that the Texas Rangers have agreed to terms on a five-year, $55 million contract that includes a club option for 2018 that can vest with starter Matt Harrison, the club continues to tie up its young starters for the long haul.

Jim Bowden joins Ben and Skin to talk about Mike Napoli's departure to Boston, Ian Kinsler's unwillingness to change positions, the future of Jurickson Profar and his belief that Justin Upton will be a Ranger by Opening Day.

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I think it's a smart move. For the players, it gives them security knowing they're in the same place for the foreseeable future (and it gives them insurance in case they get hurt or don't progress as expected). For the club, the Rangers get young starters they believe are only getting better and tie them up into their primes at affordable prices. It's a good time to do it, especially after Harrison's past two seasons.

Here's the 2013 rotation as it stands now (in order):

Yu Darvish: 26 years old, under contract through the 2017 season for $56 million (could be free agent after 2016 if he finishes in top two of American League Cy Young voting in two of the next four seasons)
Matt Harrison: 27 years old, under contract through the 2017 season for $55 million (with $13.25 million option for 2018)
Derek Holland: 26 years old, under contract through the 2016 season (with two club options for 2017 and 2018) in deal that could be worth $45 million
Alexi Ogando: 29 years old, can be under club control for four more seasons (arbitration)

The club has Justin Grimm, Martin Perez and Robbie Ross as internal candidates for the fifth spot, and all are pre-arbitration players who recently made their big league debuts. So if any one of them seizes the fifth spot, that final slot also will be under club control for a while.

Right now, the contracts for Darvish, Harrison and Ogando look like good values. And if Holland bounces back and pitches more like the guy who earned that contract after a solid second half in 2011, all will be pitchers younger than 30 who are making reasonable yearly salaries.

The Rangers know well how much free-agent pitchers cost. They paid an additional $51.7 million just to obtain Darvish, and despite a competitive offer, they couldn't land the high-priced Zack Greinke this offseason. Go back two years, and we all remember Cliff Lee getting his big contract from Philadelphia. Free-agent starters are lottery winners, and it's difficult to pay those prices on a consistent basis.

Texas is banking that this young group can be a consistent and solid bunch for the future. If these players are, the Rangers will have locked up the most critical part of the club at an affordable price. Of course, this group must stay healthy and productive for this route to be the smart one. But it's not a huge gamble thanks to the average annual value (AAV) of the top three starters. In other words, the Rangers can be wrong on one of these guys and it won't crush them (like being wrong on a starter you're paying more than $20 million a year, for instance).

It's risky from the standpoint that Darvish, Holland and Harrison still have a lot to prove. Darvish has just one year in the big leagues under his belt, although his ace-like showing in his final eight regular-season starts (and his solid performance under the glare of the postseason lights) is reason to think he's on his way up. Harrison has the longest track record of the trio, and it's just two years of full seasons in the rotation. Holland went from the sensational Game 4 start in the 2011 World Series to a pitcher who struggled and was inconsistent in 2012 (not to mention missing a month with arm fatigue).

But by signing all three to affordable deals now, while they are still young, the Rangers are betting on upside. It goes along with general manager Jon Daniels and his front office's philosophy: Pick out your core players and do what you can to keep them. It's why the Rangers signed Ian Kinsler to a long-term deal, inked Adrian Beltre to handle third base for years to come and are integrating young players into the lineup (and some knocking on the door, even if they start at Triple-A, such as Jurickson Profar and Mike Olt). Find that core (and they'll continue to do that in coming years) and work around it.

On the mound, the Rangers have decided Darvish, Harrison and Holland are part of that core, and they moved quickly the past two offseasons to ensure they'll be here for the long haul -- and in their primes.

What do you think of the club's approach to the rotation? Do you think this can be a top group in the AL for the next four seasons?

Ian Kinsler's agent: Rangers want dynasty

April, 10, 2012
Ian Kinsler's agent, Jay Franklin, said he and the Rangers worked for four or five consecutive days to reach agreement on the six-year extension.

The contract is for $75 million guaranteed over five years ($5 million of that is a buyout on the option year). The club has a $10 million option for the sixth year that could keep Kinsler in Texas through 2018.

Rangers LHP Derek Holland dishes on Yu Darvish's MLB debut, Ian Kinsler's new deal, the team's offensive prowess and more.

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"I don’t think Ian and the Rangers wanted to give up on the deal as close as we were when the deadline came," Franklin said. "I think it worked out well for Ian and the Rangers. It speaks volumes to Rangers fans because it shows the commitment they have and what they are trying to do here.

"They want to establish a dynasty and an elite franchise, and they are doing that."


Who should the Rangers lock up with a long-term deal next?


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Kinsler had set that deadline for Opening Day, but even then admitted the door was open for future talks behind the scenes. He didn't want it to be a distraction and judging by his start to 2012, it wasn't. Now it's done, pending a physical today. The deal is likely to be announced Wednesday.

The deal has the largest average annual value for any second baseman at $15 million, passing the $12.4 million Dan Uggla is getting from the Braves. But Kinsler had been putting up impressive numbers and garnered the higher number. The question was how high and the two sides worked hard to reach agreement on that.

"You have to give credit to the Rangers organization," Franklin said. "It was not going anywhere at one point. Finally, cooler heads prevailed and we looked at it and talked about how important it was for the team. We spent a ton of hours. We went four or five straight days to make this work."



Colby Lewis
10 5.12 123 158
BAA. Beltre .322
HRA. Beltre 18
RBIA. Beltre 71
RA. Beltre 73
OPSA. Beltre .873
ERAC. Lewis 5.12
SOY. Darvish 182