Third baseman Adrian Beltre was the lone Texas Rangers player who was a finalist for a Gold Glove award given on Tuesday night, but he fell short.

Seattle's Kyle Seager won the Gold Glove at third base with a strong season after committing only eight errors.

[+] EnlargeAdrian Beltre
Cooper Neill/Getty ImagesAdrian Beltre fell short in his pursuit of another Gold Glove award at third base. He last earned the honor in 2012.
It doesn't mean Beltre didn't have a fine season. The four-time Gold Glove winner was 11th among third baseman with 1,711 1/3 innings played and eighth with 363 chances, his most in the last three seasons.

If you compare Beltre to Oakland's Josh Donaldson, one of three finalists, and Seager, he came up short in some of the sabermetrics areas of the position.

Donaldson led third baseman with a 20 DRS, which is Defensive Runs Saved, a formula created by the Fielding Bible, which incidentally gave Donaldson its Gold Glove award.

Seager had a 10 DRS, sixth among third baseman and Beltre was given a 9, seventh overall at his position.

There were 18 players who played at least 1,000 innings at third base this season and Donaldson led them with a 3.13 RF/9 (Range Factor per 9 innings). Beltre was second with a 2.9 RF/9.

During the season, Beltre still displayed a strong arm and great range. He had two stretches, 36 games with 98 chances, and 25 games with 65 chances, between errors.

Rangers' fans probably were down on Donaldson considering he had 23 total errors, two against the Rangers while Seager had none against Texas.

Beltre, who last won the Gold Glove in 2012, was the standard in terms of playing the position but after such a poor 2014 season from his club, voters looked elsewhere at the position.

A look at the Rangers position players

November, 4, 2014
Nov 4
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This morning we looked at the pitchers on Rangers 40-man roster.

Now we look at the position players:

Catchers:

Robinson Chirinos: Made 88 starts at catcher and goes into the season as the No. 1 man at his position. His 13 home runs tied for second on the team and were the sixth most in AL at catcher.

Tomas Telis: In just 18 games, Telis had a hit in 13 of them but struggled at throwing out runners. Base runners were 16-of-17 against him, but the Rangers liked how he called a game.

Infielders:

SS Elvis Andrus: Played a team-leading 157 games where he produced a career-high 35 doubles. The No. 2 man in the lineup needs a much better 2015 season.

3B Adrian Beltre: The MVP of the team was third in the AL with a .388 OBP and fourth in BA at .324. As he gets older, you wonder if he can keep this up. Probably.

1B Prince Fielder: Participated in just 42 games before a herniated disc in neck ended his season. He had played in 547 consecutive games before his health gave way. The Rangers need his power more than ever now.

1B/DH Mitch Moreland: Underwent ankle surgery after 52 games and the Rangers need his bat. He's not Fielder, of course, but they need some production from him.

(Read full post)

A closer look at the 40-man roster

November, 4, 2014
Nov 4
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The Rangers employed a major league record 64 players and 40 pitchers in the 2014 season. Texas also used 23 rookies and had 17 make their big league debuts.

Injuries and poor play were some of the major reasons why the Rangers needed more players than normal. In a game Sept. 24, the Rangers had seven rookies in the lineup.

Monday, the Rangers set their 40-man roster, but it will continue to change this offseason when the Rangers protect players from the Rule 5 draft, such as pitcher Luke Jackson and catcher Jorge Alfaro, considered top prospects. The club will also have to make room when it signs free agents.

We look at the 40-man roster as it stands today. First up, the pitchers. We'll examine the position players later today.

Pitchers:

RHP Lisalverto Bonilla: He was the first Rangers pitcher to win his first three starts of his career and while opponents hit just .186 against him, the club needs to decide if he's better served as a starter or reliever.

LHP Alex Claudio: Moved from Double-A to Triple-A and after his big league debut, he didn't allow a run in his first six appearances. Expect him to open 2015 in Triple-A unless he impresses in spring training.

RHP Yu Darvish: The ace missed the last seven weeks of the season with elbow inflammation. Finished with a 10-7 record and 182 strikeouts but needs to have an injury-free season. He opened the year on the DL and finished there.

RHP Jon Edwards: The Keller, Texas native, gave up three runs in his first nine appearances. He could be a good middle reliever but like Claudio, has to win a job in spring training.

RHP Neftali Feliz: Regained the closer's job after the team traded Joakim Soria and picked up 13 saves. Feliz's command was good, but his velocity was up and down. Not sure if new manager Jeff Banister wants Feliz as the closer or setup man.

(Read full post)

Rangers get roster to 40

November, 3, 2014
Nov 3
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The Texas Rangers moved nine players from the 60-day disabled list to the 40-man roster on Monday.

Here are the players moved:

*LF Shin-Soo Choo (bone spur in left elbow and torn cartilage in left ankle)

*RHP Yu Darvish (right elbow inflammation)

*1B Prince Fielder (herniated C5-C6 disc in his neck)

*LHP Matt Harrison (displaced vertebra/spondylolisthesis)

*DH/1B Mitch Moreland (surgery for Os Trigonum Syndrome in left ankle)

*RHP Alexi Ogando (right elbow inflammation)

*LHP Martin Perez (Tommy John surgery)

*2B Jurickson Profar (torn teres major muscle, right shoulder)

*RHP Tanner Scheppers (right elbow inflammation)

Colby Lewis to test free-agency waters

October, 31, 2014
Oct 31
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While it might not mark the end of his time with the Texas Rangers, right-handed starter Colby Lewis failed to reach an agreement with the club for a new contract and will test the free-agent market.

Lewis battled back from elbow and hip surgeries last season to tie for the team lead with 10 wins. He finished with a 5.18 ERA in 29 starts.

"We've had dialogue there," GM Jon Daniels said in a conference call Friday. "Not able to reach an agreement. It doesn't mean we will (or won't) at some point down the line, but he's going to test the market, and I think you know I have a ton of respect for Colby as a player and as a person. The door is open and if it works for both of us at a later point. But he's going to test the market right now."

Lewis expressed to Daniels during the last road trip of the season that he wanted to return, but the two sides just couldn't finalize a new deal. Lewis signed a one-year, $2 million minor league deal last season.

Based on what Lewis did, there might be an expectation he wanted a two-or-three year contract. But given his age (35) and the assortment of injuries he's recovered from, another one-year deal might have been offered.

The Rangers are still confident in ace Yu Darvish and No. 2 man Derek Holland to lead the rotation. But Daniels has said his No. 1 priority is pitching this offseason and keeping Lewis as a back-of-the-rotation type starter seemed a given considering the mutual respect on both sides.

As it stands now, Lewis isn't part of the plan, though it could change.

Rangers trim roster to 31 players

October, 31, 2014
Oct 31
3:55
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The Texas Rangers outrighted right-handed pitchers Nate Adcock and Alfredo Figaro to Triple-A Round Rock after they cleared waivers.

Infielder Ed Lucas, who was acquired in a trade with the Miami Marlins, also cleared waivers and will be assigned to Round Rock.

Relievers Scott Baker and Neal Cotts, along with starter Colby Lewis, officially became free agents Thursday, and with the club declining the 2014 option on right fielder Alex Rios, the Rangers currently have 31 players on their 40-man roster.

There are several players who are on the disabled list who will be moved to the 40-man roster soon.

Mike Maddux returning as pitching coach

October, 31, 2014
Oct 31
3:45
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The Texas Rangers announced Friday that pitching coach Mike Maddux will return for his seventh consecutive season with the club. Maddux's contract was scheduled to end Saturday.

Financial terms and length of his new deal weren't disclosed.

The Rangers also announced the majority of their coaching staff: Dave Magadan, hitting coach; Andy Hawkins, bullpen coach; Bobby Jones, assistant hitting coach; Steve Buechele, bench coach; Hector Ortiz, first base coach/catching instructor and Jayce Tingler, major league field coordinator.

A third base coach will be announced at a later time.

Maddux and Hawkins are the longest tenured coaches, each entering his seventh season with the Rangers.

Magadan, who returns for a third season, interviewed with the Yankees and Mets about becoming their hitting coach. Magadan has one year remaining on his contract.

Buechele was a minor league manager for several years, most recently with Triple-A Round Rock. This is Buechele's first job on a big league club as a coach and he, along with Maddux, interviewed for the managing job that eventually went to Jeff Banister.

Ortiz was the Rangers' minor league catching instructor from 2011-to-2014 and has spent 10-years with the organization. Tingler is the youngest staff member at 33. He's been with the Rangers for the last eight seasons, including the last three as the minor league field coordinator.

Elvis Andrus slims down, focuses on 2015

October, 31, 2014
Oct 31
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There was something different about Elvis Andrus's frame when he was standing with a bunch of kids at a charity event this week.

Indeed, the Texas Rangers' starting shortstop is thinner.

In 2009, his rookie season, Andrus weighed 185 pounds. But last season, his sixth, he reached 205. Now he wants to get down to about 190.

“I think that’s the way I’m going to feel great and help me,” he said.

Last season didn’t help Andrus.

He didn’t have much power behind him in the lineup. He tied his career low with 72 runs scored and was caught stealing a major league-leading 15 times in 157 games. He did have a career-high 35 doubles, but his fielding percentage was .971, his lowest in two seasons. Eighty-eight percent of the plays he made were outs, tied for the lowest of his career.

Is all this attributed to extra weight?

"Last year was a year I want to put behind me. But it was a year for me that I learned the most about myself,” Andrus said. “It was a tough year for the whole organization, and we’re trying to bounce back. And I’m doing the same thing."

(Read full post)

Rangers working on Colby Lewis deal

October, 30, 2014
Oct 30
11:35
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Nothing has been finalized, but the Texas Rangers are working on a new contract for right-handed starter Colby Lewis.

Team officials are hopeful they will know something soon regarding Lewis, who tied for the team lead in victories with 10 after returning from hip and elbow surgeries.

The Rangers have three free agents to deal with, and Lewis is at the top of the list. Lewis signed a one-year, $2 million minor-league deal last season. But after his successful 2014, considering what he came back from physically, a two- or three-year deal is a possibility.

Left-handed reliever Neal Cotts is also on the Rangers' radar, but the club wants to take care of Lewis and finalize their coaching staff before looking at him. Cotts pitched in a team-high 73 games last season.

Scott Baker, another free-agent pitcher, will also have to wait for the Rangers' offer. He pitched out of the bullpen as a long reliever and he became a spot starter toward the end of the season.

As expected, the Rangers will buy out the contract of right fielder Alex Rios at $1 million, making him a free agent. Rios had to remain on the roster until after the World Series.

Top 50 MLB free agents

October, 30, 2014
Oct 30
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Major league teams have more money than ever to spend on players, so I'm expecting the recent trend of salary inflation to continue this offseason even without many superstars available as free agents. This year's crop features a few top-end starting pitchers but very little in the position player department, especially in the middle of the field. Beyond the top of the list, you see a lot of fringe regulars and back-end starters. There's also the occasional upside play on a guy who has been injured or is coming off a season below his career norms.

With these rankings, I try to give a rough idea of the offer I'd be comfortable making to each player, assuming I were the general manager of a contending team (or would-be contending team) and operating at or above the median payroll level.

Estimating the actual dollar value of a player to any specific team is nearly impossible, because we don't know what the marginal revenue product of a win is for each club, and that number can change for a team from season to season, or even within a season, if it's much better or worse than expected.

My numbers are not predictions, and they often will fall short of actual market values. That is due to the "winner's curse" phenomenon, in which the winner of an auction for a good of uncertain value is the bidder whose internal estimates of that value are the highest (and thus perhaps too optimistic), and because teams with large payrolls can and often do pay more for a win in the free-agent market.

I've also noted which players have received a $15.3 million qualifying offer. If a player receives one and signs elsewhere, the signing team will lose a draft pick, and having a qualifying offer "attached" can really hurt the value of non-elite free agents.

Now, on to the rankings.

A look at ten potential free agent signings

October, 30, 2014
Oct 30
10:00
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James ShieldsRick Osentoski/USA TODAY SportsJames Shields could be a fit for the Rangers' rotation this offseason.


FanGraphs has a contract crowd sourcing project where they rank the top free agents this offseason based on projected contracts.

The rankings project how much a particular player should make thanks to a formula they designed.

Last year, Shin-Soo Choo was projected to get a five-year $81.1 million deal by FanGraphs, the Rangers signed the outfielder to a seven-year $130 million deal. You can debate whether or not Choo deserved the contract he received just based on his injury-plagued season. Here's last year's project.

With that we rank 10 free agents listed among the best free agents by FanGraphs who might be targets for the Rangers.

1. James Shields

FanGraphs projected salary: Five years, $90 million.

Comment: Shields, the fourth-ranked free agent, is considered to be in the Rangers' wheelhouse in terms of salary demands. He’s not going to get Jon Lester money, however his 14-8 season with a 3.7 WAR for Kansas City was impressive. He also had a 5.46 ERA in the postseason that was a little concerning. Shields would make a solid No. 2/3 starter to Yu Darvish and a four-to-five year contract seems in line with what the Rangers want to do.

2. Russell Martin

FanGraphs projected salary: Four years, $56 million.

Comment: He’s expected to get a qualifying offer of $15.3 million and reject it. He batted .290/.402/.430 in 111 games for the Pittsburgh Pirates and Jeff Banister, the new Rangers manager, has a relationship with him from his time with the Bucs. If the Rangers make a play for Martin, ranked No. 6 by FanGraphs, it would mean prized minor league catcher Jorge Alfaro is at least two more years away from the big leagues. Martin will be 32 on Opening Day 2015 so his shelf life is roughly three years based on that age.

3. Nelson Cruz

FanGraphs projected salary: Three years, $45 million.

Comment: The Rangers are in need of a corner outfielder and a full-time DH. Cruz, a former Ranger who is No. 10 by FanGraphs, fits this need. His salary demands could rise over the projected $45 million especially after a .525 slugging percentage and a 3.9 WAR in 2014. There's a history here with Cruz and he was suspended for the final 50 games of the 2013 season. But is the salary too much?

4. Ervin Santana

FanGraphs projected salary: Three years, $39 million.

Comment: The 31-year-old right-hander threw 196 innings for the Atlanta Braves in 2014 and has made more than 30 starts the last five seasons. Santana, No. 11 by FanGraphs, went 18-23 in his last two seasons pitching in the AL. Santana could be a nice signing if Shields' salary gets to high for the Rangers.

[+] EnlargeBrandon McCarthy
AP Photo/Tony DejakBrandon McCarthy is another attractive option for the Rangers' rotation.

5. Brandon McCarthy

FanGraphs projected salary: Three years, $36 million.

Comment: The New York Yankees want to re-sign the righty, who is coming off a career-high 200 innings of work in 2014. McCarthy, ranked No. 13, had a WAR of 3.0 and is more of a No. 3 starter. Say the Rangers can’t sign Shields or another top-tier free agent, McCarthy becomes a nice pitcher behind left-hander Derek Holland and Darvish. The Yankees, desperate for pitching, might overpay to retain the former Ranger.

6. Colby Rasmus

FanGraphs projected salary: Three years, $30 million.

Comment: He’s primary a center fielder (732 games) with only 15 games total as a corner outfielder. Leonys Martin is the Rangers' leadoff man and the starting center fielder, but could he change positions, left maybe, or could Rasmus do it? Rasmus hit .225/.287/.448 for Toronto and was sat for younger players in September. A new venue and change of position might work for the No. 16-ranked free agent.

7. Jason Hammel

FanGraphs projected salary: Three years, $27 million.

Comment: The right-handed starter has pitched for five teams and struggled after a trade from the Chicago Cubs to the Oakland Athletics in 2014. He went 2-6 with the Athletics and in 13 starts pitched into the seventh inning four times. At No. 19, the 31-year old is a good No. 3 starter who might not command a ton of money.

8. Billy Butler

FanGraphs projected salary: Two years, $18 million.

Comment: A good durable player who might be a nice first baseman/DH to give Prince Fielder a break in the field and is the full-time DH. This is nothing against Mitch Moreland, but he’s coming off ankle surgery and it’s undetermined if he’ll be the same player. If you can upgrade with Butler, then it makes sense. He did have a poor -0.3 WAR and his strikeout percentage was 15.9 percent.

9. Torii Hunter

FanGraphs projected salary: One year, $10 million.

Comment: This is a one-shot deal. Hunter, 39, is a veteran player who can play a corner outfield spot and DH from time to time. If some of the younger Rangers aren’t ready to play the outfield yet, then Hunter is a smart play. You just wonder if Hunter wants to play here for one more season.

10. Justin Masterson

FanGraphs projected salary: One year $9 million.

Comment: Masterson will probably get more than a one-year deal from somebody but he dealt with knee problems and his sinker lost some velocity as the season progressed. He did make 25 starts last season between Cleveland and St. Louis. Ranked No. 36, the 29-year old Masterson, if healthy, might be a steal if someone wants to give him a chance.
[+] EnlargeElvis Andrus
Kelly Gavin/Texas RangersAndrus spent time at SafeHaven on Tuesday and presented the organization with a check from the Rangers Foundation.
Texas Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus is mindful of the community in which he plays six months a year.

On Tuesday, Andrus donated $5,000, took pictures, signed autographs and spent time with the good people of the SafeHaven of Tarrant County, a domestic violence shelter.

"I think it's a great opportunity to give back to the community who has give me so much in my career in Texas," Andrus said. "I just love it, and it's a great cause, especially right now. There's tough time for them, and for me to help a little bit it, means a lot to me and to them."

SafeHaven of Tarrant County's mission statement is to stop domestic violence through safety, support, prevention and social changes. SafeHaven is one of the oldest and largest organizations helping domestic violence victims. SafeHaven makes sure to help the women and children of domestic violence with all sorts of programs.

"At some point, we need these kinds of donations, and they're going to use it in the right way," Andrus said. "And for myself and the Rangers Foundation to present this check, it's close to the holidays and Halloween. I hope its great news for them."

Jake Smolinski with 10 RBIs in winter ball

October, 27, 2014
Oct 27
12:00
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We take a look at five Texas Rangers who are participating in winter ball.

*Jake Smolinski, LF: Playing in the Mexican leagues, Smolinski has 10 RBIs on the season, all with runners in scoring position. Overall, Smolinski is hitting .276/.333/.414. He missed a good portion of the Rangers season with a small fracture in his foot but once he returned, he displayed good speed and ability to hit the ball consistently. He will compete for a starting job, left field, or could become the No. 4 outfielder in 2015.

*Tomas Telis, C: The switch-hitting catcher is in Venezuela and currently has a five-game hitting streak. He has just three RBIs the last 10 games and is hitting .265/.350/.441. Telis is the projected No. 2 catcher for 2015 and the Rangers were impressed with how he called a game. Telis just needs to work on some consistency behind the plate in terms of throwing out runners. That will happen with more opportunities.

*Roman Mendez, RHP: It's a small sampling but the reliever has pitched in just two games in the Dominican Republic. He's pitched in 1 2/3 innings, allowed one hit and struck out one. Mendez had a 2.18 ERA in 30 appearances for the Rangers in 2014 and his K/BB ratio was 1.29. Mendez has a chance to make the roster as a middle reliever, but there will be plenty of competition for those spots.

*Nick Williams, LF: He's second on the Arizona Fall League team with 25 total bases. He's hitting .267/.290/.417 in 15 games. But he's just 4-for-20 in the last five games and is just 3-for-15 vs. LHP. Williams played in 15 games for Double-A Frisco last season and most likely will start there again next season.

*Lisalverto Bonilla, RHP: He was solid in the big leagues last season, winning his first three starts and becoming the first pitcher in franchise history to do so. He's got a bright future. In three Arizona games, Bonilla has a 5.40 ERA. In his last outing on Oct. 23, he allowed four runs on seven hits with two walks and six strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings. In his previous outing on Oct. 17, Bonilla threw shutout ball for four innings, giving up just one hit with three walks and two strikeouts.

MLB Future Power Rankings

October, 28, 2014
Oct 28
12:45
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Free agency is right around the corner, and we at ESPN Insider decided we'd steal a page from gyms and weight-loss programs everywhere by producing a "before" and "after" snapshot of each franchise. The "before" shot represents what the team looks like heading into what's sure to be a busy offseason for many teams. We'll check in with the "after" shot next spring when the dealin' is done.

As in past renditions of the MLB Future Power Rankings, we've asked three of our top baseball analysts -- Jim Bowden, Keith Law and Buster Olney -- to rank all 30 teams across five different categories (see table) in an attempt to measure how well each team is set up for sustained success over the next five years. Some things have changed drastically since we last did these rankingsback in March -- we're looking at you, Texas Rangers -- while many other things have remained the same (the top three teams remain the top three teams, just in a different order). To show you what's changed, we compare the updated rankings to the March version for each team.

The better your rank in a given category, the more points you get, and the average point scores from the three voters are available in the bar graphs accompanying each team's section, rounded to the nearest integer. We weighted the categories and then gave each team a score on a scale of 1 to 100, with the score representing a team's percentage of total possible points. (For a detailed breakdown of the methodology used for the Future Power Rankings, click here.)

With each team's ranking, you'll also get a take from Buster, Jim and Keith. Buster will give an overview of the franchise's future, Jim will explain the biggest dilemma currently facing the team, and Keith highlights a prospect facing a make-or-break season.

So who's No. 1? Which team did our team of experts think is best equipped for success over the next half-decade? And where does your favorite team rank? It's time to find out.

  • 1
Los Angeles Dodgers
NL WEST FPR RANK: 1

The bar graphs reflect the average points given by the voters for each category.

The overview
As Andrew Friedman takes over the organization, he is flush with the dollars and prospects to fill any roster holes. -- Buster Olney

The dilemma
Whether to re-sign Hanley Ramirez is not the Dodgers' biggest dilemma; it's how to clear up their crowded outfield situation. Their preference would be to keep Matt Kemp, Joc Pederson and Yasiel Puig as their starting outfield and try to trade the hefty contracts of Andre Ethier and Carl Crawford (while realizing they'll have to eat some of Ethier's and Crawford's contracts). -- Jim Bowden

New guys
Pitcher Grant Holmes was a top-10 talent in this year's draft but slid out of the top 20, perhaps because of concerns over his height. But he's a polished and physically mature 6-foot right-hander who fills up the strike zone and sits in the low 90s. -- Keith Law


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Texas Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux's contract ends Friday and his status beyond that is uncertain.

Maddux has termed his conversations with new manager Jeff Banister as positive and is hopeful for a return.

"Jeff and I have had positive talks," Maddux said briefly.

The Rangers need Maddux because of the issues with the pitching staff. You have to ignore the 4.49 team ERA from 2014. Four pitchers were on the 60-day disabled list and the team lost Derek Holland for the first four months of the year. Yu Darvish was also out for nearly the last two months due to health issues.

This pitching staff was a mess.

Martin Perez, a promising starter, won't be around until next summer as he recovers from Tommy John surgery. Matt Harrison, a workhorse starter, won't start throwing again until the start of 2015. GM Jon Daniels will most likely sign a free-agent starter or two this winter.

(Read full post)

SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Colby Lewis
WINS ERA SO IP
10 5.18 133 170
OTHER LEADERS
BAA. Beltre .324
HRA. Beltre 19
RBIA. Beltre 77
RA. Beltre 79
OPSA. Beltre .879
ERAC. Lewis 5.18
SOY. Darvish 182