December 14, 2012
Friday, December 14
The Royals got James Shields, the Dodgers got Zack Greinke, and then, for a while, everything was quiet. It turns out, that was the calm before Thursday’s storm, which brought Josh Hamilton to Anaheim, sent Ryan Dempster to Boston, and cast the spotlight on Anibal Sanchez. Today’s Roundup includes a look at the implications of yesterday’s moves and some late-night intrigue surrounding another free-agent starter.
With Hamilton gone, the Rangers move on to Plan E
Greinke, Hamilton, Shields, and—barring a surprising change-of-heart from Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers, who acquired his shortstop, Didi Gregorius, earlier this week—Justin Upton are gone. Those were Plans A, B, C, and D for Daniels, whose search for lineup and pitching staff reinforcements has thus far yielded only a set-up man, former Royals closer Joakim Soria. As Jeff Passan wrote in his column, right now, the Angels are the gunslingers and the Rangers are the seraphs. But spring training is still two months away, and even with his top four plans foiled, Daniels does not lack for options.
Whatever money the Rangers allocated for Greinke and Hamilton remains in the coffers, a fact that led one rival executive to tell FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, “They could do [Nick] Swisher, [A.J.] Pierzynski, and [Adam] LaRoche.” That trio would hardly represent a significant downgrade from Hamilton, Geovany Soto, and Michael Young. Hamilton (3.9 WARP) barely out-produced Swisher (3.7 WARP) in 2012; Young (-1.5 WARP) was one of the worst regulars in the league; and both LaRoche and Pierzynski, who enjoyed career years last season, would benefit from one of the league’s friendliest parks for left-handed hitters, mitigating the effects of a reversion to their baselines.
Daniels also still has a stockpile of near-ready prospects at his disposal—including Mike Olt, Martin Perez, and Jurickson Profar—some of which could have gone to the Rays for Shields, but each of which could now be used to bring in a different controllable starting pitcher to complement the aforementioned free-agent haul. This new, perfect-world scenario is unlikely, and if the past two weeks are any guide, the gun-shy Rangers may continue to find themselves behind the 8 ball. But the most salient point is that while Texas now has four fewer options, virtually all of its big-budget competitors are wrapping up their winter spending.
And, in the event that plans E and F go the way of A through D, Daniels has already laid-out two possible contingencies. One, as reported by ESPN Dallas’ Richard Durrett, would involve shifting lefty reliever Robbie Ross into the rotation, leaving most of the available funds to be used toward LaRoche, Pierzynski, and/or Swisher. The other, as has been bandied about since the Winter Meetings and was reiterated yesterday by FOX Sports Southwest’s Anthony Andro, would entail putting Ian Kinsler at first base and installing Profar at the keystone, in turn freeing up Olt or Mitch Moreland to become trade bait for a starter.