Thursday, June 24, 2010

Jim Reeves is optimistic about the Rangers getting all this resolved before the trade deadline

It's a really long article, but ESPN Dallas' Jim Reeves thinks the Rangers just may get their crap resolved. And that's good news for us:

For all the doom and gloom that spread rampantly this week after Judge Lynn's ruling that the team's creditors were impaired, Rangers executives came away with a sense that the Judge is cognizant of the time element involved with the fast-approaching trade deadline and how important that could be to the franchise. One of his jobs is to maximize the value of the franchise and what better way to do that than to clear the decks so that the Rangers can be a player in trade talks by the end of next month?

How often, by the way, has baseball's trading deadline been brought up by a judge in court?

It's also important to note that Judge Lynn installed William Snyder as the chief restructuring officer, meaning Snyder has the ball right now and the judge can take his long-planned vacation cruise as scheduled. One other point: Those who understand all the legal gobbledygook say Judge Lynn's plan, if followed strictly by Greenberg and Ryan, will be virtually appeal-proof...

...Throw in the fact that Houston owner Drayton McLane said this week that the Astros would be willing to eat some of Oswalt's contract and that Ryan is already on record as saying he'd love to have Oswalt ... well, it may come down to what the Rangers would have to give up in prospects to get one of these two prime-time pitchers.

I do believe the Rangers wouldn't need to give up as much to the Astros as they would the Mariners for the half-season of Cliff Lee (and his much-lower salary). If the Mets or Twins move on Cliff Lee early - which it seems like they may do - that will only increase the Roy-to-Arlington chances.


William said...

Why would Oswalt not command an equal prospect haul? I really don't understand this line of thinking. Yes, the Rangers would have to shell out more cash but they would also be getting a sizeable return on the investment. Remember, this is a franchise that has never won a playoff series. Cliff Lee would give them one chance and one chance alone at a possible WS run. Roy Oswalt would give them two shots, and he has the resume of a playoff performer. Fact is, Rangers fans are getting carried away with the value of top prospects and underrating the value of Roy Freakin Oswalt.

The Constable. said...

William. Those are good points, but the fact is that the Rangers would only have to pay Lee about $4m, and that means more prospects. He's only a half-season rental, while Roy would provide two shots at the postseason. Only the contract gets in the way of Roy getting dealt - he's answered questions about his health so far this year, it's just that Lee is much, much cheaper.

William said...

I still don't follow. Cliff Lee is a better pitcher than Roy Oswalt right now, but Oswalt is a definite staff ace who's been better for longer and only has one season of an ERA over 3.99. I know I'm repeating myself, but it bears repeating for the benefit of Rangers fans. Most of them aren't properly valuing Roy Oswalt.

Constable Jimmy, when I play internet GM, I don't worry as much about the contract money owed as I do the return on my investment. Maybe that's because it's very easy to spend other people's money--and oh how I've enjoyed spending Uncle Drayton's over the years-but my focus remains on what that player can offer my team on the field. Over his career Roy Oswalt has the fourth-best ERA, the fourth-best W-L%, the seventh-best WHIP and the seventh-best WAR among active pitchers. Sure, he showed signs of decline last year but has dispelled those concerns with his performance thus far in 2010 on a team he's not exactly enthusiastic about. As I said, Lee is better right now, but so what? Is Lee's performance edge over Oswalt so great as to make a half-season rental far more attractive than the potential two-and-a-half seasons Oswalt would give? In my mind the contract money does not come into play as much as the on-field ROI. It seems to me that if you're a GM on a contender deciding to trade between two ace pitchers of comparable value, you'd prefer to get the guy who you can control for longer instead of a rental.

Let's say the Rangers trade for Lee and give up a package of their three top prospects. In return they get a half-season with one of the best pitchers in baseball in which to hope they can finally get a playoff series victory. They get one chance and one chance only--at the expense of the lost prospects and 3-4mm dollars owed Lee. Not to mention the reality that they'd be right back where they started in the search for a staff ace.

If they trade for Oswalt, on the other hand, they will owe him 4-5mm for 2010, but they also have the luxury of going into 2011 knowing they have a staff ace on their roster. They have to pay him 16 mill next year, but that is hardly an outrageous sum considering the market value for FA pitchers of Oswalt's caliber, and if he continues to pitch at the rate he's going now, they can opt in for the final year of the contract. Remember, the Rangers are in a position they don't often find themselves: playoff contention. The window of opportunity is opening right now and into the next couple of seasons for the franchise. Assuming the Rangers have no chance of signing Lee as a FA next season, one can make a good argument that Oswalt should be their primary trade target. Lee's short-term rental therefore negates the dollar-value savings with regards to the potential prospect package.

This is a long-winded way of saying both pitchers should command basically the same caliber prospects.

William said...

I'd be remiss if I forgot to add one more comment. Great work on this blog.

The comment section may be quiet but I am always reading.