Really, this article should be sponsored by Sesame Street. No, not because of the maturity level of this writer. That’s for another discussion. As the past few days in baseball have have unfolded, I find myself drawn back to the letter “R” and my memories of eating graham crackers and drinking out of a sippy cup, glued to those puppets on TV discussing the sounds of the letter of the day. But that was last week – We want to discuss the sounds that the letter “R” is making around baseball Right now!
Rangers - The Texas Rangers have stepped up and won the rights to negotiate with Japanese prized RHP Yu Darvish. While I think no one is surprised by the Rangers being in on the bidding, few people expect them to step up with an astonishing $51.7 million offering and out bid the Toronto Blue Jays, who were rumored last night to be the high bidder. The Rangers and Darvish now have 30 days to reach a deal or Darvish will be returned to the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters – and so will Nolan Ryan’s money.
As we wrote in our Prospect Instinct|Yu Darvish article a week ago, we don’t expect Darvish to be a true ace for anyone. He projects with he upside of a good number 2, and that stands to be true with Texas. While the Rangers do not have a true ace yet, they have a solid staff that should at some point be lead by ace-in-waiting Neftali Feliz. Feliz will be transitioning from the bullpen to the rotation. If signed, Darvish has to be considered as a serious Rookie of the Year candidate.
Reds - We discussed The radical trade the Cincinnati Reds made with the San Diego Padres recently in our Reds and Padres Dealin‘ article that ravished 30% of the Reds top 10 prospects list, causing us to reschedule it from Sunday to Monday so that we could revise it. The deal was a bold one for the Reds who got themselves an ace in Matt Latos, setting the tone for the race in the NL Central with the St. Louis Cardinals and the Milwaukee Brewers reeling.
Royals – Relief Pitcher Joakim Soria has been linked to the Blue Jays and the Red Sox. Now that the Royals have reliever Jonathan Broxton on board, Soria is view as expendable, and his contract is as attractive as his pitching résumé. The next 3 years are team controlled options, at $6 million, $8 million, and finally $8.75 million. We recently released our Toronto Blue Jays top 10 prospects list and our Boston Red Sox top 1o prospects. Both were reported on by our own Brandon Kung.
Rizzo – As Mike Koepp discussed in his Rumors and Ramblings article last night, Now that the Padres have acquired 1B Yonder Alonso, the phones will be lighting up in regards to 1B Anthony Rizzo. Mike discussed the Chicago Cubs being a good fit and while I agree, let us not forget about the rhinoceros hole at that was created at first base in St. Louis, when Albert Pujols signed a contract with the Los Angeles Angels that is rivaled only by 3B Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees.
We discussed some of the options the Cardinals had prior to learning of the Padres-Reds deal in Tom Belmont’s A New Breed of Cardinal – St. Louis in the Post Pujols Era article. While nothing has been discussed to my knowledge yet, the Cardinals certainly have the pieces to land Rizzo, possibly an up and coming pitcher like RHP Trevor Rosenthal that we aggressively ranked to the approval of Future Redbird Followers in our St. Louis Cardinals Top 10 prospects list. As I said there’s currently no legs to my speculation, but it makes a lot of sense for both organizations.
Rollins – While Jose Reyes took riches with the Florida Marlins, Jimmy Rollins didn’t break the bank with his 3 year, $33 million deal and rip apart the core of the Phillies line up. And while Rollins will by no means be a ruined man for giving the Phillies a discount, it is refreshing to see a player stay loyal to a team for a change. SS Fred Galvis, who came in at #9 on our Philadelphia Phillies top 10 prospects list, should find his way to Philly in 2012 to provide some rest for Rollins and 2B Chase Utley, but will have to wait for a starting gig.
Reaction – Barry Bonds was found guilty and then sentenced by a federal judge to 30 days of house arrest, 2 years of probation, 250 hours of community service with youth groups and a $4,000 fine for providing evasive testimony to a federal grand jury some eight years ago. Despite the recommendations of prosecutors, Bonds got a reduced sentence – and instead of trying to redeem himself by serving youth groups, Bonds is going to appeal. This continued robbery of justice by the homerun record holder has made him no longer relevant in the baseball world.
Residency – Reports keep flooding in that Yoenis Cespedes is closing in on residency in the Dominican Republic. Enrique Rojas quoted Edgar Mercedes, the player’s representative in the Dominican as saying “We’ll hear about it tomorrow [Tuesday]. We are confident that Yoenis will receive his documents this week” in his ESPN update. We first discussed Cespedes and his ridiculous, yet epic video in our Prospect Instinct|Yoenis Cespedes article.
Reason – The Ryan Braun “reason for failing the band substance test” rumor is entering a realm where frankly I don’t want to go. And from the sounds of it, neither should have Braun. Insert rimshot here. Seriously though, regardless of the reason, the formerly squeaky “clean”, above reproach Braun is unlikely to get out of the suspension. The rules state the policy, and there’s no subsection that allows a loophole for “medical” uses. If there was, likely more players would try to exploit it.
In the meantime, the Brewers, who recently signed 3B Aramis Ramirez to help with the probable departure of 1B Prince Fielder, are looking for a 50 game option for to fill the void of not having Braun. The Brewers recently posted the high bid for three-time batting champion Norichika Aoki OF from the Yakult Swallows of the Japanese Central League.
While the Brewers are pitching heavy in the minors, another option for them could be OF Logan Schafer, who we recently ranked #7 on the Milwaukee Brewers top 10 prospects list. As Aaron Bentley pointed out in his September Call Ups|NL Central piece, Schafer’s career ISoP of .126 is anything but exciting, but if he can replicate anything close to the near .200 ISoP that he posted in 2011 he could be a decent back-up outfielder for the Brewers, with the possibility of being an everyday regular with Braun out.
Check back soon as we profile more Top 10 Lists for each MLB team and also get our baseball geek on and take a look at some of the later draft picks from the 2011 draft that we think could be big names on the prospect radars in the near future. While you’re here, take a look at a recent article in this series: Los Angeles Angels Top 10 List and be a step ahead of the game. Also, check out a friend of ours for all of your fantasy sports needs. Fantasy Rundown is updated religiously and is truly an awesome resource. Thanks for checking Baseball Instinct. We’re working hard to bring you the best of the minor leagues and make the site the best experience it can be. So don’t hesitate to tell us what you would like to read about. Email us now at firstname.lastname@example.org.