Report: Ex-Agent Dennis Gilbert expected to buy the Rangers

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I’ve been hearing that the winning bidder for the Rangers is going to be announced this week. Today SI’s Jon Heyman reports that a front runner has emerged:

Former baseball superagent Dennis Gilbert and his ownership group
have emerged in recent days as the surprise frontrunner to buy the Texas Rangers SI has learned. The
deal is not believed finalized yet, but the winning bid is expected to
be “north of $500 million,” according to people familiar with the
talks.

Gilbert used to represent Barry Bonds, George Brett and Jose Canseco. He’s a Beverly Hills  estate planner and insurance man by trade. His website claims that he “revolutionized the sport of baseball through developing the free agent system.”  I’m guessing that Marvin Miller, Curt Flood, Andy Messersmith and Dave McNally would be curious to know that. Murray Chass has a pretty good takedown of the claim. Murray also notes that Gilbert is a former assistant to and good friend of White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf, and if you know anything about how ownership politics works in baseball, you know that being one of Jerry’s boys makes you one of Bud Selig’s boys, and that puts you at the front of any line you wanna be in.

Anyway, it certainly will be interesting for the guy who claims to have invented the very institution that has led to such high player salaries to show up at the owners’ meetings this winter. They’d probably greet him with a beating from a bag of doorknobs.  It will also be interesting to see a well-heeled Beverly Hills businessman to take over a Dallas sports team.  Think he’s gonna make a lot of home games?

A.J. Hinch: “We’ll use every pitcher in Game 7 if we have to”

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It’s not entirely clear why the Astros threw Ken Giles into the ninth inning of Game 6 of the ALCS. With a six-run advantage and the bottom half of the Yankees’ lineup due up, pushing the series to its seven-game capacity looked like a sure bet. Giles may be one of Houston’s better bullpen arms, but he’s not their only option, and it would have made more sense to keep him fresh for a do-or-die Game 7 on Saturday night.

Of course, there’s no such thing as a sure bet when it comes to postseason baseball. That’s more or less what Astros’ manager A.J. Hinch had to say after the game, telling reporters that he had envisioned a quick three outs from his closer as they tried to pull back from the brink of elimination. “We didn’t have the luxury of limping into that inning,” Hinch said. “We’ve seen how these guys can explode in these innings.”

It’s not difficult to recall the Yankees’ explosive drive in the eighth inning of Game 4, when they exploited the holes in Houston’s ‘pen and evened the series with Gary Sanchez‘s go-ahead double off of Giles. Back home in Minute Maid Park, however, there was a slightly different feel to the eighth and ninth innings of Game 6. Jose Altuve led off the eighth with a solo home run, followed by Alex Bregman‘s two-run double and Evan Gattis‘ sac fly. In the ninth, Giles labored through a 23-pitch outing to lock down the win, handing out a base hit and a seven-pitch walk before eventually whiffing Chase Headley on three straight pitches for the last out.

So, while Hinch’s decision to lean on Giles in Game 6 may have felt wasteful, his concerns were not entirely unfounded. He’s prepared to roll with the same strategy during Saturday’s series finale, too, leaving nothing on the table as the Astros battle for their first World Series showdown since 2005. According to Dallas Keuchel, that means all hands on deck — except for Justin Verlander, whose four wins, 24 strikeouts and 1.46 postseason ERA have gotten the Astros as far as he could possibly be expected to take them. “No pitcher is going to be in the dugout,” said Keuchel. “They’re all going to be in the bullpen, myself included. Any way we can help out, we’re trying to get to the World Series, the same way the Yankees are, and that’s a nice feeling to have.”

Does that mean Giles will be available for a Game 7 appearance? Stranger things have happened. Joe Sheehan notes that the right-hander has pitched in back-to-back days 13 times this year, though he’s never thrown as many as 23 pitches on Day 1. Granted, he likely doesn’t have enough left in the tank for another 20+ pitch run on Saturday, but with the World Series on the line, any help he can offer will be invaluable.