I get the shakes if I don’t write something about the Rangers sale for more than 48 hours or so and right now I’m jonesin’ hard, so I’ll even settle for linking to Heyman:
The snag in the Texas Rangers’ sale talks appears fairly serious. Two
sources say they believe the banks are looking for $50 million more.
They are unlikely to cut Rangers owner Tom Hicks any slack,
either, as he’s been slow to pay back his debts. One possibility if this
deal falls through might be to auction off the team.
This comes in a notes column and doesn’t have much more context than that so it’s hard to say if Heyman has heard something new or just going off of the reports from early last week about the latest creditor objections. Either way, his reference to an auction of the team is something I’ve never seen anyone say before.
And while it’s a possibility, it doesn’t strike me as a realistic possibility. If someone involved in the current negotiations decides that a total impasse has been reached aren’t there less-intrusive options? For one thing, Greenberg-Ryan could simply go back to the drawing board with a new proposal that bypasses Hicks in some important way or otherwise makes the creditors happy in ways that Hicks can’t seem to now. Also, might it not be possible for the guys who were interested before — Jim Crane or Dennis Gilbert — to get back into this thing? Reports had each of them with some important advantages back in December, with some people saying that Crane’s offer was the richest and others saying that Gilbert was favored by Major League Baseball.
All of that is speculation, of course — I have no idea if Crane or Gilbert are even interested any more or if there’s some procedural reason why Greenberg and Ryan couldn’t simply start over — but those options all seem more likely and less disastrous for all involved than some auction or bankruptcy gambit that the creditors have been barking about in recent weeks.
Free agent first baseman James Loney has reportedly signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The deal includes an invite to spring training and a $1 million salary if he makes the major league roster in 2017.
Loney picked up a one-year stint and starting role with the Mets in 2016, slashing .265/.307/.397 with nine home runs in 336 PA. While his numbers were down a hair from the .280/.322/.357 batting line he produced with the Rays in 2015, he provided the Mets with a necessary, if underwhelming upgrade over an injured Lucas Duda through most of the season.
The 32-year-old infielder is expected to have some competition at first base, with at least five other candidates in the mix: Jurickson Profar, Ronald Guzman, Ryan Rua, Joey Gallo and Josh Hamilton. Rumor has it that the team is planning on platooning Rua and Profar in 2017, barring any impressive breakouts or injuries during spring training, though Loney could still provide the club with some veteran depth and a decent left-handed bat off the bench.
Comments from an anonymous team official suggest that Rangers right-hander Tyson Ross will not be expected to join the rotation until May or June, per a report from Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Both Ross and GM Jon Daniels favor a conservative approach for the 29-year-old as he works his way back up to full health after undergoing surgery last October to relieve thoracic outlet syndrome.
The delay is reportedly being implemented so that Ross will be have the strength and stamina to contribute during the stretch run. Per Daniels:
We would rather err on a little extra time up front with the goal being to finish strong, pitching in big spots, meaningful games down the stretch and hopefully past 162.
Ross signed a one-year deal with the team on Thursday after pitching through an injury-riddled season with the Padres in 2016. If all goes according to plan, he’ll slot into a rotation that includes Yu Darvish, Cole Hamels, Andrew Cashner and Martin Perez. The Rangers are expected to narrow down their fifth starter alternatives in spring training.