I was looking forward to Groundhog Day for two reasons. First, I wanted to watch Groundhog Day. Second I was pumped about Spring Training being right around the corner. Who knew the Rangers would be so busy right after Groundhog Day though? I certainly didn't expect it.
The biggest news is obviously the organization coming to terms with Ben Sheets. The two sides agreed to a 2 year contract guaranteeing 10 million dollars with incentives that would push the deal towards the pay an ace deserves based upon his health. Small problem though,Â athletes must take physicals toÂ finalize contracts. Ben Sheets failed his physical and he is still unemployed.
This marks the first time that the Rangers have reached a deal with a marquee free agent pitcher in a long time. They usually are usedÂ toÂ drive up negotiations with other teams.Â This time they made the committment though. Good for them. Sheets could stillÂ end up in Texas. The Rangers could fork over their 2nd round pick to sign Sheets now with less guaranteed money for 2009. The market is weakÂ for 2010. If you want to compete for 2010 get your guy now. Perhaps the Rangers will after they hear howÂ Sheets' upcoming surgery goes.
If that saga weren't enough the Rangers got busy handing out their Non-Roster Invitations. Omar Vizquel and Derrick Turnbow received theirs a few weeks prior. During the past week Texas has extended invitations toÂ RP Brendan Donnelly, RP Eddie Guardado, CF Andruw Jones, and SP Jason Jennings. Not that I'm counting, but thats 1 Hall of Famer, 5 former All Stars, and a former Rookie of the Year. Not bad.
The only problem with the NRI class is the onlyÂ reward also:Â What happens if 3 of the 6 (or more) make the team? It isn't inconceivable for all 3 of the relievers, Vizquel, and Jones to make the roster. JenningsÂ is more of a longshot since he's never been particularly good, but ifÂ theres an injury or bad pitching in general he could figure in. Call it intuition if you want, but I don't think he Rangers are done. They'll have to clear some roster space at some point, and I have to think a lot of it will be on the pitching side. Deals could be in the works.
Only time will tell, but thank God Spring Training is almost here.
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Written by Josh Lile