Probably not good. The Rangers would probably be willing to only do a two-year deal at the most like they did with Joaquin Benoit. The current administration has not shown a willingness to go much farther than that with relievers. Francisco, from his side, might decide to go just one more year, have a big season and then maximize his earnings power with free agency.
What is the real reason that Rudy Jaramillo is not back as hitting coach?
-- Paul F., Fort Worth
Jaramillo wanted to come back but wanted a multi-year deal. The Rangers were only offering one. I also got the sense that Jaramillo felt that he was being taken for granted this year and was coming under undue criticism after a long track record of success. He seemed rankled by the idea that people had forgotten what had occurred here before 2009. That may have moved him out the door more than anything.
Given the relatively short careers of pro ballplayers and their overall limited knowledge of money management, does the players' union have a mandatory percentage of their annual income dedicated to retirement and non-liquid savings to help secure their financial future?
-- Rob S., Allen, Tex.
The Players Association has an extremely healthy pension plan that begins once a player spends just one day in the Major Leagues. Players manage their own money and some have fallen into deep trouble by getting bad advice. But the pension is sound.
How active can the Rangers really be in the free agent market with their ownership up in the air? What is your prediction on when this will get resolved?
-- Tom S., Amarillo, Tex.
The Rangers have their budget and it will be around $68-70 million. Club president Nolan Ryan said the Rangers will be able to do some things in the free agency, but it will probably be on a par with what they've done in the past few years. As far as ownership, word is a decision could come sometime in November. The sale has to be approved by the owners and that could take several months. Hicks had to wait five months before he was approved, but Major League Baseball would obviously want to get this situation resolved as quickly as possible.
Will the Rangers take another stab at trying to obtain Roy Halladay?
-- Chris B., Burleson, Tex.
Halladay has a no-trade clause in his contract and the Rangers were told specifically on July 31 he would not waive it to come to Texas.
In your last mailbag, you suggested that Nelson Cruz would be playing off the bench. Why is that? Because not only is he a better hitter than David Murphy and Marlon Byrd, but his defense is also above league average.
-- Parker S., Wichita Falls, Tex.
First, the Rangers have to see if they can re-sign Byrd. Then, they have to decide who plays center: Byrd, Josh Hamilton or Julio Borbon. Finally, if they do re-sign Byrd, they have to decide if they want to include one of their outfielders -- most likely Cruz or Murphy -- in a trade for pitching.
Is there any chance of the Rangers hosting the All-Star Game soon?
-- Matthew M., Plano, Tex.
Probably not. Among American League cities, Anaheim (2010) and Kansas City (2012) are next. Minnesota (2014) is likely after that with their new ballpark. That takes the American League to 2016. By then, Oakland could have a new park. Tampa Bay has never hosted an All-Star Game. The Rangers hosted the All-Star Game in 1995 and Baltimore (1993) and Toronto (1991) are ahead of them. It may not be until 2024 that the Rangers time comes around again, although it's not a strict rotation.
With Chris Davis currently at first, where does Justin Smoak fit? Davis is known for his defense and Smoak brings offense to the plate, so will they find a place for both of them?
-- John H., Mena, Ark.
Smoak will start next season at Triple-A Oklahoma City. Davis will be the Rangers first baseman. Both have much to prove at those levels before the Rangers have to worry about or make a decision involving either player.
Using only pitchers in the current Rangers organization (regardless of age, injured or not, level, etc.), what five pitchers would you select for your starting rotation? You are building a staff for the next five to seven years.
-- Vince H., Gray, Tenn.
The 2010 rotation would be Kevin Millwood, Scott Feldman, Derek Holland, Tommy Hunter and Matt Harrison. Neftali Feliz would get one more year in the bullpen, then compete with Eric Hurley in 2011 for Millwood's spot. By then, you could have guys like Blake Beavan, Kasey Kiker, Omar Poveda, Martin Perez and others also ready to pitch at the Major League level.
I keep hearing that some of the bidders are conditioning their purchase on moving the Rangers closer to the Dallas downtown area or Fair Park. Is that even possible?
-- Arfeo Y., Houston
The Rangers have a 40-year lease on a ballpark that is paid off and Dallas showed little willingness to build a facility for the NFL team here. The Ballpark in Arlington needs some work -- I'm thoroughly sick of traffic cones, barricades and chains across parking lot entrances -- but the Rangers aren't moving.
I was just wondering whatever happened to Grady Fuson? Is he a general manager now?
-- Jeff B., Dallas
He is with the Padres as vice president for scouting and player development.
With the Rangers needing a right-handed bat that can play first base in a backup role, I would think that Fernando Tatis would be a good candidate for the job.
-- Brian W., Durant, Okla.
That's an excellent name. He turns 35 on New Year's Day, his power numbers aren't quite where they once were and the money has to be right. But Tatis would indeed seem to be a good addition because he does hit right-handed and he plays multiple positions.
What kind of money do you expect Scott Feldman to earn in arbitration this winter, and will that affect the team's ability to re-sign or replace Marlon Byrd in free agency?
-- Eric A., Dallas
Somewhere between $2.5 and $3.5 million is the guess based on what happened with three-year pitchers last winter. It shouldn't impede the Rangers ability to re-sign Byrd.
Do you think the Rangers would be open to ideas for fun during the game? It may bring more kids to the park if the sideline events were improved. What do you think of having the Lone Ranger ride out to present the national anthem and then after the game to present the game's MVP with a silver bullet? The horse mascot is cute for a while, but we old-timers consider the real mascot of the rangers to be the Lone Ranger.
-- Tommy H., Glen Rose, Tex.
I think they already get silver bullets after every game.