10-31 Newberg Report TROT COFFEY*

(* Trade Rumor Offerings To Chew On For Fun, Even Yuks) 

Not to be confused with veteran reliever Todd Coffey, the TROT COFFEY is [usually] a mailing list-only Newberg Report update on various trade and free agent rumblings unearthed, if not hatched, by the media or player agents:

·       Even before his playoffs heroics for the Rangers in 2011, I tweeted this about Mike Napoli.  A couple weeks into his final season with Texas, I tweeted this about Napoli.  Wrote this right before he left for Boston, wrote this right after, and didn’t even have the energy to come up with a new title the second time.

        I miss Napoli a ton, and I might miss Koji Uehara even more.  There’s a small part of me that wishes those two didn’t win it all this year, so they’d sit there wondering if they made the right decision to leave the Rangers (who did make an effort to keep both around), but there’s a bigger part of me happy that those two guys won a ring, and that the St. Louis Cardinals didn’t.

        And I’m happy the World Series is over.  Time to get to work.

·       Teams have five days after the completion of the World Series to make qualifying offers to their free agents who were with them for the entire season.  Whether a qualifying offer is made doesn’t impact whether the team can re-sign that player; instead, it sets the team up to receive a compensatory draft pick after the first round next June if the team tenders the offer and the player — who has seven days to consider the offer — declines it and eventually signs somewhere else.  This winter, based on the formula set forth in the CBA, the qualifying offer must be for one year and $14.1 million (up $800,000 from last year).

        I was on record hoping Texas would tender Napoli the $13.3 million offer last winter (of course, none of us were aware at this time last year of his hip condition, which led Boston to rescind its three-year, $39 million deal with Napoli and come to terms instead on a one-year, $5 million contract with incentives that he ended up meeting to result in a $13 million deal).  Aside from his, the easy decisions were to tender one to Josh Hamilton and not to tender one to the club’s remaining free agents (Uehara, Mike Adams, Scott Feldman, Mark Lowe, Yoshinori Tateyama).

·       This year’s decisions are similar: One lock to get a qualifying offer (Nelson Cruz), one tough decision (Joe Nathan), and a bunch who won’t (A.J. Pierzynski, David Murphy, Geovany Soto, and Colby Lewis).  (Jason Frasor has already signed a new 2014 contract, Matt Garza doesn’t qualify since he was with Texas for less than the full 2013 season, and Jeff Baker has already been designated for assignment and allowed to take free agency, so I believe he’d be ineligible.)

        Because Nathan met his contract thresholds (55 games finished this year and a combined 100 games finished the last two seasons combined), he can void the $9 million club option Texas holds for 2014.  He will.  And the Rangers are likely going to let him take a multi-year deal somewhere else, given the other needs they have this winter (particularly offensively), the depth they have in closer candidates internally, and their general reluctance to commit multiple years to relief pitchers, one that they bucked two winters ago when they struck quickly with the two guaranteed years they gave to Nathan, a deal that turned out to be a tremendous one.

        The reason Texas would make the qualifying offer, of course, is to get the supplemental first-rounder.  The risk is that Nathan’s market for a multi-year deal could conceivably be thin (he’ll be 39 next month), and if the Rangers think he might take their $14.1 million qualifying offer by his November 11 deadline to do so, it could dramatically impact their winter plans financially.  It’s pretty clear Texas is making its 2014 plans without Nathan in them, and the club is going to make him a qualifying offer only if it’s relatively sure he’ll turn it down.

        We’ll know by Monday whether the Rangers made Nathan the offer.

·       Gerry Fraley (Dallas Morning News) believes that this year’s GM/Owners Meetings, which start on November 11 in Orlando, could be busy for Texas in terms of player movement, or at least serious groundwork.  Fraley and others continue to pinpoint David Price and Giancarlo Stanton as the market’s two key trade assets.

·       Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux would “absolutely be interested” and “flattered” if the Tigers wanted to talk to him about their managerial opening.  Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times) hears that Maddux is not a candidate this time around for the Cubs job.  Chicago has reportedly interviewed Rays bench coach Dave Martinez, Padres bench coach Rick Renteria, and former big league managers Manny Acta and A.J. Hinch, and was waiting for Boston’s season to end to interview Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo.

·       Nick Cafardo (Boston Globe) writes that Rangers hitting coach Dave Magadan “is being viewed as a managerial candidate by some executives,” and adds that “if [Ron] Washington had been replaced, Magadan would have been a candidate in Texas.”

·       Baltimore interviewed Rangers bullpen coach Andy Hawkins and three others for its vacant pitching coach position but hired Dave Wallace to fill the post.

·       Don Wakamatsu, who interviewed (along with Jamie Quirk and Steve Buechele) for the bench coach position that Texas tabbed Tim Bogar to fill, was hired by Kansas City to be Ned Yost’s bench coach.

·       According to Buster Olney (ESPN), the Angels are willing to trade hitter Mark Trumbo or center fielder Peter Bourjos for pitching.

·       Jon Heyman (CBS Sports) believes the Rangers, Tigers, Cubs, Mariners, Blue Jays, Orioles, White Sox, Nationals, Angels, and Giants could show interest in free agent second baseman Robinson Cano, who I’m sure will end up staying with the Yankees.  Heyman has the Rangers, Red Sox, Yankees, Cubs, Angels, Blue Jays, and White Sox potentially in on catcher Brian McCann.

·       The Rangers signed lefthander Aaron Poreda and righthander Kyle Lotzkar to minor league deals, a couple low-risk fliers on power arms thought not long ago to be high-end prospects, and released minor league outfielder Hirotoshi Onaka.

·       Hickory third baseman Joey Gallo became the first teenager in 51 years to hit 40 minor league home runs in a season — and he missed a month in 2013.  He fell one homer short of the Rangers’ all-time farm record, set in 1974 when Tom Robson (a future Rangers hitting coach) went deep 41 times.

·       Atlanta dismissed former Rangers minor league hitting instructor Randy Ready from his post as AAA manager after one season.

·       Detroit signed righthander Justin Miller to a minor league contract.

·       The Hiroshima Carp signed lefthander Zach Phillips.

·       Thanks for the excellent response to my email a couple days ago about our 9U select baseball opportunity.  If you haven’t responded and have a son born May 1, 2004 or later who you think might fit on a competitive DFW tournament team with a long-term vision, please email me today.  Thanks.


Jamey Newberg

Dallas attorney Jamey Newberg has been commenting on Rangers from the big club down through the entire farm system since 1998.

Scott Lucas

Scott Lucas was born in Arlington, Texas, to Richard and Becky Lucas. He lived mostly in Arlington before moving to Austin, where he graduated from The University of Texas. Scott works for Austin Valuation Consultants, Ltd., and has published several boring articles about real estate appraisal and environmental contamination. He makes a swell margarita and refuses to run longer than ten kilometres.

Eleanor Czajka

Eleanor grew up watching the AAA Mudhens in Toledo, Ohio. A loyal Ranger fan since 1979, she works "behind the scenes" at the Newberg Report.

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