Tuesday, December 21, 2004

The non-tender list 

Forty one players were non-tendered yesterday, with a handful of them being guys that the Rangers should be interested in.

Wade Miller and David Eckstein, I talked about yesterday. Miller is a guy the Rangers should try to sign to a multi-year deal, Eckstein would be a decent option at second base if they ever get around to trading Soriano.

Josh Phelps, I also talked about earlier. He crushes lefthanders and can be an emergency third catcher. I'd like to see the Rangers try to bring him in as a DH candidate...although, since he's under 35, Hart and Buck probably aren't terribly interested in him.

Eric Munson was non-tendered by the Tigers. He's sort of like a not-quite-as-good Phelps, although he can also play some third base. Munson was the #3 overall pick in the nation in 1999, right after Josh Beckett, and a few picks ahead of Barry Zito and Ben Sheets. A power-hitting catcher, he ended up not ever really developing as a hitter, and not being able to catch very well, ultimately moving to third base. Like Phelps, he's got some untapped potential the Rangers might feel they can reach, and the specter of Phil Nevin hangs over guys like Munson, so there's always the suspicion that he might put it all together eventually. If nothing else, he's a better option than Joe Randa to fill the Herb Perry righthanded corner infielder backup job, since unlike Randa, he actually has something that might resemble an upside.

Pitching prospect Rett Johnson was non-tendered by the Mariners. The U.S.S. Mariner guys like Johnson's arm, and he's someone who would be worth an NRI and a look in a relief role in Oklahoma.

Alex Cora had a pretty good season as the Dodgers' second baseman, and him being non-tendered is a bit of a surprise. He just turned 29, can play either middle infield position, and had a decent year with the bat. Maybe DePodesta thinks he's due for an off year, since from 2001 through 2004, his OBPs have been .285, .371, .287, .364. Like Eckstein, someone worth looking at at second base if Soriano gets dealt.

You honestly want Eckstein? I can't see Hart ever wanting him. Hart seems to like heavy hitting second basemen, thus why I don't see him trading Soriano any time soon.

As for the others you've mentioned, I like Miller, but think he'll need some time to get ready. I hope we take the chance on him, like I thought we should have taken the chance on lieber. Munson and McKinley are young players that I would like to see added. I think one or both would be offensive upgrades over GMJr.
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