Timing the Derek Holland purchase.

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Responding to multiple requests, some clarification on the
procedural impact of the timing of the Derek Holland purchase:

 

While there are 183 days on the regular season calendar, you
only need 172 days in the big leagues to earn a full year of service.  But you need all 172.  While you can qualify for arbitration if you’re
not quite at three years of service, as a “Super Two,” you need six full years
of service to become a free agent.  There
are no “Super Fives.”

 

So, needing 172 days in the big leagues in 2009 to finish
the season with a full year of service, a player must spend no more than 11 calendar
days in the minor leagues.  The 11th
day of the season was Wednesday, April 15. 
Accordingly, a player who arrived in the big leagues on or before Thursday
the 16th would get a full service year, as long as he stayed in the
majors the rest of the season.  Arriving any
later than Thursday, under no circumstances could a player then amass a full
year of service in 2009. 

 

Holland
arrived on Saturday.

 

And that means he can’t be a free agent until after the 2015
season, even if he never spends another day on the farm.  Finishing the 2014 season with 5.171 service
years doesn’t get you there.  In Holland’s case, if he’s now
a big leaguer for good, having been purchased on Saturday he’ll sit at 5.169
when the 2014 season ends.  So Texas will have him
through 2015 before he’d be eligible for free agency.  If the Rangers had purchased him just two days
earlier, on the Thursday cutoff, he’d be on track for free agency after 2014.

 

Stated another way, starting Holland’s career now is no different, from a
free agency timetable standpoint, from starting it this September.

 

It does, however, impact arbitration eligibility.  Finishing the 2011 season at 2.169 (which Holland will do if he’s in
the majors to stay) would certainly make him a Super Two, meaning he’ll have
four arbitration years rather than the standard three.  But that just impacts payroll, not control.  Quite a different issue.

 

Elvis Andrus’s big league career began less than two weeks
before Holland’s, but if neither spends another
day in the minor leagues, Andrus’s free agency winter (2014) will come a year
before Holland’s
(2015).  But both will be
arbitration-eligible after the 2011 season.

 

Marcus Lemon (.545/.571/.727) is not only the Texas League’s
youngest player but also the circuit’s reigning Player of the Week.  (Interesting comment by Kevin Goldstein of
Baseball Prospectus: “Lemon has ended up buried in a loaded Rangers system . .
. solid across the board and knows how to play fundamentally sound baseball . .
. while he’s not a superstar in the making, I’d certainly take a shot at him in
any trade talks with the Rangers.”)

 

Luis Mendoza (2-0, 0.00, four hits in 10.1 innings [.108
opponents’ average], 13 strikeouts, six walks) is the Pacific Coast League
Pitcher of the Week.

 

There’s been some talk lately about Roy Oswalt serving as a
prime example of a pitcher who broke into the big leagues in a bullpen role
before settling in as a starting pitcher, but it’s not true, as some have written,
that Nolan Ryan was in the Astros organization when that plan was executed in
2001.  (Ryan was still fulfilling his
personal services contract with the Rangers then.) 

 

What I haven’t yet seen mentioned is that Mike Maddux was
Oswalt’s pitching coach in the latter half of the 2000 season, the year before
his arrival in Houston
as a reliever.  Ryan (who joined the
Astros’ front office in 2004) is familiar with how the plan ended up working,
but Maddux was integrally involved with putting the finishing touches on Oswalt’s
development and was surely a participant in the decision to ease him into the
big leagues as a relief pitcher.

 

I’m in awe of Oklahoma
reliever Beau Vaughan’s first 8.1 innings as a Rangers farmhand (three hits [.100
average and .100 slug], three walks, 10 strikeouts) and nearly as much so of
his golden gold blog for MLB.  Here’s installment
two: http://rangersprospect.mlblogs.com/archives/2009/04/the-lost-a.html. 

 

Anyone out there custom-make baseball caps?  I’m thinking of designing and selling Newberg
Report lids.

 

 

You can read more from Jamey
Newberg
at www.NewbergReport.com.

 

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