What does the lack of news about ownership negotiations mean?

I heard on one talk show yesterday that because there’s been media speculation but next to no news filtering out of the negotiations to transfer ownership of the Rangers from Hicks Sports Group to the Greenberg-Ryan Group, the deal therefore must be in trouble and we ought to brace ourselves for some bad news.


This is not a Texas walkoff win over Boston, or a trade between the Rangers and Reds, or the hiring of a new hitting coach, where the principals have some level of responsibility to bring the press up to date, and maybe even talk about the process that led to the result.  This is a complicated transaction, with large moving parts, time-sensitive and issue-sensitive.  To expect the parties to spend any time updating the media on negotiations is crazy.  

Think about what Jon Daniels and nearly every other general manager in sports will say when asked by a reporter for a remark or two about rumored trade discussions or free agent negotiations: “Not going to comment on that.”  There are plenty of reasons that should be the only response.

Why would anyone expect there to be any comment, any public progress reports, any news regarding a process that’s a similarly unfinished work in progress, only on a much larger, more complex, more consequential level?  Don’t blame the press for the absence of concrete developments to report so far.  

Maybe we’ll hear some news today, maybe we won’t.  (Actually, we don’t really know for sure if the 30-day window that was triggered on December 15 shuts today or tomorrow.  Reports differ.)  And if we don’t hear anything, it’s not necessarily catastrophic.  It’s been reported in a number of places that the 30-day window isn’t inflexible – it may turn out that the deadline gets extended for some period of time.  

Hang in there.  

Khalil Greene passed his club physical and his acquisition should be made official soon.  When it is, someone (the optionless Joaquin Arias?) will have to come off the 40-man roster to make room.  

Greene played nothing but shortstop in the big leagues until last June, when he slid over to third base for St. Louis, but he’s expected to prepare himself in Rangers camp to play all four infield spots.

What do these players have in common: Roy Halladay, John Lackey, Javier Vazquez, Edwin Jackson, Aroldis Chapman, Chone Figgins, Jason Bay, and Curtis Granderson?

The Angels were reportedly interested in every one of those players this off-season, and in each case on a short list of the leading contenders to get them.

Not one will go to camp with Los Angeles.

Speaking of the Angels, here’s something I wrote almost 10 years ago (in the August 26, 2000 Newberg Report):

The cover story in the current issue of Baseball Weekly is on the coming of age of Vladimir Guerrero.  After discussing the fact that the Dodgers signed his brother Wilton but passed on Vlad, then age 16, despite scouting him for eight months, the article has the following to say:

“The same year, 1992, the Rangers gave him a tryout.  Their scouts agreed with the Dodgers: He wasn’t big-league material.  ‘Hector Acevedo of the Rangers saw me and said I was a tigrazo.  That I had una cara de tigre (face of a tiger),’ Guerrero says.  In the Dominican Republic, the word tigre can mean a streetwise kid, but it also can mean an undisciplined young boy, a thug, a hood.  To call him a tigrazo was an insult. ‘I didn’t say anything back to him,’ Guerrero says, and smiles.  ‘If someone does not know you, they should not put a label on you.  But, thanks to God, I’m here in the big leagues with another team.  And now (the Rangers) wish I was playing with them.'”

Acevedo spent about ten years in the Ranger organization as an international scout, leaving last season.  

Some more detail on Guerrero’s Rangers contract: He’s reportedly set to make $5.5 million in 2010, with an added $900,000 in incentives for days spent on the active roster.  The mutual option for 2011 is apparently for $9 million, with the $1 million buyout payable if either side opts out.

At the moment, Texas will draft 15th, 22nd, 43rd, and 47th in June.  I believe the third pick will fall to number 45 (once Type A free agent Jose Valverde and Type B Rod Barajas sign with new teams), and the fourth pick to 49 (not 50 since Type B Brian Shouse signed a minor league contract with Boston rather than a roster deal).

(Think Shouse is second-guessing his decision to turn down Tampa Bay’s arbitration offer?)

Something to tuck away:

Oklahoma City’s player development contract with the Rangers expires after the 2010 season.  So does Round Rock’s PDC with the Astros.  Nolan Ryan, of course, owns the Express.

Bakersfield’s PDC with Texas expires after 2010 as well . . . and so does Atlanta’s PDC with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans – a High A franchise that Chuck Greenberg owns.

How about this note from Kevin Goldstein in his Rangers Top 11 Prospects feature: 16-year-old shortstop Jurickson Profar drew 26 walks while striking out only eight times over 91 at-bats in a secondary Dominican League this summer.

MLB has reportedly chastised the Marlins for bending the rules of the Basic Agreement by pocketing too much of the revenue sharing dollars they receive each year rather than allocating the money toward player salaries.  If forced to boost payroll by another $10 million or so, the two most likely beneficiaries could be second baseman Dan Uggla, who is set to land something in the range of $8 million in arbitration, or righthander Josh Johnson, with whom the club has been unable to come to terms on a multi-year extension.  (Of course, the sticking point in those negotiations was reportedly a fourth guaranteed year, not the level of commitment for the 2010 season.)  

Do you doubt the sweeping influence of the weekly Newberg Report haiku?  Yahoo! Sports just kicked off its off-season series of team features with a Jeff Passan story that ended this way:

Royals in Haiku
One hundred losses
A Kansas City birthright
Futility lives

John Sickels, in reviewing the Astros’ farm system earlier this week, named righthander Matt Nevarez that organization’s number 11 prospect.  

If Nevarez (traded with infielder Jose Vallejo for Ivan Rodriguez last summer) were still in the Rangers system, he’d have fallen somewhere in the 40s for me.

Judging all 30 clubs’ drafts over the last four years, only two teams (San Francisco and Tampa Bay) are in the midst of a stronger three-year run than Texas, according to Baseball America.  (The Rangers and Dodgers were tied for third.)  In the four-year study, only Houston ranked lower overall than Seattle and the Angels.

University of Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy Jr. is not only the son of the former Rangers marketing director, but was apparently also a Rangers batboy himself.

Righthander Derrick Turnbow is expected to throw for 16 teams tomorrow in Phoenix.
Houston, making room for newly signed righthander Brett Myers, designated infielder/outfielder Jason Bourgeois for assignment.  The Astros also signed first baseman Chris Shelton to a minor league deal.

Lefthander Scott Eyre retired.

The Grand Prairie Airhogs of the independent American Association named Curtis Wilkerson bench coach (for manager Pete Incaviglia).  The Airhogs also resigned infielder David Espinosa, who would have become a Rangers prospect had Kenny Rogers not vetoed a trade to Cincinnati in 2002.

Doug Harris is the new director of player development for the Nationals.

Jon Daniels will be the keynote speaker at the Hickory Crawdads’ “2010 Hot
Stove” event next Wednesday.

Stay tuned for news on the Rangers’ ownership transfer.  But not on the edge of your seat.


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(c) Jamey Newberg
Twitter  @newbergreport
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