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How about this Rangers rumor?

December 8, 2009, 4:32 PM

By: Richard Durrett

INDIANAPOLIS -- Walking through the lobby turned up an interesting find. One baseball official says the Texas Rangers offered pitcher Neftali Feliz and first baseman Justin Smoak for Florida's Josh Johnson.

 

Johnson, an All-Star, had a 15-5 record and a 3.23 ERA last season for Florida. He had 191 strikeouts and 58 walks and opponents batted just .237 against him.

 

The fact that the Rangers would even consider giving up two of their top prospects for Johnson could show they feel they can win the division the next two seasons and are willing to make a big move to do it.

 

But I'll be honest: I don't make that move. I think Feliz has shown way too much potential.

 

http://espn.go.com/dallas/columns/rangers/blog/_/post/4725755

 

 

Your thoughts?

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Wow, if that is what a casual walk by the office offer is, I would love to see what a serious offer for JJ would be. Now that will be something.

 

I love JJ, but some of these players being mentioned are extremely tempting. Still, I'm hoping we can get a long term deal done with JJ soon. He is a prize possession that we need to hold onto.

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That would be pretty insane if true. I actually think I would take it, despite my insane ramblings of how JJ needs to be signed. I never would have imagined Texas offering both of those guys in a deal. That may be to much to pass up.

 

As a result, we could also trade Morrison on the spot for more SP. And he'd certainly bring a nice young SP in return from say, Baltimore.

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That would be pretty insane if true. I actually think I would take it, despite my insane ramblings of how JJ needs to be signed. I never would have imagined Texas offering both of those guys in a deal. That may be to much to pass up.

 

As a result, we could also trade Morrison on the spot for more SP. And he'd certainly bring a nice young SP in return from say, Baltimore.

 

could always make morrison our left fielder :)

 

nice pop in the lineup all about but yes morrison could turn into a very nice arm too

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I wouldn't do it.We have Logan Morrison at 1st base.

 

The fact you wouldn't do it, makes this a great idea.

 

Regardless,

 

Via Twitter around 6:50pm (aka right now)

 

JoeFrisaro: #Marlins Not shocking. But Marlins are hopeful to work out a long-term deal with Josh Johnson. Talks could reopen at any time.

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If this trade happened:

 

C: Kyle Skipworth

1B: Justin Smoak

2B: Chris Coghlan

SS: Hanley Ramirez

3B: Matt Dominguez

LF: Logan Morrison

CF: Cameron Maybin

RF: Michael Stanton

 

That is a loaded team with potential. But JJ is right now a "sure thing" Smoak and Feliz are not but man, what a trade if both those players pan out.

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9 VotesFull Name: Neftali FelizPosition: PBorn: 05/02/1988Birthplace: Azua, Dominican RepublicHeight: 6' 3"Weight: 190Bats: RThrows: RSigned: June 20051992007

RankNRETA in

Majors20102009 SeasonTeamLeagueWLERAGGSCGSHOSVIPHRERHRBBSOGO/AOAVGOKCPCL463.49251300077.1693630230751.25.240Minors 463.49251300077.1693630230751.25.240MLB 101.7420000231.0136628390.64.124Awards/Honors:nullnull07/12/2009Futures Game Selection10/02/2008Baseball America Low Class A All-Star08/25/2008TEX Pitcher of the Week06/17/2008MID Mid-Season All-Star06/16/2008MID Pitcher of the WeekStatistically speaking: Even though he jumped two levels from the Midwest League to the Double-A Texas League at age 20, Feliz still led all full-season starting pitchers with his 10.81 K/9 ratio. He was 15th in that group in strikeouts and ranked sixth with a .201 batting average against.

 

Scouting report: His fastball has reached triple digits and he throws it consistently at 94-99 mph. His breaking ball (curve) and changeup are being developed and both have shown flashes of being at least Major League-average pitches. He hrows with a free and easy motion and mechanics.

 

Upside potential: It's scary to think about. He's still projectable and his secondary stuff is improving. He's got future ace written all over him.

 

They said it: "The amazing thing is it looks like he's playing catch while throwing 98 mph. He makes it look easy, with a very clean arm action. That looks good for his future in terms of injury concerns. There may be even more projection in Neftali as well. We can only see great things from him in the future." -- Rangers Director of Minor League Operations John Lombardo

 

He said it: "It's exciting to be a part of the Rangers. The trade was good for me. They are giving me a chance. I just need to keep working hard." -- Feliz on the deal that brought him from the Braves to the Rangers in return for Mark Teixeira

http://mlb.mlb.com/m..._top&pid=491703

 

 

 

Fire in the Sky: Justin Smoak approaches The Show

August 6, 2009 by Cody Dunlap · Visited 258 times, 5 so far today

 

 

As September draws nearer, the future promise for all 30 Major League teams comes in the form of the expansion of the roster from 25 to 40 players. When the rosters expand on September 1, “franchise saviors� and “organizational soldiers� get a small taste of the majors, or as it’s also known, “The Show.�

 

For the Texas Rangers, the hope is that the playoffs are still realistic on September 1. As of this writing on August 6, the team stood only 3 games behind the Boston Red Sox for the Wild Card berth in the playoffs. While the Rangers have already seen a couple of the jewels of their farm system, Derek Holland and Neftali Feliz, one gem still remains at AAA – Justin Smoak.

 

So who exactly is Justin Smoak, and why is he seen as one of the best players in the Rangers minor league system?

 

 

Justin Smoak Bio and Scouting Report

Justin Smoak was drafted out of the University of South Carolina in the first round of the 2008 draft by the Rangers with the 11th overall selection. There were those in the scouting business that thought Smoak was the best pure hitter in the draft, but fell to the Rangers because of signability concerns. A switch hitting first baseman from the Southeast, Smoak has long drawn comparisons to Mark Teixeira, who went to Georgia Tech. While he can’t really play any position besides first base, Smoak’s defense at that position also elicited comparisons to the Yankees’ All-Star.

 

Smoak had a stellar career as a Gamecock, finishing his career there as the school leader in Home Runs, RBIs and Walks. He never batted below .300 in his three years at the school, and posted a .385 mark as a junior with a .505 OBP, walking every four at-bats.

 

Smoak signed only 15 minutes before the signing deadline last year and played the rest of the season at Class A Clinton. Smoak batted .304 and hit 3 home runs in only 56 at-bats. While Smoak showed a relatively low walk rate, he improved that rate in 2009. Smoak began the season at Double-A Frisco after a strong spring training. Although Smoak suffered an oblique injury that forced him to miss some time, Smoak complied an impressive body of work in Frisco in a short amount of time. In 185 at-bats, Smoak hit .328 with a .449 on-base percentage with 6 home runs. Most impressive, though, especially for the Rangers, was that Smoak walked 39 times with only 35 strikeouts.

 

Clearly Smoak has an impressive control of the strike zone.

 

As of this writing, Smoak sits at Triple-A Oklahoma City, batting .221 in 113 at-bats with a .318 OBP. After a slow start, though, Smoak is hitting .343 in the last ten games with two homers and eight RBI.

 

Smoak seems to a have a pretty quick learning curve, as Smoak seems to have found his stroke at the newest level after only 75 at-bats or so. Many Ranger fans have been calling for Smoak’s promotion with the struggles of Hank Blalock, as Smoak seems to be what the lineup needs – a guy who doesn’t strike out and works the count.

 

On the 2009 list of top 100 prospects by Baseball America, Smoak is ranked as the #2 prospect in the Rangers system (behind Feliz) and #23 overall. The brief snippet of info about him though guesses that Smoak arrives sometime this year.

 

Jason Parks, one of the most dedicated Rangers followers and excellent baseball scout, wrote a scouting report about Justin Smoak in the fantastic scouting series on the Rangers blog Baseball Time in Arlington.

 

As far as pure hitting tools go, there aren’t many minor leaguers that have the ability to hit a baseball like Smoak can. His hitting fundamentals are sound from both sides of the plate; he keeps his hands back, has a calm load, and a smooth path to the ball with excellent lift and bat plane. His swing from the left side is slightly more compact, but his superior strength creates enough bat speed to give him power from both sides of the plate.

 

 

 

Parks continues to say that Smoak’s offensive production may eventually fall short of Teixeira’s production, but that Smoak will still be an above-average major league hitter. At the most recent Newberg Report Night, the great Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus said that Smoak could be a “switch-hitting Justin Morneau.�

 

Smoak has struggled at points this year against lefties, although is batting .250 against them in Triple-A in 36 bats. For the whole season, Smoak is hitting .295/.407/.460, with 11 homers and 49 RBI in 302 at-bats. The power hasn’t quite been up to the point that some people have hoped for, but Smoak does not seem like a 45 HR guy. His more likely total will be 30 with something like 45 doubles, but with a very high OBP and few strikeouts.

 

 

Texas Rangers 2009-2010 Lineup

From the moment Justin Smoak was drafted, there was a logjam at his position. Chris Davis, a local product (from Longview) had come up and had sparked the Rangers league leading offense and was playing a very solid first base. At the time, it seemed as if the best thing for the team wouldn’t just be to trade Chris Davis in order to grab a young starter that could step right into the Rangers rotation. One team that was bandied about among fan blogs was the San Francisco Giants’ Matt Cain. While I doubt the Rangers even considered trading Davis after his stellar 2008 campaign, the 2009 season was a giant step back for Davis and might have created more questions for the team.

 

Davis was sent down after a Rangers victory over Tampa Bay one month ago. (Josh Hamilton was activated from the DL the next day) Smoak had just been called up to Triple-A just two days before, so the past month for the Oklahoma City Redhawks has been somewhat of an experiment in order to see how Smoak and Davis can play together. Smoak has gotten the vast majority of the playing time at first base, with Davis playing either third base or acting as the designated hitter.

 

Davis has hit .303 in the month since being sent down to Oklahoma City, but has only hit .237 in the last ten games with 12 strikeouts against three walks. This type of production seems to be what Davis is going to be – a lot of power (.514 SLG in the month at Oklahoma) but not a fantastic OBP (.366 despite a .303 BA). Davis is going to have to hit his way on base, as it appears he is not going to be the type that walks a ton. Still, though, Davis could be a fine DH/1B/emergency 3B if he can keep the average up, and the Rangers are going to depend on him.

 

Why so much time on Davis? Because that’s what Smoak is up against. Smoak and Davis could make for a lethal combination eventually in the meat of the Rangers order, especially if Davis hits in front of Smoak. An ideal lineup would seem to be something to this effect: 1 – Andrus 2 – Young 3 – Smoak 4 – Kinsler 5 – Cruz 6 – Davis 7 – Hamilton 8 – Saltalamacchia 9 – Borbon. (Andrus and Borbon switching for righties) That may seem low for Josh Hamilton, and if Josh can be something in between 2008 and 2009, he could fit right in as the #3 hitter, pushing Smoak to #6 and Davis to #7. Or those two could be switched. Whatever the order, Justin Smoak is going to have a major impact no matter where he is slotted in.

 

The Rangers currently do not have a lot of guys in their lineup who take a lot of walks. Kinsler seems to have a pretty good eye along with David Murphy, but Murphy seems best suited to be in the fourth outfielder role. Nelson Cruz draws a fair amount of walks, and as Elvis Andrus matures, he seems to be able to take a few pitches. But no one has quite the discerning eye that Justin Smoak has. Will Justin Smoak be the next Mark Teixeira? Maybe. Teixeira, for what it’s worth, finished with a line of .259/.331/.480 with 26 HR and 29 doubles in his rookie year. Those numbers were accrued in 2003, when Tex played the whole year with the Rangers.

 

Smoak, in all likelihood, will see a few at-bats in September. But next year will be Smoak’s time to shine, with Hank Blalock’s contract up and Chris Davis (unfortunately) failing to seize the job, and Smoak will probably head into the 2010 season as the starting first baseman for the Rangers. I’m not sure Smoak will put up quite that much power, although I wouldn’t be surprised to see him approach 20 homers on the season. Smoak will, however, put up a superior on-base percentage, simply by judging his performance this year in the minors.

 

September could be a key month in Smoak’s development. The trend for Justin this year was for him to struggle initially at a new level, but then turn it on quickly. It would behoove the Rangers greatly if that “acclimation period� came in September of this year as opposed to April of next year, although if the Rangers stay in the pennant race I’m not sure that’s a realistic possibility.

 

Still, Smoak will be a crucial player for the Rangers next season – he could be one of the offensive catalysts on a team that, frankly, will be expected to contend. Will he hit 30-35 home runs? Not next year, but probably eventually. Smoak’s most common comparison, Mark Teixeira, has only hit more than 40 homers once in his career, and everyone would like to have him on their team. While there are those who think he may be closer to Lyle Overbay than Mark Teixeira, Smoak has still only been playing professional baseball for about a year, and won’t be 23 until December. Justin Smoak has a bright future, and it’s just right around the corner.

 

http://www.dallasspo...rangers-lineup/

 

Wow that would be so difficult to pass up ...You convert Morrison to LF and bring up Stanton...WOW! A dream of a lineup!

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I wouldn't do it.We have Logan Morrison at 1st base.

 

The fact you wouldn't do it, makes this a great idea.

 

Regardless,

 

Via Twitter around 6:50pm (aka right now)

 

JoeFrisaro: #Marlins Not shocking. But Marlins are hopeful to work out a long-term deal with Josh Johnson. Talks could reopen at any time.

 

 

That's the best comeback in the history of this board.

 

And I would do this. Can we include Uggla here to add another prospect or two? Holland??

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I wouldn't do it.We have Logan Morrison at 1st base.

 

The fact you wouldn't do it, makes this a great idea.

 

Regardless,

 

Via Twitter around 6:50pm (aka right now)

 

JoeFrisaro: #Marlins Not shocking. But Marlins are hopeful to work out a long-term deal with Josh Johnson. Talks could reopen at any time.

 

 

That's the best comeback in the history of this board.

 

And I would do this. Can we include Uggla here to add another prospect or two? Holland??

 

Go big, Kasey Kiker and Martin Perez please.

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If this trade happened:

 

C: Kyle Skipworth

1B: Justin Smoak

2B: Chris Coghlan

SS: Hanley Ramirez

3B: Matt Dominguez

LF: Logan Morrison

CF: Cameron Maybin

RF: Michael Stanton

 

That is a loaded team with potential. But JJ is right now a "sure thing" Smoak and Feliz are not but man, what a trade if both those players pan out.

 

 

Does it really matter? I mean seriously, they'll trade a young proven player for two prospects that may or may not pan out. Then as soon as any of these players start to get moderately expensive, they trade them.

 

That roster could look good, but as soon as Maybin starts hitting he'll be out the door. In three years Coghlan will be traded for two younger, cheaper players.

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If this trade happened:

 

C: Kyle Skipworth

1B: Justin Smoak

2B: Chris Coghlan

SS: Hanley Ramirez

3B: Matt Dominguez

LF: Logan Morrison

CF: Cameron Maybin

RF: Michael Stanton

 

That is a loaded team with potential. But JJ is right now a "sure thing" Smoak and Feliz are not but man, what a trade if both those players pan out.

 

 

Does it really matter? I mean seriously, they'll trade a young proven player for two prospects that may or may not pan out. Then as soon as any of these players start to get moderately expensive, they trade them.

 

That roster could look good, but as soon as Maybin starts hitting he'll be out the door. In three years Coghlan will be traded for two younger, cheaper players.

 

Agreed it does get annoying, however you got to remember that the new stadium should change things because now we will be getting revenue from it. Loria has stated that the only money that will be spent is the money that is received from the Marlins itself, nothing is coming out of his pockets.

 

With the new stadium coming if -a big if I know- Loria stays to true to his word then these young stars should be locked up long term. I remember reading an article stating that he wanted the team's payroll to be around 80 Million once they were playing in the new stadium, which I believe sets them around the Twins payroll around 16th in the league.

 

The signing of Hanley Ramirez was a HUGE step in my opinion and he (Loria) just may be sticking to his word.

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I'm tired of the word "potential future lineup", because there are always guys who are traded, guys who don't pan out, etc...

 

Right now we have a sure thing in JJ, I love the package, but don't get ahead of yourselves. The goal is and continues to be getting JJ a long term deal. If that falls through and WHEN HE GOES TO ARBITRATION, THEN this discussion should be brought up. I think the Rangers are just intrigued by the package it would take to obtain JJ, and yes I am surprised they are giving up their two top prospects, and one who already has major league experience, which the other is primed to enter the league soon.

 

We can talk about the future forever, or we can talk about the present. Right now the present is JJ, and he has proven that he can be an ace as a major league starter. We have learned in the past that many star prospects who look great throughout their minor league careers just cannot hang in the majors.

 

We're in wait and see mode, as I think the Marlins are taking the right approach. Continue to try and get a long term contract done. This is just a spur of the moment thing, hell it even states it was a kind of casual find. We'll be discussing this further later this offseason, but I hope we end this with a 4 year deal.

 

EDIT: I should mention Alex that you should never trust a word that comes out of Loria's mouth, and I mean never.

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If this trade happened:

 

C: Kyle Skipworth

1B: Justin Smoak

2B: Chris Coghlan

SS: Hanley Ramirez

3B: Matt Dominguez

LF: Logan Morrison

CF: Cameron Maybin

RF: Michael Stanton

 

That is a loaded team with potential. But JJ is right now a "sure thing" Smoak and Feliz are not but man, what a trade if both those players pan out.

 

 

Does it really matter? I mean seriously, they'll trade a young proven player for two prospects that may or may not pan out. Then as soon as any of these players start to get moderately expensive, they trade them.

 

That roster could look good, but as soon as Maybin starts hitting he'll be out the door. In three years Coghlan will be traded for two younger, cheaper players.

 

 

If anything, (assuming this is true about this rumor and the Marlins declining) this should lead you to believe otherwise.

 

Josh Johnson better be signed long-term. If the Marlins truly rejected this, they must believe they'll be able to sign him. Personally, I would've accepted. I highly doubt we get a better offer than this.

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If this trade happened:

 

C: Kyle Skipworth

1B: Justin Smoak

2B: Chris Coghlan

SS: Hanley Ramirez

3B: Matt Dominguez

LF: Logan Morrison

CF: Cameron Maybin

RF: Michael Stanton

 

That is a loaded team with potential. But JJ is right now a "sure thing" Smoak and Feliz are not but man, what a trade if both those players pan out.

 

 

Does it really matter? I mean seriously, they'll trade a young proven player for two prospects that may or may not pan out. Then as soon as any of these players start to get moderately expensive, they trade them.

 

That roster could look good, but as soon as Maybin starts hitting he'll be out the door. In three years Coghlan will be traded for two younger, cheaper players.

 

You must not be up to date with the new Marlins.

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If this trade happened:

 

C: Kyle Skipworth

1B: Justin Smoak

2B: Chris Coghlan

SS: Hanley Ramirez

3B: Matt Dominguez

LF: Logan Morrison

CF: Cameron Maybin

RF: Michael Stanton

 

That is a loaded team with potential. But JJ is right now a "sure thing" Smoak and Feliz are not but man, what a trade if both those players pan out.

 

 

Does it really matter? I mean seriously, they'll trade a young proven player for two prospects that may or may not pan out. Then as soon as any of these players start to get moderately expensive, they trade them.

 

That roster could look good, but as soon as Maybin starts hitting he'll be out the door. In three years Coghlan will be traded for two younger, cheaper players.

 

 

If anything, (assuming this is true about this rumor and the Marlins declining) this should lead you to believe otherwise.

 

Josh Johnson better be signed long-term. If the Marlins truly rejected this, they must believe they'll be able to sign him. Personally, I would've accepted. I highly doubt we get a better offer than this.

 

Exactly. Feliz and Smoak are easily the best package that could be put together regarding prospects. If the Marlins really got this offer and turned it down they must be confident they can get Josh Johnson signed. So hopefully within a couple of days we are here talking about an extension signing with Johnson instead of a potential trade.

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To be honest, I would rather sign up JJ long-term than trade him, even if it is for 2 top prospects. My reasoning? The doubt in my mind that still lingers around the Maybin-Miller deal. While I still am confident they will succeed, that has now been 2 seasons and there has been very little contribution from them, and they were both top prospects aswell. If we have the resources to keep JJ then we better goddamn do it.

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To be honest, I would rather sign up JJ long-term than trade him, even if it is for 2 top prospects. My reasoning? The doubt in my mind that still lingers around the Maybin-Miller deal. While I still am confident they will succeed, that has now been 2 seasons and there has been very little contribution from them, and they were both top prospects aswell. If we have the resources to keep JJ then we better goddamn do it.

 

 

Feliz already has a better track record than Miller ever did. That's the one big difference. I'm not entirely sold that Smoak is a future star, but he's not a "tools" guy like Maybin and I find those guys can be overhyped, and even when they do start producing their production doesn't match the reputation.

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We should probably focus on signing Johnson long-term. Although this offer from Texas is outstanding in my opinion, Johnson is a sure thing as most of you said. Is there a possibility that if we don't succeed in signing Johnson to a deal that we could still work out something with Texas for Feliz and Smoak? Do you think Texas is willing to wait around or do you think they will look elsewhere for an ace?

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Wow lol. We better either sign him now or trade him now. We'll bang our heads against the wall if we let this pass up and lose JJ before 2012.

 

 

From the Top 50 Prospect: 2009 Trade Deadline list (http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090731&content_id=6161780&vkey=news_mlb&fext=.jsp&c_id=mlb)

1 Jason Heyward

2 Madison Bumgarner

3 Mike Stanton

4 Justin Smoak

5 Buster Posey

6 Neftali Feliz

7 Chris Tillman

8 Brian Matusz

9 Jarrod Parker

10 Tim Beckham

 

 

I know they aren't proven in the ML level, but damn... That would set us up for 2012.

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