All eyes on the Rangers

Jan 18, 2012, 2:30 PM | Updated: 5:26 pm

By Shannon Drayer

The Rangers get their arm so now the question is, do they get their bat? Yu Darvish is signed to a very reasonable (if you do not take the posting fee into account) six-year, $56 million deal. Now what? Do the Rangers turn to Scott Boras and say, “thanks for hanging in there but we have got our guy?” Or do their negotiations for Prince Fielder heat up?

There have been conflicting reports on whether or not the Rangers would be able to afford Prince Fielder if they sign Darvish, with some speculating they could do it if they chose to let Josh Hamilton walk after his current contract expires at the end of the 2012 season.

Jason Churchill of Prospect Insider reports a source tells him that question is way off the mark, but an interesting question nevertheless. If you are the Rangers, who would you rather give a five-year deal to, Fielder or Hamilton? Hamilton, while a force when healthy, has struggled to stay on the field every year but one while with the Rangers. Then there are the question marks about how long Fielder will hold up. Bottom line is, the Rangers know more about Hamilton’s physical, and for that matter mental make up than any team and can make a well informed decision accordingly. If Fielder is a Ranger and Hamilton is on the market next year, buyer beware. Falls right into my “if the Angels don’t want to keep you then I don’t want you” philosophy (with Mike Napoli being the big, very big, exception). Both teams tend to make good scouting decisions and for the most part don’t need to make decisions based on money so if they don’t want a player they know inside out I tend to believe something is up.

I digress. The Rangers very well could afford to pay Darvish, Hamilton and Fielder. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised. We will find out soon enough. If they do, their spending will not stop there. With several of their top young players becoming arbitration-eligible in the next two years we could see some ridiculous payrolls in Arlington in the near future.

Jayson Stark of ESPN tweeted minutes ago that an exec who has spoke with the Rangers says that they can still sign Prince but feel “less urgency” to do so. In other words, Prince can jump on board, but on their terms. My guess would be at this point Scott Boras and Fielder know what those terms are and could have accepted them at any time.

Fielder could sign with Texas in the near future or the PF Flyer could take off from Dallas and travel to Washington DC, Florida, Seattle (which is an extreme longshot), or perhaps a mysterious locale like San Francisco or even New York. It has been a long journey but one way or another it must land soon.

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