I know, this isn't much of a burning question, but here's
two three perspectives from today's news:
- It probably isn't going to be Prince Fielder, according to ESPN's Jim Bowden. We don't even rank in the top four likeliest destinations, despite our need for a power bat at the infield corners, and the fact that Albert Pujols just signed with our nearby rival. (On the other hand, the Angels wouldn't have been thought of as a "likely destination" for Pujols until the very end, either! So hope remains, right?!)
- What's more, another ESPN pundit says that the Dodgers aren't one of the top six teams that could gain the most from Fielder's addition. (link insider only) I'm kinda shocked by that, to tell the truth, given the output (or should that be "putouts"?) of Juan Uribe and James Loney. But hey, math never lies, right?
In other words, the Rangers' grip on the division is in trouble, but there is one man who can strengthen it: Prince Fielder. I calculated every team's 2012 playoff odds with and without the slugging free-agent first baseman, and no team stands to gain more from signing him than Texas.
How did I arrive at this conclusion? Well, consider this: Before the Wilson and Pujols signings, the ZiPS projection system had the Rangers with a 62 percent chance of winning the AL West again, with the Angels at 25 percent. After the signings, the Angels become the early favorites, at 50 percent, with the Rangers behind at 44 percent. In essence, adding two players doubled the chances of the Angels winning the division in 2012. For the consolation prize, the wild card, the Angels' odds jump from 6 percent to 21 percent.
- Meanwhile, Loney has been tendered a contract for 2012. Hong-Chih Kuo, on the other hand, was not so lucky. The LAT's Dylan Hernandez indicates that Loney's recent car wreck didn't affect Ned Colletti's faith in FJL (not that our payroll constraints afforded him many options).