ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Our timeline continues with late offseason and early spring training.
Timeline: January – February
Key signing: Jan. 5 – Adrian Beltre and Texas agree to terms on a five-year deal with a vesting option for a sixth year ($80 million guaranteed and $16 million option). Manager Ron Washington says he’ll bat Beltre cleanup. Beltre called Michael Young to thank him for being willing to shift positions.
Big trade: Jan. 25 – The Rangers trade Frank Francisco to Toronto for Mike Napoli, a deal that will turn out to be one of the most important of the offseason. With Matt Treanor as the backup catcher, the Rangers say Napoli will be a first-base option against lefties. But he also gives them the luxury of an extra catcher on the roster should they need to make some alterations coming out of spring training (which they did thanks to an uncertain bullpen).
Off-field drama: Feb. 8 – Young said he’s requested a trade after being “misled and manipulated on different occasions.” Young said he believes he’ll be traded before spring training and he has a list of eight teams he can be traded to as part of a partial no-trade clause. The club explores trade possibilities with teams on that list. Ian Kinsler, one of Young’s closest friends on the team, talks about the situation.
Other moments in this time period:
Jan. 3: The Rangers continue to talk to Adrian Beltre about a long-term contract and in the process reach out to Michael Young about switching positions. After reports surface that Young isn’t happy about shifting positions, the third baseman talks to some members of the media and says he will move if it helps the team. He believes he can play every day in the field, however.
Jan. 6: Texas agrees to terms on a one-year deal with David Murphy at $2.4 million, avoiding arbitration. Washington says he’s considering moving Ian Kinsler to leadoff in 2011, believing he has the versatility to do it well.
Jan. 19: John Rhadigan is named the club’s new play-by-play TV voice replacing Josh Lewin.
Jan. 22: Rangers president Nolan Ryan predicts the 2011 club will win between 90 and 95 games.
Jan. 23: Darren O’Day signs a one-year deal with the Rangers for $1.251 million.
Jan. 30: Texas signs Dave Bush to a minor-league deal to add to their pitching depth.
Feb. 4: ESPN.com reports the Rangers are still shopping Michael Young.
Feb. 10: The Rangers agree to a 2-year deal with Josh Hamilton for $24 million, tying him up through his arbitration years. He’ll make $13.75 million of that in 2012.
Feb. 17: Pitchers and catchers have their first official workout in Surprise, Ariz., for spring training as some hitters start to trickle in as well.
Feb. 19: Michael Young arrives at Surprise for full squad workouts. He said he hasn’t talked to GM Jon Daniels and just wants to focus on baseball and preparing for the season. He does not rescind his request for a trade. Daniels and club president Nolan Ryan talk later in the day and say they will look to try Young if it makes the club better, but both expect him to stay with the club. They are pleased that he’s in camp and ready to go about his preparations.
Feb. 19: Washington vows that Julio Borbon will get every opportunity to be the club’s starting center fielder coming out of spring training.
Feb. 20: Young addressed the team and said he’s focused on the season and won’t allow any of the recent trade talk to be a distraction. Young gets some early work in at first base, a position he’s learning for the first time.
Feb. 22: C.J. Wilson is named the club’s Opening Day starter.
Feb. 25: Adrian Beltre has his calf checked out and it turns out he has a Grade I strain and will miss a large portion of spring training.
Feb. 26: Washington officially names Ian Kinsler the leadoff hitter.
Feb. 27: Brandon Webb throws his first full bullpen session of a mound. He’s optimistic, but is on a slower plan than the rest of the staff.