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Rangers Sunday Notebook: Big Week for MLB, Josh Jung Fallout, Trade For Matt Olson?

In our Texas Rangers Sunday notebook, we look at a critical week of CBA negotiations, the fallout from Josh Jung's injury and a potential blockbuster trade once the lockout is over.

A happy Sunday to you, Rangers fans!

It's a big week for Major League Baseball. No, not because full squad workouts will begin as originally planned. The owner-imposed lockout is now on its 81st day, so spring training complexes in Arizona and Florida are still void of any Major League talent. 

It's a big week because the owners and players are finally committing to the most realistic endeavor to satisfy the lock-them-in-a-room-and-don't-open-the-door-until-a-deal-is-done crowd. The two sides have agreed to meet every day this week in an effort to strike an agreement that can salvage Opening Day.

MLB has drawn a line in the sand, telling the MLB Players Association a new collective bargaining agreement must be in place by Feb. 28 in order to avoid any lost games from the regular season schedule. Since this is a league-imposed lockout and owners have given no indication that they'll end the lockout without a new CBA, a new agreement will need to be in place by the end of the month if Major League ballparks are to be filled on March 31.

As little as fans believe anything that MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has to say, he was accurate in at least one of his statements on Feb. 10.

"You're always one breakthrough away from making an agreement," Manfred said. "That's the art of this process. Somebody makes a move."

That's the hope for this week. Somebody makes a significant move, the other side follows suit and it hastens the progress toward an agreement.

Oct 26, 2021; Houston, TX, USA; MLB commissioner Rob Manfred before game one of the 2021 World Series between the Houston Astros and Atlanta Braves at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred

The league thought the moves they made in their proposal a couple days later would nudge the MLBPA closer to compromise, but it failed to do so. The union's counterproposal five days later also failed, with last Thursday's meeting lasting only 15 minutes.

Now, the two sides are finally displaying the urgency for which fans have clamored since the lockout began. But this is baseball, and people in this game love deadlines. The vast majority of midseason trades don't happen until the day of the deadline. Non-tender deadline? The same. Salary arbitration? Yep, that too.

If you're a fan of FRIENDS, remember how Ross treated hotel checkout times?

Chandler: Okay, Ross has the cameras. Is he checked out yet?
Rachel: Are you joking? Checkout is not till noon. And he has a good 11 minutes left.
Chandler: So?
Monica: So Ross has never checked out of a room a minute before he has to.
Rachel: Yeah, one time when we were dating, we got a late checkout, he got so excited, it was the best sex we ever had. Until, you know, he screamed out "Radisson" at the end.

Yep. That's how people in baseball are with deadlines. Don't know why. It's just the way it is.

Truth be told, if the two sides met every day in December, you would have likely seen even less progress than we've witnessed over the past month of negotiations. From the start, we knew the calendar would be the catalyst to spark real progress. We also knew players would be galvanized in their fight for change as they've seen average salaries go down year after year while revenues have gone up. 

Owners aren't going to just hand over more money to the players willy-nilly. If the players were going to achieve their goal to recoup some of the losses from the two previous CBAs, it was always going to come with a fight.

Jun 21, 2017; Kansas City, MO, USA; Major League Baseball Player Association executive director Tony Clark speaks during a presentation at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

MLBPA executive director Tony Clark

If you're looking for optimism this week, you can thank the impact of the truncated 2020 season. Both sides are still reeling from lost revenue and would very much prefer not to lose any sizable chunks of money due to a work stoppage. While lost spring training games does result in lost revenue, it's a small enough piece of the pie that owners are apparently willing to sacrifice. In addition, players don't get paid until the season begins. 

In turn, this is where the resolve of both sides will be put to the test. Are the owners willing to lose significant revenue? Are players willing to forego paychecks in their fight for change? Or, like a 15-year-old with a science project, are they just waiting until the last minute to do all the heavy lifting and finally get it done?

Stay tuned...

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Fallout From Josh Jung's Injury

Labral injuries are typically serious. When the Texas Rangers announced that top hitting prospect Josh Jung was shut down due to a labral strain, fans were justified to assume the worst—that even though the Texas Tech product is on the cusp of the big leagues, we may not see Josh Jung donning Rangers red, white and blue in Arlington until 2023.

If you're looking for a sliver of optimism, the injury is in his non-throwing shoulder. If the severity of the strain is minimal, all Jung may need is rest, therapy and a slow-but-steady rehab. That could bring him back for maybe half of a season. If surgery is needed, Jung will likely miss the entire 2022 season. An update on Jung's health is expected sometime this week.

Josh Jung

Rangers No. 2 prospect Josh Jung

Either way, Jung's absence will impact the shape of the Opening Day roster (assuming the season begins on time or close to it). Isiah Kiner-Falefa, who already had an upper-hand on the third base job, will now slot right in with minimal challenge from anyone else on the roster. Kiner-Falefa is a capable hitter, a good baserunner and has won a Gold Glove for his defense at the hot corner.

However, Kiner-Falefa's name has come up in trade rumors. It's already been reported and confirmed by InsideTheRangers.com that the New York Yankees reached out to the Rangers about a possible trade prior to the lockout. With Jung's injury, the Rangers might not be as eager to part ways with Kiner-Falefa.

If they do seriously entertain a trade, one player who deserves a look at third base is Andy Ibáñez. He slashed .277/.321/.435/.756 with seven home runs and 25 RBI in 76 games last year. While he spent the majority of his time at second base, Ibáñez is more than capable of manning the hot corner. Yonny Hernandez could also see time at third base, but he fits more of a utility role at this point in his career.

Could the Rangers Really Trade for Matt Olson?

If there's a splashy trade the Rangers can make after the lockout is over, it could be for Matt Olson. Yes, teams with a need at first base like the Yankees will compete heavily for Olson's services. He's a two-time Gold Glove winner and is coming off an All-Star season with Oakland. Olson also has two years of club control remaining and will turn 28 on March 29. If you're looking for the third part of a potential three-headed monster in Arlington, Olson could be the guy.

Because there will be plenty of suitors for Olson, the Rangers would likely have to blow the Athletics away with an offer. After all, the Rangers wouldn't make the trade unless they were confident they could sign him to an extension. In order for the A's to seriously consider trading Olson to a division rival, it has to be for a good reason.

Sep 11, 2021; Oakland, California, USA; Oakland Athletics first baseman Matt Olson (28) hits a home run during the third inning against the Texas Rangers at RingCentral Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Oakland A's first baseman Matt Olson

If you're trying to gauge an offer for Olson, it could start with something like this: Nathaniel Lowe, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Justin Foscue and A.J. Alexy. 

Let's start with the obvious first choice. While there is a lot of intrigue of what new bench coach Donnie Ecker and hitting coach Tim Hyers could do with Lowe, sending him to the A's would be giving them a projectable player under club control through 2026 that gets on base at a high percentage. That falls right into the Moneyball stereotype.

Kiner-Falefa would give Oakland an immediate upgrade at shortstop and is projected to make $4.9 million in his second year of arbitration. He has one more year of control after 2022, but one the A's could still afford. He's also a great clubhouse guy who could help maintain a positive culture.

You can't trade for a player like Olson without giving up significant future assets. Foscue is a first-round pick who had a solid first year as a professional. He's a Top 100 prospect on MLB.com for a reason. The Mississippi State product has the potential to be a solid big league hitter.

A trade for Olson would have to come with some sort of prospect right on the cusp of the big leagues. Since the first three players in this package are hitters, we have to include a pitcher. Alexy has already made his big league debut, and had some success while doing it. He could become a rotation candidate for them with the floor of a solid arm out of the bullpen. And again, he's a controllable asset, which are coveted pieces by all clubs, but especially ones like Oakland.

Sources have confirmed that the Rangers checked in with Oakland prior to the lockout about what it would take to land Olson in a trade (The Dallas Morning News first reported on the Rangers' interest in Olson). When the lockout is over, the Rangers will likely follow up on that endeavor. 

It's unclear how far talks went prior to the lockout, but the past couple months have given president of baseball operations Jon Daniels and general manager Chris Young some time to think about how far they want to go down this road. Either way, the chaos that will ensue after the lockout will likely trump the days where the Rangers spent half a billion dollars on Marcus Semien and Corey Seager.

Promo image: Kelly Gavin / Courtesy of the Texas Rangers

More From SI's InsideTheRangers.com:


Make sure to like SI's 'Inside The Rangers' on Facebook

Rangers Sunday Notebook: Big Week for MLB, Josh Jung Fallout, Trade For Matt Olson?

In our Texas Rangers Sunday notebook, we look at a critical week of CBA negotiations, the fallout from Josh Jung's injury and a potential blockbuster trade once the lockout is over.

A happy Sunday to you, Rangers fans!

It's a big week for Major League Baseball. No, not because full squad workouts will begin as originally planned. The owner-imposed lockout is now on its 81st day, so spring training complexes in Arizona and Florida are still void of any Major League talent. 

It's a big week because the owners and players are finally committing to the most realistic endeavor to satisfy the lock-them-in-a-room-and-don't-open-the-door-until-a-deal-is-done crowd. The two sides have agreed to meet every day this week in an effort to strike an agreement that can salvage Opening Day.

MLB has drawn a line in the sand, telling the MLB Players Association a new collective bargaining agreement must be in place by Feb. 28 in order to avoid any lost games from the regular season schedule. Since this is a league-imposed lockout and owners have given no indication that they'll end the lockout without a new CBA, a new agreement will need to be in place by the end of the month if Major League ballparks are to be filled on March 31.

As little as fans believe anything that MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has to say, he was accurate in at least one of his statements on Feb. 10.

"You're always one breakthrough away from making an agreement," Manfred said. "That's the art of this process. Somebody makes a move."

That's the hope for this week. Somebody makes a significant move, the other side follows suit and it hastens the progress toward an agreement.

Oct 26, 2021; Houston, TX, USA; MLB commissioner Rob Manfred before game one of the 2021 World Series between the Houston Astros and Atlanta Braves at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred

The league thought the moves they made in their proposal a couple days later would nudge the MLBPA closer to compromise, but it failed to do so. The union's counterproposal five days later also failed, with last Thursday's meeting lasting only 15 minutes.

Now, the two sides are finally displaying the urgency for which fans have clamored since the lockout began. But this is baseball, and people in this game love deadlines. The vast majority of midseason trades don't happen until the day of the deadline. Non-tender deadline? The same. Salary arbitration? Yep, that too.

If you're a fan of FRIENDS, remember how Ross treated hotel checkout times?

Chandler: Okay, Ross has the cameras. Is he checked out yet?
Rachel: Are you joking? Checkout is not till noon. And he has a good 11 minutes left.
Chandler: So?
Monica: So Ross has never checked out of a room a minute before he has to.
Rachel: Yeah, one time when we were dating, we got a late checkout, he got so excited, it was the best sex we ever had. Until, you know, he screamed out "Radisson" at the end.

Yep. That's how people in baseball are with deadlines. Don't know why. It's just the way it is.

Truth be told, if the two sides met every day in December, you would have likely seen even less progress than we've witnessed over the past month of negotiations. From the start, we knew the calendar would be the catalyst to spark real progress. We also knew players would be galvanized in their fight for change as they've seen average salaries go down year after year while revenues have gone up. 

Owners aren't going to just hand over more money to the players willy-nilly. If the players were going to achieve their goal to recoup some of the losses from the two previous CBAs, it was always going to come with a fight.

Jun 21, 2017; Kansas City, MO, USA; Major League Baseball Player Association executive director Tony Clark speaks during a presentation at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

MLBPA executive director Tony Clark

If you're looking for optimism this week, you can thank the impact of the truncated 2020 season. Both sides are still reeling from lost revenue and would very much prefer not to lose any sizable chunks of money due to a work stoppage. While lost spring training games does result in lost revenue, it's a small enough piece of the pie that owners are apparently willing to sacrifice. In addition, players don't get paid until the season begins. 

In turn, this is where the resolve of both sides will be put to the test. Are the owners willing to lose significant revenue? Are players willing to forego paychecks in their fight for change? Or, like a 15-year-old with a science project, are they just waiting until the last minute to do all the heavy lifting and finally get it done?

Stay tuned...

Fallout From Josh Jung's Injury

Labral injuries are typically serious. When the Texas Rangers announced that top hitting prospect Josh Jung was shut down due to a labral strain, fans were justified to assume the worst—that even though the Texas Tech product is on the cusp of the big leagues, we may not see Josh Jung donning Rangers red, white and blue in Arlington until 2023.

If you're looking for a sliver of optimism, the injury is in his non-throwing shoulder. If the severity of the strain is minimal, all Jung may need is rest, therapy and a slow-but-steady rehab. That could bring him back for maybe half of a season. If surgery is needed, Jung will likely miss the entire 2022 season. An update on Jung's health is expected sometime this week.

Josh Jung

Rangers No. 2 prospect Josh Jung

Either way, Jung's absence will impact the shape of the Opening Day roster (assuming the season begins on time or close to it). Isiah Kiner-Falefa, who already had an upper-hand on the third base job, will now slot right in with minimal challenge from anyone else on the roster. Kiner-Falefa is a capable hitter, a good baserunner and has won a Gold Glove for his defense at the hot corner.

However, Kiner-Falefa's name has come up in trade rumors. It's already been reported and confirmed by InsideTheRangers.com that the New York Yankees reached out to the Rangers about a possible trade prior to the lockout. With Jung's injury, the Rangers might not be as eager to part ways with Kiner-Falefa.

If they do seriously entertain a trade, one player who deserves a look at third base is Andy Ibáñez. He slashed .277/.321/.435/.756 with seven home runs and 25 RBI in 76 games last year. While he spent the majority of his time at second base, Ibáñez is more than capable of manning the hot corner. Yonny Hernandez could also see time at third base, but he fits more of a utility role at this point in his career.

Could the Rangers Really Trade for Matt Olson?

If there's a splashy trade the Rangers can make after the lockout is over, it could be for Matt Olson. Yes, teams with a need at first base like the Yankees will compete heavily for Olson's services. He's a two-time Gold Glove winner and is coming off an All-Star season with Oakland. Olson also has two years of club control remaining and will turn 28 on March 29. If you're looking for the third part of a potential three-headed monster in Arlington, Olson could be the guy.

Because there will be plenty of suitors for Olson, the Rangers would likely have to blow the Athletics away with an offer. After all, the Rangers wouldn't make the trade unless they were confident they could sign him to an extension. In order for the A's to seriously consider trading Olson to a division rival, it has to be for a good reason.

Sep 11, 2021; Oakland, California, USA; Oakland Athletics first baseman Matt Olson (28) hits a home run during the third inning against the Texas Rangers at RingCentral Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Oakland A's first baseman Matt Olson

If you're trying to gauge an offer for Olson, it could start with something like this: Nathaniel Lowe, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Justin Foscue and A.J. Alexy. 

Let's start with the obvious first choice. While there is a lot of intrigue of what new bench coach Donnie Ecker and hitting coach Tim Hyers could do with Lowe, sending him to the A's would be giving them a projectable player under club control through 2026 that gets on base at a high percentage. That falls right into the Moneyball stereotype.

Kiner-Falefa would give Oakland an immediate upgrade at shortstop and is projected to make $4.9 million in his second year of arbitration. He has one more year of control after 2022, but one the A's could still afford. He's also a great clubhouse guy who could help maintain a positive culture.

You can't trade for a player like Olson without giving up significant future assets. Foscue is a first-round pick who had a solid first year as a professional. He's a Top 100 prospect on MLB.com for a reason. The Mississippi State product has the potential to be a solid big league hitter.

A trade for Olson would have to come with some sort of prospect right on the cusp of the big leagues. Since the first three players in this package are hitters, we have to include a pitcher. Alexy has already made his big league debut, and had some success while doing it. He could become a rotation candidate for them with the floor of a solid arm out of the bullpen. And again, he's a controllable asset, which are coveted pieces by all clubs, but especially ones like Oakland.

Sources have confirmed that the Rangers checked in with Oakland prior to the lockout about what it would take to land Olson in a trade (The Dallas Morning News first reported on the Rangers' interest in Olson). When the lockout is over, the Rangers will likely follow up on that endeavor. 

It's unclear how far talks went prior to the lockout, but the past couple months have given president of baseball operations Jon Daniels and general manager Chris Young some time to think about how far they want to go down this road. Either way, the chaos that will ensue after the lockout will likely trump the days where the Rangers spent half a billion dollars on Marcus Semien and Corey Seager.

Promo image: Kelly Gavin / Courtesy of the Texas Rangers

More From SI's InsideTheRangers.com:


Make sure to like SI's 'Inside The Rangers' on Facebook