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Getting Going Again

Hey gang, it’s been awhile since I’ve had a baseball update – this is my first “real” baseball post of 2010. The last thing I posted was the day that Kevin Millwood was traded, and that was about a month ago. A few things have happened since then, so I’ll have a few thoughts on the stories that have happened since the last time I posted.
I also need to get in gear for spring, as camp starts in about a month (give or take a few days). I need to get my roster pages in shape, finish entering the 2010 schedule into the site, and update the known uniform numbers for my uniform number history pages. Thanks again for visiting, and sticking around. This will be my 12th season since this site started. Still enjoy doing it, although I’ve found it harder and harder to devote time to the site like I’d want to. Second kid has something to do with that. :) Anyway, here goes…
Dec 8 – Pudge to Nationals: In a move that probably surprised everyone except Scott Boras, Pudge made another cash grab and signed with the Washington Nationals for two years and $6 Million dollars. That’s a lot for Pudge in 2010. It’s not like he’s awful, but a lot of that has to be for “Pudge”, not Ivan Rodriguez, current mlb player. I remember saying when we traded for him that you’d better enjoy it as he wasn’t going to be here in 2010. Well, he’s not. This isn’t a total I told you so, because in the days leading up to this signing, I thought we had a shot at bringing him back, especially with the questions around Salty’s health. Then he Boras’ed the salary base for old backup catchers, we had no hope on that one.
Dec 10 – Rangers sign Rich Harden: To replace the departed Kevin Millwood, the Rangers took a flyer on Rich Harden. As it’s been stated, Harden has the potential to be totally stellar. His stuff is incredible, but like a lot of guys, he has issues staying on the field. If somehow we can solve his health problems, this will be a steal for us, as the deal is just for $6.5 Million for 2010. There’s an $11M option for 2011 with a $1M buyout. But that’s less of a concern. If we can get out of him what he’s capable of (and he’s only 28 years old. It could work out incredibly, but it quite equally has major flameout potential. One to keep an eye on, but I like the signing.
Dec 11 – Josh Lewin to return as announcer: Josh’s contract was due to be up I believe on Dec 31st, and he was signed to a one year deal for 2010. Amusingly enough, the press release for this states that there is an “option” for 2011. Does it have a buyout figure? Since when did announcers get “options” like that? One of the big keys to this was the fact that he’d miss fewer games for the Rangers when going away to do Chargers games in September. I can’t recall if there was a specific limit to said missed games or not, but it was something that always bugged me. I’m no Lewin hater (as there are a lot of in DFW), but his shtick has started to grate as the years go on. I can’t see him as an Ernie Harwell, or a Vin Scully, or a Harry Kalas type. The kind that stays in one place for 30 years. My guess is he’ll be gone within a few. I have no facts to back that up, just a “gut feeling”.
Dec 12 – Esteban German signed: The Rangers signed Esteban to a one year, $600,000 contract (if in majors; just $200k if in minors) for 2010. Next.
Dec 19 – Lowell trade dead: After much back and forth, a proposed trade of AAA C Max Ramirez to the Red Sox for Mike Lowell was killed after Lowell was in town, and failed the physical. Granted, the Sox were rumored to be paying $9M of Lowell’s $12M salary for 2010, but it still struck me as “why are we helping them with a salary dump?” Lowell by all accounts is a nice guy, I’m sure the intangible stuff would have been fine, but I couldn’t imagine he’d be THAT big of a deal offensively. I didn’t much care either way about this one, and the trade’s cancellation didn’t bother me.
Dec 21 – Darren Oliver Returns: Again. That makes the third player in the “three time tenured Rangers player club”, which also includes Bill Haselman & Kenny Rogers. The second time Oliver was here wasn’t the greatest of times. He still seemed a bit confused as to whether or not he wanted to be a reliever or a starter. Never seemed to grasp both. However, I seem to recall him starting to put together the relieving career that would serve him well in Anaheim. He’s been well traveled inbetween Rangers stints 2 & 3, having also pitched in Boston (02), Colorado (03), Houston (04), NY Mets (06), and the Angels (07-09). Still, I think most everyone sees this as a good move. Just don’t try using him as a starter again. Side note, if the Rangers make the playoffs in 2010, Darren will turn 40 during that time.
Dec 26 – Guardado to Nationals: In a move I can only comprehend as “veteran bullpen guy to mentor”, Eddie Guardado signed with the Nationals. So much for being run down and wanting to retire.
Dec 31 – Marlon Byrd to Cubs: In a move that probably surprised nobody, Marlon Byrd won’t be a Ranger in 2010. I think both sides really did want him to return, but he was apparently squeezed out in a money play due to the sale of the club. Shame, as he was a fan favorite. I do have to admit that when I heard the news, I had to do a Birdman wave on my sofa one last time. :) While the Cubs didn’t overpay for Byrd nearly the way that Anaheim did for Sarge Jr a couple of years ago, I did see a lot of noise nationally about whether or not Byrd is cut out to be a 162 game type player. He is staying with Rudy Jaramillo, who is also a Cub. I hope he does well there. Just not against my Phillies.
Jan 8 – Salty cleared to play: Salty was cleared to resume baseball activities again. It’s expected he’ll be ready to go once camp starts in a month. If he’s healthy, it will probably help a bit, but I wonder if we’re still going to try and get some veteran help at catcher just in case. His problems throwing last year were awful to watch, I hope his surgery around the end of last season has fixed those problems. Also hopefully Clint Hurdle can work on his swing, as he seemed to have lost his way offensively. Could have also been injuries, who really knows? Just need him to be better than last year for sure.
Jan 10 – Khalil Greene signed: To replace Omar Vizquel, who perplexingly went to the White Sox, the Rangers dipped into the free agent pool and fished out former phenom Khalil Greene. Greene is mostly known for playing for the Padres, where he was touted as the next in line in the Jeter / Garciaparra / Arod line. Maybe not THAT high profile, but he was a big name. Then he flamed out, and ended up with the Cardinals in 2009, where he spent time away from the club with what amounted to “a head case”. It was officially labeled as a “social anxiety disorder”. Uh, what? Not sure what to make of that. Provided his head is right, he should be a good veteran backup.
Jan 11 – Vlad Guerrero signed: Due to the failed trade for Mike Lowell, the Rangers were still after a right handed power bat for the middle of the lineup. Given what was available in the free agent market, he was by far the best fit of the available options. To be honest, if they were after a left handed guy, I wanted them to sign Jack Cust. But it was an RH they needed, so Vlad was the way to go. I’ve liked Vlad for a long time – way before he was really known. For some reason that I can’t recall now, I hooked onto him as a great player back in Montreal. Loved his arm in right, was a total cannon. He could wallop the ball like there was no tomorrow. I loved seeing him play. I’d tune in to Astros games when they played the Expos just so I could see Vlad. Have always liked him. In 2010, he’s not what he was, his legs have broken down, so he’s going to be mostly restricted to DH duties. I’m sure he’ll play more in the field than the two games he played there in 2009. But really, he’s the DH. I’ve never been a big fan of a permanent DH, I prefer using that spot to rotate guys in, give them rests, etc. Still, if you have to have one, might as well have a guy who can hit a ball out of the ballpark after it’s bounced out in front of the plate. This should go well, provided he can stay healthy (where have Ranger fans heard that line before?)
Overall, it’s not been an awful off season, all things considered. We did have some moves to talk about. Given how hamstrung the team could have been given the off season front office dance, I’m generally happy with the moves we’ve made. I don’t think any of them takes us backwards at all. We just need our pitchers to keep improving like they did last year.
The division is far more wide open, as Anaheim has taken some major roster hits (of which we have two), so they’ve come back. Seattle has improved a heck of a lot. I mean they’re seriously better, and Oakland? Well, it’s the usaul Oakland story. So I think the division is winnable for sure. I’m not going to homer it and call the Rangers a favorite, because they’re not. The divison should be much closer than in recent years, and if things break right, yeah, we could win it.
Bring on the games.
P.S. Did I forget anything major in the moves department since Millwood was traded? Someone usually reminds me of that after I’ve posted.

Comments

  1. I like the fact that we made so many moves…despite many of them being the “well if he can bounce back from injury…”
    We could either REALLY suck with the most guys on the DL in the league, or be a huge contender. Only time will tell. Either way, give me baseball. Football’s not the same without college teams playing.