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Tex to the Yankees

From what I’ve been reading today, it appears Mark Teixeira will sign with the Yankees.
So much for staying home with family (Baltimore / Washington) – or even his wife’s family (Atlanta, I believe).
How quickly do you think it will be before his time with Texas and Arod is brought up? At least Pudge isn’t still there, that would be worse. Bleargh. I think it is time to bring up this picture again. Might have to photoshop more money in there. I mean, 8 years, 180 million isn’t properly shown in the picture! I’m not sure how to visualize his full no trade clause, either.

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Some former Rangers movement

Saw three former Rangers get new deals today. A few short details..

  • Laynce Nix: Laynce takes a minor league deal with the Cincinnati Reds. If he makes the 25 man roster, he’ll make $600,000 with incentives to go to $1.1 Million. Probably not a bad kick the tires kind of move. I’m not an expert on the Reds outfield situation, but I know they had a huge logjam there until they moved Griffey last year.
  • Jamie Moyer: Jamie re-ups with the Phillies on a two year deal. I remember when he first went to Philly in 2006, it was a last second stop on the back of his baseball card, before retiring. He’s done quite well there, topping it off last year with his digging up of the pitching rubber after winning the World Series in October. :) No details on numbers for him, but he made $6 million and $6.5 million the last two years. My guess is somewhere in there.
  • Chan Ho Park: The worst free agent signing in Rangers history has started back up the contract list. After making just $600,000 and $500,000 the last two years outside of his Rangers deal, The Ho takes a $2.5 Million deal to sign with the champion Phillies. I know he had a bit of a resurgence last year in Los Angeles. However, he went from LA to a hitter’s park once, now he’s doing it again. Somehow I don’t think he’ll match his 08 numbers (4-4, 3.40). His deal includes incentives which could take it up to $5 million.
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Pudge in 2009

I hit the ESPN MLB site tonight, and saw their poll, which was simply “Is Pudge Done” with a Yes or No. After I voted no, I saw the current results, which were 54% yes and 46% no.
It did make me wonder – is he done? While he’s not off the map, he’s not the offensive force he once was, and while I don’t think he’s a 154 game front line catcher anymore, he certainly can do a decent enough job for someone. I’ve always felt Pudge would make a token appearance back here at the end of his career to bookend things. He certainly wouldn’t be the first player mostly known for being a Ranger to do that.
Where do you see Pudge playing 2009 at all? Please comment below.

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Wes Littleton traded to Red Sox

Uh, OK.
We’re supposed to get two players back as PTBNL, but that could take months, and if Littleton isn’t added to the Sox 25 man roster, you know we won’t get anything back of value.
An inauspicious start to the offseason moves. Just seems like an attempt to clear out some roster space without really caring what we get back.
Thank you, drive through.

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Kameron Loe now a Hawk

The guys that sat in the front row of (roughly) Section 322 or 323 have to be bummed out now. Word came over the wire a few minutes ago that the career of Kameron Loe as a Texas Ranger is over. The rights to Kam were sold to the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks of Japan. Apparently Kameron signed a two year deal with them right after that worth a reported $2 million total, which is way more than he’s ever made with the Rangers. His max salary was 2008, when he made $410,690.
I liked Kam, it was a shame he never put it all together and stuck around long term. My favorite Kam moment was when he was pitching in the pen late one year, and said “Hey, I deserve a shot at the rotation”. He got it, and for a moment at the end of that year, it looked like we had found a great starter – but it didn’t carry over into the next year. He will get to play with a legend though, as his manager will be Sadaharu Oh. At least once he’s done managing the Japanese team in the 2009 World Baseball Classic. No more stories about his snake, or his bald head, or anything like that.

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Congratulations Don Wakamatsu

Not that long ago, Rangers bench coach Don Wakamatsu took a demotion to third base coach after he was passed over for the Manager’s job. I recall at the time thinking that had to be his last season here, as you don’t generally like to stick around in situations where you were actively moving backwards.
So it was with some excitement and trepidation that I read the news tonight that Don was named Manager of the Seattle Mariners. The excitement was easy. When Don was here, he was well liked (at least my memory says that). He was someone I didn’t particularly want to see leave when he did, but I can understand why he left. Made sense. So I’m happy for Don that he will get his shot. I’m still pretty happy with the guy who got the shot here in Texas over Don, but I’m glad that Don got his. Which brings me to the trepidation part.
Don is staying in the division. As we’ll see him 19 games a year, one has to think that he’ll have some small insight into the Rangers. That will help Seattle, although Seattle needs way more help than that. Assuming they don’t go panicy, giving in to the fans and sports writers (like the Rangers fans and writers tried to do here in early 08), he should help them in the long term. I always felt he would make a good manager.
So yeah, the bottom line is a good guy who used to be here is getting his shot. Good luck Don. Just not too much luck.
If you want to see what Mariners fans are saying check out this post and this one from ussmariner.com. They’re probably the best Mariners blog out there, and perhaps one of the best overall sports fan blogs there is.

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Matt Stairs

It was sad to read about Kevin Foster earlier, but I thought I’d point out a bit of happier news for a former Ranger. It’s no secret that I’m also a Phillies fan, so you know Matt Stairs’ performance last night was right up my alley. Big moment for him in the 8th in Los Angeles last night.

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Former Ranger Kevin Foster Dies

Former Ranger pitcher Kevin Foster died today after a bout with renal cell carcinoma. If you don’t remember him, that’s not surprising, he threw just nine games for us in 2001. I don’t recall a ton of details about him either, but I seem to recall he was a nice guy from what I can remember. What pops to mind was that he was a good family guy. Assuming his personal info I had for him was still valid, he had a wife and two kids (may have had more kids since his time with us, as I rarely get family updates for former players).
His line for us in 2001 was:
0-1, 9G, 17.7IP, 21H, 14R, 13ER, 6.62 ERA
Not the greatest line, but you always hate it when one of your players passes like that. That makes two players that I can think of from the 2001 team who have now died – the other being Ken Caminiti.
Below is the wire story about his death:

[Read more…]

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These pictures look weird

The second one moreso than the first, but as a Rangers fan, these two look really strange.

I realize the second one almost happened in 1997 anyway, but it still looks really REALLY weird.

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I guess that wraps it up for Pudge

Not sure I can still root for Pudge anymore now.
He’s was just traded to the Yankees for Kyle Farnsworth. Oh well.

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Teixeira is an Angel. For now.

Mark Teixeira was traded by the Atlanta Braves today to the Anaheim Angels (screw that new name they have) for Casey Kotchman & AA reliever Stephen Marek.
Kotchman is pretty decent, and I don’t know anything about Marek, but you wonder how the draft picks they’d get might work out. I’m sure it’s a case of “gotta get something”.
The fact that Teixeira is an Angel is mildly amusing given that his agent is considered by a lot of people to be Satan.
Anyone think he’ll stay there? I don’t.

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Arod

Arod’s been in the press all weekend, because his wife is leaving him. I’m not going to comment on that situation, but I ran across this link a few minutes ago. Thought some people might want to see it.
It’s the actual court filing document by Cynthia Rodriguez. An interesting read.

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Chris Young

The guy who used to pitch for Texas, not the outfielder for Arizona…

Anyway, I have him on one of my fantasy teams, and decided to look up his status. If you don’t remember, he was hit in the face by a batted ball not too long ago, and this is what I found:

May 30 Young has a small crack in his skull and doctors have to wait for it to heal in order to avoid an infection in his brain, according to Padres manager Bud Black in the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Advice: Young is also still waiting for the swelling to go down around his nose after being hit in the face with a line drive on May 21. This could take some time for Young to get back on the field, so continue to monitor the developments.

This doesn’t sound good at all. My prayers go out to him (none of this “Good Thoughts” crap I see online – they’re prayers, people!). May God heal him sooner than later.

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Mike Bacsik

Mike Bacsik will probably forever be known as the guy who gave up #756 to Barry Bonds. Locally, he’s known for a little more than that. He was up for a cup of coffee with the Rangers in 2004, and his dad (Mike Bacsik Sr) played for the Rangers over parts of three seasons (75-76-77).
There’s a good article up on ESPN now at the moment about Mike (Jr). It’s surprisingly not behind their “wall of pay content” (like so much of their stuff is). Go check it out.
Obviously, a good deal of it is spent on the Bonds thing. But the main thrust of the article is how Bacsik is trying to get back to the majors. Probably just to have something else besides “756” on his ledger.
Good read.

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Shrek is gone again

Oh well, so much for that experiment. In a second tour of duty that rivaled the brief third tour of duty for Rick Helling in 2004, Kevin Mench was traded today.
The Rangers sent Shrek to the Toronto Blue Jays for “cash considerations”. Basically, “Dude, you’re not good enough for a player, so here’s some cash the team doesn’t really need”. In all fairness, Kevin wasn’t really tearing it up, and there are so many more possibilities in the outfield right now that he didn’t have a realistic shot to make it back to Arlington with the big league club.
In other Toronto outfield news, they signed Brad Wilkkkkkkerson today to a contract. I’m not entirely sure how this works contractually. Wilkerson was DFA’ed by the Mariners on April 30th. I never saw a followup saying he was actually released as such. Today, the Jays said he was signed as a free agent, which implies he was released. Assuming that’s the case, I don’t know what he gets as salary. If anyone knows better, please let me know. He was owed $3 Million from the M’s, so he’s still due the proated for that. Not sure how that impacts any Toronto salary.
I liked both of these guys (even if Wilkkkkerson was a disappointment here). However, for Toronto to get both of these guys at once, they must be hurting for OF depth.

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Brad Wilkerson DFA’ed

The Seattle Mariners DFA’ed Brad Wilkerson on Wednesday. That was a bit of a surprise. Brad’s time here wasn’t great, but I figured he had a slot in Seattle. I guess they were tired of his whiffing like the fans in Texas were. Seattle is still on the hook for the rest of his signed salary this year, which was $3 million. He also had $2 mil more in incentives, which he obviously will not get the chance to reach.
I think Brad’s uniform number below is the way most Ranger fans will remember him.

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Doug Davis has thyroid cancer

It’s one of the uglier words in the English language. CANCER.
Former Ranger pitcher Doug Davis apparently has thyroid cancer. I won’t try and get in the way with my own words, I’ll just copy a few wire stories I read here and here. I will say this, I’ll make sure and lift him up in prayer, so I urge the rest of you who are Ranger fans to do the same. Even if you’re not a Rangers fan, do it anyway. Doug was one of the nicer guys ever to throw a ball for us.

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Juan Gonzalez

It wasn’t a big deal (for me) seeing him in an Indians Jersey. Or a Tigers. Kansas City was a bit strange, but this just looks weird to me. I can’t tell you why. Just a gut thing.

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Juando in the Cards

ESPN writer Tim Kurkjian yesterday wrote an article about Juan Gonzalez’s comeback attempt with the Cardinals. It’s an interesting read. As a Rangers fan who remembers all the “stuff” he did (pointing at the official scorer, the HOF game/baggy pants thing/general moodiness), I wonder how well this will play in St. Louis.
The article says his swing was still there, being described as “long, smooth, georgeous”. I wonder if said swing is still susceptible to the low and away slider like it always was. When asked why he was attempting a comeback, he said this:

“I have goals in mind, I came back to finish those goals — 500 home runs is a goal [he has 434]. But the No. 1 reason I’m [in camp] is to make this team.”

It would be interesting to see him come back, because at his prime, he was someone I did like. It just seemed like there were too many “issues”, though. Be interesting to see if he’s back in the majors.

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Former Rangers Around the League

Tonight I decided to look around the various camps and see who was in camp that played for the Rangers.
These guys have played at least one game at the major league level with the Rangers. There are others who have been Rangers in the minors only, but I didn’t get into those guys (like Ryan Dempster, Aaron Harang, and John Danks who were all minor leaugers, or Glendon Rusch and Brian Anderson who were NRIs with us a few years back). This also covers guys like Terrmel Sledge or Freddie Bynum who were technically major league Rangers, but were really just ships passing in the night.
Guys who are non roster invites have (NRI) after their name. Everyone else listed is on that club’s respective 40 man roster. I believe I’ve gotten everyone that fits the parameters listed above. If you spot someone I missed, please let me know in the comments below, I’ll get the article updated.
AL West:
Anaheim: Darren Oliver, Gary Matthews
Oakland: Justin Duchscherer
Seattle: R.A Dickey, Brad Wilkerson
AL Central:
Cleveland: Aaron Fultz, Dave Dellucci, Travis Hafner, Rick Bauer (NRI)
Detroit: Armando Galarraga, Kenny Rogers, Pudge Rodriguez, Marcus Thames
Minnesota: Dennys Reyes, Mike Lamb, Craig Monroe
Chicago Sox: Nick Masset
Kansas City: Ron Mahay, Esteban German, Ken Huckaby (NRI)
AL East:
Boston: Bryan Corey, Doug Mirabelli, Dan Kolb (NRI), Michael Tejera (NRI)
NY Yankees: Alex Rodriguez
Toronto: Rod Barajas, Gregg Zaun, Matt Stairs
Baltimore: Jon Leicester, Guillermo Quiroz, Ryan Bukvich (NRI), Esteban Yan (NRI)
Tampa Bay: Carlos Pena
NL East:
Philadelphia: Fabio Castro, Adam Eaton, Jamie Moyer
NY Mets: Fernando Tatis (NRI)
Atlanta: Mark Teixeira, Ryan Drese (NRI)
Washington: Mike Bacsik (NRI), Rob Bell (NRI)
Florida: None
NL Central:
Chicago Cubs: Mark DeRosa, Alfonso Soriano, Andres Torres (NRI)
Milwaukee: Eric Gagne, Brian Shouse, Gabe Kapler, Laynce Nix (NRI)
St. Louis: Randy Flores, Ryan Ludwick, John Wasdin (NRI), D’Angelo Jimenez (NRI), Juan Gonzalez (NRI)
Houston: Doug Brocail, Carlos Lee, Victor Diaz (NRI)
Cincinnati: Francisco Cordero, Mike Stanton, Edinson Volquez
Pittsburgh: None
NL West:
Arizona: Doug Davis
Colorado: Kip Wells, John Koronka (NRI), Matt Kata (NRI)
San Diego: Chris Young (DAMMIT), Adrian Gonzalez, Marshall McDougall (NRI)
Los Angeles: Esteban Loaiza, Rudy Seanez, Chan Ho Park (NRI), Tanyon Sturtze (NRI), Danny Ardoin (NRI)
San Francisco: Victor Santos (NRI)
In looking over the rosters, I had to do a double take when I was looking at Houston’s. They have a 28 year old pitcher named Mark McLemore. I actually stopped, as I was not expecting to see that. :)

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Alex Rodriguez

Finally read a breakdown of some of the contract numbers for Alex Rodriguez’ new Yankees contract. Of most immediate importance to Rangers fans is how much we’re still paying the Yankees. I know a lot was made over us saving a ton of money with Alex opting out. He did do that, but we’re not totally off the hook.
There was deferred money from the original contract still due. Those payments appear to have been changed, and we are apparently still paying $3 million a year in 08, 09, & 10. The original deferred numbers show a lot more than that $9 million owed from years 2001-2007. The three opted out years from 08-10 of the original contract would tally up to the $9 million. There’s deferred money from the actual played contract years of 2001-2003 while in Texas. Got traded to New York, they renegotiated the contract, and there was a change in deferred money from 2004-2007, but we still were on the hook for deferred money from those years (NY had some, too). This money was originally scheduled to be paid starting in 2016, and running through 2022. I cannot imagine all that money (which according to my notes was $26 million) was replaced by the $9 mil I saw in the new contract. I can’t imagine we still have to pay the $9 million in deferred money (which was slated for years 2023-2025) anyway (now in 08-10, with interest no less). Can any of the sports writers in the area make sense of that? MY HEAD HURTS!
A little more easier to understand is his salary. $27m in 08, $32m in 09 & 10, $31m in 11, $29m in 12, $28m in 13, $25m in 14, $21m in 15, $20m in 16 & 17. Stupid numbers, but they seem pretty straightforward. Given the amount of total dollars involved, I can’t imagine some of THAT isn’t deferred too, but I don’t see any notes on that.
There’s a $10 million signing bonus. $2 million of that was paid at signing I believe (Dec 13, 07). The rest is broken down in $1 million increments due every January 15th from years 2009 through 2013. There’s a final $3 million payment in on Jan 15, 2014.
There’s a $30 million marketing bonus tied to home run milestones. There’s a $6 million bonus for each of the following career home run records:

  • 660 (Willie Mays)
  • 714 (Babe Ruth)
  • 755 (Hank Aaron)
  • 762 (Barry Bonds)
  • 763 (Barry Bonds)

Yeah, that’s right – he gets $12 million just for HR 762 & 763. Technically those last two are “tie current major league record, and break current major league record”. That’s Barry Bonds of course. It’s probably going to be 762 & 763 – I can’t imagine Bonds actually playing anywhere in 2008. He’s probably done.
I think at this point, it’s probably safe to assume that Alex owns one of these things himself.

Seriously, if there’s anyone with more detailed knowledge than me about the deferred money situation, I’d love to hear from you. Here’s my Arod page, where I have all the notes I’ve tried to keep since late in 2000 when we signed Arod originally. Thanks.

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Doug Glanville on steroids

I don’t write much about steroids in baseball, because to be honest, I’m sick and tired of hearing about it. Problem? Yeah. Do I want it gone? Yeah. Do I want to hear about it anymore? HELL NO!
Still, from time to time, one has to pay attention to it, and I ran across a great article by former Ranger Doug Glanville about steroids. Doug has a reputation of being one of the brightest players in baseball (well, retired now, but you get my point). Doug’s article from the New York Times this past Wednesday talks about his feelings on steroids, and why players do such a thing. It’s a great read, here’s a few quotes from it..

In 1998, I was the new kid in Philadelphia, battling Lenny Dysktra for the center field job. Five years later, I was mentoring another new kid, Marlon Byrd, so he could replace me. Faced with that rate of career atrophy, players are capable of rash, self-serving and often irresponsible decisions. Enter steroids.
There is a tipping point in a player’s career where he goes from chasing the dream to running from a nightmare. At that point, ambition is replaced with anxiety, passion is replaced with survival. It is a downhill run and it spares no one.
We’re scared of failure, aging, vulnerability, leaving too soon, being passed up — and in the quest to conquer these fears, we are inspired by those who do whatever it takes to rise above and beat these odds. We call it “drive” or “ambition,” but when doing “whatever it takes” leads us down the wrong road, it can erode our humanity. The game ends up playing us.

It’s an interesting thought, and could explain why some players never seem to give up the ghost. Growing up in Philadelphia when I did, the best pitcher we had for the longest time was Steve Carlton. “Lefty” as they called him came to Philly in 1972, and stayed a Phillie until 1986. At that point it was obvious he wasn’t what he had been before, but he was a prime example to me of not knowing when to stop. Glanville’s article talks about that a bit. After leaving Philly in mid season 86, Carlton was a Giant, a White Sox, an Indian, and a Twin, going into the 1988 season when he appeared in four games with the Twins (1 start, 3 relief appearances). Heard stories he tried Japanese ball after that. Anyway, some players don’t know when to stop, and that coupled with what Glanville says about this issue makes sense.
Give Doug’s article a read. Thanks to the Phillies blog “Balls, Sticks, & Stuff” for the link.

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The Mitchell Report and the Rangers

Ranger names named in the Mitchell Report:
After a quick search of the full Mitchell Report (avilable here) turns up these players who were with the Texas Rangers at some point in their career, although not necessarily when they were with the Rangers at the time.

  • Ferguson Jenkins (Page 29) – Then commissioner Kuhn suspended Jenkins for his refusal to cooperate in an investigation into his own arrest for marijuana, hash, & cocaine.
  • Jose Canseco (Page 66) – No further comment needed on this.
  • John Hart / Juan Gonzalez (Page 98) – I’ll just quote.. “By early in the 2002 season, however, Presinal was observed in and around the clubhouse of the Texas Rangers (where Juan Gonzalez was playing at the time). Sign-in records indicate that Presinal was in the Rangers clubhouse frequently that season. The Rangers also reserved (but did not pay for) rooms for Presinal at the club’s hotels that season. The Rangers’ general manager, John Hart, was aware of the October 2001 incident and Presinal’s alleged role in it”. Busting John Hart was a bit of a surprise.
  • David Segui (Page 150) – He has already publically admitted his use, no surprise here.
  • Gregg Zaun (Page 179) – Apparently bought some steroids when he was with Kansas City. He never had that “look” of a steroid user, though.
  • Hicks/Daniels (Page 204) – This page says the two had suspicions of Miguel Tejada when there was some talk of acquring him in December 2005.
  • Mike Stanton (Page 205) – Apparently bought in 2001 when he was with the Mets.
  • Jerry Hairston Jr (Page 207 & 251) – According to this page, he bought in 2003, after being referred to by Segui, and then again in 2004.
  • Kevin Brown (Page 214) – According to this, he was referred to by Paul LoDuca when the two were teammates for the Dodgers.
  • Eric Gagne (Page 217) – Appears that he bought sometime between 1999 and 2004 (again referred to by LoDuca).
  • Gary Matthews Jr (Page 252) – Says what we already knew, that he received a package of HGH in August 2004 at an address by then Ranger minor leaguer Chad Allen.
  • Ismael Valdez (Page 255) – Says that he bought $2500 of HGH in Sep 2002 while with the Mariners.
  • Steve Woodard (Page 256) – Mentions he recieved steroids & HGH, but does not say WHEN.
  • Jamie Reed (Page 299) – Rangers trainer is mentioned as someone who is anti-steroid.

That’s my quick scan of the 409 page document for “Texas Rangers”. If I missed someone, please comment on it.
Interesting that the report says that John Hart was “aware” of events during his tenure – and Juan Gonzalez is linked to him, too.
UPDATE: In my quick scan I missed a few players. I’ve looked at a few compiled lists since then, and saw that these guys were named, too.

  • John Rocker
  • Ken Caminiti – No surprise there, he admitted it.
  • Manny Alexander

Rafael Palmeiro & Sammy Sosa are listed, but only regarding interviews; no implication of them “using” that I can find.

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Coco Cordero now a Red

Coco won’t have to worry about coming back to Arlington any time soon to have his saves record blown again. He signed with the Reds today for an amazing contract. Four years, 46 million with an $12 mil option on 2012 and a $1 mil buyout. (Story here).
Seems a bit pricey – I don’t envision Coco as one of the elite closers (aka over $10 mil a year). I also don’t envision the Reds as being close enough to contending where they’d need an expensive closer.
The Yankees threw a stupid amount of money at Mariano Rivera, but at least he has a track record. Coco can save, yes – but I don’t see him as being THAT good.
What do you think?

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Arod’s Career Stats

Arod will retire in 2015 with 870 home runs, 3,694 hits, 2,499 RBI’s, and 2,477 runs scored.
So says a simulation of Arod’s career done by IGN on the MLB 2k7 videogame. Check out the full article, it’s actually quite an amusing read.
It does say that he remains a Yankee all this time, and that they win one World Series between now and 2015. :)