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Interview with Mark Teixeira

The Atlanta Braves website has an interview with Mark Teixeira up on their website. While not the most probing thing, it was a nice short read. You can check out the full piece here. A few samples:

CT: You live in Texas in the offseason?
Teixeira: Right. We live in Westlake, Texas, about 30 minutes from Arlington. We’re planning to stay there for the foreseeable future. We love where we live. For now, with two little ones, it’s too crazy to be moving. We like our home, and we have great friends. So, for now, that’s where we’ll stay.
CT: Who’s your best friend in baseball?
Teixeira: David Dellucci (Cleveland left fielder). I played two years with him in Texas (2004-05). We still keep in contact and try to see each other as much as we can.

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Not at that price. Not a chance.

Sosa wants $7 million to play in 2008? And he wants to be back in Texas? Not a chance. Not a chance at all. I kind of thought that if the pieces fell in the right order that I wouldn’t mind having Sosa return. Not that I think he should be first in line mind you (or even second), but as a fallback plan I wouldn’t be opposed. But $7 million for 08? No thank you. Nice to see #21 again last year, but not at that price.
UPDATE: There’s a great article called “Sammy Sosa’s Dream World” about this by Joey Matschulat over at Baseball Time in Arlington. Check it out.

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Rod Barajas

Rod Barajas spent 2007 with the Phillies after some strangeness in a contract negotiation with the Blue Jays.
Anyway, he won’t be back in Philly, as the Phillies declined his $5 million 2008 contract, buying him out for $500k. (link)
I wonder if we’ll be hearing talks of him back here – one would think not, but if we move Laird as has been talked about, one never knows what might happen. Anyone think we’ll see Guillermo Quiroz or Chis Stewart back in 2008? I would think not.

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Congratus to Carlos Pena

Carlos PenaOK, it lasted two days. I had to say something. :)
Congratulations to former Ranger Carlos Pena who won the AL Comeback player of the year award.
I remember when he was here thinking he was going to be the next big time 20+ year Ranger player, and he fizzled. Didn’t do great in either Oakland or Detroit. Of course he has a monster year in Tampa Bay, and his agent is Scott Boras. You think he’ll be staying there?
But that issue aside, it’s nice to see him figure it out. We’re in the market for a regular first baseman, what do you think? :) Shows you how long ago he was here, the mug shot pic I have has him wearing a red cap.

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Gabe Kapler

There’s an interesting article about Gabe Kapler up on mlb.com here. Talks about his time spent this past year as a minor league manager, and that he might be wanting to make a comeback in 2008.

I don’t think he’s an option here, but it’s still nice to keep up with what some former players are doing. From the article:

“Kapler, now 32, is a .264 lifetime hitter with 64 homers and 302 RBIs in an 850-game career (1998-2006) which has included stints in Detroit, Texas, Colorado and Boston.”

He does mention that Boston was the favorite place he played in the piece.

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Rusty Greer

I’ll have more to say about tonight’s game some time tomorrow. It’s late, and I don’t feel like writing right now. However, I did want to say this. Really nice to see Rusty out there again. Nice tributes and letters. However, I wanted to post a few pictures I took. I have them up in my photo gallery here.
However, this one was worth noting. After the ceremony was over, and Rusty was taking his “lap around the ballpark”, he got near where I was sitting, and he passed Michael Young. Michael Young tipped his cap to Rusty as he drove by. Most folks will not have seen that, but it was a great moment. I almost got a shot of it, but got it just as Michael put his cap back on his head. Here’s a thumbnail of that:

Was also nice the folks who made their own “retired number” sign for Rusty Greer in left field:

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Mark Teixeira: Show me the Money!

As the trade was made official, a story popped up on the Dallas Morning News site that said that before Tex was traded to the Braves, the Rangers offered him a contract extension of eight years, $140 Million. That comes out to $17.5 Million a year. He turned it down.
That makes me think that when he hits free agency after the 2008 season, Scott Boras will start – START with a value of $20 million a year, and won’t take less.
NOW I think this picture is how a lot of fans will see Mark Teixeira, especially given his choice of agent, and the turning down of this kind of money. That’s similar to what Juan Gonzalez turned down with Detroit. Better hope that lightning bolt doesn’t hit again.

Mark Teixeira - Show me the Money!
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Where have you gone Mark Clark?

You know, I keep bringing up the name Mark Clark on my site here as one of the worst starting pitchers we’ve had in recent vintage. I decided to actually check on his numbers, and how they compare to the 2007 Rangers. It looks like I might need to make one of these guys my new “Mark Clark” on the site before too long.
Check out this comparison between the two seasons Mark Clark pitched with us, and the stats of the 2007 Rangers to date. The number of starts is actually quite similar. Clark pitched some relief in 2000, as did Loe & McCarthy in 07, those stats are accounted for in the overall ERA and WHIP numbers, I don’t know a way short of manually calculating based on old box scores to extricate the relief numbers from the overall numbers.

Name Starts Record ERA WHIP
Mark Clark 1999 15 3-7 8.60 1.84
Mark Clark 2000 8 3-5 7.98 2.04
Kevin Millwood 10 2-6 7.82 1.94
Vicente Padilla 13 2-8 6.28 1.68
Robinson Tejeda 13 5-7 6.49 1.56
Brandon McCarthy 11 4-4 5.90 1.57
Kameron Loe 10 1-6 7.40 1.67

That was far worse than I anticipated. Technically Mark Clark has worse numbers, but man – after looking at the actual numbers it looks like we have close to five Mark Clark’s in our rotation in 2007. Heck, Mark Clark would feel right at home this year, our numbers are just as bad as his was with us. To look back, here are my comments from when we signed Mark Clark, and from when we released him. I had forgotten how much I wanted to like him when we signed him.
Which one of our current guys would you nominate as the new “whipping boy” for my blog to represent everything that is wrong with Texas Rangers starting pitching?

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Wetteland is back in town

Not with the Rangers though, he’s working for a high school in Argyle. Here’s a story which I read on the WFAA site this afternoon:

Former Rangers reliever John Wetteland, the MVP of the 1996 World Series with the Yankees, has been hired as an assistant baseball and football coach at Argyle Liberty Christian, the school announced Friday.
Wetteland, who is a member of the Rangers Hall of Fame, will be an assistant to head football coach Mark Bowles, and become the varsity and junior varsity pitching coach alongside baseball coach Johnny Isom.
Wetteland, 40, made four saves for the Yankees during the 1996 Series.

I still think he needs to be our bullpen coach. No offense to Don Chiti, who is probably fine, but I really want to see Wetteland out there. And Rusty Greer as our hitting coach should Rudy ever decide to retire.

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Good for him. Bad for us.

The San Diego Padres signed Chris Young to a four year contact extension today (details), through 2010. The Padres hold a team option for 2011. This would replace his current contract if my math is right, as a four year extension through 2010 would also include the 2007 season. I’m still not thrilled at his not being here anymore, we really could use him, but there’s not much this Rangers fan can do about that. I’ve already gotten mad over this one enough. :(
In the press release, Kevin Towers called Young “one of the elite pitchers in the game”. He’s a great pitcher yes, but I don’t know if he has enough track record to be called “elite” quite yet.
So good for Chris Young that he got a nice payday. Bad for us.
UPDATE: Saw the breakdown of the contract terms, which I detailed on his roster page here.
2011: $8.5 Million (Team option, could be worth more based on performance)
2010: $6.25 Million
2009: $4.5 Million
2008: $2.5 Million
2007: $750,000 (was originally $600,000 before 4 year contract signed on Apr 10, 07)

Chris Young
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Chan Ho Optioned to AAA

If Chan Ho Park was griping about starting the season in the Mets bullpen, he’s really gotta be steamed now. The New York mets optioned him to AAA today. (Linkage)

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More on Gary Matthews

There was an article over at SI.com by Jon Heyman about Gary Matthews and the Angels and HGH. The article seems to take the stance that the Angels are more upset than they are publically saying they are. Check it out. The article also briefly mentions Jerry Hairston Jr & Raffy Palmeiro.
One thing that does seem suspicious is that he’s hired Bob Shapiro as his lawyer in this matter. That’s significant, as he was one of OJ Simpson’s lawyers. That alone is an eyebrow raiser.
I’d really like Gary to be innocent. But if he’s not, and he is guilty – yeesh. How can someone now be busted for this stuff? I know it happened in 2004, but come on – how can you be that dumb?

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Gary Matthews Jr and steroids?

Saw this story over at bizofbaseball today about Gary Matthews possibly being involved an an Internet sale of steroids problem.
That’s a bit of a surprise. No further commentary at this time.

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Colby Lewis

Most Rangers fans remember Colby Lewis, the hard throwing pitcher the Rangers had for awhile in the majors from 2002-2004. We lost him on a waiver claim to Detroit, and I recall there being a lot of fans up in arms about that at the time. He’s not done much since then, in fact, he spent all of 2005 injured with the Tigers, and in 2006, he appeared in three games with the Tigers before being DFA’ed in mid September 2006. I wonder if he got a share of the World Series money with the Tigers. Anyway, I digress.

The Washington Nationals fan site Capitol Punishment just published an article on Colby. Colby was picked up by the Nats this past November 6th on a minor league deal. The CP article on Colby had this to say:

It’s hard to say what the Nats should expect from Lewis. He’s clearly got a solid track record in the minors, and he showed an ability to adapt post-surgery, but we’re left with an ungodly track record of performance in the majors.

Kind of sounds like the same feelings a lot of Ranger fans had when he was here. Great potential, couldn’t seem to put it together in the bigs. Check out the article. Also, I have several other teams’ fan blogs listed below. Check out the menu on the right side of the page, and scroll downwards. I have some links in there you might want to check out.

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Rick Helling Retires

Former Ranger Rick Helling retired on Monday. Rick was a great guy, and was someone I was sad to see go after the 2001 season. He came back briefly for a cup of coffee in our minor league system in 2004, but bounced around quite a lot since leaving after Arod’s first year in Texas. Rick was with us for a few seasons, making his debut in 1994, and then being traded in 1996 for John Burkett who was instrumental in the 1996 championship team. We reacquired Helling again in 1997, and he remained through 2001, producing these years the second time around.
1998: 20-7, 216.3 IP, 4.41 ERA, 4 complete games, two shutouts
1999: 13-11, 219.3 IP, 4.84 ERA, 2 complete games
2000: 16-13, 217.0 IP, 4.48 ERA
2001: 12-11, 215.7 IP, 5.17
While his ERA and wins didn’t keep up with his 1998 campaign, he certainly was durable, putting in a consistent number of innings. In fact, of all his seasons, these were the only four with more than 200 innings pitched. In fact, since leaving the Rangers in 2001, his travels were to the Diamondbacks (2002), Orioles & Marlins (2003), Twins & Rangers again (2004), Brewers (2005 & 2006). He actually signed a minor league contract with the Phillies on Jan 29, 2007, but retired Monday, about a week after that, claiming he wanted to be with his family. I can understand that.
So good luck to Rick in whatever he does in the future, to me the Rangers uniform #32 will always be Rick’s.

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Phillies sign six fingers Alfonseca

In reading some other teams’ blogs tonight, it would seem that the Phillies have signed Antonio Alfonseca to a one year deal on Sunday. Antonio got a bum rap from fans when he was here, but I rather enjoyed his short time in a Rangers uniform.
It appears to be an incentive laden deal worth upwards of $1.1 Million.

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2007 Hall of Fame & Texas Rangers

With all the talk about Cal Ripken & Tony Gwynn and the HOF vote, it feels like Pete Rose has released another book this week, as all I hear about when I turn on ESPN or XM is folks talking about Mark McGwire. He didn’t get in. Ripken & Gwynn should be all we’re talking about, and AGAIN, we’re talking about the controversy. Sigh.
Anyway, I decided to see how former Ranger players did on the ballot. Here’s a list of all the players on this year’s Hall of Fame ballot who ever played for the Rangers and what they got in terms of vote support:
Goose Gossage: 532 votes, 71.2% (just missed)
Bert Blyleven: 260 votes, 47.7%
Harold Baines: 29 votes, 5.3%
Orel Hershisher: 24 votes, 4.4%
Jose Canseco: 6 votes, 1.1%
Ken Caminiti: 2 votes, 0.4%
Bobby Witt was also on this ballot, but did not receive any votes at all. The complete list is on this page which talks about Mark McGwire and this year’s vote over at mlb.com.]

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Rod Barajas

In a bit of good news for the Rangers, it appears Rod Barajas has signed a one year deal with the Phillies.
This is a good move for the Phillies, as they have some stud kid catchers, but they’re not mature enough to handle the full time job. So a one year is good for the Phillies in that regard, as Carlos Ruiz and a kid with the last name of Jaramillo are apparently the (somewhat near) future.
This is a good move for the Rangers, as it puts to rest that rumour from a few days back that the Rangers were thinking of brining him back. While I liked Rod when he was here (my fav moment was that home run to beat the Yankees at home – I was there), I felt it was time to part. Laird deserves the job, and we don’t need him back as a backup, nor do I think he’d want that.
This is a bad move for Rod Barajas, as he… well… He probably screwed himself with the deal in Toronto, that was probably a better deal in terms of years and stature, I would think. As much of a Phillies fan as I am, I would think it would have been better for Rod in Toronto. Of course, I’m just a guy at a keyboard in Garland Texas, I’m not the actual player. :)

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Luis Alicea is back in the majors

Former Rangers infielder Luis Alicea is back in the major leagues. He’s been hired to be the first base coach for the Boston Red Sox. I always liked Alicea – who was mentally paired with Roberto Kelley as bench players in the late 90′s.
It’ll be nice to see Alicea again, who I believe is the last Ranger player to hit an inside the park home run in Arlington. Could be wrong, but I seem to remember it being the last Ranger one.

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Adam Eaton signs with Phillies

What’s with all the Rangers / Phillies connections the last 12 months? Are there any other teams out there? Did someone forget to tell me the other 28 teams were contracted or something?
According to ESPN, Adam Eaton signed a 3 year deal today with the Phillies reportedly worth $24 million, with a fourth year team option which is supposed to bring the contract value up to $33 million.
Given 2006… Amazing. Just amazing.

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Phillies & Rangers “sort of” make another trade

A couple of weeks ago, the Rangers hired former A’s manager Art Howe as bench coach. He had already been hired by the Phillies to be their first base coach. With former Rangers bench coach Don Wakamatsu accepting a “demotion” to third base coach, that pushed out former third base coach Steve Smith.
Steve Smith was hired today by the Phillies to be their third base coach, which was vacated by Art Howe’s departure for Texas.
So it’s not a real trade, but a “sorta” trade. :)

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Carlos Lee to the Astros

From the “no surprise there” department, Carlos Lee has signed a deal with the Houston Astros. Supposedly a six year deal, depending on which story you read, it’s either $73 million, $85 million, or $100 million. I guess we’ll find out soon enough, the contract is supposed to be signed later tonight.
This will make Jamey Newberg very happy. :) I’m also for it as I also like following the Astros. Plus it will bring Lee back each year to let a few balls drop in front of him for hits in Arlington.
The draft impact for us is now we get the Astros #17 pick, which effectively is a wash against the #16 pick we gave up for signing Frank Catalanotto. Assuming the Astros or Angels don’t sign a higher rated free agent, we’ll have #17 & #24 in the first round of the 2007 draft, as well as three sandwich picks.
{Homer}Mmmmm.. Sandwich… Awhhhhhhhhhh {/Homer}
UPDATE: Here is an amusing story over at a Cardinals fan’s website on the Lee signing. I particularly enjoyed this line: Throwing $100 mil at a corpulent left fielder who has the range of a narcoleptic cow and a career OPS of .835 doesn’t quite add up to me..

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GMJ to Anaheim

Well, the shoe has finally fallen. Gary Matthews Jr has gotten a 5 year, $50 million deal from the Anaheim California Angels of Los Angeles of California. I wanted to see Matthews stay as much as the next Ranger fan – but yikes. Not THAT much.
This is another of those off seasons where contracts are way out of whack. Soriano? Pierre? Jeez.
I wonder if Matthews will stay productive that long – 5 years is a long time for a career journeyman until 2006. Good luck, GMJ.
UPDATE: Dave over at USS Mariner has a great look at GMJ’s career to date. Check it out.

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Soriano signs with Cubs

Apparently Alfonso Soriano signed with the Cubs tonight, a reported 8 year $136 million dollar deal. That’s a lot of dough. The Cubs are throwing a lot of money around. I wonder if the curse will cancel all that out. :)
Eek. I was hoping my hometown Phillies would sign him. Oh well.

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Mark DeRosa to sign with the Cubs

Well, we don’t get to keep Mark DeRosa. That’s a shame, I really liked him during his time here, but after last year, I can’t blame him for going where a guaranteed starting job is. Unless we traded Blalock (unlikely given Washington’s comments about him), I can’t see where DeRosa would get regular starting time here. The story is 3 years $13 million. Not bad for the year he had last year. I wonder if his old team (the Braves) made a run at him at all.
UPDATE: I guess it’s official now, there’s a story about it over on the Cubs website.

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