Brad Wilkkkkkkerson signs with Red Sox

Read tonight that former Ranger Brad Wilkerson has signed on with the Boston Red Sox. It’s apparently a minor league deal with an invite to spring training. For a fellow who was the major jewel in the trade away of Alfonso Soriano from the Rangers, he’s fallen a long way. I remember being seriously excited about him when he came here. But he struck out more than Juan Gonzalez on a slider down and away. Never did much in the way of making that trade look good.
In what I believe to be a first, Mr. Wilkerson has figured out a way to record an official strikeout during a player signing announcement. How this technically worked out, I don’t know, but it’s an amazing feat.

Yeah, that was sarcasm about the press release. Shocked?

Looking into Age 40+ Rangers Players

With the signing of Omar Vizquel this week to a minor league contract, it occurred to me that he might have been the second oldest player to sign with the Rangers. The oldest would be Nolan Ryan of course, but I thought Omar might be second, so I decided to look it up.
Broke out baseball-reference.com which lists the age of players in a calendar year. As I started looking into it, I found some interesting stats about the ages of Rangers players. Here’s some bullet points (this also assumes Vizquel will play in Arlington in 2009):

  • The oldest player period was Nolan Ryan. He was 46 years, roughly 7.5 months when he threw his last pitch in 1993.
  • Omar Vizquel was the second oldest signee for a first time Ranger at 41 years, 9 months.
  • If Omar Vizquel plays as a Ranger on his birthday, he will be just the third second player to play at age 42 (the first being Charlie Hough, the second being Nolan Ryan). If he wants to overtake Hough, he’d have to play as a Ranger in 2010, which is unlikely, as Hough was 42 yr, 8 mo, 3 weeks old when he played his last game as a Ranger on Sep 28, 1990.
  • The number of players who have played in a Rangers uniform at age 40 or older is smaller than you think. Just eleven. I thought it’d be more than that.
  • There were a couple years with more than one 40+ Ranger at a time. Not surprisingly, they all involved Nolan Ryan. They were 1992 (Nolan/45 & Brian Downing/41), 1991 (Nolan/44, Downing/40), 1990 (Nolan/43, Hough/42), & 1989 (Nolan/42, Hough/41),.
  • The first player ever to play as a Ranger at 40 was Gaylord Perry in 1980 when he was 41.
  • When the team was the Senators, there was never a 40+ player.
  • The “youngest oldest player” was aged 34. This happened in four seasons (66-68 & 71). Oddly enough, they were all years in Washington. The Rangers have never had a 34 year old be the oldest player
  • Some notable names that appeared on my research as “Top 3 Oldest Players for that Year” are.. Minnie Minoso (37, 1963), Don Zimmer (34, 1965), Frank Howard (35, 1972), Rico Carty (33, 1973), Toby Harrah (37, 1986), Goose Gossage (39, 1991), Mickey Tettleton (36, 1997), Mike Morgan (39, 1999), Sammy Sosa (38, 2007)
  • Sandy Alomar Sr (34, 1978) & Sandy Alomar Jr (39, 2005) are the only father/son duo on this age list. :)

Here is the complete list of players who have played as a Ranger at age 40 or higher. Again, this assumes that Omar Vizquel will play as a Ranger after April 23rd.
46 – Nolan Ryan (1993)
42 – Omar Vizquel (2009)
42 – Charlie Hough (1990)
41 – Brian Downing (1992)
41 – Gaylord Perry (1980)
40 – Kenny Lofton (2007)
40 – Kenny Rogers (2005)
40 – Andreas Galarraga (2001)
40 – Tony Fossas (1998)
40 – Rick Honeycutt (1994)
40 – Tom Paciorek (1987)
A caveat about the above information. While bbr is the source for my data below, it doesn’t seem to take into account the age of a player if his age changed in the season. I just went with the bbr number, as it would have been far too much work to see what the birthdate of every Rangers player was and figure it out that way. :)
Click through to the full story, as I included the complete research data from the entire franchise here. I chose the top 3 ages for each season, because it seemed like the right thing to do at the time. :) If you’re reading this on a feed reader (or one of those sites that steals rss feeds to make their own stories), then you need to visit my site to get the whole thing.

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About Milton Bradley

I liked Milton Bradley when he was here. To see him interact with the other Rangers representatives in the Home Run Derby was great, but he was someone I enjoyed watching in our uniform. I’m disappointed he won’t be back, but I have to shake my head at what the Cubs gave him. For two reasons.

  1. Three years? When on the field, he’s great (or was for us), but that seems like more years than we would have gone. I thought we might have taken a stab with 2 years and an option.
  2. On the field. Since he’s going to the National League, he has to play the field. That was something he didn’t do a lot of with us, he was DHing most of the time. I have a hard time believing he’s going to stay healthy enough to make it worth the deal. If he does, great – he’ll probably help the Cubs alot. But it seems like an odd move, I would have surely thought he would have gone AL.

But he strikes me as a more recent vintage from the John Rocker & Carl Everett mold of free agent we had. Big headcase and reputation before they got here, and were great when they were. I hope he does good, but if he misses time, or gets into problems, he’s got a hothead of a manager up there, so I could see the clashes between Bradley & Sweet Lou being epic in scope. :)

Mark Teixeira

This..

Is a long way from this…

One can only conclude this…

Todd Van Poppel

For no good reason, here’s a funny video from a few years back. Remember that game that Mike Lamb caught (as the starter) and had a ton of passed balls? Forgot about this video. Todd Van Poppel was on the mound. What a mess that was.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.