post

Nationals sign a few former Rangers

Today Jim Bowden of the Washington Nationals signed a ton of players. Twenty one minor league free agents in all. There’s several former Rangers on that list:
Pitchers Colby Lewis, Mike Bacsik, & Chris Michalak. In addition, they also signed catcher Danny Ardoin. None of these guys were world beaters when here, although I think most Ranger fans will remember Colby Lewis as a promising pitcher who was taken down by injury and then lost on a roster squeeze to a waiver claim. Colby came up for a cup of coffee with the Tigers this season; makes me wonder if he’ll get an AL championship ring. :)
The guys over at USS Mariner had this to say about Lewis in a larger article on the big signing spree by the Nats:

Remember Colby Lewis? He was a big prospect once. He disappeared after rotator cuff surgery, missed almost all of 2004 and then didn’t pitch in 2005. And yet early returns were shockingly good last year. In Toledo, he was a little homer-prone but struck out 111 and walked 38. Next year he’ll be 27, so he’s like… a better Gil Meche? The really interesting twist here is that the Nationals got someone else to pick up the tab on his rehab, saw that he might be one of the few to return to any kind of effectiveness after shoulder surgery, and then they picked him up.

Makes you think Bowden is going for the quantity theory on the basis of you bring in a boatload of players, you might get someone decent out of the lot; fully expecting most of them not to amount to anything. I do admit to some surprise that Chris Michalak is still hanging around.

post

Chris Young

Nice piece of news from TR Sullivan’s blog over at MLBlogs. Former Ranger starter Chris Young is on the All Star tour of Japan. To that end, he is running a blog about the travels.
Check it out here.

post

The Transaction Carosuel Begins

Well, today is the first day after the World Series, which means that players are now eligible to file for free agency. Of course some big names filed. Barry Bonds, Nomar Garciaparra, & Frank Thomas. What’s been covered elsewhere is the fact that with the new rules from the CBA, you are no longer restricted in talking to your own free agents. Used to be if you didn’t offer them arbitration by Dec 7, you couldn’t resign them until next May 1. That no longer exists. The exclusivity period still exists, so for the moment only a player’s current team can talk contract. That ends Nov 11th, and Nov 12th is when anyone can talk $ with anyone else.
A couple of former Rangers filed for free agency. Not that I think we should really make a move on any of these guys, I’m just pointing it out from a “Former Ranger” standpoint – I try and keep track of where these guys go:
Filing for Free Agency today (the 28th):
Aaron Fultz (Phillies)
Ricky Ledee (Mets)
Doug Mirabelli (Red Sox)
Rudy Seanez (Padres)
Frank Catalanotto (Blue Jays)
Royce Clayton (Reds)
Some other former Ranger player movement in the last week or so:
10/03 – Nationals released Pedro Astacio & Ryan Drese
10/05 – Victor Santos efa from Pirates
10/11 – Phillies released Julio Santana
10/12 – Padres waived Manny Alexander
10/13 – Ken Huckaby efa from Red Sox
10/23 – A’s released D’Angelo Jimenez
Here are all the 2006 Ranger players eligible to file for free agency (Jerry Hairston was already placed on waivers back on the 11th, and a quick thought on them by me.
Adam Eaton (might get resigned to an incentive laden contract)
Carlos Lee (most likely will not be back, unless he goes for less $)
Eric Young (probably not back, I wouldn’t mind having him as some sort of coach though)
Gary Matthews (better be back)
Jerry Hairston (won’t be back)
Kip Wells (if back at all, as a non roster invite in spring training)
Mark DeRosa (would like to have him back)
Rod Barajas (likely won’t be back)
Vicente Padilla (wouldn’t mind having him back, but not for 4 years. 2 plus option, maybe)

post

What a game, Kenny

So far I haven’t watched many of the playoff games on TV. They’ve either been on during the day, or at night I haven’t had time since my mother has been in town for a visit. Tonight however, I watched from about the fourth inning on of the Tigers / Yankees games.
Wow – that was probably the best pitched game by Kenny Rogers since he made a run at a second perfect game a couple of years ago in an interleague game (against the Reds, I think). He was masterful, and showed way more emotion than I remember him having when in Texas. His curveball was fooling Yankee hitters all night, and he was just brilliant. Congratulations to Kenny Rogers. Was also nice to see the old (not as Pudgy) Pudge out there too with the fists up, and all. Too bad it couldn’t have been in a Ranger uniform, but I’m happy for ‘em.
Kenny’s line:
7.2 innings pitched
5 hits
2 walks
8 strikeouts
Nice followup by Joel Zumaya & Todd Jones pitching 1.1 IP of shutout ball in support of Kenny.
Also, what was Gary Matthews Jr doing on Baseball Tonight after the game? I didn’t know he was doing commentary for ESPN. That was a surprise, for sure.

P.S. ” If the Rangers disappeared today, would anyone circulate a petition to bring them back? Would anyone sign it?”….
Unlike some frenchie sounding Taylors around here, we do care about our local team. Some of us are not frontrunning only Cowboys fans. Sigh.

post

Juan Gonzalez

Not the minor league player we traded for recently, the one whose pants were too big at the HOF game some years ago. The one with four ex wives by the time he was 30. Yeah, that one.
Anyway, it looks like he’s trying to hook on with the Atlantic League Indepedant team, the New York Ducks. This after he backed out of a deal with the Red Sox earlier this season (as well as the A’s & Rockies, from what I read). Anyway, here’s a story on it.
Isn’t this the same team that John Rocker was with a couple of years ago? I really thought Juan had given it up – what’s his plan here – to prove he can still play? Good luck running to first on your one at bat. ;)
Seriously, though – it’d be nice for him to pick up the pace there, but I can’t see it happening – my gut feeling says he’s done for good.

post

Johnny Oates Award Handed Out

Anyone who knows me knows I was a big Johnny Oates fan. Have been since long before he became the Rangers manager. Anyway, I ran across this story this afternoon about his former college team handing out the first winner of the “Johnny Oates Memorial Baseball Award”.
Nice to see his name pop up in the news today. Here’s Johnny’s page over at the Virginia Tech Hokies site.

[Read more…]

post

Dominguez outta here

Well, I thought I had a handle on the rotation. Apparently not. Juan Dominguez has been traded. I haven’t read anything about this yet, so I’m just going to lift Jamey Newberg‘s update on this, which I just got.

Eric Nadel just announced on the Rangers’ game broadcast that Texas has traded righthander Juan Dominguez to Oakland for lefthander John Rheinecker and utility man Freddie Bynum, and then turned around and dealt Bynum to the Cubs for lefthander John Koronka (a former Rule 5 pick of the Rangers) and a player to be named later or cash.

There’s also a story about this on the DMN site here.

post

Soriano, Gonzalez, & the WBC

A couple of former Rangers are in the news the last few days.
First off is Alfonso Soriano. I seem to remember Soriano saying he didn’t want to play the outfield in New York. I know he said that when he was in Texas, but he’s now taking it to the extreme in DC. Soriano is refusing the play the outfield, a stance that put him on the bench Monday, and if he does it again Wednesday could put him on the disaqualified list. Saying “the player refused to take the field”, the Nationals believe that they will be within their rights to put Soriano on the disqualified list. The upside of that is that he wouldn’t get paid, and if that situaton ran it’s course the entire year, Soriano would not be a free agent, he’d still be Nationals property, as service time doesn’t accure if your’e disqualified. I cannot see how Soriano expects to win here, except possibly by forcing a trade. I don’t see that happening either – it’s a bit late in the game. Of course, anything can happen, but I see most clubs who could take his contract being set already. I’m really surprised he’s taking this stance, I can’t see how anything positive can come out of this. I have to say I’m glad he’s out of our hair if he’s gonna act like this.
The other player is former Ranger Juan Gonzalez, who signed a minor league deal with the Red Sox on Sunday. I look at that, and think wow – the Sox must really be hurting to sign Gonzalez. It’s been years since he’s had a full productive season, let alone two of them in a row. I can’t see where he’d be a regular starting player anymore. In the last four seasons, he’s had a total of 186 games combined. His appearances in Kansas City and Cleveland (05) were a joke, and his two years in his seocnd go around with the Rangers wasn’t that great, either. It’s not like I hate the guy, I’d love to see him have some success and put some numbers up, but I think he’ll have a hard time getting to 500 HR, which my gut tells me is the reason why he keeps going. He’s got 434 now, and he’d have to play I would think 3 years to get that, given I doubt he’ll ever be a full time 145-160 game a year player ever again. I used to rag him over the “Baggy Pants” fiasco in the Hall of Fame game several years ago, and his lack of hustle, really. I’m kind of over that – although I still think he’s more suspectible to the slider down and away than any other recent hitter I’m aware of.
It was a great sight seeing Sadaharu Oh tossed up in the air when Japan won the WBC tonight. Would the US have done that to Buck Martinez? No way. That’s why I like these other countries a bit more than the US, as they’re way more into it. The flavor of the latin teams is just something the US can’t match. It’s one reason why I really wished Chan Ho Park did well here – in his first year, entire sections at the Ballpark would be filled with Korean fans cheering him like you saw in the Venezuela & Dominican Republic games in the WBC. That’s the kind of fun that US baseball lacks. The joy that was evident in the Japanese players was great to see. Not that the US players (or any other team for that matter) wouldn’t have been happy – but the sheer joy of it is something you don’t see much in the US players – or at least I don’t.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
post

Doug Brocail has heart surgery

Read this afternoon that former Ranger reliever Doug Brocail had heart surgery. Something like that is never good. He’s two years younger than me, so I don’t like hearing stuff like that. Don’t like hearing that stuff about people no matter what their age is. I’ll have a small prayer tomorrow at church for Doug and his family. If you’re so inclined, do that yourself, as he was a nice guy, even if he wasn’t our best pitcher most of the time.

[Read more…]

post

Juan Gonzalez to the Cubs?

Read something pretty amusing tonight. The Cubs are interested in Juan Gonzalez apparently. According to this link I saw tonight, the White Sox & the Red Sox are also interested in him.
Cubs – Juando in the National League where he can’t hide behind the DH? I find it hard to believe anyone would take a flyer on him now. If he comes back and hits 40 home runs and drives in 125, I’ll say I’m wrong, but I really don’t think I will be wrong on that.

post

Soriano loses arbitration

From the “I really feel sorry for THAT” department, Alfonso Soriano lost his arbitration case with the Nationals, and will get ONLY $10 million instead of the $12 he asked for. That’s a record arbitration award anyway, beating the $8.2 that Andrew Jones of the Braves got in 2001.
More here.

post

Rangers to win AL West, Millwood to win Cy Young

The Texas Rangers are going to win the AL West.
Millwood will win the AL Cy Young
These are a couple of the 2006 predictions by Jim Evans over at Baseball Digest Daily. This is what he says about Millwood in his predictions article..

With all of Texas cheering him on, and Tom Hicks installing a giant fan to counteract the jet stream effect that occurred when he built a luxury box addition to Arlington Stadium, Millwood wins the Cy Young with an ERA of 2.98, and a 23 win season. Johann Santana fans cry foul again, as he leads the league in ERA and strikeouts, but wins 6 less games.

23 wins? 2.98 ERA at our field? A Ranger pitcher a Cy Young winner? Jim, I think you have some bad leftover Egg Nog there. That’s way out there. I’m a Ranger fan, and while I like the optimism, I’d be totally and absolutely stunned if anything like this actually happened. Plus the “giant fan” remark kind of makes the whole paragraph seem like a bit of a joke to me.
Minor rant aside, check out Jim’s article. Has some intersting names turning up in his predictions.
He also makes a remark about imported players like Ichiro & Jojima from Japan being ineligible for Rookie of the Year starting in 2007. That’s a good rule if true – I hadn’t heard of it before. Never felt those guys should be eligible for ROY in the first place. Nothing against them, I love Ichiro a lot as a player, but to call him a “rookie” is a bit of a joke.

post

Seattle signs Carl Everett

Seattle on Wednesday signed Carl Everett, the former Rangers outfielder. (Story)
I’ll take this chance to say that when he was dealt, he had turned around my opinion of him. He still was unsuited to play center field here, as he’s not fast enough for that position, but I ended up being in his camp when he left. One thing I still admire him about is his stance on his children. So many actors, sports guys, etc have no problem with divulging every piece of information about their family and kids. Not Carl. He has five children, but in every team he’s played for, he gives no information on their names, birthdates, etc. I admire him for trying to keep his personal life personal. I even wrote him a letter about that when he was playing here and told him so.
Good luck Carl, except the 19 times you play us. :)

post

Sandy Alomar signs with Dodgers

Sandy Alomar Jr today signed a one year contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers to backup their young catcher Dioner Navarro. I thought Sandy did a great job with us in the 2005 season. He hit well when called upon, and seemed to be great in the clubhouse. I was really hoping we’d resign him for another year. I’m not going to lose sleep that our 39 year old catching backup is gone, but I wasn’t scared when the backup catcher came in for us; some of the backups we’ve had have been less than awe-inspiring. He even got a $100k raise with the Dodgers over what the Rangers paid him, although that probably goes right back out the window with the California tax rates. :)
I hope he does well out there in LA – the Dodgers are due for a comeback, it’s been awhile since they’ve been really good. Here’s a story on mlb.com about his signing with LA.

[Read more…]

post

Kenny Rogers signs with Tigers

That didn’t take long. According to this story, Kenny Rogers has signed a two year deal with the Detroit Tigers the night after the Rangers formally cut ties with him by not offering him arbitration. That part is not a surprise, really. The surprise is that it’s a two year deal for $16 million. $8 Million a year for Kenny Rogers, eh? Wow.
At least it’ll bring back the battery of Kenny to Pudge. Provided Pudge doesn’t whine his way out of Detroit.

post

Rangers cut ties to six formally, and other random news

Forgot to mention this yesterday, but the Rangers formally cut all ties with six players by not offering them arbitration.
The players are: C Sandy Alomar, Jr., RHP Doug Brocail, INF Greg Colbrunn, OF Richard Hidalgo, RHP Steve Karsay and LHP Kenny Rogers.
No surprises on any of them, although there was some noise the last few days saying the Rangers might offer Rogers arbitration. Boor-ass came out and said that it was in his contract that we can’t do that, so I don’t know what all the speculation was about. I would have liked to have seen us retain Alomar, I thought he did a great job as the backup catcher this year.
Additionally, the following former Rangers were also not offered arbitration by thier respective clubs: Todd Hollandsworth, Jay Powell, Royce Clayton, Juan Gonzalez, Jeff Nelson, Todd Greene, Rafael Palmeiro, Ugueth Urbina, Rudy Seanez, James Baldwin, Carl Everett. Also Danny Kolb was traded back to the Brewers from the Braves for Wes Obermueller.
We avoided a scary situation today when the Colorado Rockies signed Jose Mesa. I really did not want him coming here at all. Having followed him the last 4 years or so in Philly & Pittsburgh… Uh, NO. Thank you Colorado.

post

Arod & Poker

I’m not quite sure what to make of the story that Arod frequents poker houses.
In one regard, he should be allowed to do that. I don’t know if I agree with Selig’s freaking out about it. Sending the wrong message? I think he should worry more about steroids and the fact that most kids and their families can’t afford to go to more than a game or two a season, it’s just too damned expensive.
I say let Arod play. Let’s see if he’ll be lining up with Pete Rose to sell autographs down the street from HOF induction ceremonies.

post

DeMarlo Hale goes to Boston

The Rangers lost first base coach DeMarlo Hale to the Boston Red Sox on Saturday. He goes to the Red Sox to coach third base. While it might initially be seen as a lateral move, the third base coach has a more presitgious job. Also, Hale has a stonger tie to Boston’s club. He was drafted by them originally in 1992, and played in Boston’s minor league system for 7 years. Hale managed Texas’ AAA club for two years (00 & 01), and then was the Rangers’ first base coach from 02-05. Ironically (if I remember my dates right), Hale’s replacement as AAA Oklahoma manager was Bobby Jones, who was the Rangers first base coach before him, and is the leading candidate to replace Hale.
While I don’t really want to lose Hale, he seemed like a good enough coach and guy, if the replacement is Bobby Jones, I’m OK with that, it just makes the real choice being who replaces Jones at AAA? Click here to view DeMarlo Hale’s page on the Rangers site. Click here to view the story about Hale’s hiring on the Red Sox site.
Also, Orel Hershisher is talking to the Dodgers about their vacant managerial job this week. If Orel goes, we’ll probalby promote Mark Connor to pitching coach, and I’d love to see them make John Wetteland the bullpen coach.

post

Kenny’s out again

Well, I get to report about this in my “Former Rangers News” category.
Kenny Rogers won’t be back in 2006. The Rangers have taken the rather interesting step of saying that they won’t offer him a contract in 2006. There’s a story about it on the Rangers site.
I find the timing interesting. It could be genuine, or part of a plan to reduce the salary request. If Kenny goes into the off season too far w/o a deal, it might end up with a Twins type of thing where he takes reduced money. If NO ONE takes him, we could bring him back. Remember, John Hart said that we weren’t interested in signing Chan Ho, and we did. :) Still, my gut feeling says he won’t be back, although where he’ll end up, I don’t know.
Are there any former Rangers who are still playing that aren’t in some sort of trouble or contract squabble or something? Pudge is complaining in Detroit, Juan’s still hurt in Cleveland, Raffy’s got his steroids fiasco, & now Kenny has his contract situation. I guess Julio Franco’s not making any noise in Atlanta. :)
UPDATE: Jamey Newberg has a great writeup on the Kenny Rogers situation, and several issues relating to it. If you haven’t already checked it out, do so here.

post

Rafael Palmeiro

There’s a good article by Jayston Stark on Rafael Palmeiro up on ESPN today. Check it out. In short it wonders why anyone would take a chance on Raffy in the off season, specifically going so far as to say he’s likely to be the last free agent signed.
I think for Palmeiro to play in 2006, he’ll have to come clean during the offseason about what happened. I think that’s about the only way someone will want to take a flyer on him.

post

More on Raffy

There’s a story that was posted late last night about Raffy’s steroid case. From the article..

Rafael Palmeiro’s positive steroid test was for stanozolol, a powerful anabolic steroid that is not available in dietary supplements, according to a newspaper report.

If that’s true, then it seems to appear that he did lie about this, but it also says that the testing was done AFTER his grand jury case, so there’s probably no Congressional perjury issue anymore. But wow, does this look bad. If you look at my Raffy posts for the last few days, I sort of defended him, but if this is true, I fail to see how the “never intentionally took” claim can fly, assuming it is this Stanozolol.
Sigh.

[Read more…]

post

More on Raffy

After thinking about it a bit, I think Raffy will still get into the HOF, but I’m sure there will be a bunch of doubts. Jason Stark had a bunch to say on this issue in his column on ESPN. Check it out. My favorite quote from him:

Would I vote for a guy with 3,000 hits and almost 600 homers for the Hall of Fame? Yeah, I would. On the first ballot. And every ballot.
It’s some kind of commentary on the bizarro world we live in these days that stuff like this is now a subject for serious debate. But steroids have done that for us.

Jason also feels that when it actually is time to vote on Raffy for the HOF, the 5 year period after a player retires will probably cool off a lot of people’s thoughts. Right now it’s a hot issue, people are passionate about it, but I suspect it won’t be that “big a deal” in 2010 (assuming Raffy retires after this year). Although, I wonder what kind of heat a team may take for signing Raffy in this offseason, assuming he wants to continue. His contract is up after this season.
Also, it appears that the Rangers have cancelled a pre-game ceremony meant to honor Raffy when the Orioles visit town this weekend. I can’t say I’m surprised by that.

post

Rafael Palmeiro suspended for steroids

Well, we always wondered when the Major League Baseball drug policy would name a major player. That’s finally happened. Up until now it’s been fringe major leaguers, or minor league players that the average fan has never heard of nor ever will again. But this time, we got a biggie, and that was Rafael Palmeiro. Raffy was suspended for 10 days by MLB, starting today (Aug 1).
I have to admit, when I saw Raffy in the congressional hearings I believed his “I never did Steroids” claims. The amount of his denial seemed to me to be enough – he was clean of that. Now, I’m not foolish enough to think I know the honest to god truth, but I bought it from him. Was it because he was a former Ranger, one I liked, and I didn’t want to believe Canseco’s claims? Possibly, I can’t really tell. But the bottom line is that I believed him.

So today we get the suspension of Raffy for a violation of the steroid policy. Shortly after the suspension news came down, Raffy released a statement on the matter. In it, he says this..
I am here to make it very clear that I have never intentionally used steroids. Never. Ever. Period.
That’s pretty much the same thing he said in Congress, except this time it has the word “intentionally”. While I’m no expert on the matter, I’m just a fan, from where I sit, I wonder exactly what constitutes a positive. Is it like getting a DUI – where if you’re over “X” in blood alcohol, you’re considered drunk? Do these tests look for any existance of whatever it is they’re looking for, and you’re guilty? Or do you have to have so much over a certain threshold? I have to imagine that at least part of it could be because of the way other things one might take interact with each other causing a false positive. Now Raffy could be guilty as sin, and lying out his ass – I suppose only he will ever know for sure. But like I said above, my gut feeling is that he didn’t do what Giambi & Canseco (and likely McGuire, it seems) did, which is inject themselves with steroids. But, the suspension is there. It exists, so something has to have happened.
We’ll probably never really know the truth, but I really hope this doesn’t start too much of an uproar over his HOF credentials. There’s been a lot of talk about Raffy and the HOF, with a lot of national folks saying he’s definitely not a HOF player. Feh – he’s most definitely a HOF player. Most of the people who said he wasn’t are doing it on a “He hasn’t won any championships” kind of stance. His numbers are awesome. He should be there on the numbers. But I wonder how this allegation will weigh on writers’ minds when it comes time for Raffy to enter Cooperstown. Granted, if you go just on numbers, than Pete Rose should be there too, but that’s a whole other can of worms.
So now what? The Orioles are coming to town this weekend, so if the Rangers were planning on anything to mark Raffy’s 3000th hit, I have to imagine that’s been scrapped. I would have to imagine he’d get booed – who knows? The bottom line is that it’s really disappointing to have this come out, whether Raffy stood there on the mound injecting himself, or he has a false positive. Yet another thing I’d rather not have to try and explain to my daughter. Good thing she’s only 3.5 months old, and doesn’t grasp this stuff yet.
One other thing. In reading around online about this situation this afternoon, I ran across this quote by a Red Sox fan (soxfan@redsox.com, actually). He said..

What I can’t wait for is the first player to actually admit to having used steroids when he gets caught. Giambi came the closest, though he was never caught by the league and suspended for it. It’s always “an accident,” or something like that. Though I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that the people who are crummy enough as human beings to cheat at their job are also the ones without the sense of responsibility to actually admit their mistakes.

While I don’t think Raffy is lying, it’s definitely an interesting take on this situation.
Here’s some more reading on the issue:
Jim Evans of Baseball Digest Daily
Baseball Musings (The comments area is where I got the soxfan quote from)
Lone Star Ball

post

Congratulations Raffy

This weekend, DirecTV was having a free preview weekend of the MLB Extra Innings Package. I was taking advantage of that in flipping around some channels, as my wife was working, and my baby was asleep. Stopped on the Mariners Orioles game, and it was right as Raffy was coming up to bat. It was some fortuitious timing on my part, as a few pitches after I landed on the channel, the pitch to Raffy landed in left field near the line for a double – Raffy’s 3000th career hit.
I was there in person that Mother’s Day a couple of years ago when Raffy hit his 500th home run. I rather liked the fact I managed to see his home run live, and not on Baseball Tonight or some other clip show. I saved it to DVD.
As much as Raffy didn’t fit the situation here when he left, I still very much like him, and hope he can stick around long enough to get to home run #600, which is probably the only real plateau left for him I think. As of right now, he needs 34 more home runs to achieve that. A couple of years ago, that was a no brainer, but as his production declines, I would think he’d need all the way through the end of the 2006 season, and possibly into early 2007 to achieve that. I’d be surprised if he’s still playing in 2007.
But tonight is about his achievement. He’s only the fourth player to have 3,000 hits and 500 home runs. He joins Eddie Murray, Willie Mays, & Hank Aaron in this club. Bonds could probably do it, he needs another 270 hits to get to 3,000 though.
Congratulations Raffy!

post

Juan Gone came and went

Well, Juan Gonzalez was activated from the Indians’ disabled list today. It cost Ryan Ludwick his spot on the roster, as he was DFA’ed.
And guess what? After his first at bat, Juan hurt himself again, and had to come out of the game. As much as my religion tells me it’s not nice to make fun of others’ misfortune, unfortunately all I can think of to say about this is..