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How Chuck Greenberg won the Rangers

Hey. I’ve been out of it the last week with some personal stuff relating to attempting to get work again (unemployed for seven months SUCKS).
Anyway, ran across this article today on Chuck Greenberg and the Rangers. It’s written by my friend Maury Brown over at bizofbaseball.com, and sizes up how the sale of the team finished. Yeah, I know, it’s not “finished”, but I’m referring to the bidding part. Make sure and read it, it’s got some lovely goodness in there. Plus a picture of Greenberg with Penguins star Sidney Crosby. Heh. :)
I’ll be back before Christmas with some updates.

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Kevin Millwood is traded

Well, Kevin Millwood was traded today. He was our “Number 1″ starter for a couple of years now, and spent four seasons in a Rangers uniform. I always liked Kevin from his days in Philadelphia, and while he was never a guy who would mow down everyone, he was if nothing else a fairly regular pitcher. Oh, he spent a little time on the DL, but for the most part he was a pretty consistent pitcher. I won’t say I’ll lose sleep over him leaving, but I won’t exactly try and kick him out the door, as I know some people wanted to do. So Kevin was moved to Baltimore, who from what I can gather will serve as their veteran “mentor” starter. Kind of what he was like here. I also thought his “southern drawl” fit in well here, too. Don’t know why, maybe it’s because I’m originally from up North, it just worked for me.
When I first heard about this trade, my thoughts were “Uh, does that make Scott Feldman our #1? After just one really good season like that it seems a bit dicey, doesn’t it?” Then the word came down a little while later we were bringing in Rich Harden. I’ll talk about Harden more in his own post after he actually signs, so I’m not nearly as panicy as say oh, I don’t know Kurt Cockran might have been about that. Sorry Kurt. :)
We get Chris Ray back. Ray was the Orioles’ closer not too long ago. Did some nice work for me in a fantasy league one year. But he had surgery and was out all of 2008, and was horrible in what he did on the field in 2009. I see this as a pure salary dump so they could get Harden in here. If Ray doesn’t work out, no big deal. We also get a PTBNL as well, who will be the guy the Orioles select in the Rule 5 draft tomorrow.
Anyway, I’ll be sad to see Kevin go. Always liked him, but it definitely was the first cog in several other moves being talked about in Indy. Those other ones are the signing of Rich Harden (likely announced tomorrow – $6.5M & 3.5M in incentives, plus 11M option for 11 with $1M buyout), and some talk of us sending Max Ramirez to Boston for Mike Lowell (and a boatload of cash, I assume).
More tomorrow on these other moves.
One final thing about Kevin Millwood. My contract notes for him state that he’s due a $15 million “signing bonus”, which is payable from 2011-2015. We’re rumored to be sending $3 Million to Baltimore for Kevin’s 2010 salary. I wonder how much of the $15 million bonus money we’re still on the hook for? Anyone with more knowledge than me know? Jamey? Evan?

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Playoff Shares

Today I read an article showing in detail what all the players playoff shares are. You see team names on there you’d expect. Yankees, Phillies, Dodgers. Those all make sense.
But at the bottom of the list is the Texas Rangers. Apparently finishing second in your division (and being a non Wild Card team), also affords you a playoff piece. Granted, it’s way smaller, but it just seems weird to see the Rangers pop up in the list of playoff share money. Just seemed weird.
Anyway, here’s the numbers for the Rangers…
(Share of Players’ Pool: $590,731.16; value of each full share: $9,276.38) – The Rangers awarded 58 full shares, 5.25 partial shares and 4 cash awards.

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Off Season Stuff

The first batch of items for the off season have happened.
Marlon Byrd: On the first day of free-agent eligibility, Marlon Byrd filed. No surprise there, he probably deserves a decent paycheck. As we all know, there’s been a lot of noise about him wanting to stay, but whether he remains is unknown. It’s down to money, and the fact that there is a logjam coming behind him. Don’t know how long we’d want to commit. There’s just too many variables now. There’s some talk that should we not bring back Byrd, they might sign Jermaine Dye as a replacement. That would have to be a single year deal.
Omar Vizquel: Some talk that Vizquel might re-sign here to be a backup again in 2010. I have to say, he seriously surprised me. He never failed to produce as a backup, never complained about playing time, he was awesome. If he came back next year and produced the same way, I don’t think anyone would complain about that. Plus he’d probably be cheap, so I say do it.
Sale of Club: No updates that I’m aware of. Everyone’s been talked to. Not sure what the actual next move is.
Pudge: There was a lot of talk at the end of the season about there being interest on both sides for Pudge to come back, even if everyone is healthy, catching wise. The rangers article today says that they now want to see how Salty is doing. Bummer. I want Pudge back without thinking about other guys.
Starting Rotation: There’s also talk today that both CJ Wilson & Neftali Feliz are candidates for the starting rotation. Feliz is not a surprise,really – that’s what he was in the minors. CJ Wilson briefly started early in his career, but hasn’t done that for awhile. Is our starting 5 so weak that we’re looking at moving TWO relievers in there? Eek!
Guys not coming back: Hank Blalock & Andruw Jones are done. They’re not being pursued apparently. Eddie Guardado is likely retiring, and who knows about Joaquin Benoit. The major paper and web stories label him as “in limbo”. What the heck does that mean – really? His contract is technically up, I think. Benoit had figured it out before he got hurt, and he is by far the longest tenured Ranger. Not sure who that would be at the moment if he was let go.
UPDATE: Just as I was about to publish this on my site, I saw the story on the official Rangers site that the following Rangers have officially filed for free agency: Ivan Rodriguez, Hank Blalock, Marlon Byrd, Eddie Guardado, & Joaquin Benoit. None of these are surprises, and all are covered above, but the official announcement has been made.

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Clint Hurdle

Well, Rudy Jaramillo’s successor has been named, and it’s not Rusty Greer. It’s Clint Hurdle. I don’t know a lot about Clint Hurdle, but if you read the article on the Rangers site about him, there’s this quote..

the importance of a team-first mentality

There was some noise at the end of the season about Jaramillo’s mentality being too much for the three run home run. I don’t know how true that is, but the “team first” mentality quote plays off those remarks. I can’t add anything profound about Hurdle, as I don’t know jack about him, but let’s hope he turns out OK. Probably won’t make anything worse.
The one question I want to know is what uniform number will he wear? :)

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Hicks has six offers for sale of Rangers?

Read an article this evening saying that Hicks might have six offers for sale of the Rangers. This is not surprising, as all indicators seem to be that the team will change ownership hands this coming off-season. Assuming that’s legit, this would just be part of that process, and itself isn’t newsworthy, but I haven’t seen any hard news in a little bit since that bru-ha-ha I started by reporting what I heard on XM about MLB loaning Hicks money for payroll.
Anyway, the only offer I care about is the one from Nolan Ryan, or at least the one that Nolan Ryan is involved in, and the one that will result in Nolan Ryan being the primary owner.
This is all amusing timing, as I got an email this morning from Ranger fan “Darren”, asking me this.

Joe, They (Dunham & Miller) have been talking about moving the Rangers this morning. Are you hearing it?

I wrote him back saying that I had not, as I don’t care for the Ticket at all, and never listen. Did anyone else hear this? Since I did not, I can’t directly comment on what they said. I wonder if it was actual talk about the team moving (like news), or was it just them speculating on what might happen if finances don’t get any better? Let me know what happened here.
To top this all off, it’s interesting to add that I heard on the radio yesterday driving to the doubleheader a report saying that AAA Round Rock might become the Rangers new AAA affiliate once the contract for RR & OKC expire after the 2010 season.
Gee, would that work out for Nolan Ryan owning the Rangers and owning one of their minor league affiliates, eh? :)

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Pudge is back

I think most people expected this to be the last time we saw Pudge in a Rangers uniform.

That picture was from his last Rangers home game where it was expected by everyone (if not officially) that it was the end of his Rangers tenure. Well, that’s not the case. After spending time with the Florida Marlins, the Detroit Tigers, the New York Yankees (shudder), and the Houston Astros, the Rangers re-acquired him today in a trade with Houston for two “mid level” prospects. As I write this (1:44PM), the prospects haven’t been named yet. We’re also apparently responsible for the remainder of his $1.5 million salary for 2009. A pretty good bargain.
UPDATE: Several unconfirmed stories are now saying that it’s an A-ball pitcher named Matt Nevarez plus a PTBNL.
UPDATE 2: It’s apparently Nevarez and Jose Vallejo, although Vallejo is technically being classified as a PTBNL, due to some waiver technicalities. Furthermore, Jamey Newberg is saying that if the Rangers make the playoffs, we’ll owe the Astros a third PTBNL player.
All the stories I’ve read have said that Pudge has been told Taylor Teagarden is the #1 catcher, and Pudge is being brought in as a backup. That probably will work out fine, and when he’s added to the roster, one would expect Kevin Richardson is headed back to the minors.
While the romantic Rangers fan will love this move, I can’t expect it’s for any more than this season. Yeah, the veteran leadership issue will be well covered with this move, but in 2010, I can’t see where Pudge will fit, so we’d better win the World Series now, as I cannot imagine why Pudge would re-sign here next year, nor why we’d make him an offer. Enjoy the last couple of months Rangers fans, as this is likely it for Pudge with the Rangers.
Having said all that.. I hope he is catching on Thursday night, as I’ll be at the game. I want to see him again! :)

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A Braves fan on the Teixeira Trade

He got to see Feliz in action. Then got sad. Check it out.

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Vicente Padilla

So, Vicente Padilla was designated for assignment. I think most everyone assumed he’d be here through the end of the season, and there’d be zero chance they’d pick up his option for 2010. He was out of here at the end of the season. However, his actions in the Oakland series probably sealed his fate.
With his favorite beanball target of a team coming up (Anaheim), I suspect the move was made to get rid of him before anything worse happened. During his time here, he developed a reputation of being a headhunter. It’s known I follow the Phillies too, and I don’t recall him being a beanball pitcher there. No idea what he was like in Arizona. I went back and found this article (and this one) from Beerleaguer (one of my fav Phillies sites) about Padilla being moved here, and while the gist of it was “good riddance”, I can’t find any specifics about why he had worn out his welcome in Philadelphia. I remember hearing at the time it was a “we don’t care if we get a bag of beans for him, move him out”.
So he comes here, is decent, if not stellar, and as time moves on, seems to have developed a reputation of throwing at guys. I know there’s a lot made out of players who will “defend their players” and all that, but Pidente down here seems to be the guy who starts it, not the guy who retaliates.

Read this morning a lot of quotes from players saying it was a good move. Marlon Byrd came out and said “It’s about time”, and the DMN’s article talks about how several players were thanking GM Jon Daniels in the clubhouse after it had happened. I didn’t realize he was quite THAT unliked in the clubhouse.
From a baseball side, he had one good month this year – May. Since his waiver move awhile back, he hasn’t been lights out, except for maybe the first start after that. Since the All-Star break, I read where his ERA is over 6. We’re putting Dustin Nippert in the rotation in his place, but Nippert or anyone else we might throw in there won’t do any worse, and the headgames Padilla can bring is probably something we could do without. Again, Daniels portrayed him as a bad teammate, so conjuring up memories of Sidney Ponson, a pitcher that was not pitching THAT poorly was moved out for the good of the team’s “chemistry”. But with us having a decent shot at making the playoffs, we figured we were better off without him. Ouch.
Heck, even his name doesn’t get respect. The DMN article this morning printed his name as Vincent Padilla, and last night, Fox Sports Southwest in their news crawl had his name spelled as Vincente Padilla. Of course, that doesn’t compare to the old Harry Kalas story. One time the late great Philly broadcaster referred to him as Vicente Pidente, which is the reason I called Padilla that. This is probably one of the last times I’ll ever get to use the word Pidente on this site, and that alone is a reason I’ll miss him. But probably the only one. hahaha.
One last thing. I know still pictures taken of a very moving event can lie. I am well aware of that fact. However, in looking for pictures of Padilla, I ran across the brawl pictures from Sep 16, 2007 with Oakland. I ran into this one. It looks like that even during a brawl that Pidente seemed on the outside not with his teammates (yeah, I know that’s not really what is going on, it just looks that way).

UPDATE: After I wrote all this, I saw an article with remarks from Padilla saying he was “disappointed” in the move. What pitcher would say “Yeah, it’s probably good they got rid of me”?

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Amusing Nolan Ryan Remark

Saw a comment on another baseball blog about Vicente Padilla having swine flu. The remark the guy made at the bottom made me laugh. Check it out:

Nolan Ryan is probably on the phone to him right now telling him to suck it up and pitch through it.

hahahahahahaha. :)

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Nelson Cruz in St. Louis

Which of these things do you believe Nelson Cruz enjoyed more?

I’d have to say meeting Obama. The picture comes from the site of the photographer David Bergman. I started following this guy around the time of Obama’s inauguration, because the guy took one hellaciously cool photo (1,474 megapixels!) of the inauguration. Anyway, this particular photo was taken from several he took the other night in St. Louis. Check out Bergman’s site, he has a great story about Obama and the players; he mentions Cruz by name with… “It was fun to see major league players like Curtis Granderson and Nelson Cruz getting autographs and shooting cell phone pictures.”

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Hicks misses payroll?

I was driving around today listening to XM’s “MLB Home Plate” talk shows, and heard something that seems like epic level news. A caller called in and mentioned that Tom Hicks & the Texas Rangers failed to make payroll yesterday. They said that MLB had to step in and give the team $15 million to make payroll. Whether that was office payroll or player payroll, they weren’t clear.
But Kevin Kennedy who was the host said he had several personal ties in the orginazation, going back to his days here (so he said). He claimed he knew something about the situation, and was quite sure that the team “would be in different hands this coming offseason”.
Now we knew Hicks was trying to sell controlling interest (PLEASE PLEASE – Mr Ryan..), but this was the first I heard of real money problems like not being able to make player payroll. Kennedy said this wouldn’t affect day to day operations, because MLB has a fund set up for things like this, but he did say it probably would affect who could be brought in at the trading deadline, that we couldn’t take on much (if any) salary.
This is the first I’ve heard of it. Either I missed something bigtime in local reporting, or nobody’s talking about it. Surely I’m not the first person in DFW to mention this?

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Marlon Byrd & the BALCO Guy

This story surprised me. Read this morning an article about Marlon Byrd getting supplements from the guy who used to run BALCO.
The article goes on to mention Byrd has not tested positive for anything. The article also mentions Scott Feldman by name too, but nothing wrong there either.
I have to wonder why someone would get involved with the BALCO guy given Barry Bonds, Game of Shadows, and all that stuff.

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A couple of good reads

Don’t know if you’ve seen these before, but I was just told about a few cool stories.
One is from the print magazine Guideposts, and it’s a cover story about Josh Hamilton. It’s a story any Rangers fan will already know, but it’s a great story and is worth checking out again. Gotta praise God for that story!
The other is an interview with CJ Wilson done by the site “The Hall of Very Good“. You can check that one out here, which includes the fact that CJ doesn’t use an iPhone, which is a bit of a surprise to me.
The Hall site also recently ran a nice article looking at the career of Omar Vizquel. Check that out, too.

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The Draft

As those who read my site know, I’m not the most knowledgeable about the minor leagues. I know some names, but I don’t get into the minutae of every prospect that comes down the pike. Still, here’s who we got on Day 1:
1 – 14: Matt Purke, LHP (same school as David Murphy)
1 – Supp: Tanner Scheppers, RHP (Pick awarded for loss of Milton Bradley)
2 – 62: Tommy Mendonca, 3B (Fresno? Nobody goes to Fresno anymore!)
3 – 93: Robbie Erlin, LHP
As for the details… I will defer as usual to Jamey Newberg. He’s the Rangers minor league guru, and if you haven’t read his report on yesterday’s draft, you need to. You can get to it here:
http://newberg.mlblogs.com/archives/2009/06/day_one_of_the_draft_bold_busi.html
UPDATE: As I was writing this, the news flash came in that the Rangers drafted Ruben Sierra’s son, aptly named “Ruben Sierra” in the sixth round as a center fielder.

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See ya Travis Metcalf

Travis Metcalf was claimed today by the Kansas City Royals. It’s a shame he got out, as I really think he deserved a shot to be our starting 3B in 2009. He was squeezed out in a 40 man roster situation, not too dissimilar to the way that Doug Davis was squeezed out a few years back.
Hopefully he gets some real time to play with the Royals. Nice guy, hope he does well.
We also signed Esteban German back in a counter move. German played some backup for us back in 2005.

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Opening Day Roster Finalized

Well, I’ll cheat, and use the text out of the official press release…

  • Designated infielder Travis Metcalf for assignment
  • Placed right-handed pitchers Joaquin Benoit and Eric Hurley on the 60-day disabled list, effective today
  • Placed right-handed pitchers Willie Eyre (retroactive to March 27) and Dustin Nippert (retroactive to March 27) on the 15-day disabled list
  • Purchased the contracts of infielder Elvis Andrus, right-handed pitcher Kris Benson, left-handed pitcher Eddie Guardado, right-handed pitcher Jason Jennings, outfielder Andruw Jones, and infielder Omar Vizquel from Triple-A Oklahoma City
  • Reassigned catcher Emerson Frostad and right-handed pitcher Derrick Turnbow to minor league camp

The inclusion of Metcalf is disappointing, I really thought he could have been an option at 3B this year. I’m sure they’ll try and squeeze him through waivers and outright him to AAA. I would normally expect him to never make it through, but doing it at this time of the year we stand a chance since everyone else is dealing with their own 40 man roster issues.
I still am not sold on the Kris Benson experiment. I think he’s a 5.80 ERA 1-4 record in April waiting to happen. I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t think I am.
Andruw Jones cost us Frank Catalanotto, who had kind of become a lost man anyway, so hopefully Jones is good enough to make us forget that move.
We shall see how this all works out, but even if it’s a guy you hate, you always want to see them on the first base lineup on opening day. That’s what will happen tomorrow. Can’t wait! :)

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My Thoughts on Today’s Roster Moves

Today there was a bunch of roster moves made. I’ll add a few words on them..
Tommy Hunter was optioned to AA Frisco. A lot of guys are high on this guy, and he seems like a nice enough guy to me, but when he pitched for us in 2008 (only three times for an ERA of 16.36), I felt he was not ready. I’ll give this an “incomplete” rating (not that I’m rating ‘em all).
Joaquin Arias optioned to AAA. There was some noise this week about him possibly being moved, but I didn’t really think that was happening. His injuries have bumped him down the pecking order, and had they not done the thing with moving Young to 3B, I could have seen Arias here being the backup infielder. However, they did move Young, wich brought up Elvis, which brought in Vizquel as mentor. I get the feeling we’ll never see Arias here full time unless there’s a major breakdown of someone. He’s tradebait eventually I suspect, but not now – it wouldn’t be selling high, I think.
Brandon Boggs optioned to AAA. Man, he caught fire when he first came up last year, didn’t he? Stuck around for awhile, but isn’t the “stud” name you’d expect. Probably pushed out by Andruw Jones, I would think.
Doug Mathis reassigned to minor league camp. Eight appearances in 2008 (four starts; 6.85 ERA). Kind of like Hunter, but I got the impression he was more “cooked” than Hunter was. Again, nice guy, got hurt, moved down the pecking order due to injury time off, I’m guessing.
Netfali Feliz & Derek Holland reassigned to minor league camp. Uh, not yet, guys.
And Frank Catalanotto. He was placed on irrevocable release waivers for the purpose of giving him his unconditional release. That is a rather wordy way of saying “Bye!”. I know it’s not as cold as that. I told my wife they released Cat tonight, and she seemed surprised by that (but she doesn’t really follow the team too closely). In explaining it to her, I said something like “Well, when he came back, it was a great time for Cat. At that time, we needed his bat back, but he quickly got passed over by a bunch of other young kids, and eventually got squeezed out.” His contract probably kept him from being formally traded, but he’s in the same boat now that Adam Eaton, Andruw Jones, Geoff Jenkins, & Gary Sheffield are in. Someone else is going to be paying big bucks to play elsewhere. Catalanotto’s waiver period actually expires on opening day, so he’s in limbo between now and the start of the season. Unless he’s claimed on waivers in the meantime, he’s not going to be on an opening day roster. He’ll get a job somewhere, but I doubt he’ll have a starting job again in he majors. Shame, as he can still hit, but he seemed squeezed out here for sure. He did have a contractual clause in his current contract which stated this.. “If Frank has 500 plate appearances in 2009, or 1000 combined plate appearances in 2008 and 2009, the option jumps to $5.5 million and the buyout to $2.25 million.” If he goes somewhere and does get the 500 at bats, I wonder if we’ll be on the hook for the additional money, too. I couldn’t find anything online about it, and I asked a few people about it, and they didn’t know either. Any contract experts out there know anything about this?
As we wave goodbye to Frank Catalanotto, I think this picture taken at a game in Anaheim some years ago is appropriate.

Speaking of big bucks to play elsewhere, don’t forget, we still are paying money to Alex Rodriguez to play in New York. Not as much as we had been before due to his opt-out, but we still are. That knaws at you just a little, doesn’t it?
I’ll have more to say about the final opening day roster once the big bomb of roster moves are made to accommodate all the guys moving on and off the 25 man & 40 man rosters.

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Dubya to throw out the first pitch on Apr 6

In a move that’s not totally unexpected, the Rangers today announced that George W. Bush will throw out the first pitch at a Rangers game. I’m surprised he never did this when he was the sitting President of the United States. I know he threw out the first pitches at several other teams games (Yankees after 9/11, Nationals come to mind too), but never here. I know Dick Cheney did that once, I was there.
The security for Cheney’s appearance was insanely tight. I recall when I got there seeing a lot of extra helicopters flying around the stadium. Every entrance into the lower seating bowl had metal detectors, and it was in your best interest to stay there. It made just getting to your seat a nightmare due to the metal detectors in use. I found out that day that if you were not in the seating bowl when Cheney came on the field, the secret service stopped people from entering. I’m going to guess the same deal will be in play here, so don’t be doing the “Gotta go to the bathroom” or “I want to go get this pretzel before he comes out”. If you care about seeing Dubya, sit your backside down in your chair and stay there. Granted, that’s what you should be doing ANYWAY.. :) When Cheney was there, a guy sitting a row away from me was complaining about the security, so I know people were held out when they wanted to see him. Find your seat and stay there before the opening ceremonies get started.
Normally opening day is a fiasco with traffic. Last year it took me TWO HOURS to get home from opening day (almost a full hour to get to I30 from the Ballpark). I expect things to be a lot worse this year with Dubya and all the Secret Service extra security going on.
I do wonder how strong the boos will be. Yeah, it’s Texas and all that, but he left office as a pretty unpopular president.
I looked through my photo archives, I found a pic of the home opener in 2000 where the elder George Bush threw out the first pitch. I’ll probably get some better pics than this, as my digital camera has gotten a lot better in nine years. :)

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The Jimmy Gobble Experiment is Over

According to TR Sullivan, the Rangers have released Jimmy Gobble. That means that CJ Wilson & Eddie Guardado are probably the lefthanders we’ll open the season with out of the pen. We’ll probably be seeing a lot more of these things over the next few days, as opening day is next Monday, and there’s still a gaggle of NRI’s in camp.
Did anyone happen to catch what uniform number he was wearing? The Rangers site said he wore #94, which I find hard to believe. Mostly because you don’t usually give guys who have real major league experience a number like 94. Thanks.

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Another 2009 Season Preview

A week ago or so I was contacted by a guy who runs a blog back in my hometown of Philly, but he was doing a series on all the teams. Anyway, he has been running his own thoughts as well as including text by some other blog writer. He contacted me about writing about the Rangers, and his preview is now online. Here’s what I wrote for him:

• Letter Grade for Offseason Moves: I’m giving it an “I”. The reason for that is if you go down our roster transactions, the Rangers signed not a single player to a major league contract. Every single one of them was a minor league NRI type of deal. The only person brought in that will have a direct impact on the major league staff is the new pitching coach. Mike Maddux by all accounts so far has done a great job in getting the message across. How well that translates though is unknown. We’ve had something like seven different pitching coaches in the last eight years or so, so I’m hopeful this can work.
As for actual players? That’s the true “Incomplete”, given only a couple of them are likely to break camp (the most likely being Vizquel, Donnelly, Guardado, & Turnbow), and most of them never seen again, it’s really hard to go here. Technically Elvis Andrus is an NRI too, but he’s essentially been annointed the SS heir apparent, so I don’t know if that counts. I don’t think Andruw Jones will break, given the guys already here, I can’t see where he fits.
So “Incomplete” is my grade.
• Most Essential: I’m going with Brandon McCarthy. As with most teams, what’s essential is pitching. The Rangers won’t have any problems scoring runs, but what will determine our success is how our pitching does. Millwood and Padilla you know what you’re gonna get, and we’re sending out three “kids” (relatively speaking) behind them in the rotation. Of the guys they’re saying are going to be in the rotation, I think Brandon McCarthy needs to be what we sent John Danks to the White Sox for. Since he’s been here, he’s been “meh” (to be kind). It appears that he’s turned the corner, and might have figured it out based on what we’ve seen so far in camp.
So I think you need McCarthy to do well. That would be three decent (if not awesome) starting pitchers, and once you get to 3 of 5, you get that feeling that “maybe this can work”. 2 of 5 makes you feel like there’s too many holes, but get over that hump with the third, and you feel you can carry the rest. Or I do. Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s my feeling.
• Breakout Potential: Pitching wise, I’m gonna say Matt Harrison. At the back end of last season he looked pretty good. He’s one of the guys we got (stole) from Atlanta in the Mark Teixeira deal, and he came over as a good prospect. He’s had flashes of brilliance during his time here, but at the end of last season, you got this “feeling” that perhaps he might be a guy set to go something like 15 or 16 wins and 7 losses. Can’t quantify this with “facts”, it’s mostly a gut feeling. But then prediction kind of pieces like this are all gut feeling, aren’t they? :)
Offensive wise, I think it’s a tie between Chris Davis & Ian Kinsler. I think if Ian Kinsler hadn’t gotten hurt, he would have challenged Dustin Pedroia for the MVP (Hello Evan). Kinsler doesn’t get the coverage he deserves because he plays his home games in Arlington TX. But a full season of what he did in 2008 would take care of that. Chris Davis came up here mid last season and had 17 home runs and 55 RBI in just 80 games. A full season of that would qualify for a breakout season, I think. :)
• Prediction for 2009: 89-73, second place. Angels will still win, but not by as much as they have recently. Oakland’s moves are good, and Seattle still needs a few years to get going again, although former Ranger coach Don Wakamatsu should help in that regard.

Greg thinks the Rangers will end up in last place with a record of 79-83. I don’t agree with that at all. Granted, if you want to have a positive outlook on the Texas Rangers, you can’t be an outsider, as the team likely does look like crap to an outsider.
Makes me wonder what John Hart has to say tomorrow on the Rangers entry on MLB Network’s Rangers edition of “30 Teams in 30 Days”. He knows the team, so there better be some love. :)

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MLB Trade Rumors Rangers Preview

One of my favorite sites has posted their Texas Rangers edition of their “Offseason in Review” series. It’s available online now.
I’m not going to copy their text here, but I will post their summary. Here’s what they said in their “bottom line”.

Knowing the fruits of his top-ranked farm system won’t be realized in 2009, Jon Daniels held off on spending money this offseason. Veterans such as Blalock, Guardado, Kevin Millwood, Vicente Padilla, Frank Catalanotto, and Marlon Byrd may serve as midseason trade bait.

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First cuts

Eric Nadel announced on the radio a few minutes ago the first round of spring cuts.
Thomas Diamond & Kason Gabbard were sent to AAA camp.
Moscoso, Poveda, Vallejo reassigned to AAA camp. NRI’s Daigle, Pena, Richardson reassigned to AAA camp.
Diamond I figured wouldn’t be here until later in the year, so that’s not a surprise. I’m mildly suprised (but not REALLY surprised) that Kason Gabbard was sent out on the first round of cuts. I thought Gabbard had a decent chance of breaking with the club.
Friend of mine from Seattle (Dave) will be bummed about that, as he was a big Gabbard fan when he was in Boston.

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Michael Young 3B Article on ESPN.com

There’s a new article about Michael Young’s move to third base this spring up on ESPN.com today. Written by Jerry Crasnick, this article goes into a bunch of stuff that Rangers fans would already know, but it’s nice to see it covered on a national stage. This quote in particular struck me as nice that Michael has that level of confidence about himself.

I don’t expect [moving to third base] to be a difficult transition. If you can play short at a high level, you can play anywhere.

Let’s also hope that this quote from Jon Daniels is the truth, and isn’t just sugar coating to get the problem to go away so to speak..

“The way I look at it, he’s been here for eight years, and he’s going to be here for at least another five,” Daniels said. “When you have a couple of rough weeks in a 15-year relationship, I think you’re doing pretty well.”

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The Josh Hamilton Story

From the God is Good Department…
By now if you’ve read this site, you know about the Josh Hamilton story. Good kid goes bad, almost dies.. I gloss over that because if you’re a Rangers fan, you know the story. It’s a great story, and for me the best part of the story is not the recovery from drugs, but the fact that it was God that did it, and more importantly how far in front of himself Josh puts God and is not afraid to say it. So it’s with great pleasure I tell people to read his book. I’ve handed my copy to a few people at my church and have had them read it. It’s driven a couple of people to tears reading it. If you’ve never read it, you should.
Anyway, the reason I’m writing about this now is a show that is on tonight on MLB Network. It is the first of their originally produced documentaries, if you will. They’re leading off with the Josh Hamilton piece. Officially, the episode is called “Josh Hamilton: Resurrecting the Dream”, and will premiere tonight at 8PM local time here in Dallas. Here’s a bit of text from the MLB.com press release..

Secaucus, N.J. – MLB Network today announced it will broadcast two original documentaries created by MLB Productions, both telling compelling comeback stories involving current MLB players. This Friday, February 27 at 9:00 p.m. ET, MLB Network will air Josh Hamilton: Resurrecting the Dream, a one-hour documentary on Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton – which takes an insider’s look into Hamilton’s journey back into baseball.
Josh Hamilton: Resurrecting the Dream recounts Hamilton’s journey both in his own words and for the first time, from the perspectives of his family members and close friends. The program marks the first documentary ever produced on Hamilton, and takes a comprehensive look into Hamilton’s substance-induced breakdown, personal recovery and eventual climb to become one of the top hitters in the American League. Personal passages from his autobiography are read by Hamilton himself to further contextualize his journey.

MLB.com is pretty anal about their online video, so I’d normally stream the commercial they are running for the show here in this article, but I can’t (legally, anyway) do that. So I’m just going to link to it.
Check it out if you get a chance. MLB Network in their two months on the air so far has shown a tendency to repeat the heck out of their programming, so if you miss the initial showing tonight, you probably can catch it at some point in the future too, I would imagine. :)