MLB Network & Rangers tonight

I just saw this posted tonight, so if you see this right after I post it, you might still have time to catch these. If you didn’t see their Josh Hamilton special a few months back, it’s worth seeing. These times are EASTERN TIME.

Tune in at 6pm for Josh Hamilton: Resurrecting the Dream followed by Path to the Pennant AL: A look back at how the 2010 AL World Series bound Rangers advanced to the Fall Classic at 7pmET then, MLB Tonight: World Series Preview breaking down the World Series matchups, previewing the San Francisco Giants and Texas Rangers lineups, rotations and benches.

Cliff Lee > Sandy Koufax?

I am so totally stealing this from USS Mariner. They had the post there under the title of “One way to Describe The Greatness of Cliff Lee“. This is all it said:
Sandy Koufax, career, postseason:
57 innings, 32 hits, 10 runs, 2 home runs, 11 walks, 61 strikeouts
Cliff Lee, career, postseason:
56 1/3 innings, 32 hits, 11 runs, 1 home run, 6 walks, 54 strikeouts

Josh Lewin not returning, and some broadcaster rants

Saw this posted this afternoon..

The Rangers today announced that the club has signed Tom Grieve to a three-year contract extension as the club’s television analyst on Fox Sports Southwest and TXA21. The new agreement carries Grieve, who has been on the team’s telecasts since 1995, through the 2013 season.
It was also announced that television play-by-play announcer Josh Lewin will not return for 2011.
“After several discussions over the last few months, the Texas Rangers and Josh Lewin have agreed to end their relationship and move ahead in different directions,” club president Nolan Ryan said in a news release. “As a result, Josh will not be returning as the Rangers television announcer in 2011. We wish Josh the very best for the future.”
“I would like to thank the Rangers for nine wonderful years,” said Lewin. “I respect the team’s leadership and vision and wish them nothing but the best as well.”
Lewin has been on Rangers’ telecasts since 2002. The club will immediately begin its search for a play-by-play broadcaster to work with Grieve on the Fox Sports Southwest and TXA21 telecasts.

A few thoughts on this..
A couple of years ago when the last round of TV broadcast negotiations happened, there was a stink made about the Rangers not being happy with Lewin being gone so much for his other duties as the Saturday Fox baseball correspondent, as well as his NFL duties. At the time it was negotiated to him not doing Fox anymore (unless it was a Rangers game) and keeping the Chargers games. This time around, it wouldn’t surprise me if he was asked to give up the football stuff too and do 162 with the Rangers, and he declined. I never liked the split duties like that, I preferred the team broadcasters to stay, not shuffle around like that.
While I liked a lot of Josh’s personality, the constant forays into irrelevant stuff bothered me. Josh’s predecessor (Bill Jones) proved that to make Tom Grieve work well, you need a personality that brings stuff out of Tom. Bill didn’t do that. Josh did. However, Josh could go too far, so I’m hoping the innings full of shoutouts to people who send food to the booth will stop. That was getting a bit stupid at the end of the season, I don’t care about who brought you food. I really don’t. Stop that. I don’t lay all that blame at Josh, it’s Tom too, but I’m hoping the irrelevant talk dies down with someone new.
Also, a few years ago when Victor Rojas left, the scuttlebutt was that he wanted to go to the TV side, and they had just extended Lewin at that time, so Rojas left. He spent a year at MLB Network, and then went back in 2010 to do Angels TV stuff. If it were up to me, we’d buy out Rojas’ contract, and bring him back to be the Rangers TV guy! I miss Vic. A lot. Vic had a style of telling you what you thought, and that appealed to me – a lot.
And while I’m going off on the broadcast people, we need to get rid of Jim Knox. I have never liked this guy since Day 1, and it hasn’t gotten any better. Lewin’s call of “We go to Jim Knox” means “hit the fast forward on the TiVo – no matter what is happening on screen”. Promote Emily Jones or something. PLEASE! PLEASE! And take Ric Renner with you. That’s another guy who means an immediate fast forward when he shows up. GAH!
I’m also not a fan of Dave Barnett, either. I don’t actively dislike him, and I can’t give you a concrete reason why, but he never gelled with me. With both Vince Cotroneo & Victor Rojas before him, the radio guy working with Eric Nadel took a year or so to get used to. I liked Vince when we parted ways, I REALLY liked Victor when we parted ways. I still have not gotten used to Dave Barnett. I’m not actively campaigning for his dismissal, but I wouldn’t mind a change there. Just don’t promote Barnett to TV. Egad – that would be a bad move.
The bottom line is I want the Rangers to bring back Victor Rojas for play by play with the Rangers and get rid of Jim Knox. Beyond that I don’t have any concrete answers as to who else. I also like Scott Franzke, we shouldn’t have let him go either, but that was more KRLD’s fault than anything else.

How Many in 2010?

Usually towards the end of the year, we always hear about how many players the Texas Rangers have used overall in any particular season. The Rangers are usually towards the high end of that list. Injuries, callups, usually make for a long list, and you tend to forget the guys who are here so quick that they don’t even have time for the proverbial “cup of coffee”.

I’ve done this for the last two seasons, and it’s worked out pretty well. I’ve also gotten some positive feedback on it, so I’m doing it again in 2010. For the record, if you’d like to see the final tallies for the last two years, you can still see them here: [ 2008 | 2009 ]

Anyway, this post will get bumped whenever there is a player who is making his first appearance for the Texas Rangers in 2010. I am going to count guys who get called up, but don’t play immediately (or sometimes don’t play at all), as they will be part of the 25 man roster officially. So here goes. The most recent additions will be on the top of the list. The original opening day 25 man roster is not in any particular order.

In 2010, the Rangers have nobody in the original opening day 25 that is making his major league debut. We had one in 2009 (Elvis Andrus) and one in 2008 (Kaz Fukumori). We do have, however five guys making their Ranger debuts in 2010: Blanco, Garko, Guerrero, Harden, & Ray.

Total players in 2010: 48
Total pitchers used in 2010: 21
Total position players used in 2010: 27
Total players making major league debut: 5

#48 – Mark Lowe (Sep 29)
#47 – Esteban German (Sep 6)
#46 – Clay Rapada (Sep 3)
#45 – Jeff Franceour (Aug 31)
#44 – Alex Cora (Aug 24)
#43 – Michael Kirkman (Aug 20 – Major League Debut)
#42 – Brandon Boggs (Aug 15)
#41 – Cristian Guzman (Jul 31)
#40 – Jorge Cantu (Jul 30)
#39 – Mitch Moreland (Jul 29 – Major League Debut)
#38 – Cliff Lee (Jul 10)
#37 – Bengie Molina (Jul 2 – acquired on 1st, not active till 2nd)
#36 – Omar Beltre (Jun 30 – Major League Debut)
#35 – Alexi Ogando (Jun 12 – Major League Debut)
#34 – Tommy Hunter (Jun 5)
#33 – Pedro Strop (May 15 – Sent back down May 16, did not appear, came back later)
#32 – Guillermo Moscoso (May 15)
#31 – Derek Holland (May 12)
#30 – Ian Kinsler (Apr 30)
#29 – Max Ramirez (Apr 27)
#28 – Craig Gentry (Apr 27)
#27 – Justin Smoak (Apr 23 – Major League Debut)
#26 – Matt Treanor (Apr 8)
#25 to #1: Scott Feldman, Neftali Feliz, Frankie Francisco, Rich Harden, Matt Harrison, Colby Lewis, Doug Mathis, Dustin Nippert, Darren O’Day, Darren Oliver, Chris Ray, C.J. Wilson, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Taylor Teagarden, Elvis Andrus, Joaquin Arias, Andres Blanco, Chris Davis, Ryan Garko, Michael Young, Julio Borbon, Nelson Cruz, Vladimir Guerrero, Josh Hamilton, David Murphy.

Please note that 1 to 25 are in no particular order.

Hicks is Gone. He’s really gone!

Wow. It just seems so surreal. Completely, and legally, Tom Hicks is out. The 30 major league owners voted this morning, and it was a 30-0 vote in favor of the GnR ownership group taking over.
The stories this morning talked about how Greenberg had to be excluded from the room and made to wait outside when the actual vote was going on, since he technically was not an owner. I had visions of him sitting in a hallway by himself like any number of teen angst movies you see where he’s twiddling his thumbs, although in this day and age, he’d be texting someone. Or checking in via Foursquare, or anything like that.
Anyways, the vote was unanimous, and by all accounts shortly afterward the GnR group released the funds, and bam. It was over. They are the new Rangers owners. From what I can gather, there’s still some issues that will come up after the season, like the lease, and the grounds around the ballpark. Plus the jet lease that Chase made some noise about at the last second last night. But that can probably be dealt with in due course.
Bring on the new scoreboards guys – I’ll be there tomorrow night. It’s why I bought tickets tomorrow night, figuring it would be the first game under the new regime. I have tickets in the last row of Section 342 – not the greatest, but it was the best I could get – and I bought them LAST friday. :)
Chuck Greenberg should throw out the first pitch. Let’s dance, people!

The Nightmare is almost over

Ownership committee, executive council unanimously approve Texas Rangers sale

Commissioner Bud Selig concluded the first day of the quarterly owners meetings in Minneapolis by announcing that the Texas Rangers sale was approved unanimously by the ownership committee and the executive council.
A final vote of the 30 team owners will take place Thursday morning. The investment group headed by Chuck Greenberg and Nolan Ryan must receive 75 percent of the votes for the sale to be approved. That appears to be a formality.
“I’m delighted that we got through the first two steps with unanimity,” Selig said. “Tomorrow we’ll have to meet and tell you how the final vote came, but I guess you can probably guess that.”
Greenberg and the two heavy hitters in Rangers Baseball Express, Ray Davis and Bob Simpson, answered questions and presented the operational plan and philosophy to the ownership committee. Ryan did not attend the meetings.
Greenberg said that he welcomed the process, and it appeared to be well-received one week after his group was locked in an intense courthouse auction with Mark Cuban and Jim Crane to purchase the club.
“It beats the heck out of last Wednesday,” Greenberg said. “I said to Bob Simpson and Ray Davis, ‘What are we doing next Wednesday?’ ”
It appears as though they will be owning a major-league franchise.

This article originally appeared online here. Yeah, I know I just copied the whole thing, but really – what could I add to this? This article says it all.

Rangers get Cliff Lee

I’ll have more to say tonight, but..
The Rangers get Cliff Lee, and Mark Lowe (on DL for season) plus $2.55M in cash for..
1B Justin Smoak, P Blake Beavan, P Josh Lueke, & 2B/IF Matt Lawson. Other than Smoak, those guys are all AA players, definitely not major league ready. A friend of mine in Seattle said the press up there is going nuts about catcher catcher catcher. Surprised he’s not getting a catcher. Teagarden, Salty, or Ramirez.
USSMariner is happy about Smoak, though. As they should be.
But the best part about this – the ABSOLUTE BEST PART is that the Yankees did not get him. I honestly don’t care who we gave up. So long as it doesn’t help the Yankees, I’m all for the trade.

Michael Young for Rangers Captain

I noticed this banner yesterday during the Rangers game. It was over in left field inbetween a couple of the retired number signs. Was a group of fans who apparently want Michael Young to have a small “C” on his uniform. As you recall, the team did that with Alex Rodriguez after the failed trade to Boston, but before he was traded to New York. I believe it was done as an appeasement to his ego, but he was traded not long after that, and the concept of “Team Captain” hasn’t come up again since.
I feel like I fall on the side that things they don’t really need a “designated” team captain. I think everyone sort of knows Young is anyway. But I thought I’d give these guys a push and plug ’em. Head on over to their site at:

My thoughts on the 25 man Opening Day Roster

As I’m sure you’ve seen by now, the Rangers’ 25 man roster has been set. Still, I wanted to mark it and get ready for the new season. Here’s what we’re going to bat with for opening day tomorrow (or later today as the time is now 1:30AM Monday as I start writing this):
Starting Pitchers: Scott Feldman, Rich Harden, Matt Harrison, Colby Lewis, CJ Wilson
Relief Pitchers: Neftali Feliz, Frank Francisco, Doug Mathis, Dustin Nippert, Darren O’Day, Darren Oliver, Chris Ray
Catchers: Jarrod Saltamacchia, Taylor Teagarden
Infielders: Elvis Andrus, Joaquin Arias, Andres Blanco, Chris Davis, Ryan Garko, & Michael Young
Outfielders: Julio Borbon, Nelson Cruz, Vladamir Guerrero, Josh Hamilton, & David Murphy
Notables here are Ian Kinsler being put on the DL as well as Tommy Hunter. I wanted to say a few words about each of these guys, my opinion of them so to speak..

  • Scott Feldman: Scott surprised the heck out of a lot of people last year. He won 17 games despite not being on the opening day roster. He had some struggles in his last 3-4 starts, and he did have a realistic shot at 20 wins, which was impressive. Got a nice contract extension this spring, let’s hope he lives up to it.
  • Neftali Feliz: Came out throwing smoke and looked very much like the guy we were told he’d be. The league adjusted, and he appeared (to me) to have some struggles adjusting to that. Hopefully he can get that worked out. I’m sure he’ll be fine in 2010, but I don’t think he’ll be 101 every pitch, and strike out 8 out of 10.
  • Frank Francisco: There’s a lot of talk we’re going to let him walk after 2010. I’m not so convinced of that. He’s definitely not an elite level closer (Rivera, Papelbon), but he’s definitely serviceable. I think the walk talk is that he’s making $3.6m this year, and that’s a lot for a “serviceable” closer.
  • Rich Harden: A big enigma. Brought in when we traded Millwood away. It’s a gamble, for sure, and he by far hasn’t looked that impressive this spring. But, like everyone else, I know he can be great if he’s “on”. Let’s just hope he’s on more often than he is not. Assuming he’s even on the hill in the first place.
  • Matt Harrison: I liked Matt a lot when he first showed up. Pitched well, and made you feel good about the fleecing of Atlanta. He’s come back to Earth a bit since then. Hopefully his spring ERA of 5.68 isn’t an indicator of where he’s going. Still positive about him, but not as strong as before.
  • Colby Lewis: I know when he was brought back, a lot of people were excited about it. I heard on Baseball Tonight & the MLB Channel that there was more than just the Rangers after him. I remember what he was like when he went out the door, so I wasn’t thrilled that he was coming back, despite all he did in Japan. Still, he’s done well enough this spring, and he has done well in the K department (16 in 18.2 IP).
  • Doug Mathis: Also doing well in the K department (10 in 10.1 IP this spring). He had a nice ERA. Mathis isn’t one of those guys who is a big time sexy name, but is durable, and seems to do well.
  • Dustin Nippert: Dustin’s spring allowed BA was .112. His WHIP was 0.42. He’s struck out 10 in 12 innings – over five games. His spring ERA was ZERO. Bring it on. His stock has certainly rose given the way he performed when he first got here from the D’Backs.
  • Darren O’Day: Since the day he wore Kason Gabbard’s uniform in Toronto, he’s done nothing but been one of the best bullpen pickups we’ve ever made. Hopefully that continues into the new season.
  • Darren Oliver: Another guy with a spring training ERA of ZERO! Where was this guy when he was last in Texas ping-ponging back and forth between the rotation and the pen? Glad he’s finally figured it out. We could use it, as I believe he’s the only lefty in our bullpen.
  • Chris Ray: The guy we got back from Baltimore in the Kevin Millwood trade. I’m not really terribly thrilled with this move. Not expecting much here. Hopefully I’m wrong.
  • C.J. Wilson: What a surprise this was in spring. I don’t think a ton of Ranger fans were that jazzed about him trying out for the rotation, but he nailed it. While his record was 0-2, he had a good ERA (3.24), and his other numbers were good too. I wonder how long this experiment will last.
  • Jarrod Saltamacchia: I’m starting to wonder if he’ll ever come through on the promise he had when he was obtained originally as the centerpiece of the Teixeira trade. While I don’t think he’s awful, he has had a lot of problems, and needs to make a lot of noise to claim the catcher’s role as his. It’s part of why guys like Toby Hall are on our roster.
  • Taylor Teagarden: Taylor’s problem is his bat. I don’t think anyone doubts his defense or game calling. But he’s got some big offensive problems at the plate. He did bat .319 in 2008, but he only had 40 some at bats. In 2009, he batted just .215 and this spring he was around .225. That’s not gonna get it done. If he could bat even something like 260 or 270, he’d probably nail the job as his.
  • Elvis Andrus: What a surprise Elvis was last year. Much was made about Michael Young’s move to third, and Elvis needing to be “helped” by Omar Vizquel. But Elvis seemed to do well. He had the usual rookie mistakes, he wasn’t godlike, but wow was he great when he was “good”. Hopefully he improves this year, as his rookie year was pretty darned good. Plus I took him in one of my fantasy leagues, he’d better do good. ;)
  • Joaquin Arias: See Saltamacchia. This guy screams unfulfilled promise. The Yankees went through great lengths to keep us from finding him when we chose someone as the PTBNL in the Alex Rodriguez trade. He is the last remaining tie to that trade, too. Probably only here due to injuries. Suspect he goes down when Kinsler comes back in a week.
  • Andres Blanco: Don’t know much about him, but I’ve read where his defense is good, which is why he was brought in late in spring to be a backup infielder. Always need guys like this around.
  • Chris Davis: Defense is great. He seems to have solved his major epic level offensive funk from the middle of last season. Let’s hope he rakes. Plus I know if he’s around a friend of mine will go to games just to see him, as she thinks he’s hot (Hi Jen!) ;)
  • Ryan Garko: See Andres Blanco.
  • Michael Young: Don’t need to explain Michael Young to a Rangers fan. He handled the move to 3B defensively extremely well last year. Can’t see any reason why (barring injury) we won’t get another “Michael Young” season from Michael Young. Also goes into the season with a plus .400 batting average.
  • Julio Borbon: Our anointed center fielder and leadoff hitter. He’s young, I don’t think he’s going to have an OBP of like .500 or something, but it feels like the same kind of gamble this year like they made with Elvis last year. Hopefully it works out as well.
  • Nelson Cruz: Nelson finally figured it out last year, and if he has another year like last year again, I think he can shake the 4A tag he had become attached to somewhat. Almost won the Home Run Derby last year, so he’s definitely been noticed nationally.
  • Vlad Guerrero: He’s not the total rake hitter that he used to be, and his defense (well, his body really) has made him mostly a full time DH. But he can still hit, and I saw enough of that “swing at anything and still get a single” that used to irritate the heck out of me in spring training to tell me that he can probably still hit well. Let’s see if 81 games at our ballpark helps him more. Granted he’s not hitting against us anymore, so that could be a factor.
  • Josh Hamilton: Down year last year for Josh. Played with his mechanics, and was hurt a lot. Everything this spring says he’s back to the form he was at in 2008, so if that’s true, then look out for a big year from him.
  • David Murphy: I thought Murph had earned a permanent spot in the lineup, but he goes into the season as the fourth outfielder. I hope the lack of regular playing time doesn’t hurt him, as I like Murph a lot. Reminds me of Rusty Greer.

That’s our starting 25. Ian Kinsler was hurt in the spring, and was only in five games, so it’s impossible to judge him for 2010. I had seen where Clint Hurdle has made a difference in his “Capt Fly Ball” mentality from last year. Hopefully that sticks once he comes back.
Overall, despite our crappy record in the spring, I think it could be a very good year for us. The Angels are still the team to beat, but they lost a bunch of pieces after last year, so they could be down a little (but not a lot, they’ll still be great). The Mariners have improved a lot, but I’m not sure if it’s enough to make a real threat at the division, but they’ll definitely be better. The A’s, I dunno. So I think the division is more open than it has been in years. We certainly could win it. I’m not making any win predictions, but I think a 90 win season is not out of the question.