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.
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:
|From Opening Day 2010|
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.
As a reminder, if you have MLB Network, the Texas Rangers edition of their “30 Clubs in 30 Days” series starts tomorrow, the 25th of March.
While I haven’t watched each episode, as it’d be overload, I have watched for the teams I like, and the ones in our division. I have, however, watched one segment in each episode. They’re doing the “Prime 9 Best Plays in Franchise History”. You’d think of the ones they’d do for the Rangers, it would be Kenny Rogers’ perfect game, clinching the playoffs in 1996, Nolan Ryan’s 6th no hitter, and Nolan Ryan’s 7th no hitter. Probably Nolan Ryan’s 5000th strikeout as well.
If you don’t have MLB Network, you should. Make sure and check it out tomorrow. It plays like 3 times tomorrow, and then gets repeated a bunch of times before the season starts.
So I’m driving around running some errands early this afternoon, and I have the XM talk channel on. They’re heading to commercial, and they say, “There is a breaking story, more on the update”. I figure, “eh, someone got released, or Strausberg got officially assigned to the minors”. By this time I get to the drive through teller at the bank, and they said “Ron Washington tested positive for cocaine use in 2009”, which prompted me to say out loud “Holy shit – that is a big deal”. I’m sure the teller heard me say that, but he didn’t ask me what I meant.
When they came back from break, Kevin Kennedy and some dude I don’t know who it is started talking about it, and at that time, not much in the way of facts were known. Before I get to my own thoughts on the matter, I feel compelled to get this point across in the graphic shown here.
While some might say that’s a harsh response, I have to say it was my honest and true immediate response to hearing the news. I mean, Ron has never done this before, and why at age 57 (I believe) when he’s fairly set in terms of his baseball career he felt it necessary to do that is beyond me. If he was a lifetime habitual user, I’d understand why he was doing it – but to START now? That’s where the dumbass comes from. I mean, really. Maybe we could get Seth Meyers and Amy Poehler from Saturday Night Live to do a “Really, Ron? REALLY??”
Here is the complete text of Ron Washington’s statement about this.
OK, the initial reaction remarks over, the attention then turns forward to “now what”? Thanks to Evan Grant, I’m going to copy this text of his regarding the “facts”…
The facts: Washington acknowledged he used cocaine last season sometime during the first half of the year and after he was rewarded a contract extension for 2010. Washington would not reveal any details of exactly how, where and when he obtained the cocaine, saying he bore the sole responsibility for what he called a “stupid mistake.”
• Washington was made aware of an upcoming drug test, immediately informed the Rangers and MLB of his use of the drug and entered a treatment program. He did, in fact, fail the drug test.
• Washington, who turns 58 on April 29, said it was the only time in his life he had used cocaine. When asked if he was saying that he had never used illegal drugs anytime in his life, he said only “I’ve never used this drug before.”
• Rangers GM Jon Daniels and President Nolan Ryan said the club discussed all possible options on the handling of Washington’s transgression. The club, however, could not reveal the failure of the drug test. That would have violated the confidentiality of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
• Washington said he completed the terms of MLB’s drug treatment plan two weeks ago. He said he was tested three times a week as part of that treatment. He also said he would be willing to submit to more testing to help reinforce that he is “clean.”
• MLB officials declined to comment, citing confidentiality regarding the testing/treatment plan. They said they would have no comment on reaction to Washington’s announcement.
Given how much of a wide berth sports fans generally give players for far worse transgressions than this, the calls I’m seeing for “Fire him now!” just does not work in my mind. So many Cowboys fans STILL want to hoist Michael Irvin up on a freakin’ pillar despite all the shit he’s done, yet Washington deserves to be run out of town for a single offense, despite the fact that he was apparently rather pro-active, and informed both the Rangers and MLB about taking it before the results of a drug test was known. That’s not the kind of mentality from a person who was trying to hide something. Given that he’s passed every drug test since that one he failed, I’ll buy into the fact it was a one time thing that hasn’t been an issue since.
Everything I’ve read on ESPN, MLB, and the Rangers blog at DMN tells me that it’s a non issue to the team too. There were a lot of quotes of support from Nolan Ryan & Jon Daniels about this. One has to think that Chuck Greenberg knew for awhile, too. So I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt, but if he ever fails for it a second time, he needs to go immediately. I do think that it makes his leash shorter. His contract was already going to be up after this season, so I suspect if the team goes into a tailspin, he might not have as long a slide time grace period as he did last year when everyone was calling for his head (unjustly, I think). Overall, I think he’s a good baseball man, someone who has to deal with a lot of things that none of us do, and someone who made an epic level screw-up in judgment. I’ll be curious to see what Josh Hamilton has to say about all this, given his own past.
From what I’ve read, the Comissioner’s Office could still hand down some sort of punishment, but my gut feeling is that there won’t be any. So lets give Ron our support, and I’ll accept his apology, provide that turns out to be the truth of what happened. If it turns out something else happened he hasn’t said, I’ll likely change my opinion, but for now, I think we should applaud him for being forthcoming with the problem he caused. I don’t think he should be let completely off the hook – perhaps some sort of fine might be in order?
But my religion tells me to forgive, so I will. But I still think it was a really stupid thing to do, hence my use of “dumbass”. Again, don’t forget all the other sports figures we’ve forgiven for far worse than this. I did also like that “almost all” of his players showed up the press conference in support of him. Still want to hear what Josh Hamilton has to say.
Let’s get to April, eh? :)
UPDATE: I was talking to a friend of mine about all this, and he said something which reminded me of a point I wanted to make, but forgot to when I wrote this earlier today. It’s the quote in Ron’s statement that says “Washington, who turns 58 on April 29, said it was the only time in his life he had used cocaine. When asked if he was saying that he had never used illegal drugs anytime in his life, he said only “I’ve never used THIS drug before.” “This” drug? What others has he used? If there are other drugs involved, the question becomes how long ago? If it was 20+ years ago, who cares? If it was a year and a half or so? Then we’d care.
UPDATE 2: Given I wrote about a dozen game updates to catch up with the last week and a half, I wanted this up near the top, so I bumped it up, even though I wrote it yesterday.
Saw this story on the Rangers site tonight..
The Texas Rangers today announced that the team will honor the memory of Bobby Bragan by wearing a uniform patch during all games in spring training.
Bragan, who spent over 70 years involved with professional baseball, passed away on January 21 at the age of 92 in Fort Worth. The former major league player, coach, manager, and executive was a long-time front office employee for the Rangers, serving in public relations and community capacities.
The oval patch contains the red and blue lettering, “BOBBY BRAGAN, 1917-2010” with a white background and red border. It is located on the right sleeve of the Rangers’ blue jersey tops, which the club will wear for all spring training games in 2010.
Following spring training, the jerseys will be available for purchase with a portion of the proceeds benefitting the Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation. The team also plans to donate a number of the jerseys to the Bobby Bragan Youth Foundation, which has provided over 500 scholarships to Dallas-Fort Worth area students since its inception in 1992.
The Rangers will wear the Bragan patches for the first time on Tuesday.
I have to confess. When I saw the story, I didn’t remember who he was. :(
While the official schedule of HD programming for the 2010 season hasn’t been posted yet, I read something tonight that gives me hope. You see this will be the third (and second full) baseball season since got an HDTV. Baseball looks so much better in HD, that when they have just an SD feed, I frequently will not watch the game and listen on the radio instead. Snob, perhaps, but after you go HD, you don’t want to go backwards.
Anyway, last year there were 120 games in HD, covering Fox Sports Southwest, Fox 4, and KDFI Ch 27. In 2010, almost all of them are Fox Sports Southwest. Here’s my count of what channels have how many games for the Rangers in 2010:
Fox Sports Southwest: 131
Fox 4: 5
That’s a total of just 30 out of 162 to be on free over the air TV (which I believe is a first for the home opener not being on free OTA TV), 132 are pay cable. That’s quite a percentage shift. If you’re just over the air TV, you’re getting screwed. But you should get cable or satellite anyway if just for MLB Network – they are awesome.
Anyway, of the games produced, I would think the bulk of them would be in HD. ESPN is guaranteed HD, and The Fox 4 games are national, so that’s a guaranteed 6. I’m not sure about TXA21, as they’re new in 2010.
But what follows is why I posted this. Saw this news story about the Brewers games on Fox Sports Wisconsin being 100% in HD for 2010. Makes me think if the Brewers can do it, we can too. If it comes out we can’t, I’ll want to know why.
Washington, D.C. (February 24, 2010) — For the first time, all Milwaukee Brewer baseball games will be in high-def this season on Fox Sports Wisconsin.
That’s according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
The regional sports channel will broadcast 136 Brewer games in high-def this season.
Of the remaining Brewer games on TV, six will be televised nationally on Fox or ESPN, which will also cover them in HD, and 15 will be broadcast by the local station WMLW, according to the newspaper. (Apparently five games will not be televised this year; there are 162 regular season games.)
Fox Sports Wisconsin’s coverage of the regular season will start on Monday, April 5, when it airs the Brewers-Rockies game at 1:10 p.m.
Well, I haven’t written much lately, despite the start of camp as a few projects have opened up for me that could lead to full time employment again. Something I still don’t have since last May, so that is by far my #1 priority. To that, I’m gonna add a thoughts on recent events.
First off, Jamey Newberg’s quote from this past week is something I want to answer. Jamey asked this.
“Does it mean anything when Bobby Valentine says on ESPN on February 18 that Ron Washington is on the hottest seat of any manager in the league?”
Perhaps it’s just my sarcastic nature, but it could be viewed as he’s doing a passive aggressive thing to perhaps get his old job back? He was there when Nolan Ryan signed on to Texas back in 1989. Now that Nolan’s running the show, perhaps Bobby V is looking to play the same card only backwards? :)
C.J. Wilson’s mouth: CJ took some heat right as camp was opening when he said this..
“It’s no secret I don’t think I should be limited to the set-up role. I have too many weapons,” Wilson said. “Here is the reality. It is real simple. There are not very many guys that have the stuff that I do that would be willing to sign here if they were free agents. There is no experienced pitcher that has my stuff that would sign here, historically.”
It’s an interesting scenario, as one feels he lost the closer’s job much the same way that happened between Rod Barajas & Gerald Laird a few years ago. Got hurt, someone else stepped in, didn’t get it back. On one hand, I can understand his frustration. On the other hand, you don’t go mouthing off about your employer and why nobody else would want to sign here. Yikes. Nolan Ryan handled it well, but I wonder if that stuff will factor into the subconscious of those making decisions around here. I don’t have any desire to see CJ out of here, but think for a minute if he was paired with Ozzie Guillen. hahaha. :)
The Catching Situation:
What happened? We were stocked with catchers, who were backlogged behind Laird. We move Laird to Detroit and now we find ourselves looking for bottom of the barrel free agent catchers to shore things up? Saltamacchia hasn’t worked out, Teagarden hasn’t shown he can be a #1, and Max Ramirez? Dunno. Where’d our big glut go? A bit scary there.
Endy Chavez signed:
ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. See Joey M’s commentary for more on that.
Rangers miss payment:
It was announced that the Rangers missed a close to $40 million payment into an MLB fund that helps fund – I don’t remember exactly what, but references to deferred money to Arod, Juan Gonzalez, and Rafael Palmeiro came up. It was said that the payment could be something the union could file a grievance over, but have decided not to, leaving it to new management to figure out. Apparently it was factored into the price of the sale of the club, so it’s probably a non issue. Amusing how well Tom Hicks is trying to screw the pooch on the way out the door.
Josh Hamilton predicts 96 wins: That’s a lot. When you realize it’s just 9 more games over last year it doesn’t seem like a lot, but 96? I’d love for that to happen, as it pretty much means we’d be in the playoffs. Come on Rangers!
Brad Wilkerson: Brad Wilkerson signed a minor league deal with the Phillies today, which does NOT include an invite to camp . He supposedly retired last spring after being released by the Red Sox. This isn’t a big deal, but I just wanted an excuse to post this picture again:
In my quest to get the site in shape for the new season, I started working on the schedule pages. The first thing I did was check out the Rangers site to see what the schedule looked like. Looking for weird events that I need to keep track of, etc…
For the last few years, the Rangers deal has been with Fox TV. Certain really high profile games (like opening day) were on Fox 4. The majority of the games are on Fox Sports Southwest, as the team makes more money with them on cable. Since the deal was with Fox, the free OTA games were on KDFI Channel 27. That is not a surprise, since they’re all Fox.
However, today when I went to look at the schedule I noticed that the OTA games were on KTXA-21. It’s not a huge deal, but that’s a CBS station. Did something change with the TV deal that I’m not aware of? There wasn’t any sort of announcement that I recall.
Does anyone have any information on this? I wonder if there was some unannounced deal where the TV contract was renegotiated in order to help Hicks get some more coin.
Additionally, while it hasn’t been said, I’m hoping we can get a “100% of the games in HD” this year. Last year there was a huge deal made out of the fact that they had a rather large percentage of the games in HD. I’d love for all the games to be in HD. It’s so much sweeter that way.