Remember those questions we had about the bullpen when the season started? The Texas Rangers didn’t have a designated set-up man, they had two 40+ year olds in the ‘pen, but there were no questions about the ability of the lock-down closer Neftali Feliz. Now Feliz is hurt and the ninth inning is a scary place.
Yesterday afternoon the Rangers took on the Toronto Blue Jays in the last game of a four-game series. The game was tied at 2 a piece going into the ninth. Enter Darren Oliver age 40, Oliver was tasked with keeping the game tied for the Rangers to score the go-ahead run in the bottom of the inning. That didn’t happen.
In the top of the ninth, the Jays got two men on base and after a bunt single from Corey Patterson, the game was 3-2. Jose Bautista was walked to load the bases. After an error from Adrian Beltre, the Jays picked up another run. In the same play Darren Oliver trying to get a base runner out, threw the ball to second and it went into the outfield. Final score…Toronto Blue Jays 5 Texas Ranger 2.
Should the Rangers be looking for bullpen help on the trade block? Can we rely on the young arms we have in the minor league system? It will be interesting to see what moves the club makes in the coming weeks.
So the Rangers sweep the Royals out of town to get the home stand to a nice 4-2 mark and in march the Blue Jays. The Jays have been struggling, losing their last two in Tampa before arriving in Arlington. And really, they did all of their damage in a concentrated four batter stretch against Colby Lewis. Colby looked perhaps the best he has looked all season through the first three innings. He scuffled in the fourth, but escaped with no damage. After a leadoff walk in the fifth, Lewis coaxed a pair of flyouts but then surrendered a two-strike single to Escobar bringing Corey Patterson to the plate. Patterson was down 0-2, but somehow popped an outside pitch, that appeared to be more than a foot high, and pulled it to right field and out of the park for a three-run homer. Another homer, a walk and another homer and the game was essentially out of reach. So what’s wrong with Colby Lewis?
Mark Lowe’s time with the Rangers has not been a pleasant one. He pitched in one game during the World Series and got completly shelled. He pitched in Spring Training and recieved the same results. He pitched in the regular season and recieved the same results as well. Bottom line, hes just not very good and the Rangers finally did what they had to do with optioning him to AAA Round Rock. At Round Rock he will be able to throw innings and be one of the vetearn players and get to work on a few things. I have never been a fan of Mark Lowe going back to his days with the Mariners, but I hope that he figures it out and gets back to what he gets paid to do and that is get outs. Common Mark, Arlington is waiting for you.
I am an avid Texas Ranger fan and follow them religiously, so when CEO Chuck Greenberg suddenly resigned, it startled me. It is interesting how the media portrayed him as the savior of the bankrupt Texas Rangers last year and now no one in the media is standing up for him.
I know that he was merely the face of the franchise and didn’t have a lot of financial backing but he was given the short end of the stick. After working for nearly nine months organizing and bringing together ‘Ranger Baseball Express’ (the group that bought the Rangers) they ousted him not even a year later. You have to wonder if this was Nolan’s plan all along. They say they had different management styles and different ways of communicating. Your telling me they didn’t realize this when they were working so diligently on trying to acquire the Rangers? Shame Shame. Of course when the Rangers announced the breakup with Greenberg both Ryan and Greenberg came out and said they both have great respect for one another and were very political.
It is sad that Greenberg is on his way out but it’s even sadder that no one in the media will stand up for him. Once again, everyone is on the ‘Nolan Ryan Express’, so go ahead Nolan and pop open that bottle.
The Rangers in recent years have been proponents of competition amongst players, however with Julio they have broke away from that tradition. Manager Ron Washington stated early in the off-season that Borbon is going to be the opening day center-fielder, which left no room for competition, or any urgency for Borbon to play his best all-around ball to WIN his roster spot.
Behind Borbon there really is no true center-fielder, according to the Rangers that is. The Rangers want Borbon to be “the guy” so bad they’re forcing it on him.
Texas is so enamored with Borbon’s potential that it seems they do not want to look into any recourse for center-field. However I find it necessary to look at Borbon’s alternatives, so here’s three options the Rangers could execute in search of the best fit for the team in center-field.
The Rangers gave David Murphy three times as many at-bats as Borbon in the playoffs they basically admitted they’re better with Borbon on the bench (or AAA in this matter.)
The only issue with this is the Rangers of course are reluctant to play Hamilton in center-field over the long haul. The Rangers’ brass seem to think it’s not just coincidence that Hamilton routinely gets injured while in center, but not as often in left.
Hamilton prefers to play center and the Rangers have a knack for letting a player play where he wants. (Unless your name is Michael Young and your terrible defensively.)
If you send Julio Borbon to AAA….
It would mean Murphy would become an everyday player, and would leave the fourth outfielder spot open for someone.
Endy Chavez, who is largely known for his glove, is probably the opening day center-fielder……. for the Round Rock Express. Wash loves defense first guys (not sure why he defends Borbon though) and if Chavez could make the roster it’s likely he’d become a Wash fave rather quickly.
Craig Gentry could also fill the fourth outfielder void, but he got off to a slow start because of injuries and is currently just 1-11 this Spring. Chavez is more likely to get the call before Gentry.
Chris Davis, Who got off to a great start at AAA. In this scenario, Davis would be at 1B, giving the Rangers possibly the best defensive infield in the game, and Mitch Moreland would become what David Murphy has been, filling in at the corner outfield positions.
In a perfect world, Hmailton would go to center and Julio and Murphy would split time in left until one of them proved who would be a better left fielder, which has been Murphy in the past.
Borbon is going to be good, he just needs his ‘going to be good’ to start now.
Josh Hamilton needs to be in center field. There, someone has finally brought a counter argument to the front office of the Texas Rangers. The ‘Rangers brass’ talked in Spring Training how to keep their star outfielder and reining American League MVP healthy. They talked about how if he played left field he would have a lesser of a chance to get hurt. They get their facts from stats that tell you that a center fielder gets 4.6 chances per game and a left fielder gets 4.1 chances per game. (not that big of a difference I know, but over a 162 game season the ‘brass’ thinks it make a difference) My argument for him in center field is simple. THE TIME IS NOW! The Rangers won their first American League pennant last year and they need to build off of their success and more importantly the fan fest that surrounds their winning and Hamilton.
The alternative to having Hamilton in center is Julio Borbon, who is a capable defender and would start on many other teams. He is fast, really fast, but Hamilton is fast also and takes better routes on fly balls. The biggest difference between the two players, besides the bat is the arm strength. The Rangers were the best team in the majors last year at going first to third. Having Hamilton’s arm in center field cuts down the other teams ability to go first to third on hits and ground balls to the outfield, which directly helps the pitchers get out of the inning, which directly affects the score, which also directly effects if the game is a win or a loss. The time is now and Hamilton needs to be in center field.
Josh Hamilton does this…
so he can do this…
Before December 21, 2007 I knew very little about Josh Hamilton. I can remember thinking,’you have got to be kidding me.’ I thought this because the Texas Rangers have had a long list of failed pitching prospects or even worse, it seemed for a long while every player that left the Rangers became good. The Texas Rangers had traded their best pitching prospect for who, an outfielder named Josh Hamilton? At the time, the trade didn’t make any sense to me, and due to Jon Daniels’, the Texas Rangers General Manager, tenure thus far it didn’t seem like the ideal trade to make. Little did I know that Josh Hamilton would go on to become one of my favorite players of all time.
Josh Hamilton has gone from a can’t miss number one overall draft pick in 1999, to a coke addict, to an all-star, and now to an American League Most Valuable Player. I could talk for hours about his life and how his story has affected so many. But truthfully, I could not do it justice like the autobiography ‘Beyond Belief’ does, which you can purchase at your local bookstore for $24.95. (I highly recommend it whether you are a fan of baseball or not)
Josh Hamilton loves baseball but more than loving baseball, he loves the platform it puts him on. Unlike other superstar athletes, Josh Hamilton uses his fame to spread the word of God. In his autobiography, Hamilton’s wife talks about how she knew Josh was going to get back into baseball, but this time it would be about something more than baseball, it would be about God. Hamilton has completely turned his life to Jesus Christ. It is hard to find an interview with him without him mentioning God in the first three sentences. I wish more superstar athletes would use the platform they are put on for good rather than themselves.
A story broke in December that Michael Young was unwilling to move from third base should the Rangers sign Adrian Beltre. A few days later, the Rangers signed Beltre, and Young gave his typical company-man quote, “I want to do what’s best for the team”, and agreed to become the team’s DH.
To Young’s credit, he never asked for the “consummate pro” title bestowed upon him by the media. He never asked for the praise he received when surrendering positions over the years. Did he have any idea that would be the result? Who knows, maybe he really did want to play shortstop when he so famously “volunteered” to move back to his former position? Many forget that Young temporarily demanded a trade when he was replaced by Elvis.
If the Rangers thought it was best for the team that he play shortstop, he would be there. Likewise if they thought using him at third would put them in the best position to win. He has claimed repeatedly over the years that he wants what is best for the team. If that sentiment is genuine, he will close his mouth and prepare himself to be DH. The Rangers don’t owe Young anything. Michael Young has the value to start at third base for another team or even second base, just not the ability to do that with the Rangers. The reason the Rangers didn’t win game one of the ALCS and game one of the Word Series were do to one big inning by the opposing teams. In both of those innings a hard ball was hit to third base. They were not counted as errors, but as hits, and those ‘hits’ more than likely get caught by Adrain Beltre. Beltre is on the Rangers for one main reason, and that is to play third base and help a young pitching staff with his defense, something Young couldn’t do anymore. Young will be on the Rangers in 2011, he will hit .290 and drive in 80 runs, but one thing he won’t do, is cost the Rangers anymore is games do to his lack of defense.
25-year old lefty swinging Mitch Moreland was so good down the stretch for the Rangers last season that he will get a chance to be the full time 1B in 2011 with a solid spring. Moreland played in 47 games for the Rangers last season and he was 37 of 145 (.255 avg, .833 OPS) with 20 runs scored, 9 homers, 25 RBIs and 3 stolen bases. Moreland also played in 95 games in AAA-ball last season and he was 102 of 353 (.289 avg, .855 OPS) with 52 runs scored, 12 homers, 65 RBIs and 2 stolen bases. Moreland will win the full-time job this spring if he proves that he can handle lefty pitching. Moreland had 2 errors in 40 games at 1B for the Rangers last season and he’s average at best defensively.
29-year old righty swinging Mike Napoli will likely get some time at 1B, C and DH this season for the Rangers. He had 6 errors in 70 games for the Angels at 1B last season so he has a lot to improve on to be an even average 1B defensively. But, he brings a big time power bat to the Rangers’ lineup from the right side.
24-year old lefty swinging Chris Davis has fallen on hard times for the Rangers. He played in 45 games for the Rangers last season and he was 23 of 120 (.192 avg, .571 OPS) with 7 runs scored, 1 homer, 4 RBIs and 3 stolen bases. He whiffed a stunning 40 times for the Rangers last season as he looked hopeless at the plate at times. The Rangers are by no means giving up on Davis who was pretty solid in his first two years with the Rangers. Davis played in 193 games in his first two years with the Rangers and he was 177 of 686 (.258 avg) with 99 runs scored, 38 homers and 114 RBIs. So he has showed potential to be a big time power hitter in the show but he needs to get his confidence back before they give him another shot. Davis had 2 errors in 41 games at 1B for the Rangers last season and he’s a tad below average defensively.
The Texas Rangers are coming off winning the first American League pennant. This off season was supposed to be about getting the team ready for a repeat of the American League Championship, and make a run at their first World Series title in team history. Instead this off season has been portrayed by the media as a failure. The team lost out on this prize of the off season in RHP Cliff Lee, over paid for the newly acquired 3B in Adrian Beltre and now they have hacked off the so called ‘team captain’ in Michael Young to the point that he is demanding a trade. If you look at their off season from a different angle, their off season has been a success.
They have signed 1B/C Mike Napoli, catchers Yorvit Torrealba and Matt Treanor and pitchers Brandon Webb and Arthur Rhodes. Napoli is a player who brings flexibility to manager Ron Washington’s clubhouse. He can play first base, catch or DH. Torrealba is a catcher who hit .271 last year, better than any Rangers catcher at any point in the season last year. Rhodes is another LHP that will complement Darren Oliver in the bullpen. Rhodes has a 2.29 ERA in 69 game for the Cincinnati Reds last year. Webb is a former Cy Young award winner (an award given to the best pitcher in their respective leagues) and is looking to bounce back from arm problems. Whether Brandon Webb returns to form or not the Rangers have plenty of starting rotation help internally. The addition of Adrian Beltre instantly improves the infield defense that was painful to watch sometimes due to balls being ‘booted’ or not caught by a third baseman who led the league in errors at third base (Michael Young). Beltre is considered a premier defensive third baseman and is more of an offensive threat than Young.
Young would have been the perfect complement for the departed Vladimir Guerrero at DH. Young is a guy who hits for a high average with decent power numbers and is a clubhouse leader in Texas. I have never been a fan of Young but he does seem to be a guy who is liked by the fans. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to see Young in the starting lineup on April 1st vs the Boston Red Sox but if he can’t accept the DH role that the brass of the Texas Rangers wants him too, I would be glad to see him go as well.