Results tagged ‘ Colby Lewis ’
“Ho ho ho! MERRY…..”
“Oh. It’s you again. Listen, dude, you just saw me two days ago and I delivered Fielder to you on a silver platter so do me a favor and…”
“But I have to amend my list now for what else I want you to get me. Since you sent Ian Kinsler away, there’s nobody for left field yet. And since you brought me Prince Fielder, you don’t have to get me Justin Morneau anymore!”
“But you asked me for a big out of nowhere trade and I delivered. That concludes our business.”
“Not really. You brought Prince to me over a month before Christmas. Technically, that doesn’t make him my Christmas present.”
“All right. Lay it on me. But DON’T expect anything else from me until at least Christmas!”
“Deal. And speaking of deals, here’s what I want for my Texas Rangers Christmas now that we have Fielder on board. First…”
“Let me guess. You want Robinson Cano.”
“Forget Cano, Santa. We’ll be paying through the nose for seven years of Prince. Sign Cano and the Rangers lose all kinds of flexibility in the future!”
“Well, that’s a very grown up attitude…”
“I am 57. We went over that last time.”
“No, I was thinking something more like Carlos Beltran. He’s old, so we could probably just go two years on him with an option for the third.”
“Carlos Beltran, check.”
“And I still want Brian McCann. Same deal. Two years, option for third. By then, Alfaro will be ready.”
“Beltran. McCann. Got it.”
“And I still wouldn’t mind getting Nelly Cruz back for another couple of years.”
“So you’re saying, even after I gave you Fielder, you want THREE more players? You do know there are teams out there that won’t even get one player this winter?”
“I don’t care about them. Baseball is a selfish sport.”
“Well, what if I can’t get you three more players? What would you be satisfied with?”
“Okay if I can’t have everything I want, I guess I would settle for one of Beltran, Cruz and McCann. Provided we can package Mitch Moreland in a deal to get us some bullpen help. Oh, and can you maybe convince Colby Lewis to sign on for another year? I know he’d rather sign with a team that gives him a better chance to make the starting rotation, but I think he could be our #5 starter easy!”
“OK, kid. Your amended list is in my hands. I’ll see what I can do.”
“Now I want you to do ME a favor.”
“Sure, big guy, What is it?”
“GET OFF MY LAP!!! And if I see you here one more time before Christmas, I’m going to slap a restraining order on you!”
(Thinking to himself. Imagine this with slight echo): “Was that really Santa? Seemed more like The Grinch to me.” (Stops and speaks aloud. No echo.) DANG! I forgot to tell him I still wanted the new hamstrings for Adrian Beltre!”
Dear Houston Astros Fans,
You know it’s been a tough season when you’ve been mathematically eliminated from the pennant race before September even arrives. That’s where you found your team Tuesday. Making matters worse, it looks like 2013 will be the third consecutive season your team has lost over 100 games and, thanks to your minuscule payroll and despite no local over the air or cable TV coverage in the Houston market, your new owner will be turning the biggest profit of all 30 big league teams this year. At least, that’s what the folks at Forbes Magazine say.
Why am I telling you all this? Is it because I, as a Rangers fan, want to rub it in? Nope. I actually want to tell you to hold your head high and enjoy the rest of this season. The fact is, if you’re an Astros fan right now, you are a die-hard because nobody in his or her right mind would want to keep watching this team lose over 100 games year after year. I know. I’ve been a Texas Rangers fan for over 40 years now.
That’s why I want to tell you to embrace this team. Be glad you have found Jose Altuve and Jason Castro. They’re your version of Cecil Espy, Geno Petralli, Pete O’Brien and Oddibe McDowell- players who were supposedly the next best thing ever to wear a Texas Rangers uniform but only turned out to be yet more cogs in the Rangers history of sub-.500 teams. But they were MY guys and they helped pave the way for better guys to come. They were the ones who, on the odd nights when they rose to the occasion, kept giving me optimism that the team had turned the corner and good times were on the way. Altuve and Castro are two of those players who help you see brighter times ahead and I can guarantee you do have brighter days ahead.
All of your full-season minor league teams made the playoffs in their respective leagues this year. The Astros have a very strong farm system and soon those players will contribute on the big-league level. I will make a bold prediction to you Astros fans. I think the Astros will be competing for an American League West title again BEFORE the Los Angeles Angels do the same. The Angels have one of the worst farm systems in baseball. Despite their massive TV money, they’ll be paying Josh Hamilton and Albert Pujols big bucks long after their effectiveness has gone. They’ll have to pony up more bucks in a couple of years to keep Mike Trout and thanks to that bad minor league system, have no big chips to trade for established help. No, Astros fans, you may be on a 3-year 100+ loss streak now, but three years from now I bet you’re a force in the AL West. I think the Rangers still will be as well and that’s going to make for some intense battles for the Silver Boot.
When your team comes back and they WILL come back, it is years like 2013 you are going to remember. It is those years that will make the success taste even sweeter. I guarantee it because three years ago, this lifetime Rangers fan got to experience it for the first time. When Texas went to back to back World Series in 2010 and 2011, the likes of Josh Hamilton, Michael Young, Elvis Andrus and Ian Kinsler and pitchers like Colby Lewis, Matt Harrison and Neftali Feliz made all the years of following Scott Fletcher, Don Slaught, Charlie Hough, Jeff Russell, Pete Incaviglia, Benji Gil and Kevin Mench worth it.
People who climb on the bandwagon may get excited when the team they just adopted go all the way (or almost all the way), but the pure JOY belongs to us old-timers, the ones who weather through all the bad years first. That’s why I implore you, Astros fans, to embrace this bad team. Go out to Minute Maid Park in September with no hope and make your owner even richer this year. Come September 1st when rosters expand, you’ll also start seeing the first glimpse of the future Astros, the ones who just might take you back to the heights, the players you’ll adopt as your own just as you love Jose Altuve and Jason Castro now.
I’m not going to apologize or feel bad about my team being 14-2 against your team this year. I’m just going to look forward to two or three years from now when that 14-2 is 8-8 and there could be one big three-game series that will decide the AL West title. Now that’ll be fun. Oh, and thanks for sending us Travis Blackley.
- At least Siri likes the Astros (chron.com)
- Report: Astros on track to make $99 million this season (chron.com)
You know, I should be in a good mood right now. I’m supposed to be celebrating the fact that this dude here just broke the team record for most wins ever by a Texas Rangers manager:
I’m also supposed to be excited about Adrian Beltre, our intrepid 3rd baseman and clubhouse leader, was honored as the American League Player of the Month for July:
And I’m supposed to be ecstatic that the Rangers have shaved four games off the Oakland A’s lead in a span of just eight days to pull to within two of the AL West leaders.
Yeah, things are sure happy in Rangersland, don’t you think? But no, first you have to throw the Nelson Cruz 50-game suspension at me. Then, to add to the pain, word comes out today that Colby Lewis, expected to rejoin the Rangers rotation in maybe just a week’s time, has now been sidelined for the rest of the season with bone spurs on his hip. The man went down in the stretch run a year ago and has busted his butt all season long to recover from an arm injury. He rehabbed early in the season and had to be shut down in early May with arm soreness. He started rehab outings again about three weeks ago and was probably just one rehab start away from making his season début for the Rangers and what happens? An injury unrelated to the arm. Bone spurs on the hip.
The immediate beneficiaries here are Alexi Ogando and Martin Perez. For Ogando, it means at least another three weeks in the Rangers rotation, as it was likely Lewis would have supplanted him next week. Now he appears safe until Matt Harrison returns next, around the end of the month. For Perez, it’s a permanent win. The rookie southpaw has been pitching very well of late. Lewis being down for the season means Perez will remain with the parent club as a starter for the remainder of this season and on into the future.
I feel for Colby. The Rangers did him a solid by re-signing him in the off-season, knowing he wouldn’t be available until at least mid-season. They did this to thank him for the efforts that led to two World Series appearances in two years. It was just a one year contract, though, Just as it’s possible Nelson Cruz has played his last game as a member of the Rangers, so too is it possible Colby Lewis will never throw a pitch for the Rangers again. I suspect that’s not true, as Jon Daniels can almost certainly sign Lewis yet again to a one year deal at a price that is definitely favorable to the Business Office, but it’s not a certainty.
Colby Lewis started and won some of the most important games in Texas Rangers history: He beat the Yankees twice in the 2010 ALCS. He was credited with the W in the Rangers’ only 2010 World Series win. He tossed six innings of 1-hit ball in a win against the Tampa Bay Rays in the 2011 ALDS. And while he didn’t earn any decisions, Lewis had a 2.25 ERA in two starts against the Cardinals in the 2011 World Series. Game 2 went the Rangers way, Game 6 should have.
Colby, if you never again wear a Rangers uniform, know that I, as well as thousands if not millions of Rangers fans, thank you for everything you’ve done for this franchise. The Rangers wouldn’t have gone as far as they did without you and that’s the truth.
Good News #1: Colby Lewis made a rehab start for AA Frisco on Wednesday. The line score didn’t look that great, but Lewis said it felt a lot better than his abortive rehab outings in May and feels it’s only a matter of time before he’s back in the Texas starting rotation.
Good News #2: Alexi Ogando will make his last rehab outing for AAA Round Rock tonight, setting him up to rejoin the Rangers rotation Tuesday night against the Yankees.
Good News #4: 4th outfield Craig Gentry will be activated for Friday night’s opener against the Orioles.
You’d think that would be more than enough good news for a team beset by injury after injury, but perhaps there is now bigger piece of good news, at least for the Rangers offense, than this one:
Good News #5: Jeff Baker will be activated for Friday night’s opener against the Orioles and could be in the starting line-up.
Hard to believe, but Baker was a Godsend to the Texas bench this year, quickly becoming perhaps the best reserve player the Rangers have had the last few seasons. In 37 games, Baker was hitting a robust .317 with a superb OPS of 1.086. Baker’s 9 home runs is still good enough to rank 5th on the club. Against southpaws, Baker is hitting .386.
Baker hit the DL a month ago when a high-five delivered by an unnamed teammate (although there’s speculation it was A.J. Pierzynski) bent his thumb back. Suddenly, he couldn’t grip a bat. Just as suddenly, the Rangers bench became downright ordinary. Robinson Chirinos, Geovany Soto, Engel Beltre, Jurickson Profar. Not much to write home about. Baker’s return, along with Gentry’s, puts veterans on the bench to replace the inexperienced Beltre and Chirinos. It also makes it quite possible the struggling David Murphy will become part of a platoon with Baker. Not only is Murph hitting a very unexpected .219 on the season, his .216 average against southpaws includes only four extra base hits.
Also losing out a bit on the deal is Profar. The Rangers top prospect not only has played second, short and third, he started a couple of games in left field just before the break. Baker’s return surely ends Profar’s time in the outfield and will probably lower the at bats available to him. Baker can also play third and first. Profar will likely remain Adrian Beltre‘s backup, while Baker will still spell Mitch Moreland on occasion.
Texas still wants to add a bat and a starting pitcher, if possible, via trade before the July 31st deadline. Baker’s presence and the possible recall of Manny Ramirez in the next couple weeks could lessen somewhat the immediate need for a bat so Jon Daniels can focus more on the pitching front.
Best of all, it’s looking like the Rangers team as most envision it is starting to come back together again. It couldn’t come at a better time.
- Lewis feels stronger in latest rehab outing (mlb.mlb.com)
- Colby Lewis allows four runs in 2 2/3 rehab innings (hardballtalk.nbcsports.com)
Here’s a wrap-up of the week that was in Texas Rangers baseball. All stats listed are just for the previous week of play.
Rangers Record: 3-4
Overall: 54-41 (2nd Place AL West) (-2)
Adrian Beltre ..407/.467/.778 1 2b, 3 HR and 8 RBI
A.J. Pierzynski .375/.385/.625 3 2b, 1 HR and 5 RBI
Leonys Martin .150/.292/.150
David Murphy .174/.208/.217
Jalapeno Caliente (Pitching):
Derek Holland 2-0, 2.63 ERA 14 K in 13.2 IP
Raspa Frio (Pitching):
Justin Grimm 0-1, 18.90 ERA
The All-Star Break couldn’t get here fast enough. The Rangers hobbled into the break with a starting rotation of Derek Holland, Martin Perez, Josh Lindblom, Justin Grimm and Ross Wolf. Yu Darvish, Alexi Ogando, Matt Harrison and Colby Lewis are all on the DL and they were even joined by rookie Nick Tepesch. When you look at the rotation as it is comprised, it is amazing to even conceive of Texas being 13 games over .500 at the break. A mediocre 3-4 is not that great a week, but considering the Rangers were on the road the entire week against the Orioles and the Tigers, 3-4 wouldn’t be bad even with the starting pitchers we’d expect. One of the three wins was pinning Max Scherzer with his first loss after he started the season 13-0.
As for when the starters return, it might not be this week but next week. Yu Darvish may be back this weekend for the home series with the Orioles. Alexi Ogando is expected back next week, but whether that means he’ll start one of the games against the Yankees or be held back until the Indians series is unknown. How much can be expected of Ogando is also unknown. His first two rehab starts in the minors have not gone that well. Colby Lewis finally starts rehab appearances again next week and could be a month away.
While I was out on vacation, the bullpen got a jolt with the return of Joakim Soria, who’s thrown three shutout innings in his first 3 appearances. Meanwhile, the non-names of Cory Burns, Joseph Ortiz and Wilmer Font threw enough quality relief innings to give overworked Robbie Ross, Tanner Scheppers and Neal Cotts a break.
The Rangers’ offense continues its inconsistent ways. Were it not for the injury to Jeff Baker, David Murphy would probably be a platoon player. Elvis Andrus was dropped in the order and now Ron Washington is giving Leonys Martin a shot at the 2-slot in the line-up. Texas needs help in the rotation and in the offensive line-up. It will be interesting to see what moves Jon Daniels makes in the next two weeks leading up to the trade deadline. For now, the team gets three much-needed days off.
For the past three years, Texas Rangers fans were spoiled. During the 2010 and 2011 trips to the World Series and the disappointing 2012 season that ended in a 1-game playoff with the Baltimore Orioles, we have seen pretty much superb baseball. The offensive line-up, featuring Josh Hamilton, Mike Napoli, Nelson Cruz, Ian Kinsler, Michael Young, Vladimir Guerrero and Adrian Beltre was lethal, putting up over five runs a game on average. The starting pitching was workmanlike, with Matt Harrison, Colby Lewis, Derek Holland, C.J. Wilson, Alexi Ogando and Yu Darvish last year, with a late season assist one year from Cliff Lee got the lead to the bullpen, where such notables as Neftali Feliz, Frank Francisco, Mike Adams, Koji Uehara and Joe Nathan were more than capable of shutting things down. Texas had so many ways to beat you, it was clear you weren’t going to keep them down for long.
Which brings us to 2013. Hamilton, Young and Napoli are gone from the offense. Colby Lewis and Neftali Feliz have yet to throw a pitch in a major league game. Matt Harrison got shelved after three ineffective starts. Alexi Ogando has hit the disabled list twice. The bullpen has dealt with woeful performances from Michael Kirkman, Derek Lowe, Joseph Ortiz and Kyle McClellan. Justin Grimm and Nick Tepesch were not supposed to start meaningful major league games in 2013 and the rookie who was, Martin Perez, is just now beginning to help the club.
Defensively, Adrian Beltre has actually shown some signs of losing a fraction of a step. Beltre has actually committed two more errors at third base than Michael Young (8 to 6), although Beltre has gotten to a lot more balls than Young in the first place. Ian Kinsler missed substantial time on the DL, as did Mitch Moreland. David Murphy has had an awful year, entering July hitting below .220. Elvis Andrus hasn’t been much better, checking into July below .250 and, while always a bit of a light hitter, has seen a large decrease in his extra base hit numbers. Of the new arrivals, Lance Berkman has performed considerably below expectations, A.J. Pierzynski spent some time on the DL and shown little ability to throw out opposing baserunners. Jeff Baker was a godsend until he was high-fived in the dugout by an unnamed teammate, bending his thumb back and putting him on the list of walking wounded on the DL.
No, things have not gone much the Texas Rangers way. Even Yu Darvish, while looking like an ace in many respects, went a month and a half without a win. The bullpen suffers from overwork, with four relievers logging at least 13 appearances in the month of June. Yet here we are, at the end of June, and the Texas Rangers continue to hold on to first place in the AL West, a half game ahead of the defending champ Oakland A’s.
They’ve done it with a good year from Nelson Cruz and a lot of small ball from the likes of Jurickson Profar, Leonys Martin and now rookie Engel Beltre. Some nights the bottom of the line-up is outproducing the heart of the order. They’re doing it because Tepesch and Grimm, while performing at or below average, are keeping the team in games long enough for the bullpen to take over. The back of the bullpen has been solid, with Robbie Ross, Tanner Scheppers, Neal Cotts and Joe Nathan closing the door on most rallies.
The month of June ends with Texas sporting a mark of 48-34. That’s the same record the 2010 World Series team had at the same point, 5 games better than the 2011 World Series team and only 2 games worse than last year’s Wild Card team. Despite a bad start to the month of June, the Rangers went 14-14 on the month and closed out going 3-1 against Oakland, 3-0 against St. Louis (on the road), 2-1 at Yankee Stadium and 2-1 against the Cincinnati Reds. That’s a combined 10-3 against four over .500 teams, three of whom are at or near the top of the Power Rankings.
The first three months have been bright for the Rangers and there’s help on the way without even going to the trade market. Joakim Soria could boost the bullpen as soon as next weekend. Colby Lewis could be ready in late July. Matt Harrison and Neftali Feliz are targeting August for their returns. Baker should give a boost to the bench in another week or so. With the July trade deadline coming up, the Rangers will be among the teams most talked about for both starting pitching and offense.
I don’t know if the Rangers can keep this pace up. It’s such a different team, struggling to score runs one night, pitching challenged the next. I do know this. With all this team has gone through in 2013, if they end up winning the West despite all the departures and injuries, Ron Washington will deserve serious consideration for AL Manager of the Year.
- These Kids Today… (40yearrangerfan.mlblogs.com)
- Ogando, Lewis making strides in rehab (mlb.mlb.com)
- The Texas Rangers Take Another Series from a Good Team (rattleandhumsports.com)
Here’s a wrap-up of the week that was in Texas Rangers baseball. All stats listed are just for the previous week of play.
Rangers Record: 3-3
Overall: 35-21 (1st Place AL West) (+2)
Adrian Beltre .476/.500/.714 1 HR 5 RBI
A.J. Pierzynski .438/.412/.625 3 2B 3 RBI
Jurickson Profar ..389/.450/.611 1 HR 2 RBI
Elvis Andrus .192/.250/.192
Jalapeno Caliente (Pitching):
Yu Darvish 14.2 IP 20 K 0.82 WHIP
Raspa Frio (Pitching):
Another .500 week, but this one hurt a little bit. The Rangers wasted a great pitching performance by Yu Darvish on Memorial Day. The offense struggled to score runs and the Diamondbacks got to the bullpen late to sweep a twinbill from Texas. After a day off and a rain-out, Texas came back to beat Arizona on Thursday, then took two of three at home against the Royals. Still, the A’s remained hot and picked up two and a half games on the Rangers, putting the AL West lead down to two entering play June 3rd.
The Rangers also were 1-2 on the injury front news. The good news is Alexi Ogando is ready to return from the DL and is slated to start against the Red Sox on Wednesday. The bad news: both Ian Kinsler and Colby Lewis had setbacks in their efforts to come back. It was hoped Kinsler would be back this week, but a near stress fracture to a rib will have him out for at least two more weeks. Fortunately, rookie Jurickson Profar is playing well in his stead. Meanwhile, Lewis had another setback in his recovery from elbow issues. This one isn’t associated with the elbow, but it’s enough to push his schedule back at least a couple more weeks. I’m beginning to wonder if Lewis is going to suffer the same fate as Brandon Webb a couple of years ago. Webb started and stopped rehab starts at least four times before finally being shut down for good.
The Rangers are on the road all week, with three in Boston starting Tuesday and three in Toronto starting Friday. The big story is the month of June as a whole. It would not be surprising to see Texas cede the first place perch in the AL West this month based on the schedule. The Rangers have 26 games remaining this month. Seven are with the sub-.500 Blue Jays. The other 19 are all against teams with records at .500 and above: Boston (3), Cleveland (3), Oakland (4), St. Louis (3), the New York Yankees (3) and Cincinnati (3). Meanwhile, the second place A’s have 25 games. More than half, 13 of them, are against sub-.500 teams: Milwaukee (3), Chicago White Sox (4) and Seattle (6), while only 12 are versus .500 or above teams: New York Yankees (3), Texas (4), Cincinnati (2) and St. Louis (3). Even though they’re mired in 4th place, the Angels could also gain ground. Ten of their 25 June games are against the under .500′s: Houston (4), Chicago Cubs (2) and Seattle (4), with another 15 against the over .500′s: Boston (3), Baltimore (3), New York Yankees (3), Pittsburgh (3) and Detroit (3).
If Texas ends June in first place in the AL West based on those schedules, I’ll put their odds at pretty darn good to win the division.
The Rangers looked horrible against the lowly Chicago Cubs last night. Former Rangers pitcher Scott Feldman made Texas batters look silly and only the woeful Cubs bullpen prevented the Rangers from being shut out for the game.
As terrible as the Rangers looked, I can forgive them this game. Originally, the Rangers were to have Monday off, so they scheduled one of their big charity benefits for Sunday evening after the afternoon game with the Red Sox. Unfortunately, due to bad weather, a game with the Cubs got rained out a couple of weeks ago and Monday was chosen as the make-up date. Late flight out of Texas, late arrival in Chicago, tired team overall. I get that.
Except for Nick Tepesch. The rookie pitcher wasn’t part of the benefit. Since he was the scheduled starter, he got a head start in going to the Windy City. He had a good night’s sleep. He took the hill and had his worst start of his young career. Tepesch gave up a 5-spot in the fourth inning, putting his team down 6-0 and the Rangers never recovered.
Rookie pitchers are going to take their lumps, even rookies like Tepesch, whose first three starts were outstanding. Now, though, he’s started getting knocked around his last couple of times out. Why is this important?
There’s a guy getting started on rehab right now in Arizona by the name of Colby Lewis. It may still be more than a month away, but Lewis will be returning soon. When he does, someone is going to have to go, and that someone will be either Tepesch or Justin Grimm. As much as you’d like to just write it off as one (or two) bad starts, if you’re a GM like Jon Daniels, you’re looking at every start a player makes. Add in that this a team with playoff aspirations and you’re faced with a real “win or go home” attitude. Tepesch needs to step it up in his next couple of starts or he’s got a date with AAA Round Rock in his future. His competition to continue in the Rangers’ rotation, Justin Grimm, now has a leg up, as he hasn’t gotten pummeled yet. If he continues to pitch well, there’s little Tepesch can do to change the decision.
There’s nothing that talk radio loves more than a good crisis. Sometimes they love it so much, they manufacture it.
I could be off base about this, but that’s the way I’m feeling about the reports out of the DFW area that Nolan Ryan may be ready to depart the Texas Rangers organization for good, possibly by the end of this month before the regular season begins.
Why the speculation? A few days ago, the Rangers announced they had promoted GM Jon Daniels to the combined post of GM and President of Baseball Operations. Meanwhile, Rick George was promoted to President of Business Operations. This leaves Ryan, who had been president of all operations as well as CEO, as “just” the CEO.
By the time Monday rolled around, Randy Galloway of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram said he had it on good authority from “many sources close to Nolan Ryan” that Nolan didn’t take his “demotion” well and was soon to leave the organization, possibly by month’s end.
Admittedly, the number of sources I have in the Texas Rangers organization numbers zero. My boss has a friend who knows Neftali Feliz, but that’s as few degrees of Kevin Bacon as I can get. Still, I can’t help feel Galloway is making much ado about nothing here. Nolan is 66 years old and was treated just a year or two ago for heart troubles. As Sigmund Freud once said, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. Why can’t this simply be a situation where Nolan wants to ease his way into a well-deserved retirement. Let the kids do the heavy lifting while still having some decision-making power and a share of the profits while remaining as the figurehead heart of the franchise.
I guess folks don’t feel it could be that simple because if it were, Nolan would have said something to that effect when the promotions for Daniels and George were announced. The head of the ownership group, Bob Simpson, told Galloway the promotions had nothing to do with trying to usher Nolan out the door and said he wanted Ryan to stay as long as he wanted to stay.
Maybe at the end of this month, I’ll have egg on my face when Ryan decides yes, he will leave the organization. If so, I’ll wish him well but I don’t think it will have any effect whatsoever on how the Rangers do business or work on constructing the team. JD’s already been doing that for a while now.
All this takes away from what is the more pressing news on the field. Rookie Martin Perez, already the frontrunner for the 5th starter in the rotation, was hit by a line drive on Sunday and broke the forearm of his pitching arm. He’ll be out a month before he can resume throwing and figure on another month before he’s ready for any kind of game action.
Immediately the speculation began that Texas has to go out and sign Kyle Lohse now. I still don’t see it happening. This is your #5 starter we’re talking about. Do the Rangers really want to give up a first round draft pick to sign a #5 starter whose main job is to keep the spot warm until Colby Lewis is ready to come back in May? Seems like a pretty steep price to pay.
I’m beginning to see how hard it is to put together a team. So far, the other candidates for the #5 spot in camp have been underwhelming. In addition, #4 starter Alexi Ogando has gotten off to a rocky start this spring as well. It isn’t exactly filling the fan base with optimism about the back-end of the rotation. Still, Lohse is a steep price to pay for what could only be a month and a half long situation.
That, however, is not my call. I guess it’s not Nolan Ryan’s call anymore either. It’s all up to the Rangers’ new GM/President of Baseball Operations now.
- Is Nolan Ryan Leaving the Texas Rangers? (knue.com)
Ballplayers get at least three months off between end of season and start of spring training. I took three and a half weeks off between blog posts. Am I rested? I don’t know. Am I in shape for the 2013 season? Absolutely not!
I vegged out over the past three and a half weeks. I thought about posting some thoughts but I just couldn’t pull the trigger. I spent more time playing with my Christmas presents than I did looking into the minutia of Texas Rangers baseball.
Most common statement I’ve heard from non-Rangers brethren since the off-season began and, more specifically, since Josh Hamilton signed with the Angels: “Bet it’s going to be hard to watch the Rangers this year. They’re going backwards.”
I agree it seems the Rangers have gone backwards going into 2013. Gone are Hamilton, Michael Young, Mike Napoli, Mike Adams, Koji Uehara and Ryan Dempster. Colby Lewis and Neftali Feliz won’t be any help until the second half of the season at the earliest. Coming on board? Joakim Soria, who’s also disabled until after the All-Star break. Lance Berkman, who was limited by injury to less than 100 at bats in 2012. New bullpen pieces in Jason Frasor and Josh Lindblom. A new catcher in AJ Pierzynski. Not exactly a group that’s going to make you forget Hamilton, Young, Napoli, Adams and Uehara, right?
And yet, and yet. I am possibly looking forward to 2013 as much as I looked forward to 2010, when I began this corner of the webiverse chronicling a team that, for the first time in a decade, was possibly going to contend for a title. That team exceeded my expectations and made it to the World Series. And while I harbor no illusions of the 2013 squad being in the Fall Classic, I won’t totally discount the possibility either.
I am looking forward to seeing what the infusion of youth does for this team. Whether the names Leonys Martin, Mike Olt and Jurickson Profar will become as well-known to baseball fans as Josh Hamilton and Michael Young were for the past few years. I can’t wait to see if Yu Darvish builds on a successful rookie campaign to become a bona fide ace. Whether Derek Holland can put a pedestrian 2012 behind him and progress to be at the very least an above average #3 starter. I want to see if new hitting coach Dave Magadan transforms Texas from a team of sluggers to hitters who work counts and put pressure on the pitcher. Will the Rangers running game improve and will baserunning coach Gary Pettis be able to effectively do his job from the third base coaches box instead of his usual first base box? Will Berkman stay healthy enough to impact the team? Is Nelson Cruz going to rebound from a so-so 2012 both offensively and defensively to be the presence he was in 2010 and 2011? Can the new bullpen pieces quickly coalesce into a unit that consistently delivers a lead to Joe Nathan in the 9th?
Most important of all, how will Ron Washington handle the youth movement? Wash took a lot of flak last year for staying with his veterans, especially Michael Young, while Olt and Profar languished on the bench in September. And if he gets all the young guys to perform at a high level and the Rangers continue to compete for a division title, will he finally get some consideration for Manager of the Year?
OK, so Texas didn’t get Zack Greinke. Or Justin Upton. Or Hamilton. Or Napoli. Or James Shields, Josh Johnson, R.A. Dickey, Travis D’Arnaud and J.P. Arencibia, all of whom Jon Daniels kicked the tires on during the off-season. Nor does it appear that Kyle Lohse or Michael Bourn are Arlington bound. Yet I’m excited about the 2013 season.
Pierzynski and Berkman aren’t sexy signings, but the two of them have something the rest of the team doesn’t have- a World Series champion ring. I bet that counts for something, including what impact their work ethic might have on Olt, Profar and Martin.
For sure, this is a team with flaws. Just 20 days from Spring Training and there’s no clue who will be the utility infielder or fifth outfielder. It’s anyone’s guess who will be in the bullpen besides Nathan and Frasor. The fifth starter for the rotation has yet to be determined and none of the names in contention are likely to strike fear in the average major league line-up.
What gets me excited is this. If Wash can keep this team in contention through the All-Star break, the second half will see Feliz and Soria returning to the pen and Colby Lewis to the starting rotation. That would make for an intriguing stretch run.
Too bad it’s still 20 days from pitchers and catchers reporting and 66 days til Opening Day at Houston.