Results tagged ‘ Geovany Soto ’
We haven’t even played the first exhibition game of the season, yet there seems to be no shortage of news out of Texas Rangers camp. To wit:
RON WASHINGTON GETS AN EXTENSION
All through the off-season, Jon Daniels assured everyone that Wash would get a contract extension and Wash deserved a contract extension. Yet for four long months, said contract extension was nowhere to be found. Finally the new contract was announced, though many of us were surprised it was only a 1-year extension, through the 2015 season. Wash deserves a longer contract, but I’m thinking the one-year bit wasn’t necessarily JD’s idea. After all, the Rangers’ skipper enters the 2014 season in his 61st year on the planet. While that isn’t really ancient (only three years older than me), maybe Wash is the one who wants to keep it relatively open-ended. The desire is still there but maybe he’s keeping an eye on his health as well. Wash deserves at least three years on his contract and not two. On the other hand, I’m old enough to remember when Walter Alston managed the Dodgers and it was ALWAYS on a series of one-year contracts. Short contracts lead to lots of speculation, but I’m willing to take Daniels at his word when he says he wants Wash to continue managing the Rangers for a long time to come.
NELSON CRUZ IS NO LONGER A RANGER
It was always kind of doubtful Cruz would return to Texas, but the longer he went without signing anywhere, the more we got our hopes up he just might return. Heck, for the one year at $8 million that he signed with the Orioles, it isn’t completely out of the realm of possibility it could’ve happened. Cruz (or his agent) badly miscalculated the market and he ended up losing over $6 million dollars because of it. On the other hand, had Cruz taken the Rangers up on the $14 million qualifying offer, it’s likely Shin-Soo Choo or Prince Fielder or both wouldn’t be wearing Rangers uniforms today. I’m going to miss Nelly and his “Boomstick”, but wish him well in Baltimore (except when they play Texas, of course).
Matt Harrison slept on a bad bed and thus will not be ready at season’s open. Geovany Soto had to have surgery on his left foot to shave a small bone that was pressing up against a tendon, Tanner Scheppers has a mild sore back, as does Elvis Andrus; and Jurickson Profar has mild shoulder tendonitis and isn’t allowed to throw in camp yet. It’s amazing how these little aches and pains before even a pitch has been thrown in exhibition play, can make us fans ready to call it quits on the season already. Folks, only Harrison is doubtful for Opening Day. Hard as it is, I’m trying hard to refrain from nail-biting so soon. I refuse to worry until I hear the walking wounded list only two weeks away from first pitch. For now, I’m just treating it as players just taking a little longer to get loosened up.
MEANWHILE IN OTHER CAMPS
While it’s easy for us to think the worst over every little muscle tweak for our own team, the converse is also true: We think every positive article about our rivals is absolute truth and we start worrying about them accordingly. Case in point: There have been a number of positive articles out of Angels camp about Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton. If both players played at the level they were at just three years ago, the Angels line-up would be as scary as it gets in the AL West. The thought of it doesn’t please me one bit. I have to keep reminding myself, even if they manage the feat, the Angels still have a weak pitching staff and are going to need every bit of that offense to become a credible threat in the AL West. It must be the Rangers fan in me that makes it easier to imagine the 2014 Hamilton looking like 2010 Josh. For Pujols, he could still be potent, but maybe only to the point of being like he was his first year in an Angels uniform.
In Florida, the Houston Astros have a few new faces in camp. The ‘Stros were terrible in 2012 and, while they’re likely destined to finish last again in 2014, a 10-game improvement wouldn’t be out of the question. Considering the Mariners are likely a little better than a year ago and the A’s are still the A’s, whoever wins the AL West is going to face a lot more challenges than a year ago.
Oh, and one other thing about an AL East rival: The way fans view positive news out of rivals’ camps is the same way many in the media view the New York Yankees. It’s the mystique of the Bronx Bombers (or the Evil Empire, whichever you prefer) that must make them do it. Listening to MLB TV on my radio last night, I heard one of their analysts going all man-crush on the Yankees and how they’ll be so hard to beat in 2014. Five minutes earlier, he labelled the Rangers a non-factor in the AL West. In his “critique” of the Yankees, he talked about how great the pitching staff would be and anointed newcomer Masahiro Tanaka a #2 right off the bat. The Yanks may indeed be very good this year, but I just don’t see how they’re that much improved from 2013. They’ve lost Robinson Cano, Mariano Rivera, Curtis Granderson and Andy Pettite (I won’t even talk about A-Rod). They’re assuming a big year from CC Sabathia on the basis of weight loss, without noting Sabathia is another year older and has a lot of innings on his arm already. There’s no guarantee Mark Teixeira will ever resemble the feared hitter he once was. They’re also assuming a big year from Michael Pineda, who hasn’t even pitched in two years. Sorry guys. I’m just not seeing it right now.
As I pulled into the office today, I noted my smartphone downloading the new MLB At Bat app! In a couple of days, I’ll be able to listen in to exhibition games again. Living in Texas, I can’t go for the MLB.TV component as I’ll never get the Rangers games, but I love getting the Gameday audio! The season draws closer. All is right with the world again.
It must be because the Texas Rangers front office is trying to appeal to the bi-polar community. How else to explain what goes on in the realm of Rangers baseball these days. There’s no telling what team will show up. First there’s the Rangers team that came out of the All-Star break and proceeded to get swept by the Orioles, split four with the Yankees, then got swept again by the Indians. Now you have a Rangers team who does the sweeping, taking three in a row from the Angels, each one in walk-off fashion. First there was Monday night, when Texas trailed 3-2 going into the 9th, promptly tied it on an A.J. Pierzynski home run and, two outs later, sealing the deal with this shot from Geovany Soto:
Tuesday night, it started with Adrian Beltre hitting a 2-out, 2-strike single to bring home the tying run in the 9th, sending it to extra innings when it was Leonys Martin‘s turn to set off the fireworks:
Finally, Texas celebrated my birthday by having Beltre lead off the 9th in a 1-1 game:
Three wins, all by walk-off home runs, the first time that feat has happened in MLB since 2004. Yes, it was a sweep over the Angels, who have now sunk into 4th place with the loss of Albert Pujols for the season, but consider this. With the exception of C.J. Wilson‘s pitiful performance on Tuesday, everything pointed to this being a good series for the Angels. 1) Jered Weaver and Jerome Williams provided two excellent starts- a combined 14.2 innings pitched with only 2 runs given up; 2) Mike Trout was even more Mike Trout than usual: 6 for 6 with 4 walks in the first 2 games alone; 3) Josh Hamilton actually resembled the Josh Hamilton the Angels thought they were getting when they signed him. Hamilton went a combined 5 for 11 with a double, a home run, 7 RBI and 3 walks; and 4) the dominant Rangers bullpen was extremely ordinary on Tuesday, getting torched for 5 runs. The Angels got all that and they were still swept.
By the way, I know Hamilton has been bad, but you can’t prove it by the Rangers. Against every other team in MLB, Hamilton is hitting .209. Against his old team, the Rangers? .389 with a .978 OPS.
Also of significance, Texas for the first time in a month gained ground on the front-running Oakland A’s, going from 6 games behind to 4, with a big weekend series coming up in Oakland. The August schedule favors the Rangers, so this race could be getting tighter again after what appeared to be a Rangers free-fall.
Oh, and the best part? Not only did I get to enjoy a Rangers sweep of LA this week, my beautiful wife surprised me at work with this piece of edible art for my birthday:
Sure, there are storm clouds on the horizon. All indications are Nelson Cruz faces a suspension soon in the Biogenesis scandal, though some reports indicate he will appeal; Lance Berkman is contemplating retirement as his knees continue to be a problem; Manny Ramirez is not considered major-league ready and may find himself released in the next couple of weeks; and Texas found no willing partners at the July 31st trade deadline and can only hope they can grab some players through waiver wire transactions in August. For a team as offensively challenged as Texas has been for long stretches, this is not a good sign, especially if Cruz is lost for the season. Still, this is MY team and I’ll cheer them on regardless. I’m just glad they’re back on an upswing again.
The pitching match-up of the year didn’t materialize as the pitcher’s duel of the year. It was actually Justin Verlander‘s worst regular season start. EVER. You can thank the Texas Rangers offense for that, particularly Mitch Moreland and, in the biggest surprise of the season, Geovany Soto, whose 3-run blast to left spelled the end of Verlander’s night.
Scintillating as the offense was, last night’s win cemented yet another incredible aspect in the game of Yu Darvish. If it had only happened once, I would shake it off as one of those things that happens. This, however, was not the first time it has happened and I have a feeling it will be integral in understanding the current and future success of the Rangers’ new ace.
Darvish did not have his best stuff last night. His fastball command was almost non-existent. Most of his other pitches were having a hard time finding the zone as well. Through the early innings, about the only pitch Darvish had working for him was his slider. Thus, it wasn’t surprising when he finally ran into trouble in the 3rd inning. Facing the bottom of the order, Darvish gave up his first hit, a home run that tied the game at 1. It was followed by a single. Then another single. A wild pitch. A sacrifice fly put the Tigers up 2-1. Miguel Cabrera doubled and Darvish intentionally walked Prince Fielder. Bases loaded. One out. A Victor Martinez sac fly on the 10th pitch of the at bat put Detroit up 3-1. Darvish was on the ropes, already at 31 pitches on the inning. It would take another five pitches before the inning ended. Darvish was already at 63 pitches in only three innings of work. It was looking like a bullpen kind of night.
Despite the Rangers heroics in the bottom of the frame, chasing Verlander with a 7-spot to take an 8-4 lead, Darvish came out in the 4th and immediately gave up his second home run of the night, this one to Jhonny Peralta, making it 8-4. That’s when it kicked in.
From that point on, Darvish retired 15 of the next 16 batters, including the last 10 Tigers in a row. Yu ended up going a career high 130 pitches over 8 innings in picking up his 7th win of the season.
Most pitchers, even quality ones, have games in which they struggle. Most of the time, it will be a struggle from beginning to end. On a rare occasion, they’ll recover and pitch effectively after their bad inning(s). This is the third similar occurrence in Darvish’s young career. On June 20, 2012 he was quickly down 2-0 in the second, expending 41 pitches to get through the two innings. From that point on, Darvish retired 18 of the last 21 Padres he faced including the last ten in a row.
On April 12th this year, the Mariners touched Darvish for 3 runs in the first inning. After the first? Fifteen of 17 Mariners were retired, including the last 12 in a row.
Less than two weeks ago, the Red Sox plated three runs in the first two innings. After a second inning home run, Darvish retired 17 of the last 20 Boston batters he faced, only one of them getting a hit.
Even when he doesn’t have his best stuff, Darvish seems to have an innate ability to figure out within a game how to proceed based on how his pitches are working or not working. In this case he switched from setting everything up through his fastball to setting it up through his slider. There are few pitchers out there who can achieve such dramatic results on in-game adjustments. I’m just glad one who can pitches for the Texas Rangers.
Most Spring Training exhibition games are worth listening to the first four or five innings. The starters are in for a few innings, the pitchers you expect to be on the team are getting their innings in.
By the fifth inning or so, only the diehards tend to stick around, as the line-ups become more of the minor leaguers who have no chance of making the team this year. Some of them you’ve never heard of, even though you tend to glance at minor league box scores on a regular basis. So I’m sorry Johan Yan, I’m not paying much attention to you right now. Same goes for you, Juan Apodaca. I admit I didn’t even know you were a part of the Rangers organization when you came to the plate yesterday.
Today’s exhibition game with the White Sox is a little different, though. There are only two Rangers regulars in the starting offensive line-up today- Nelson Cruz and Geovany Soto. Despite that, this game has my interest and I wish I could be at the game in person to watch.
Why? Because the starting line-up has all four of the players who have a real shot at making the Opening Day roster. Mike Olt at third base, Leonys Martin in center field, Jurickson Profar at shortstop and Leury Garcia at second base. Of the four, Martin is the best bet at sticking and most expect him to platoon with Craig Gentry in centerfield in 2013. Garcia is the second best bet, whose versatility make him a strong possibility for a utility role. Profar and Olt are the two best offensive prospects overall, but unless a trade or an injury occurs (or Nelson Cruz is suspended), it’s becoming unlikely there’ll be enough at bats available to justify putting them on the major league roster. Instead, they will more than likely start 2013 in Round Rock.
Still, having all four in the starting line-up today is exciting. All but Martin have reputations as good defensive players. All but Olt have speed on the basepaths. They’re all scouted to be decent to above average bats.
The best I’ll be able to do today is listen, and my work schedule may not even allow me to do that. If you happen to be able to see this game or listen to it, please do. The first few innings could be a taste of the future of the Texas Rangers franchise.
This was going to be the “Why The Season Broke Down” analysis post. Instead, Texas Rangers President Nolan Ryan, General Manager Jon Daniels and Manager Ron Washington decided today would be a great day to hold their first post-season press conference to talk about the season ending prematurely and what could transpire in the future.
First off, Dallas Morning News writer Evan Grant put to rest one rumor that has run rampant among Rangers on-line fans. He noted Jon Daniels not only gave Ron Washington his endorsement as manager of the club, but that both appeared quite relaxed and comfortable with each other. Many Rangers fans had imagined a power struggle between Wash and JD over the handling of highly regarded prospect Mike Olt after his promotion to the parent club. I never bought the whole power struggle conspiracy theory in the first place. Hopefully, this presser puts those rumors to rest.
Ah, but there was much to report beyond Ron Washington’s job security, with the biggest item reserved for the biggest free agent on the market this off-season, one Josh Hamilton. Daniels said the Rangers are NOT going to make Hamilton an offer during the exclusive negotiating window and will allow him to explore his options first. This is a gutsy call on JD’s part, but maybe not as risky as one might think.
Going into the off-season, Hamilton oftentimes stated the odds of him remaining a member of the Rangers was about 50-50. He also was quoted on more than one occasion he owed it to the Players Union to get the best deal possible, but would give the Rangers the first shot at his services. Daniels decided they’d waive the first shot. I find it highly doubtful Hamilton would have accepted the Rangers first offer no matter how generous because of his allegiance to the Players Union, so the front office passing up the chance to make that first offer might be much ado about nothing.
In addition, knowing Hamilton’s spiritual side, I believe (but have no proof) Josh’s agent and the Rangers already have a gentleman’s agreement to return to the Rangers after all the offers have come in to give Texas the last chance to re-sign him. That said, I’m sure the Rangers already have a final price and contract length in mind and will not hesitate to let Josh go if someone else offers him a better deal. That’s what they did a year ago with CJ Wilson and that’s what they’ll do here.
More from the presser: Daniels said no decisions have been made yet on coaching staff, the 2013 plans for Michael Young haven’t been discussed and that everyone in the organization accepts responsibility for the disappointing way the season ended. Washington admitted he probably played his regulars too hard and could have rested them more in the summer to keep them fresher for the stretch drive. He also said, despite a disappointing season, he still has faith that 2nd baseman Ian Kinsler can still do the job.
Reading between the lines, I think there will be casualties among the Rangers coaching staff, with hitting coach Scott Coolbaugh being the top candidate to face the chopping block. Young’s fate likely rests on the outcome of the Josh Hamilton sweepstakes. If Hamilton goes, Young stays and vice versa. Daniels is right about everyone taking responsibility and should be lauded for including himself. After all, while the moves he made during the season were all considered the right ones, the fact is they didn’t work out. Roy Oswalt. Ryan Dempster. Geovany Soto.
For Wash’s part, I applaud him for addressing his fault of playing his regulars into the ground, but it won’t be enough for his detractors. Human nature, you know. You just want someone to admit they made a mistake. Then, when they do, you jump up and say, “See, that just proves what an idiot he is!” Fans. Gotta love them. Especially since I’m a fan (but a pro-Wash one).
Surprisingly, Mike Napoli’s impending free agency was not discussed during this press conference.
Two last tidbits. Daniels said the Rangers likely will carry a slightly larger payroll than they did this year. And Daniels said the Rangers still aren’t in a rebuilding phase. That’s a strong message, telling the faithful “Even if we lose Josh Hamilton, we’re planning on reloading for 2014.” Of course, that could also mean Mike Olt and Jurickson Profar aren’t in the 2013 season plans.
It’s going to be an interesting off-season. I can’t wait to see how they’re planning to remold this team.
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: 93-66 (1st Place AL West) (+2)
Jalapeno Hot (Offense): Adrian Beltre .444/.483/.741 2 HR 6 RBI
Nelson Cruz .333/.357/.708 2 HR 5 RBI
Raspa Cold (Offense): Geovany Soto 0 for 11 for the week.
Jalapeno Hot (Pitching): Koji Uehara 4.1 IP 0 Hits 0 Walks 10 Strikeouts
Raspa Cold (Pitching): Derek Holland 9.31 ERA in 9.1 IP 10 ER 2.07 WHIP
I thought everything would be attained by week’s end. Thanks to an underperforming offense, that did not prove to be true. Playing in front of the home crowd all week for the last time in the regular season, Texas struggled to a 3-4 mark on the week, splitting 4 games with the A’s while losing two of three to the Angels. The baseball gods conspired against the Rangers, who should have gone 5-2, but let two games get away from them.
Three games are all that remain on the schedule against the second place A’s. Those three will be played in Oakland, a park that hasn’t been kind to the Rangers over the years, even when the A’s had bad teams. The math is simple. Win one of three and clinch the AL West for the 3rd consecutive year while simultaneously knocking the Angels and Rays out of the playoffs. Win two of three and Texas likely has home field advantage for the first two rounds of the playoffs. Sweep the A’s and home field is assured. Get swept by Oakland and the Rangers are one of the two Wild Card teams.
Making matters worse, third baseman Adrian Beltre aggravated a shoulder injury in the nightcap of Sunday’s doubleheader and is questionable for tonight’s opener. Michael Young is also questionable after feeling tightness in his Achilles during the nightcap twin bill. He was pulled after the 6th inning, shortly before Beltre.
My preference is for Texas to win tonight. Get it over with. If they can do that, they could scratch Matt Harrison from his start Tuesday night to give him extra rest before the post-season begins. Oakland swept the Mariners over the weekend, coming back from two down in the 9th to win in extra innings on Saturday. The A’s won’t roll over. Texas cannot be complacent.
One win. That’s all that’s needed.
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: 4-2
Overall: 87-59 (1st Place AL West) (+3)
Jalapeno Hot (Offense): Adrian Beltre .368/.478/.842 3 HR, 4 RBI, 4 Walks, 8 Runs Scored
Michael Young (Believe It Or Not!) .500/.583/.600 2 Doubles, 3 RBI, 4 Walks
Raspa Cold (Offense): Geovany Soto .077/.188/.154 (But Walked Twice and had 3 RBI!)
Jalapeno Hot (Pitching): Yu Darvish 1-0, 1.29 ERA, 9 K’s in 7 IP, 0.57 WHIP
Matt Harrison 2-0, 1.88 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 11 K’s in 14.1 IP
Raspa Cold (Pitching): Scott Feldman 20.25 ERA, 3.38 WHIP, 6 ER in 2.2 IP
Coming home for a week against the Indiands and Mariners, the Rangers went a respectable 4-2, although Joe Nathan‘s first blown save since April kept them from being 5-1. That allowed the still hot A’s to pick up half a game on the week when they went 5-2 against the Angels and Orioles. Los Angeles is still officially in the race, but if Texas were to go .500 the rest of the way, the Angels would have to finish 15-0 just to tie for the Division title. The best the Angels can hope for now would be a Wild Card spot. There’s no doubt if the Rangers are to win the West a third straight time, they will have earned it. Only 16 games remain on the schedule: 3 against the Mariners, 6 against the Angels and 7 against the A’s. This week it’s Los Angeles and Seattle on the road for three games each. After the Rangers series, the Angels host the White Sox for 3 games. Meanwhile the A’s hit the road all week, facing the Tigers and the Yankees. The schedule this week favors the Rangers.
When he first came to the United States for his introductory press conference, Yu Darvish tried to be both humble and confident at the same time. While acknowledging his need to acclimate to his new surroundings and his respect for the new players he would face, he also expressed his goal to become “the best pitcher in the world.”
As the season progressed, we saw the work in progress. Against the Yankees April 24th, Darvish tossed 8.1 innings of 10-strikeout, shutout ball. Too often, though, we saw games like Darvish’s first American start against the Seattle Mariners in the season’s third game of the year: four walks, five strikeouts, five earned runs in less than six innings of work. After each poor performance, Darvish would humbly address the media through his interpreter, talking about changing this approach or that. Then, we’d see him implement those changes, and he’d struggle again.
The perception of Darvish was the dreaded Daisuke Matsuzaka comparison: a lot of stuff, but constant nibbling and trying to get the perfect pitch to put a batter away. For awhile, that was good enough. Darvish entered the month of July with a sparkling 10-4 record and a modest but acceptable 3.57 ERA. That was enough for the Rangers to get another player added to the AL All-Star team in the fan vote.
The six weeks spanning July 1-August 12 were a disaster. The nibbling and constant mechanical adjustments caught up to Darvish. Over 7 starts, he compiled a 2-4 record with a monstrous 6.60 ERA. He struck out 56 in 45 innings, but he also walked 29 batters and hit three others. His strike percentage was down to 61%, his average Game Score a paltry 45. After another pedestrian start against Detroit, again Darvish spoke of making changes. This time, though, he said he wasn’t doing things the way he did them in Japan and he was going to try to get back to doing things the Japanese way.
Sure. We’d heard it all before. Rangers fans were becoming more convinced that, though this signing certainly wasn’t a bust, Darvish had as much a chance of becoming the latest Bobby Witt as the second coming of Ken Hill.
Ron Washington decided it was time to intervene. He had a sitdown with Darvish (and his interpreter) to get a feel for where his pitcher’s head was at. It was reported in the media they discussed the pressures of trying to please or impress so many people. Darvish was trying to impress his fans back home in Japan, Rangers fans, baseball fans in general. Wash told him to stop trying to impress everyone else and just try to impress Yu Darvish.
Whether it was going back to his Japanese way of doing things, Wash talking to him or recently acquired Geovany Soto catching him every start, something sure clicked. In his last five starts, Darvish has been nothing short of phenomenal. A 3-1 record. An ERA of 2.00. 43 strikeouts in only 36 innings pitched and only 8 walks. A Batting Average Against of .132. Yes, .132. Only one home run given up. His strike percentage is up to 67%.
Friday night, Darvish made several Mariners look downright foolish in pitching seven innings of 2-hit, 9 strikeout baseball while picking up his 15th win of the season. His slow curve was working so well, he had one strikeout where strike two came on a 61 MPH curve, followed by strike three on a 94 MPH fastball. That’s almost unfair to a batter. And before you say, “Yeah, but that was against the Mariners”, Seattle was the team Darvish had done the worst against of any team entering the game, compiling a 9.00 ERA in 15 innings pitched over three starts (Personally, I think he was trying to impress Ichiro, who’s now torched him for a .545 BA in 11 AB’s).
The Yu Darvish we’ve seen over the past five starts is the one the Rangers’ front office thought they were signing when they put in their extraordinary $58 million plus bid just for the rights to negotiate with him ten months ago. Friday night, he became the 16th rookie pitcher since 1900 to record 200+ strikeouts in a season. He leads the league in 10+ strikeout games. His batting average against is one of the lowest in the AL. And now, he’s given up three hits or less in four of his last five starts, only four hits in his last two starts combined.
One of the big knocks against the Rangers, despite two World Series appearances in two years, was they had no true ace at the top of their pitching rotation. If Darvish’s last three starts of the season continue to be like the previous five have been, he’s more than capable of going head to head against CC, Jered, Justin, David or anyone else’s #1 in the post-season.
- Yu Da Man! (40yearrangerfan.mlblogs.com)
As much attention as the July 31st trade deadline receives, today’s trade deadline is just as important. That’s because any player acquired after August 31st CAN’T be on a team’s playoff roster. In other words, if the Rangers are going to acquire proven major league help for their post-season push, today is the last day to do it.
The August 31st deadline is what the whole revocable waivers is all about. We’ve heard Roy Oswalt cleared revocable waivers, so Texas could trade him to anyone today if they so desired. Other players have probably been put on revocable waivers by the Rangers as well, and probably have cleared as well. If a player is put on revocable waivers and a claim is put in for that player, the team can either take the player back off the table (the revocable part) or work out a deal with the claiming team within something like 48 hours.
Also entering into the equation at this time are players in the minors who have no options left after this season. They could become part of a trade package. Two of those for the Rangers are Julio Borbon and Brandon Snyder. I’ve been thinking all year Borbon was going to become part of a package but it hasn’t happened yet. He’s had three big league seasons under his belt and while he hasn’t fulfilled the promise he showed in his first year, 2009, he’s had a good season at AAA Round Rock, hitting over .300 with speed and some pop in his bat.
Snyder started the season with the Rangers but was sent down to make room for Mike Olt on the roster. Snyder made some good contributions to the Rangers earlier in the season, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him as part of a package either.
That said, who would the Rangers want in return? Here are the possibilities:
1) A back-up catcher: Geovany Soto has done a decent job since coming over from the Cubs. His back-up, Luis Martinez has been your prototypical replacement player. The fact is, nobody knows how much longer Mike Napoli is going to be out. Because we don’t know, I’d want a better option to back up Soto. Maybe try to get Jerrod Saltalamacchia back from the Red Sox or see if the Blue Jays would allow JP Arencibia to be pried from their hands.
2) Utility Infielder: Rangers fans are not thrilled with the idea that Michael Young is currently the back-up shortstop to Elvis Andrus. Another Blue Jay and former Ranger Omar Vizquel would be a nice little pick-up to head down the stretch with.
3) Bullpen: I’m actually pretty OK with the bullpen as it’s constituted, but if there’s one slot that’s worrisome, it would be the role currently filled by Michael Kirkman. Kirkman’s had glimpses of being very good this year, but the consistency still isn’t there. I don’t know what southpaw might be available out there, but an acquisition here is a distinct possibility.
4) Starting Pitcher: This is very unlikely to happen and maybe it doesn’t really need to. Still, I do have some trepidation about Texas heading into the post-season with a starting four of Darvish, Harrison, Holland and Dempster. The thing is, I don’t think an August 31st deal is going to be able to land any kind of an upgrade here. At best, it might get you an innings-eater that will allow the Rangers to bypass Scott Feldman in the rotation in September, but not much beyond that.
Texas could be busy today. Or Jon Daniels could just say this is the team we’re rolling with into the 2012 post-season. Neither outcome would surprise me in the least.
If you haven’t entered, today is the last day to submit your entry for a chance to win the 4-DVD set of the Essential Games of the Texas Rangers from A+E Home Entertainment/MLB Productions. The set contains the complete games of Nolan Ryan‘s 7th No-Hitter, the Rangers first ever playoff win against the Yankees in 1996 and the Rangers two AL Championship clinching wins in 2010 and 2011.
To enter, just submit the form below. Entry deadline is Friday 8/31/12. Winners will be drawn Tuesday 9/4/12. FIVE WINNERS IN ALL, so enter today! Only 1 entry per e-mail address please.
One third of the Texas Rangers line-up Thursday night were newbies. The overall results were positive, though not all the individual ones.
In pounding the Angels into submission 15-9, Rangers fans got a chance to see all three of the newest Rangers in one game: catcher Geovany Soto, acquired in a trade with the Cunbs; Ryan Dempster, acquired in a separate trade with the Cubs; and Mike Olt, rookie first baseman recalled from AA Frisco.
The results were positive for the offensive players, a disaster for the pitcher.
Olt lashed a solid single to left in his first major league at bat against Angels starter CJ Wilson. He scored the second of the Rangers five second inning runs. Coming to bat again just one inning later, Olt lashed another bullet on the left side, but it was snared on an excellent defensive play.
Olt struck out in his only other plate appearance of the night.
Soto was in the middle of all the action. It might be debated how good a game he called in his first look at the American League Angels, but he was a solid contributor at the plate. Soto’s lead-off single in the second spurred the 5-run rally against Wilson. In the 8th, Soto’s double plated two runs and helped seal the win for the Rangers.
Dempster’s Rangers debut was a living nightmare. Pitching in Rangers Ballpark in Arlington in the middle of the summer is a daunting chore. When the jet stream is blowing out, there’s no telling what can happen. Dempster found out early, when Mark Trumbo hit a two-run shot to right in the first. It didn’t even look like it was hit hard. In most parks on most nights, it was a simple fly out to right. With the jet stream, it became two runs for the Angels. Dempster would give up a second homer on the night, as well as four doubles, three of which came close to going over the fence as well. By the time Dempster’s night ended, the Angels had scored eight of their nine runs on the night. Dempster seemed to alternate between cutters that induced weak grounders and meatballs that pounded to the deepest part of the park. In the end, he was lucky to escape with a no decision on the night.
Meanwhile, Roy Oswalt tossed two solid innings in his new role as long reliever in picking up the win. Josh Hamilton had his first 4-RBI game in over a month, Nelson Cruz and Ian Kinsler took Wilson deep, and the Rangers ended the night with the same lead they began the series with.
All in all, it was a pretty satisfying conclusion considering the Angels appeared to have seized momentum in the AL West race following two convincing wins Monday and Tuesday.
Olt probably won’t get the start at Kansas City tonight against righthander Jeremy Guthrie and Soto likely gives way to Mike Napoli behind the plate tonight, but it certainly looks like the Rangers bench has become more potent with their arrival.
- MLB: Texas 15, Los Angeles Angels 9 (upi.com)
- Dempster Diving (40yearrangerfan.mlblogs.com)
- Treading Water Is Great When You’re On Top Of The Water (40yearrangerfan.mlblogs.com)