Results tagged ‘ Jon Daniels ’
“Aren’t you a little old to believe in Santa?”
“Fair enough. So, what would you like Santa to bring you this year, little…uh…boy.”
“Hold on there, fella. You know Santa can’t bring you ALL of those things, don’t you?”
“But I’ve been a VERY VERY good boy this year, Santa!”
“Yes, but there are lots of other VERY VERY good boys this year and they want some of the same things you do.”
“You’re not including the Astros are you, Santa? Because they weren’t very good at all this year.”
“Yes, but we have to be fair to everyone. So what do you REALLY want Santa to bring you this year?”
“Forget being fair. This is about WINNING!!! I want Price and Stanton and McCann and Cruz and Napoli and…”
“Let’s try this from a different direction, kid. You know the drill. It still has to fall within your parents’ budget. So let’s be a tad more frugal here.”
“My folks are REAL rich. That’s why I don’t understand why they didn’t bring me back Josh Hamilton last year. Although, in retrospect, I guess they had a pretty good reason and it wasn’t something that I would’ve wanted to play with after all. Anyway, why not everything? They can afford it!”
“Needs, kid, NEEDS. Remember what the Stones said? You can’t always get what you want, but you usually get what you need. You want Price, you gotta give up Profar for sure, Holland probably and two of your top five prospects on top of that. And the Marlins say they’re keeping Stanton come hell or high water and he’ll cost you more than Price anyway. So let’s get rid of that pie in the sky Price and Stanton crap and get down to brass tacks. What does this Rangers fan NEED to be happy in 2013?”
(2 minutes of pouting ensues. Finally, Rangers fan replies)
“You’re not at all the way I remember you 50 years ago.”
“Yeah, well corporate cut my pension plan, I’ve had to downsize to six reindeer and there’s an elf accusing me of…Wait. Where were we?”
“What do I NEED to be a happy Rangers fan in 2013.”
“Right. Go ahead. Spit it out.”
“I’ll go ahead and drop Price and Stanton from my list. Reluctantly. But that’s only because we’ve got a pretty strong rotation already and we need more help with the offense. So here goes. I want the Rangers to sign Brian McCann to be the catcher until Jorge Alfaro is ready to go.”
“Hey, this won’t cost anything but a little pride. I want Ian Kinsler to agree to move to left field so Jurickson Profar can become the full-time second baseman.Oh, and a brand new set of hamstrings for Adrian Beltre!”
“Kinsler may be doable. Beltre’s hamstrings aren’t in my department.”
“Then I want Texas to sign Justin Morneau to play first base. Jon Daniels said a lot of teams expressed interest in Mitch Moreland. Make him part of a trade package for another piece, maybe a #5 starter. Then we should re-sign Nelson Cruz as our DH in 2013.”
“You want three free agents, huh? That’s a pretty tall order for any team except maybe the Yankees and Dodgers, son.”
“You could give me Price and Stanton. Do that and I’ll live with Moreland at first for another year.”
“Three free agent signings it is, then. Is that all? I’ve got a line of kids a block and a half long yet to see.”
“Well, if it wouldn’t be too much trouble. How about a trade that nobody’s thought of yet. Kind of like a rabbit JD pulls out of his hat and surprises everyone with, even the writers who’ve started every possible trade rumor anyone could imagine?”
“That might take some doing, but maybe my friend the Sandman can whisper a thought into his head. Now, if that’s all, see that nice elf over there for a candy cane and have a…”
“WAIT!!! One last thing, Santa! Do you think you could make 2014 the year the Rangers finally win it all?”
“I’m just Santa Claus, kid. I deliver the gifts. I don’t control what happens to them after they’ve been opened. For all I know, you’ll break everything I give you in the first week of Spring Training.”
It was both unexpected and expected. The Texas Rangers announced Nolan Ryan is retiring as CEO of the Rangers, effective October 31st.
It was unexpected in that Nolan’s status with the club really hadn’t been discussed much in recent weeks (or even months). It was expected in that there’s been a lingering feeling (fueled in part by a recently retired sports radio host) that Ryan was feeling unloved and unappreciated by Rangers’ ownership when they promoted Jon Daniels to GM and President of Baseball Operations. Nolan reportedly sulked throughout Spring Training before deciding to continue in his capacity as CEO, even though he no longer had any authority to veto any of Daniels’ player personnel decisions.
There are many folks in one camp who will be celebrating Nolan’s departure. There are a substantial number of others who think it should be Daniels and not Ryan leaving. Call me wishy-washy but I like both of them and I’m sad Ryan will be leaving.
Jon Daniels helped build the Rangers team into perennial contenders. Ryan was the one that helped make the entire organization, under multiple owners over the years, relevant. Seriously, the Rangers were seldom anything more than an afterthought in the American League until Ryan came along in the 1980′s to finish out his career. There were years Texas might be on the fringes of a pennant race but it didn’t really matter. People weren’t going to the games. The Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex was Cowboys Country and pennant race baseball in September might interfere with Tom Landry‘s boys. In 1989, though, the Rangers took a chance and signed a 42-year-old Nolan Ryan to a free agent contract. Most people thought he only had a year or two left. Why wouldn’t they at age 42?
Before the arrival of the Ryan Express, the highest the Rangers had ever finished in attendance was at 1.7 million. In Ryan’s first year, Texas topped the 2 million fan mark for the first time.
Ryan helped bring fans to the ballpark as a player, then made his presence felt as an executive. Then owner Tom Hicks hired Ryan as the team’s president prior to the start of the 2008 season. His influence on the club’s fortunes cannot be understated. On the field, Ryan was a big proponent in starting pitchers going longer in games and helped lay the course of making pitching a priority in building the ballclub, where hitting had been the focus for so many years. Nolan also was an astute businessman with a variety of interests, including minor league ballclubs (in Corpus Christi and Round Rock), a cattle ranch, a restaurant and a bank. Ryan is credited with changing the fans’ ballpark experience for the better.
Most importantly, it was Ryan who served as the “face” of the group looking to buy the Rangers as they went into bankruptcy due to Tom Hicks’ overspending ways. Had Ryan’s group not succeeded in purchasing the Rangers, they would be owned today by current Astros owner Jim Crane. Fans of the Rangers are perfectly happy with this ownership group, thank you very much.
Nolan wasn’t perfect. Some still think he shouldn’t have fired Josh Lewin as the TV voice of the club. To this day, many fans will watch the games on TV while listening to Eric Nadel do the play-by-play on the radio. Whatever faults he may have, there’s no denying that when Nolan Ryan says something, people listen. There aren’t many people who have the gravitas of a Nolan Ryan. Skilled as he is at his job, Jon Daniels doesn’t have it. I expect that to become a big challenge for the organization in the next few years. The ownership group likes to stay in the background. Will Daniels become an effective “face” of the franchise? Only time will tell.
For now, I choose to salute Nolan on a job well done, both on and off the field. He will be missed.
- Nolan Ryan to retire as Rangers CEO on Oct. 31 (cbssports.com)
It’s the end of the season, the Rangers did themselves no favors by going cold to begin the month of September and now find themselves not assured of a playoff spot with a mere ten games to go in the regular season. The AL West title is clearly out of the question with Oakland up 6 1/2 with 10 games to go. If the Rangers go 10-0, Oakland would still win the division by going a mere 4-5. Mathematically it’s possible, realistically fuhgeddaboutit.
This, of course, means the silly season has started in the DFW area. Columnists are busy opining as to what kind of blood bath will occur within the Rangers organization after the close of the season. After all, Texas “collapsed” for the second consecutive year. SOMEONE HAS TO PAY WITH THEIR JOB!!!
Already, camps have begun to pop up in the media. Some have begun to speculate on Ron Washington‘s future with the team. On the other side of the coin, the Fort Worth Star Telegram’s Randy Galloway has firmly established himself in the “Fire Jon Daniels” camp, saying the Rangers’ season wasn’t Wash’s fault, it was JD’s for not giving him a good enough team to work with.
My question is, why should anyone get fired?
Yeah, the season has been a disappointment in many regards. The showing of the team in September has not been good and there’s a very real chance Texas won’t be in the playoffs come the end of next week. Based on schedule, the Rangers and Indians have the most favorable odds but getting shut out of the post season is a real possibility.
Still, let’s look at this logically.
For those in the “Fire Wash” faction, think about how 2013 squad composition compared to the 2012 team. Gone for the entire year from that team were Josh Hamilton, Mike Napoli, Michael Young. Those three players alone combined for 75 home runs and 251 RBI worth of offense. In their place, essentially, were A.J. Pierzynski, Lance Berkman and Leonys Martin who, as of 9/19, have combined for 31 game runs and 139 RBI offensively. David Murphy slid from 15 HR and 61 RBI in 2012 to 13 HR and 44 RBI in 2013. And Nelson Cruz, the biggest power threat on the team, got suspended for the last 50 games of the regular season after posting 27 home runs and 76 RBI in the first 112 games.
Meanwhile, on the pitching side, Texas lost Koji Uehara and Mike Adams from the bullpen. Colby Lewis never pitched in 2013 after posting six wins in 2012. Matt Harrison had only two starts in 2013 before being shelved for the year following an 18 win 2012 campaign. The pitching staff actually improved in 2013 despite these departures. Martin Perez established himself as a legitimate starter and the bullpen hasn’t missed a beat with Jason Frasor, Neal Cotts and Tanner Scheppers replacing Uehara and Adams. Joakim Soria and Neftali Feliz boosted the pen when they came back in August & September from lengthy injury rehabilitation.
Considering how vastly different this team is from the 2012 team, not only should Wash not be fired, he should contend for AL Manager of the Year for where he has this club in the standings. He won’t win. John Farrell of the Red Sox will probably get the honor, but Wash has done an outstanding job considering the injuries he’s had to contend with as well as the Cruz suspension. Texas is tied for the Wild Card lead despite, at one point, fielding a rotation that consisted of Derek Holland, Martin Perez, Nick Tepesch, Justin Grimm and Ross Wolf.
Then what of General Manager Jon Daniels? Maybe Galloway is right, Jon Daniels should pay with his job for not giving Wash better pieces to work with.
Nonsense. All Daniels has done is put together a team that contended for the division title up until the last three weeks of the season and did it without breaking the Rangers budget or crippling the team for the future. Look at the off-season of 2012. The Rangers were in hot pursuit of two players in particular: Zach Greinke and Justin Upton. They had hopes of re-signing Josh Hamilton. They weren’t saying no to a Mike Napoli return either. Adams and Uehara they were resigned to losing, since JD doesn’t want to overpay for bullpen pieces. Texas was supposedly ready to part with Mike Olt and Elvis Andrus, perhaps even Martin Perez, to get Upton. Arizona didn’t bite. Upton in 2013 has put up 2.9 WAR for the Braves. Andrus and Perez have combined for a 4.1 WAR, while Olt ended up being a piece of the trade that brought Matt Garza to Texas. Greinke signed with the Dodgers. Texas put up an attractive offer, but LA topped it and Greinke admitted he went with the best financial offer. Guess what? If JD had sweetened the offer, the Dodgers would have topped it again.
Since Texas lost out on both Upton and Greinke, Daniels had to get a little more creative. He tried to get James Shields from the Royals. The Rays’ ask was too high. Finally, Daniels signed Lance Berkman as the team’s DH. It was a calculated risk, but if Berkman and his creaky knees came anywhere close to what he did for the St. Louis Cardinals, it would be a steal. He then signed Pierzynski as the everyday catcher. He had already signed the injured Joakim Soria to a two-year deal, even though he wouldn’t be ready until mid-season at the earliest. Finally, Daniels went more low-key and signed Jason Frasor to a 1-year deal to help the bullpen and Jeff Baker as the club’s back-up to Mitch Moreland at first base, David Murphy in left and Adrian Beltre at third. Then, with Texas contending at mid-season, JD went and got both the best hitter and the best pitcher available at the trade deadline in Matt Garza and Alex Rios. He possibly overpaid for Garza, who not only has been somewhat of a disappointment for Texas, he also will be a free agent at year’s end. On the other hand, Rios cost Texas just Leury Garcia and he’s still is under contract for 2014.
All these moves and Texas might miss the playoffs in 2013. On the other hand, take a look at what Daniels has accomplished. On the pitching side, the starting rotation for 2014 is already 4/5 complete with Yu Darvish, Derek Holland, Martin Perez and a returning Matt Harrison. There’s always a possibility for Colby Lewis to return as well, which would complete the rotation. Meanwhile, Nick Tepesch remains as a viable rotation candidate for next year as well, along with Josh Lindblom, obtained in the Michael Young trade. In the bullpen, if Joe Nathan returns and the club re-signs Frasor, the entire bullpen could return intact in 2014, which is practically unheard of these days.
There is work to be done with the offense. David Murphy will undoubtedly be allowed to leave. Nelson Cruz could depart as well. Yet, the Texas offense is not that far away from being potent yet again. Jurickson Profar and Leonys Martin had their first full years in the bigs in 2013 and are sure to put up better numbers in 2014. Texas will probably need to sign another catcher to replace Pierzynski and could take a stab at Brian McCann. Kinsler could be asked to move to first base or left field and Texas will look to obtain a replacement at whichever position Kinsler doesn’t move to. Still, if Daniels were to re-sign Cruz as the everyday DH, move Kinsler to first, sign McCann and then find a new left fielder with some pop, this will be a contending club again in 2014. That will have been accomplished by a GM who kept his top position prospect (Profar) and pitching prospect (Perez) and still has a top 5 minor league system to work out more trades down the road.
Fire Jon Daniels? I think not.
If anyone is to leave at the end of the season, it would be on the coaching staff. Texas made a lot of baserunning blunders in 2013, but they also have three of the top basestealers in the AL, so Gary Pettis‘ job should be safe. Dave Magadan has a great reputation as a hitting coach so I don’t see him as a one year and done coach. Jackie Moore as bench coach? Considering Wash has a history of curious moves, that could be a possibility and even that could be framed as a retirement and not a firing.
In the end, who will get fired? I ask again, why should ANYONE be fired? This is still a very good team with very good leadership. If Texas doesn’t qualify for the post-season, it doesn’t mean the wheels are off the wagon. They’re just momentarily slowing down to fix the wheels to get better traction a year from now.
Here’s a wrap-up of the past week that was in Texas Rangers baseball. All stats listed are just for the previous week of play.
Rangers Record: 6-0
Overall: 68-50 (1st Place AL West) (+1)
Adrian Beltre .435/.536/.739 1 Double, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 4 Walks
Alex Rios .571/.625/1.000 1 Double, 1 Triple, 2 RBI, 3 Runs Scored in 2 Games
Joey Butler .500/.600/1.000 2 Doubles, 2 Runs, 1 Walk in 5 Plate Appearances
Ian Kinsler .200/.276/.280
Jalapeno Caliente (Pitching):
Martin Perez 2-0, 1 Complete Game, 1.76 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 15 K in 15.1 IP
Raspa Frio (Pitching):
Only Robbie Ross and Matt Garza had ERA’s over 4.50 for the week, but both get a pass as Garza won his game, striking out 8 while walking only 1 and Ross only pitched 2/3 of an inning for the week. No Frios por la semana (for the week).
Talk about making lemonade out of lemons. On Monday, the axe fell on Nelson Cruz, the Rangers’ top run producer for 2013. Instead of bowing their heads and feeling sorry for themselves, the Rangers went right ahead like they didn’t miss him at all. How does a season long 7-game winning streak hit you? Without Cruz, but admittedly with the benefit of playing the AL West’s bottom two teams, the Rangers swept the week at 6-0 and went from 2 1/2 games behind the Oakland A’s to a game on top in the AL West.
Regular readers of this blog know Texas just shifted its focus against the Angels to a speed game and ran at will on the LA pitching and catching staff. The Astros were a little different animal. Houston just isn’t a very good team and even when their starting pitchers did their job, the bullpen ensured the Rangers would come out on top.
I put two players in the Jalapeno Caliente column this week even with limited at bats. Alex Rios came over in a trade from the Chicago White Sox and immediately paid dividends. In his first game Saturday, Rios walked his first time up, then singled and hustled into second on a throw to third in his second plate appearance. In the 8th, with Texas trailing 4-3, Rios tied the game with a triple, then came home on a grounder, knocking the ball out of Jason Castro‘s glove at the plate to score what proved to be the winning run. For Sunday’s encore, Rios scored the Rangers first run following a single in the 5th, added an RBI double in the 6th to make it 2-0 and scored in the Rangers’ 4-run 9th. For someone who came to Texas with a reputation for not hustling, Rios sure didn’t look like the guy the scouts were talking about. Maybe it’s playing on a club with playoff aspirations for a change. Rios tweeted after Sunday’s game he’s never encountered a team with as much energy as the Rangers. It appears to be catching.
The other honorable mention went to Joey Butler. At the advanced baseball age of 27, Butler finally made it to the big leagues for the first time, being recalled following Cruz’ suspension. He was to be the right-handed hitting complement to lefties David Murphy and Leonys Martin in right field. That platoon lasted all of five days when Texas acquired Rios. Butler only got to start one game for Texas before being sent down to AAA Round Rock, but he made the most of it, mashing two doubles and scoring twice off Houston’s Eric Bedard. I hope Butler gets to come back up as a September call-up. Everyone loves to cheer for those types of underdogs.
Another week facing sub-.500 teams, a streak that won’t end until Labor Day. This week, it’s one game with the Astros Monday to close out the 4-game set. Tuesday, an 8-game homestand begins with two against the Milwaukee Brewers followed by three against the AL West foe the Rangers have had the hardest time with in 2013, the Seattle Mariners (8-5). If Texas wins the first three games this week, be prepared for a different looking Jon Daniels. The Rangers GM, along with Dallas radio personalities Ben & Skin, have promised to shave their heads to look like Ron Washington for charity if Texas wins 10 in a row. Here they are side by side. Just imagine what Daniels will look like:
- Can Alex Rios Replace Nelson Cruz’s Bat in Texas Rangers Lineup? (bleacherreport.com)
Just announced: The Texas Rangers have acquired Alex Rios from the Chicago White Sox in exchange for a player to be named later or cash. Speculation is he PTBNL is Leury Garcia. who started the season as the Rangers’ utility infielder. Since Garcia is on the 40-man roster, he’d have to clear waivers first to go to the White Sox now. By waiting until season’s end, the waiver requirement is no longer necessary.
Hey, Rios isn’t the best bat around, but he’s one of the best ones available now. He’s a righthanded bat, which the Rangers sorely needed. He’s signed through next season so if David Murphy, Nelson Cruz or both Murphy and Cruz depart at season’s end due to their free agency, there’s already a reasonably productive piece already in place. Rios has a salary a bit on the high side, but for the remainder of this year it’s offset both by some cash the White Sox threw into the deal and the salary Cruz isn’t being paid due to his suspension. Best of all, if the Rangers make the post-season, Rios and Cruz will both be available for post-season play.
On the downside was this tweet from the Fort Worth Star Telegram’s Gil LeBreton, who noted “scouts say Rios moves at one speed…and it’s not all-out.” Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News was quick to retweet LeBreton’s tweet. I responded to both, “If anyone can get to him, though, it’ll be Wash.” Both scribes quickly agreed with my assessment.
Wash doesn’t work with everyone. He certainly could do nothing with Cristian Guzman in 2010. Guzman didn’t even make the post-season roster. Wash, though, has a way of getting the best out of his players. There was never a bigger example of that than 2008, two years before the Rangers’ World Series run. That year, Jon Daniels surprised just about everyone in the baseball world by signing world-class malcontent Milton Bradley. Everyone thought JD was crazy. Wash took Bradley under his wing. Throughout the 2008 season, he only had one potential incident, which Wash helped defuse before anything bad could happen. On the field, Bradley had the best season of his career, hitting .321 with 22 home runs, 77 RBI and a .999 OPS. Bradley was also named to his first and only All-Star team. As many know, Bradley signed a big free agent deal after that with the Cubs and was never the same player again. His anger ended up getting the best of him and he’s now facing prison time for a domestic violence charge.
The point is Wash got through to Bradley. On the field it’s easy to see when Wash gets through to Elvis Andrus and Derek Holland. Both respond to the “in your face” approach to motivation. The lives of every Rangers player is full of what Ron Washington terms “teaching moments.” For every player, those moments take different forms. While Wash is not the best baseball strategist on the block, what he does exceptionally well is handle the men in his charge, sizing them up, figuring out the best way to get through to them, then watching it translate on the baseball field. Not everyone will respond. Those are the ones that usually find themselves ex-Rangers. That well could happen next year to Alex Rios. On the other hand, if Wash figures out what makes him tick, this could end up being a very good acquisition for Texas for the next season and a third.
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.
The hammer officially fell. Major League Baseball suspended Nelson Cruz for 50 games and the Rangers slugger chose to accept the suspension with no appeal. The big question is what does it mean for the playoff chances of Texas?
Many have called the loss of Cruz “devastating”. Texas is currently tied for the final Wild Card slot and are just 2 1/2 games behind the A’s in the AL West. So is the news devastating or not?
Cruz is being replaced, at least for now, minor leaguers Engel Beltre and Joey Butler, the latter of whom has no big league experience. Cruz had 76 RBI in 108 games. That’s about .74 runs per game. Texas won’t be able to replace all that from within. If Cruz’ replacements manage to cover a third of that production it still stands to reason the Rangers offense will score about half a run less per game without him. Texas pitchers will have to get used to the idea that giving up more than three runs a game will usually lead to a loss.
Fortunately, Texas pitching is good and getting better. Colby Lewis should be back in a week and Matt Harrison is just a couple weeks behind. On pitching alone, the Rangers should be able to stay in it to the end, even without trading for another bat. It won’t be easy. If Jon Daniels can’t find offensive help anywhere, one injury to Adrian Beltre, Ian Kinsler or Elvis Andrus and the result WILL be devastating.
Cruz can return for the playoffs if Texas gets there and his teammates want him, which I believe they do. If Texas makes it to the postseason, I’m not sure I want Nelly there, but not for suspension related reasons. In the World Series years of 2010 and 2011, Cruz was on the DL five times. Every time he came back, his timing was off and he looked terrible at the plate for two weeks. Does anyone really think he’ll have his timing right away? That’s a pretty big risk to take with so much on the line.
Like most fans, I’m disappointed in Nelson Cruz. Unlike Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun, his apology was more complete. It couldn’t have been an easy thing for him to do. It’s possible Nelly has played his last game in a Rangers uniform. If so, I wish him the best in the future and I thank him for his contributions over the years.
Here’s a wrap-up of the past week that was in Texas Rangers baseball. All stats listed are just for the previous week of play.
Rangers Record: 6-1
Overall: 62-51 (2nd Place AL West) (-2.5)
Adrian Beltre .429/.467/.536 1 HR, 6 RBI
A.J. Pierzynski .308/.308/.538 2 HR, 7 RBI
Ian Kinsler .214/.258/.393 It’s a good cold, though. Ian had a triple a home run and 4 RBI with the meager six hits he managed for the week.
Jalapeno Caliente (Pitching):
Yu Darvish 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.71 WHIP, 14 K’s in 7 IP
Martin Perez 1 ER in 7.1 IP
Raspa Frio (Pitching):
Joakim Soria 3 Games, 4 Earned Runs in 2.2 IP, .364 BAA
Well, we learned a lot about the Texas Rangers this week. We learned Matt Garza may be a bulldog on the mound, but he’s a bit of a loudmouth off it. Garza, who lost Saturday’s start against the Oakland A’s, took exception to a safety squeeze play that netted Oakland an insurance run, thinking it wasn’t the manly way to play baseball. Garza was wrong in that assessment and he made matters worse later when he got into a Twitter war with A’s second baseman Eric Sogard and his wife, one that he had to publicly apologize for the next day. Garza may have been the prime piece available at this year’s trade deadline but he just made it a little harder for Rangers fans to wholeheartedly embrace him.
We learned that, despite his puzzling strategic moves at times, Ron Washington is one helluva manager. If he wasn’t, he wouldn’t be #1 on the list of wins by a Texas Rangers manager. With Sunday’s 4-0 whitewashing of the A’s, Wash passed Bobby Valentine for most wins in franchise history. The Rangers have totally bought into Wash’s formula to win, they enjoy playing for him and the results show. Considering the injuries to the starting pitching staff and the lack of punch in the offensive line-up, the Rangers are still in contention for the playoffs in 2013. GM Jon Daniels mentioned it a couple of weeks ago and I agree: 2013 could be Ron Washington’s best as a manager. The honor of being a franchise best is fully deserved.
We learned the Rangers are incredibly streaky and you can never count them out. Just one week ago today, Texas was 2-8 coming out of the All-Star Break and were playing like they were on fumes, falling 6 games behind the A’s in the AL West. One week later, they’re coming off a 6-1 week that included three consecutive walk-off home run games and taking two of three from the A’s at Oakland, shaving 3 and a half games off the A’s lead in one week’s time to pull to within 2.5 of Oakland.
What will we learn this week? We’ll learn right off the bat if A) Nelson Cruz is suspended by MLB in the Biogenesis scandal and B) if Cruz plans to appeal that suspension. The odds are pretty good Cruz will be suspended, it’s the appeal that is the unknown. Cruz is between a rock and a hard place on this. If he appeals, he may get to play out the season. However, as a free agent, teams might be reluctant to give him a wad of cash when he’s apt to miss the first third of the 2014 regular season. Or he can appeal, lose the appeal before the end of the regular season and be unavailable for the playoffs. Take the suspension and not only will he miss the rest of the regular season, if the Rangers don’t make the playoffs, he may have played his last game in a Rangers uniform. The Texas front office has been reluctant to sign Nelly to a new deal, but Cruz has often expressed his desire to remain with the Rangers.
The next three plus weeks are favorable to Texas, as their next 24 games are all against teams with sub-.500 records on the year. Even so, Cruz is the Rangers’ main power hitter. The road becomes a lot tougher, even against losing ballclubs, without the Boomstick in the line-up. This week begins with three games in LA against the Angels. After an off day, a 4-game set begins Friday in Houston against the Astros. If Cruz is indeed gone from the Rangers line-up for the rest of the regular season, Ron Washington is going to really earn every additional win on his Rangers record from now through the end of the season.
The end of the day brought the news. After days of speculation and an apparent disintegration of the initial deal, the Texas Rangers and the Chicago Cubs agreed to let the Rangers take Matt Garza off the Cubs’ hands while Chicago will assume responsibility for the careers of Mike Olt, Justin Grimm, C.J. Edwards and a player to be named later.
Now we’ll get a couple of days of pundits putting in their two cents’ worth about who “won” the trade, after they’ve finished opining the Ryan Braun suspension to death. Since Garza will be a free agent at season’s end, there’s no doubt the Cubs are the winner if the Rangers don’t ink Garza long-term. On the other hand, an extension for Garza would probably put this as a win-win for both teams. Olt was blocked by Adrian Beltre, so his loss was expected. Justin Grimm could have been a serviceable 4th or 5th in the rotation starter in another year or two. Unfortunately, Texas needed him this year and, following a very successful April, continued to get worse with each successive start. Maybe a change of scenery and going back to AAA will put him on the right road back.
The one I was hoping wouldn’t leave was Edwards. While only at the Low-A level with Hickory and at least two or three years away from the bigs, Edwards was as highly regarded as any 48th round draft pick could be. You saw that right- Edwards was a 48th round draft pick in 2011. Over the past two seasons, Edwards has thrown 160+ innings at three different levels with a combined 1.68 ERA. Now get this: In those 160+ innings, Edwards has given up only 94 hits with 207 strikeouts, only 59 walks and here’s how many home runs he’s given up: Zero. Zilch. Nada.
Texas has been after Garza for a while. Two and a half years ago, they offered Tampa Bay Derek Holland as part of a package, but the Rays sent him to the Cubs instead. I expect Jon Daniels will make a full-court press to sign Garza to a multi-year deal following season’s end.
This trade will not put the Rangers over the hump. As poorly as the offense has performed, there’s no denying the need for at least one big bat in the line-up. Alex Rios of the White Sox is discussed a LOT in the Metroplex, since it’s unlikely the Marlins will part with Giancarlo Stanton at least until the off-season. Texas still has decent minor league pieces they can use to try obtaining a hitter. Only 9 days until the trade deadline. The eyes of Texas are on the Rangers’ front office.
- Everything You Need to Know About the Garza Deal (baselinecommentary.com)
- Report: Rangers Trade Olt, Two Others For Cubs Pitcher Matt Garza (dfw.cbslocal.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.