Tagged: Andruw Jones

Finally… some news!

Wow, I didn’t realize how difficult it would be to blog again after such a long break. Okay, so it’s only been 3 weeks, but when I spent 4 1/2 months blogging nearly every day (and sometimes multiple times in a day), it’s hard to jump back on the horse. I’m rusty. But that doesn’t matter, because I finally have some news to pass on!

The Rangers have claimed Joe Inglett off waivers. For those of you who don’t know what that means, I’ll explain: The Toronto Blue Jays decided to take Inglett off their 40-man roster to make room for other players, and the Rangers were able to snatch him up. Inglett will be used as a utility infielder for the 2010 season, a position that was recently vacated by Omar Vizquel.

Omar decided to sign on with the White Sox for next year, so the Rangers have been looking to acquire someone to fill that backup role. (FYI, Andruw Jones also signed with the White Sox for next year. Don’t let the door hit ya where the good Lord split ya, Andruw!) The best news in this acquisition is that Inglett isn’t eligible for arbitration yet, and we’ll be getting him for about half a mil. That’s a steal. Now, I don’t know anything about Inglett, so I’m trying to reserve my excitement. Apparently he’s played mostly 2nd base since his major league debut it 2006, and he only played a meager 36 games with Toronto last year. BUT… he can play shortstop, which is important for the Rangers.

There have been some new developments with the ownership situation as well, but it’s all very confusing. Previously, we learned that the frontrunners were Jim Crane, Chuck Greenberg, and Dennis Gilbert. Then, last week or so, it came out that Tom Hicks was trying to get together a group of local investors to retain control of the Rangers. Well, Jim Crane has kind of faded out, and Commissioner Bud Selig shut down Tom Hicks because he was wanting to mortgage away the Rangers’ future for more money today, so it’s neck and neck between Gilbert and Greenberg.

Tom Hicks then apparently threw in with Dennis Gilbert, and Nolan Ryan was preparing to resign as team president if Gilbert bought the Rangers. Gilbert is reportedly Jerry Jones-esque in his need to be involved in every aspect of the team, and Nolan didn’t want to have to deal with it. But now there’s a feud between Gilbert and Hicks, so Nolan’s not resigning. Or something. I told you it was confusing.

Other random tidbits:

-Josh Rupe and Jason Grilli signed minor league contracts with other teams.

-The Rangers offered arbitration to both Marlon Byrd and Pudge, but neither are expected to accept. The deadline is Monday for that, but even if they refuse arbitration, they can still hammer out a deal with the Rangers later.

-Salty tried to play Winter Ball somewhere in South America, but he had to come out in the middle of his second game because of shoulder problems. They’re going to shut him down for a month and then see how things are progressing.

-The Jermaine Dye to Texas rumor still abounds, but the Milton Bradley to Texas rumor has been effectively squashed.

-A lot of teams are interested in Kevin Millwood, but Texas doesn’t want to trade him unless the “right deal comes along.” I know Millwood has problems, but he’s our only veteran starting pitcher, so I’m hesitant to send him packing.

-Everybody’s interested in Nelson Cruz (big surprise there), but the Rangers are reluctant to lose him. And I personally think that if they trade him, someone should be shot. Come on, he’s got great potential, he’s a team player, and he’s cheap! Seriously, folks!

-There are several pitchers in the Yankees’ organization that will be eligible for the Rule 5 Draft soon. But the Rangers already have way too many starting pitchers, so unless he’s a lefty that can work in a short relief role, we can’t use any more.

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World Series disappointment, hockey excitement, and Rangers News

Blech. The Yankees won Game 6 of the World Series last night, thus sealing themselves as the 2009 champs. Excuse me, I have to go throw up now.

<~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~HEAVE~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~>

Okay, I’m back. The good news is that I didn’t have to watch the Phillies lose last night, because I went to the Dallas Stars’ game last night! The Stars ended up losing, but that kind of ended up being a footnote of the evening. I had a great time! After Lindy and I had been there for about 3 minutes, I turned to her and said “Okay, we have to come back to another one of these!” Which was exciting for her, because she has a hard time finding people to go to games with her in the middle of the week. So yay!
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The Rangers have officially hired Clint Hurdle as their new hitting coach. He is a former baseball player, and he has spent many years as a hitting coach and as a manager for the Colorado Rockies. I’m sure Jon Daniels knows what he’s doing, so I’ll just hope it was the best choice. The only thing that bothers me is that Clint Hurdle was fired as the Rockies manager in May of this year (mid-season), and I don’t know why he was fired. I may have to do some more research to find out. But he led the Rockies to the World Series in 2007, and even though they lost the Series to the BoSox, getting there is good enough for me.
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In other news, the Free Agency market opens today. Each individual team has 2 weeks to negotiate exclusively with their players before open negotiations begin. The Rangers have 7 players who will be free agents: Joaquin Beniot, Eddie Guardado, Omar Vizquel, Hank Blalock, Andruw Jones, Pudge Rodriguez, and Marlon Byrd.
Hank Blalock
The Rangers have already said that they will not re-sign Blalock and Jones, and Eddie Guardado is considering retirement. Joaquin Beniot is a question mark, because he spent all of the 2009 season on the DL with a shoulder injury.

The Rangers have expressed interest in re-signing Pudge, and he has also shown interest in staying to retire with the Rangers, but a lot of it will supposedly hinge on Salty’s recovery. I have also heard that Pudge might not want to be with the Rangers now that they no longer have Rudy Jaramillo, because apparently he was looking forward to working with Rudy during the off-season.

Omar Vizquel
Talks have reportedly been going really well between the Rangers and Vizquel, and Jon Daniels said that he might be the only free agent that the Rangers sign before the end of the exclusive 2-week period, which ends November 19.
Marlon Byrd
Marlon Byrd is obviously the biggest free agent in contention, but he apparently wants to explore offers from other teams, so he isn’t expected to re-sign within the 2-week window.
If the Rangers can’t re-sign Marlon Byrd, they’re going to look at Jermaine Dye (among others on the free agent market) for a right-handed power bat. I’ve also heard word that the Rangers might be interested in Milton Bradley again, although the Cubs would have to take a huge chunk of his salary in order to make that possible.
Other right-handed bats on the free agent market that the Rangers are rumored to be looking at are Vladimir Guerrero, Gary Sheffield, Troy Glaus and Fernando Tatis. Although I don’t think we could afford Vlad. And I don’t know enough about the other guys to comment on them.
CJ Wilson
The Rangers are also talking about moving Neftali Feliz and/or C.J. Wilson into the starting rotation, which would mean they would need more middle relievers. They will almost certainly at least one more lefty reliever, to replace Eddie Guardado and/or C.J. Wilson (if he moves to the rotation).
They could be looking at Ben Sheets as a starter again, considering that he already had a contract drawn up with the Rangers in 2009 before it was voided due to medical issues. 
 
Sigh. There’s a lot of ifs and maybes and rumors circulating.
 
Originally published November 5, 2009

A quick sprinkling of information

*The Phillies won the NLCS last night, and they are going to the World Series

*Tonight is Game 5 of the ALCS, and the Yankees are up 3 games to 1 over the Angels. If the Yankees win any 1 of the remaining 3 games in the series, they will be going to the World Series. The Angels would have to win tonight’s game as well as the remaining 2 games in New York to advance. It’s not looking too good for the Halos. 😦

*Derek Holland went to Japan earlier this week to talk to Yusei Kikuchi, an 18-year-old pitching phenom. Kikuchi has to decide by October 29 if he wants to go into the Japanese draft (to play for a professional Japanese baseball team) or into the American draft.

*New ownership: Originally the consensus was that a deal wouldn’t be brokered until at least January 2010. But now the timetable has apparently been pushed up, because it’s looking like a deal could be finalized by the end of 2009. Jim Crane and Chuck Greenberg (2 of the 3 frontrunners to buy the Rangers) have both individually visited the ballpark and had a meeting with Nolan Ryan, Jon Daniels, and Tom Hicks this week, so Dennis Gilbert is sure to follow.

*Jason Grilli and Kevin Richardson have been outrighted to AAA Oklahoma City. They both have already cleared waivers. The Rangers expect Jason Grilli to decline the assignment and become a free agent and go somewhere else, while Kevin Richardson could possibly re-sign a minor league contract with the Rangers. This adds 2 more open spots of the 40-man roster, along with the assumed vacancies left by Andruw Jones and Hank Blalock, who are not expected to re-sign with the Rangers, and Eddie Guardado, who might retire.

*Jarrod Saltalamacchia might play in the Dominican Winter League, in order to rehab after his surgery.

*The Surprise Rafters are tied for the lead in the AFL West (which consists of a grand total of 3 teams), with a win-loss record of 5-3.

Originally published October 22, 2009

report card

I checked T.R. Sullivan’s blog today, and he had a kind of report card for this year’s players. I agree with most of what he says, but we differ on a few things. This is his report card:

Starters
Kevin Millwood – Manager has already said he is the Opening Day pitcher in 2010
Scott Feldman – What an amazing season.
Derek Holland – This kid is going to be fine. Can’t wait for his next start.
Tommy Hunter – Tommy, meet Nolan Ryan, the resident conditioning fanatic.
Brandon McCarthy – The Big Tease. He has talent but at what point do the Rangers say uncle?
Matt Harrison – He was pretty good before he got hurt
Neftali Feliz – The Rangers will try him in the rotation. Bet he makes it
Dustin Nippert – His numbers will work every year
Guillermo Moscoso – Should be Opening Day pitcher at Oklahoma City

Relievers
Frank Francisco – Needs warning label: handle with care.
C.J. Wilson – Most Valuable Reliever
Darren O’Day – Transaction of the Year
Jason Grilli – Wasn’t the same after he got hurt
Doug Mathis – Can he fill middle relief role?
Eddie Guardado – No finer person in baseball
Pedro Strop – Needs more time. Just not ready
Willie Eyre – Taking long road back from injuries

Catchers
Jarrod Saltalamacchia – Should still be No. 1 on depth chart
Ivan Rodriguez – Would you give him $4 million for two years?
Taylor Teagarden – Should have been in Triple A
Kevin Richardson – He is from Seattle area. He should have started one game this weekend.

Infielders
Chris Davis – Only one other player is a bigger key for Rangers in 2010.
Ian Kinsler – Absolutely nothing wrong with 101 runs and 86 RBI.
Elvis Andrus – He lived up to it all
Michael Young – Turns out he can still hit…and play third.
Omar Vizquel – He has one definite vote for the Hall of Fame.
Esteban German – A nice fifth player if the Rangers had the room
Hank Blalock – Hank’s Homies bid you adieu. It was fun while it lasted.

Outfielders
Josh Hamilton – Obviously the biggest key for the Rangers in 2010
David Murphy – Forget Rusty Greer all right? Anybody think he can be Paul O’Neill?
Julio Borbon – Definitely the kind of player the Rangers desperately need
Nelson Cruz – He is a good player. Can he be a great one or is this enough?
Marlon Byrd – Loved watching him tell the rookies to turn off the football game on Sunday and turn on baseball.
Andruw Jones – Next.
Craig Gentry – Off to Triple A to bide his time.

My take:
Derek Holland: I wouldn’t say I “can’t wait” for his next start. I think if he works hard during the off-season, he can have a stellar year. He has a lot of untapped potential.
C.J. Wilson: I would not call him the most valuable reliever. I think with C.J., you never know what you’re gonna get.
Pudge: I don’t think it will take that much money. I think $3 million for 2 years, or if the Rangers aren’t sure how long he’ll last, then around $1.5 mil for 1 year.
Ian Kinsler: His runs scored and RBIs are good, but he needs to be more reliable. And, most importantly, he needs to work on his swing in the off-season and find out whyhe’s popping everything up!!!
Esteban German: I don’t think it’s an “if the Rangers have room” situation. I think they’ll definitely need a bench player who can step up if anyone gets injured, and who can spell all 4 infielders at regular intervals. He has played mainly 2B and 3B, but he has big league experience at SS and 1B as well. He’s a true utility infielder.
Josh Hamilton: I don’t agree that he’s “obviously the biggest key for the Rangers in 2010.” If he can perform, it will be great, but I don’t think we can depend on him to perform. You can never predict injuries. I don’t want to trade him, because I think he’s a great addition to a team, whether he can play or not. And when he’s good, he’s really good. But look what this Rangers team did this year without Josh Hamilton!
Julio Borbon: I wouldn’t say that the Rangers “desperately need” someone like Borbon. Borbon has a great OBP, and he’s excellent at stealing bases and manufacturing runs. But he’s got a weak arm for an outfielder, and he’s not good against LHP. Borbon is a lefty outfielder, and we already have Josh Hamilton and David Murphy that are left handed outfielders.
Craig Gentry: Gentry can be the perfect center fielder that the Rangers “desperately need” in 2011, but he needs more experience. If the Rangers decide to take a chance on Gentry like they did on Elvis, it could pay some amazing dividends. But I’m betting that the Rangers put Gentry in AAA all next year.
Marlon Byrd: I don’t know anything about the rookies watching football, but I think Marlon is the “biggest key for the Rangers in 2010.” We need him next year. Not only is he an amazing player, he’s a revitalizing force in the clubhouse.

Best things about 2009

Here is a quick list that I threw together in rememberance of this monumental year of Rangers’ baseball. If I’ve left off something, please feel free to comment!

*Moving Michael Young to 3rd base and starting Elvis Andrus at shortstop. [It seemed like a really scary idea at first, but it worked!!]

*Ian Kinsler hitting for the cycle (at home!)

*Getting rid of Vicente Padilla

*Triple play by Elvis Andrus and Ian Kinsler

*Marlon Byrd’s amazing diving catches

*Neftali Feliz’s stunning debut

*Andruw Jones’ 3-homer game

*Sweeping the BoSox at Rangers’ Ballpark in Arlington

*Nelson Cruz coming in second in the Home Run Derby

*Derek Holland’s complete gamme shut-out of the Angels in Anaheim

*Omar Vizquel’s beautiful defense

*Getting Pudge back home

*Ian Kinsler joining the 30-30 club

*Our short time spent leading the AL West and Wild Card races

*Mike Maddux

Game 2 loss in Seattle

Tommy Hunter took the mound for the Rangers yesterday, and even though he did much better in this outing than in his last outing, he got the loss. Poor guy.

Tommy Hunter
Tommy Hunter kept the Mariners scoreless through his first 3 innings, but he gave up 1 run each in the 4th and 5th innings, which was all the Mariners needed to get the win. Tommy gave up 2 runs on 9 hits in his 4 1/3 innings of work against the Mariners yesterday, but he unfortunately didn’t get very much run support from the Rangers’ offense, with just one run in 9 innings by the Rangers.

The Mariners took the lead in the bottom of the 4th inning with a solo homer by Ken Griffey, Jr. It was Griffey’s 19th home run of the year (his second off Tommy Hunter this year), for a major league total of 630.

Ichiro Suzuki
Then, in the bottom of the 5th inning, Tommy got into a bit of a pickle by giving up a lead-off double to Josh Wilson. Then Ichiro hit a single to put runners at the corners wit no outs.Then Franklin Gutierrez got an RBI single to left field, scoring Wilson and putting the Mariners up 2-0.
Jason Grilli
Jason Grilli came in next with the difficult job of getting 2 outs with the bases loaded, and he pulled it off without letting any more runs score! He struck out Adrian Beltre swinging and got the next batter to fly out to center field, ending the inning. Way to go, Grilli!
Neftali Feliz
Neftali Feliz came in to pitch an inning of scoreless relief in the 6th inning, and he did a good job in what was most likely his last outing of this year. He gave up one walk and he hit a batter, but he was able to get out of the innng without any damage.

Elvis Andrus
In the top of the 7th inning, Elvis Andrus got an RBI double for the 2nd night in a row to put the Rangers on the board. Chris Davis started off the inning by getting a double, and then Andruw Jones came up behind him and worked a walk. Elvis Andrus hit a fly ball to right field that should have tied the game at 2, but it bounced out, making it a ground-rule double and forcing Andruw Jones to stop at 3rd base with no outs. The Rangers had 2 runners in scoring position with no outs, but they weren’t able to get anyone else home.
Darren O’Day
Darren O’Day and C.J. Wilson each pitched an inning of scoreless relief, but the Rangers weren’t able to do anything else offensively, and the Rangers ended up losing the game 2-1. Darren O’Day is ending this season with an ERA of 1.99, doing a fabulous job for much of 2009. I really hope we can bring him back next year!

Scott Feldman
Today’s pitching matchup: Scott Feldman (17-7) against “King” Felix Hernandez (18-5). This game will be the Battle of the Aces. King Felix is really scary, so it will be interesting to see how Scooter and the Rangers do against him. Feldman’s name was mentioned in Cy Young contention a few times this year, but with his performances of late, he is no longer in serious contention. King Felix is still a front-runner for the Cy Young, though, so hopefully the Rangers can do something against him. Scott is 2-0 against the Mariners this year, and if he Rangers can win this game, they will end the season with 88 wins. That just sounds better than 87 (probably because it IS better).

Game 1 win in Seattle

Last night was the start of the last (regular season) series of the year, and it was a great game! Well, it was a .great game for Rangers’ fans, because of the ending. But it was a close game for most of the night.

Brandon McCarthy
Brandon McCarthy got the start for Texas last night, but unfortunately he didn’t stay in the game long enough to get the win. He deserved a win (which he didn’t get) in his last outing, when he pitched 7 2/3 scoreless innings, but the bullpen gave away the game. In last night’s outing, he pitched 4 2/3 innings, but he gave up all 4 of the Mariners runs for the night during his stint.

The Rangers were leading 3-0 early in the game. But the Mariners came back to score 3 runs in the bottom of the 4th inning to tie up the score, and another run in the bottom of the 5th to lead the Rangers 4-3. And that was when McCarthy came out of the game.

Dustin Nippert

Dustin Nippert came in to pitch 2 1/3 innings of scoreless relief, and he did a fantastic job. He came in with a runner at first base and 2 outs in the 5th inning, and he got the Rangers out of the inning to keep the game close.

Andruw Jones
In the top of the 8th inning, Andruw Jones stepped up to the plate to lead off the inning. And, amazingly enough, he got a double on a line drive! Luckily, Ron Washington realized that Andruw Jones is not a guy that you want running the bases in a clutch situation, and he replaced him with pinch runner Esteban German.
Elvis Andrus
Taylor Teagarden came up next and struck out for the first out of the inning. Then Elvis Andrus worked a walk to put runners on 1st and 2nd. Julio Borbon lined out for the 2nd out of the inning. And then Michael Young stepped up to the plate.

Michael Young
Michael Young singled to right fielder Ichiro Suzuki. Esteban German really turned on the burners coming down the third base line, and I got a sinking feeling in my stomach as I watched Ichiro fire the ball to home plate. Ichiro has a cannon attached to his shoulder. The play at the plate was close, but not nearly as close as I had feared, and Esteban slid behind the tag to tie the game 4-4!
Chris Davis
The 2 teams were still tied going into the top of the 9th inning. And it didn’t look good as the Rangers got 2 outs before they got their first baserunner. Then Chris Davis hit a single to left field to start a Rangers’ rally. Nice!

Esteban German came up next and singled on a line drive to center field. Runners at 1st and 2nd, 2 outs.

Craig Gentry
At this point, Wash realized that CD wasn’t looking too great on that sore hammy, and he replaced him with speedy runner Craig Gentry. So Taylor Teagarden was coming to the plate with 2 outs and 2 on. Uh oh. Taylor hasn’t gotten into very many games this year (only 58 out of 160), and his batting average is only .214. Probably not the guy you want in a clutch situation.
Taylor Teagarden
But Taylor came through with a single, and Craig Gentry hauled @$$ to score, putting the Rangers ahead 5-4. Thank you, Taylor!!! Runners at the corners, still 2 outs.

Elvis Andrus came up to bat next, and he got a double (which turned into a triple on the throw) to score Esteban German and Taylor Teagarden, making it 7-4 Rangers.

The Mariners weren’t able to do anything in the bottom of the 9th, and the Rangers walked away with their 2nd win in a row after 4 straight losses.

Game Notes:
Marlon Byrd
*Marlon Byrd started last night’s game after missing the previous two games with a strained hip capsule. Hank Blalock was also expected to start last night, but he missed his 2nd straight game due to a mild concussion.

 

*Chris Davis went 3-for-5 last night, and it was his second night in a row to do that. These 3-for-5 outings come after 2 days riding the bench, resting his sore hamstring. In his last 2 games, he has been DHing, so he won’t be tempted to stretch at 1st base and cause himself further injury. CD credits his 2 days of rest with his power at the plate, because he says that taking those days off took away some pressure. Davis said, “Even though I was rehabbing the hamstring, it was good to sit back and watch a few games and take a break. It’s probably helped me that I’m not trying to do anything like go up there and hit the ball out of the ballpark. Instead, I’m just doing what I can and taking nice, easy swings.” Keep it up!!

Julio Borbon

*Julio Borbon started in center field last night for the first time, and unfortunately he didn’t do such a great job. He doesn’t have a very strong or accurate arm, and he will certainly have to work on that in the off-season. In tonight’s game, he’s supposed to start against a left-handed pitcher for the first time in the Bigs, and I’m anxious to see how he handles it.
 

*With their win last night, the Rangers assured their #2 spot in the AL West division. I knew it would be a pride thing for the Rangers to be able to finish in 2nd place instead of 3rd, but I didn’t know that there was a monetary incentive. T.R. Sullivan said in an article on the Rangers’ website today, “Finishing second in any division means some extra pocket money for every player. Last year it was worth approximately $12,000 per player.” Huh. Interesting. This means that the Rangers have now finished 2nd in the AL West for the second straight year, after 8 straight years of placing no higher than 3rd place.

Tommy Hunter
Tonight’s pitching matchup: Tommy Hunter (9-5) against Ryan Rowland-Smith (4-4). Tommy is coming off his worst outing of the season, and Ryan is coming off his best outing of the season. In Tommy’s last start, he went less than 5 innings for the first time in 18 starts this year, and he gave up 7 earned runs in 2 1/3 innings against the Angels. It was just bad. That was the first game in the series against the Angels, and the Rangers knew they had to win out to make the post-season. I think Tommy just buckled under the pressure.

But this time, the Rangers are going into tonight’s game with some winning momentum. They know they’re out of the playoff race, but they still want to end strong. Tommy is playing to become the 9th Ranger rookie to get 10 wins in a season.