So I decided I’d better write another blog while I can. I’m going to cover 2 main topics: Clint Hurdle and Neftali Feliz.
Clint Hurdle was our hitting coach for the 2010 season, and he did a phenomenal job. I mean, come on, we made it all the way to the WORLD SERIES!!
Hurdle stressed situational hitting and small ball, and that obviously worked very well for the Rangers. I was really hoping that Hurdle would be here to stay.
But alas, the Baseball Gods decided otherwise. Clint Hurdle was the skipper of the Colorado Rockies from 2002-2009, so he actually took a step down by accepting the job as hitting coach for the Rangers last year.
After the World Series was over, the Pirates asked for (and received) permission to interview Hurdle for their open manager spot, and I got a really bad feeling.
And of course, the Pirates loved him. (Why wouldn’t they? He’s awesome!) Hurdle signed a 3-year contract with the Pirates, so now we have to find our 3rd hitting coach in 3 years.
Some of the names popping up now are of people who were finalists last year.
First is Thad Bosley, who was the A’s hitting coach from 1999-2002. I don’t know anything about Thad Bosley, but I think it will be confusing if he gets the job because of Assistant GM Thad Levine. Thad isn’t a common name, but the Rangers’ organization could have 2 of them in the near future!
Johnny Narron could also be a viable choice. He has spent a lot of time in baseball, but for the last several years he has followed Josh Hamilton around as his babysitter, aka “Special Assignment Coach.”
That sounded snarky, and I didn’t mean it that way. I think it’s really great that Josh has someone with him all the time to make sure he doesn’t relapse. But I think it would be helpful to the Rangers to give Narron a job where he actually does something, and they could eliminate the “Special Assignment Coach” position from their payroll.
Scott Coolbaugh is a name we heard about quite often during last year’s search for a hitting coach. He has been the Rangers’ AAA hitting coach for years, so he would already have history with most of the players.
First-base coach Gary Pettis also has some experience as a hitting coach in the minors, so they could possibly move him over and find a replacement first-base coach.
Rusty Greer was a candidate last year, and he may be a great choice for the Rangers. He spent his entire career with the Rangers, and he is certainly a fan favorite. He also happens to be a great guy, and I think he would be a good fit.
Buddy Bell and Tobey Harrah are 2 other former Rangers’ players who could get a look as well.
More on that story as it develops. 🙂
Next, I have to talk about Neftali Feliz. Today, he was overwhelmingly voted as the American League Rookie of the Year for 2010!
The Rangers have not had a Rookie of the Year winner since Mike Hargrove won it in 1974. The 36-year drought is the longest that any major league has ever had without a ROY winner.
Neffy got 122 points (20 for 1st place, 7 for 2nd place, and 1 for 3rd place). Those numbers don’t add up, but from looking at the other scores, I’m guessing that each player gets 5 points for each 1st place vote, 3 points for each 2nd place vote, and 1 point for each 3rd place vote.
Austin Jackson came in second place with 98 points (8 1st place, 19 2nd place, and 1 3rd place votes), and Danny Valencia finished a distant 3rd place with only 12 points (1 vote for 2nd place and 9 votes for 3rd place).
And man, did Neffy deserve it! He saved 40 games for the Rangers in 2010, witch was a Major League record. And he didn’t even start out the year as our closer!
It was supposed to be Franky Francisco, but after a miserable Opening Week, Ron Washington buckled under the pressure and made Feliz the “interim” closer.
I don’t see him giving up the closer spot any time soon, although he was mostly a starter in the Minors. He said that he’ll do whatever the Rangers ask of him, but he also emphasized how much he liked being a closer.
I think it would be a bad idea to try to stretch him back out to a starter. He obviously has a gift as a closer, and we don’t have anyone else who could come close to replacing him in that capacity.
But who am I to make that decision? I mean, come on, look how wrong I was about C.J. Wilson!!
I also would like to point out once again how amazing Jon Daniels is for pulling the trigger on the blockbuster Mark Teixeira trade in 2007.
We got rid of a guy who didn’t want to be here (Tex) and a right-handed reliever (Ron Mahay), and in return we got Neffy, Elvis, Matt Harrison, Salty, and minor leaguer Beau Jones. It was one of the best trades of all time.
Fittingly, Buster Posey won the NL ROY award. And hey, both ROYs were in the World Series this year!! Coincidence? I think not!