Tagged: Rusty Greer

2-fer

Hey, so you guys are actually gonna get 2 blog entries today! I’ve tried to blog several different times in November, but blogspot is always messed up. When I try to create a new entry, the text box just says “loading” and it won’t let me type anything. Punks!!

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!

YAAAAAYYYYYY!!!

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!

How did I get so lucky? AKA Rangers’ Awards Banquet 1-29-10: Part 1

Oh, wow. Just… wow. I’m gonna have to split this one up because there’s so much to talk about!

Awards day:
I took the day off work, so I would have time to get ready. I woke up at 10:00 and had an appointment for a mani/pedi at 11:00. (For all of you guys out there, that’s a manicure and pedicure.)

Then I went over to my friend Rachel’s so she could help me with my hair and make-up (she sells Mary Kay). She also helped me choose my jewelry and which shoes to wear.

After that, I called my brother, cause he agreed to come to Fort Worth with me so I wouldn’t have to stay by myself overnight. Such a good brother!

We headed out to Fort Worth at got there about 4:30. I started getting ready around 5:00 and left my hotel at 5:45.

Now, I’ve never been very girly, and I never think I look very good. I mean, I love baseball, for Pete’s sake! I obviously don’t get dolled up very often. But let me just come out and say it: I looked amazing. I never look that good. But I was smokin’ hot, even if I do say so myself. 🙂 Okay, now that that’s out of the way, I can tell you about my evening.

TR Sullivan was already waiting in the lobby of the Omni Hotel in when I got there, and he gave me my ticket. Then he told me we were waiting for Annette and Craig Leslie, because Annette was a surprise guest to present Michael Young with this Player of the Year Award.

Annette and Craig arrived about 10 minutes later, and TR handed them their tickets and explained the process. We said “see you later” to them and started upstairs to the banquet room.

As we were walking through the lobby towards the escalators, I saw Rusty Greer talking to someone just inside the front doors. I elbowed TR and said “That’s Rusty Greer!” We walked over to him and waited while he quickly finished his conversation.

Then I stuck my hand out and blubbered something like, “Hi Rusty, I’m a huge fan! You probably don’t remember me, but I’ve met you a couple of times before, and I just love you!” Or something to that extent.

Just FYI, I did a lot of ‘gushing’ and ‘blurting’ and ‘blubbering’ throughout the night. I felt like my mouth wasn’t quite connected to my brain.

But Rusty surprised me by saying, “Yes, I remember you.” I don’t know if he really did remember or if he was just being nice, but it made me feel good!

I followed TR upstairs, where we met a nice lady who offered to take us where we were going. “It’s kind of confusing, so just follow me.” I still didn’t know what was going on, so I just followed.

Pre-Awards Meet-and-Greet:
She led us through a curtain into a long hallway that was filled with people. As I looked around, I started noticing baseball players everywhere!! It dawned on me that we were in an exclusive area where we would get to hobnob with all of the Rangers until the event started!

As I was walking through the all people towards the back, I saw Kasey Kiker, my favorite minor league prospect. I grabbed his arm. “Kasey Kiker!! I love you!” I blurted out.

He responded, “Well I love you too. Who are you?” Ha ha ha! “My name is Katie, and I’m just a huge fan. You’re my favorite RoughRider,” I said. “Well thank you so much, I really appreciate that,” he said.

I continued towards the back to hang up my coat. TR stopped to talk to Jeff Wilson from the Fort Worth Star Telegram, and he introduced us. “Oh yeah, I recognize you from your picture next to your posts on the blog,” I said.

Jeff said he was just about to interview Kasey Kiker, and I started gushing all over again. “I just love him!” I said. “Do you have a pen?” Jeff asked. “Yeah, sure,” I said, thinking he wanted to use it to take notes during the interview.

Then Kasey came over, said hi to me again, and shook my hand. Jeff looked at me and said, “Well, get his autograph!” I stammered, “Oh, I thought you needed it,” and I reached in my purse again to get my notepad.

Kasey seemed a little nervous too, maybe because he’s not used to people recognizing him, [or maybe because of how gorgeous I looked :)], but he finally signed the autograph. Yay!!

I spotted Jamey Newberg as I headed toward the coat rack, and he glanced at me. “Hi Jamey,” I said. I’ve been reading his blog for a while, so of course I know who he is. But then he surprised me.

“Hi Katie,” he answered. What? Jamey Newberg knows who I am?? Are you freaking kidding me???

After hanging up my coat in the back of the hallway, TR started introducing me to everybody. He was so great all night!! We would run into somebody, and TR would say, “Hey Katie, have you ever met [fill in the blank]?”

First was, “Hey, have you ever met Eric Nadel?” I shook Eric’s hand, and then we started talking about some doctors he had recently seen in the department where I work. He was very nice, and we even talked about another secretary that I work with that just had knee replacement surgery.

TR introduced me to Jon Daniels next, and JD said, “Yeah, we met a few weeks ago!” He actually remembered me!! “Yeah,” I said. “I told you that I’m going to be working for you someday.” “That’s right,” he said, and he smiled at me.

Michael Young was next. I don’t think I’ve ever met him before, but my mind was reeling, so I don’t think I said much to him.

Then came the Big Kahuna. TR said, “Katie, have you ever met Nolan Ryan?” I couldn’t even speak; I just shook my head. Then TR said, “Nolan, this is my friend Katie Brownfield. Katie, this is Nolan Ryan.” Wow.

Then Nolan Ryan shook my hand!!! I honestly don’t even remember what I said to him. It’s all kind of blank after that.

Until I spotted Katie Hamilton. She’s a little bitty thing, and so pretty! I rushed over to her and started gushing about how I was reading Josh’s book and how I had so much respect for what she went through with him. I quickly explained who I was and about the story that TR wrote about me.

Then Josh came over, and Katie said, “Have you met my husband Josh?” As if he was just some Joe Blow off the street.

And Josh looked fabulous, of course. He peered down at me from atop his 6’4″ frame with a lopsided grin. He was wearing a sport coat,but he had no tie on. He wore his white long-sleeved button-up shirt with the top button undone at his throat.

I explained that I had met Josh at a Winter Caravan autograph signing a couple of weeks ago, and how I had mentioned to him then that my name was Katie too, just like his wife. “Oh yeah, now I remember!” he said.

Then Katie started explaining to him about my accident. Josh’s eyes got big and his eyebrows arched up. “Whoa, ” he said, clearly taken aback. “Well, it was 5 years ago, ” I said. “I’ve obviously gotten a lot better since then!”

Josh Lewin came up to say hi to Josh and Katie Hamilton, and they introduced me. Josh Hamilton asked his wife, and then me, if we had any gum or mints or anything. “I feel like I need something. My mouth is dry. I need some water or something.”

And I had to tell the great Josh Hamilton that I didn’t have anything. “I have some Burt’s Bees lip balm; that’s about it, ” I said. Bummer.

Josh Lewin left to get him some water, and I told Josh and Katie Hamilton, “I can’t believe I get to do this. I’m standing like 2 feet away from all these baseball players! It’s surreal.” And Josh just looked at me and shrugged and said, “We’re just people.”

“My brain gets that, but it’s a little harder to deal with when I’m standing here with all of you,” I said. Craig Gentry walked by next, and I said blurted out, “Oh my gosh, Craig Gentry, I love
you!”

He heard his name and looked at me. “Hey, how’s it going?” He said, smiling sweetly and bobbing his head at me. Then Craig saw Josh Hamilton, and he said hi to him before heading off through the crowd.

Then I spotted Elvis Andrus. He opted to wear a tan suit, instead of the traditional blue or black, and it looked great on him. “Oh my gosh,” I exclaimed to Katie, “that’s Elvis!”

So Josh just called him over. Elvis hugged Josh first, then me. Elvis’ cologne was kinda strong, so I kept catching whiffs of it for the next 5 minutes or so!! Wow! I couldn’t think of anything else to say to him, so I blurted out, “Why won’t you be my friend on Facebook? I keep asking but you keep ignoring me.”

But Elvis didn’t answer. There was a lot of stuff going on, and Josh started telling Elvis that he looked good, and that his muscles looked bigger. “You too,” Elvis said to Josh. “I couldn’t even button the top button on this shirt tonight,” Josh said, “so I couldn’t wear a tie.” Oh, so that explains it!

Then they started rounding up the players to make their entrance, as well as the wives to be seated together at one of the tables. Josh and Katie were so cute; they kissed before they went their separate ways! Awww!

Then Katie Hamilton looked at me and said, “It was so nice to meet you!” And she hugged me! She asked, “If I Google your name, will I be able to find your blog?” I told her yes, that if she Googled me, the article that TR wrote would come up, and that my blog was linked in the article. She was so sweet!!

Now whether she’ll actually remember to look me up in another question, but she was really nice!

Then I made my way inside with TR to find our table.

Stay tuned for Part 2!

Newberg book signing, a.k.a. meeting TR  Sullivan

Oh… my… gosh!!! Thursday night was amazing!
Chris Davis 
Daddy and I arrived at Sherlock’s in Arlington at about 5:55 to get autographs for our copies of Jamey Newberg’s 2010 Bound Edition. The signing was slated to start at 6:00.

But next year, I’m taking off a half-day from work so that I can get there extra early just to get in line. Because it was ridiculously crowded.

Rusty Greer, Ian Kinsler, Derek Holland
There were 600 people there.
 
Six hundred
 
That’s a lot of people for one restaurant. Daddy and I got there at about 6, like I said, but we didnt make it up to the stage to get our autographs until 8:30. Two and a half hours standing in line. And we’re both crippled!!
 
Rusty Greer, Derek Holland, Tommy Hunter, Jamey Newberg
Well, not crippled, but I’ve had my pelvis broken in 3 places (which is no fun, let me tell you) and Daddy is considered 50% disabled due to an injury he got while he was serving in the Navy in Vietnam.

So needless to say, we’re both hurting the next day. But it was sooooo worth it!

 
Chris Davis. Isn’t he pretty?? Ugly hat though.
By the time we even made it into the main dining room, Scott Feldman had already left. No bueno! So I didn’t get his autograph. But I got Jamey Newberg, Tommy Hunter, Chris Davis, and Ian Kinsler’s autographs!

I already had Derek Holland and Rusty Greer’s autographs. I had Jamey sign the book (cause he wrote it… duh), and I had all the players sign baseballs.

me with Rusty Greer

Then I got a picture with Ian Kinsler, Rusty Greer, Derek Holland, Tommy Hunter, and Chris Davis. The picture of me with Rusty came out the best!

And on top of all that, I got to meet TR Sullivan!

Tommy Hunter and me
He commented on one of my blogs a few months ago, but when I sent him an email, he never responded. So last night when I saw him, I asked him if that was really him who commented on my blog. And he said that yes it was him, and he apologized profusely for not responding to my email.
me with Chris Davis
I was just glad to find out that TR Sullivan actually read my blog and that he really liked it!

He told me to email him today and remind him about who I was, and that he’s put a link on his blog. And I was sooo excited about that!

Chris Davis, Jamey Newberg, Derek olland, Tommy Hunter
But it got even better from there!
 
Today I checked his blog, just to see if he said anything about the book release party last night. And he mentioned me… by NAME… three times!!!

Derek Holland, Chris Davis, Tommy Hunter
He was first talking about the people he met last night, including “Katie and her father,” (that’s me).

Then he flat-out said “this is Katie’s blog. Check it out” and he posted a link. And I’ve had 500 hits just today!!!

Ian Kinsler and me
Then he ended the blog saying “one day there might just be a little magic in the air at the Ballpark in Arlington. If Katie can do it, the Rangers might just do it as well.”
BAM!!! How cool is that??
me with Derek Holland
Then he posted a comment on my blog saying that I should email him because he wants to talk to me about something. Hmm… interesting! Stay tuned!

 

Book signing, more trades, injuries, and ownership

My dad and I have decided that we’re going to Jamey Newberg’s book signing party on Thursday! We already pre-ordered the books, so they’ll be ready for us to pick up at the party. Rusty Greer, Ian Kinsler, Scott Feldman, Tommy Hunter, Derek Holland, and Chris Davis will all be there to sign autographs. Yay!!

I have Rusty Greer & Derek Holland’s autographs already, but not the other 4 guys. Last year I almost got Tommy Hunter and Chris Davis’ autographs, but I couldn’t close the deal. Each player will sign up to 3 items per person, so I can get all of them to sign the book, baseballs, and Daddy’s glove. I hope it’s not too crowded. Anyway, moving on…

In another huge 3-team trade, Cliff Lee (formerly of the Philadelphia Phillies) is going to Seattle and Roy Halladay (formerly of the Seattle Mariners) is going to Toronto. The full details haven’t been released yet, but when you’re dealing with 2 high-quality starting pitchers like Halladay and Lee, the deal is sure to be enormous.

Great, that’s just what we need: for a team in our division to go into next year with Cliff Lee AND Chone Figgens.

John Lackey (formerly of the Angels) has been signed by the Boston Red Sox to a 5-year, $85 million dollar deal. That works out to $17 million per year. Yikes.

But don’t feel bad for the Angels yet. They may have lost John Lackey, but they signed DH/OF Hideki Matsui (formerly of the Yankees) to a one-year deal. Lovely.

The Rangers look like they’re in for a bumpy ride within the AL West this year.

No news on the Mike Lowell/Max Ramirez trade. Apparently it’s being held up because of all the injuries involved (i.e. Mike Lowell’s hip and thumb, Max Ramirez’s injured wrists).

After it appeared that Jim Crane had fallen out of the ownership race, he has suddenly emerged as the frontrunner. Around Thanksgiving, Crane, Gilbert, and Greenberg all submitted their original bids to buy the team.

Then they had a deadline of December 7th (last Monday) to submit bid modifications, which Gilbert and Greenberg did, but Crane didn’t. It was sort of assumed that Crane had taken himself out of the race. But then, last Thursday, Crane submitted his modifications 3 days late.

Crane’s proposal is rumored to be around $530 mil, and supposedly economics is what is driving this ownership deal. But Crane had a “handshake agreement” to buy the Astros in 2008 that fell through, and that makes Major League officials wary about him getting final approval to buy the Rangers.

Today is the deadline set by Comissioner Bud Selig for Tom Hicks to chose one bidder to go into final negotiations with. But Hicks has apparently been dragging his feet throughout this whole process, and he’s doing everything he can to try to find a way to keep the team. So he just might pick Crane to negotiate with, knowing that the deal might not go through, just to give himself more time to try to find a way to keep the Rangers. Who knows?

World Series, Rangers stuff, hockey

Well, the Phillies are facing an uphill battle for the remainder of the World Series. The Yankees are leading the seies 3-2. Which means that the Phillies will have to win both remaining games, in New York, in order to win the World Series. That’s going to be tough.

They pulled out a beautiful win last night! At one point the Phillies were winning 8-2 over those dirty Yanks, but they came back to within 8-6 before it was all said and done. Cliff Lee was the starter last night, of course. The Phils just can’t lose with Cliff on the mound. The only problem is that he can’t pitch every day. So the Phillies are going to have to find another way to win games 6 and 7.

Yesterday (Monday), the Rangers conducted individual 2-hour interviews of the 4 finalists for the batting coach position. The 4 guys going up for the job are Rusty Greer, Thad Bosley, Clint Hurdle, and Gerald Perry. Bosley, Hurdle, and Perry all have experience as a batting coach, and Greer is a Rangers legend. I love Rusty Greer, and I would love to see him get a job with the Rangers, but I don’t know if he’s the best man for the job. It’s probably not fair for the Rangers to just play favorites. But we should get some news on this front before the end of the week. Yay!

The Rangers re-signed Kevin Richardson to a minor league contract last week, after releasing him from their 40-man roster. He’s a good guy, and I hope he can see some major league action (if we can find a place for him).

Tomorrow (Wednesday), I’m going to my very first hockey game ever! I’ve heard that going to a game is way different from watching it on tv. But I’ll have to miss watching Game 6 of the World Series. Thank God for Tivo!!

Not much other news to report. But I’ll let you know when I hear something!

World Series Game 1, Random Rangers Thoughts

Last night was Game 1 of the World Series, and the Phillies won!! And they didn’t just barely skate in for the win; they completely dominated. Cliff Lee was the starting pitcher for the Phillies last night, and he pitched a complete game. CC Sabathia started for the Yankees, and he did a pretty good job, but he was nothing compared to Cliff Lee. The Phillies were leading 6-0 going into the bottom of the 9th, but the Yankees were able to score a single run, keeping them from getting shut out. The final score 6-1. It was awesome!

The Rangers met with CJ Wilson at the end of the 2009 season and talked to him about possibly going back to a starting role. Which is very interesting. I think CJ could be a good starter, but we have a lot of options for the starting rotation in 2010. As things stand, we’ve got Kevin Millwood and Scott Feldman for sure, and the remaining 3 slots could be filled by: one of our other starters from 2009 (Derek Holland, Tommy Hunter, Brandon McCarthy, or Dustin Nippert), Guillermo Moscoso or Luis Mendoza (who were starters in AAA), or by Neftali Feliz (being groomed to be a starter). Ron Washington also apparently wants to acquire a veteran starter, and Ben Sheets’ name is being tossed around yet again.

Rusty Greer confirmed that he recently interviewed with the Texas Rangers to take over Rudy Jaramillo’s former job as batting coach. Although Rusty doesn’t have any MLB coaching experience, he was a beloved player for the Rangers who spent his entire career here and who was adored by the fans. He has been coaching baseball at the collegiate level for Texas Weslyan. Evan Grant wrote a rousing article campaigning for Greer to share the job with current Oklahoma City batting coach Scott Coolbaugh, but Joey Matschulat with the website Baseball Time in Arlington (bbtia.com) reports that Scott Coolbaugh isn’t even interviewing for the job. Interesting.

18-year-old Japanese pitching phenom Yusei Kikuchi decided last week that he was going into the Japanese Draft and that he would not take part in American MLB. The Rangers had sent Derek Holland over to Japan in hopes of luring Kikuchi to the Rangers, but I guess it wasn’t meant to be.

Originally published October 29, 2009 

Questions

I have billions of questions buzzing around in my baseball-obsessed mind, all of which will be resolved at some point during the off-season, but I feel the need to get them out. Then I can cross them off when they’ve been resolved and explain the answers. So here we go!
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Ownership: Who will be the new owner of the Rangers? Will Nolan Ryan still be the team president? Will Nolan Ryan be a minority owner? Will Tom Hick stay on as a minority owner? Will new ownership affect (i.e. increase) our budget for the 2010 season?

Here’s what we know: There are 3 main groups, which are fronted by Chuck Greenberg, Dennis Gilbert, and Jim Crane. Greenberg’s group has included Nolan Ryan as a minority owner, so if he wins out, obviously Nolan will have a stake in the ownership and will stay on as president. But then again, it’s possible that if one of the other groups wins out, they’ll let him in as a partial owner. It is possible that the new ownership could fire Nolan as president, but I think that’s unlikely at this point. The fans love Nolan, and it wouldn’t make a good impression on the fans if their first move was to fire him. Tom Hicks has expressed interest in retaining a portion of his ownership as well, so we’ll have to wait and see how that pans out. At this point, the budget for 2010 will be approximately the same as it was for 2009, so the new owners will have to meet that budget or increase it. It would be nice if we could have a little more leeway to get some big names to Texas for our playoff push next year.
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Marlon Byrd: Will the Rangers re-sign him for 2010 and beyond?

Here’s what we know: Marlon says that he wants to stay with the Rangers. The Rangers want him to stay. He made a little over $3 mil in 2009, so he’ll want at least that much per year in his next contract. How much more is anybody’s guess. This is probably his only chance to negotiate a multi-year contract, and he’s probably wanting at least 3 years. But Marlon is already 32, so I’m sure the Rangers are anxious that health issues may mar his future playing time. And the Rangers don’t have a whole lot of money to throw around, so I’m sure that will affect how much progress is made towards contract negotion. But Marlon is a strong influence in the clubhouse, and Michael Young (team leader) is strongly campaigning for the Rangers to keep him. I think the Rangers will offer him something in the neighborhood of 4, 5, or 6 million dollars for the next 3 years, plus lots of incentives (i.e. bonuses if he plays at least x number of games, if he hits at least y home runs, or if he steals at least z bases, etc.). But if he wants something like $10 mil a year for 5 years, I think the Rangers will let him walk.
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Ivan Rodriguez: Will Pudge be back?

Here’s what we know: The fans adore Pudge, and he said that he wants to finish out his career here. And even though he’s pushing 40, he’s still pretty darn good. He’s played on 2 World Series teams, and he has a lost of post-season experience (which the Rangers are seriously lacking). He has 13 Gold Gloves. But because of his age, the Rangers might be hesitant to offer him a multi-year contract, or to pay him a particularly hefty sum for 2010. Jarrod Saltalamacchia recently had surgery for Thorasic Outlet Syndrome, and while his prognosis looks good, there’s no telling how he’ll progress. Taylor Teagarden was unimpressive in 2009. Max Ramirez spent a lot of time on the DL in AAA. And the Rangers just outrighted Kevin Richardson to the minors. So it might be good to have him around. We acquired him as “strictly a back-up catcher” in August of 2009, but he ended up being our everyday catcher to close out the season. He made 1.5 mil in 2009. Will he accept $1 mil and a one-year contract? $5 million and a 2-year contract? We’ll see.
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Omar Vizquel: Will he be back for 2010?

Here’s what we know: Omar has said that he wants to play next year, even though he’s the oldest active position player at 42 years old. He was a great mentor for Elvis Andrus in his rookie year (2009), but does Elvis still need him in 2010? He has 11 Gold Gloves, and his defensive work is truly beautiful. I swear, he looks like a ballet dancer out there sometimes! He played 63 games for the Rangers this year: 16 games at 2B, 27 games at SS, and 20 games at 3B, and he made NO errors. None, zippo, nada. That’s pretty amazing. He’s said he would be interested in returning, but he wants to shop around first.
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Starting rotation: Which 5 pitchers will we go with in our starting rotation for 2010?

Here’s what we know: Ron Washington has already said that Kevin Millwood and Scott Feldman have guaranteed slots next year. But the other 3 are up for grabs. The possible candidates are: Neftali Feliz, Derek Holland, Tommy Hunter, Brandon McCarthy, Dustin Nippert, Matt Harrison, Eric Hurley, and Guillermo Moscoso. I discussed the pros and cons about all these pitchers in a previous blog. But Wash has also said he would like to obtain another veteran starter this winter. So if he does that, then there will only be two spots up for grabs, making the competition even tougher. But can we get anybody good for relatively little money? And of course, as we all know, our starting rotation can change a lot during the year due to injuries, etc. I mean, look at our poor rotation in 2009! On Opening Day, it was Kevin Millwood, Vicente Padilla, Kris Benson, Matt Harrison, and Brandon McCarthy. Matt Harrison and Brandon McCarthy both went on the 60-day DL, Kris Benson was a disaster, and we released Padilla because of all his foolishness. So you never know what can change throughout the season!
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Acquisitions: Right-handed bat to play 1B and DH, left-handed relief pitcher

Here’s what we know: In addition to a veteran starter, Wash also said he’d like to pick up a right-handed bat who can play 1B or DH, as well as another lefty reliever. I’ve heard Jermaine Dye’s name brought up to fill that first role, and while he is right-handed, he has played mainly in the outfield. In 2005, he played 1B once and SS once for the Chicago White Sox. That’s it. But if we keep Marlon Byrd, we may not need another right-handed bat. CJ and Eddie are our only lefty relievers at this point, and Eddie’s probably not coming back (I’ll address that later), so it would be nice to have another one.
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Batting coach: Who will replace Rudy Jaramillo?

Here’s what we know: Jon Daniels and Ron Washington are supposedly “constructing a list” of candidates to replace Rudy, and they plan on interviewing about 4 or 5 guys for the position. Some names that have been thrown around are Scott Coolbaugh (Rangers AAA batting coach), Rusty Greer (former Ranger), Will Clark (former Ranger), Julio Franco (managing in Mets farm league), Gary Pettis (currently our 1st base coach), Carney Lansford (fired by San Francisco last week), Clint Hurdle (former Colorado manager), Tim Wallach (Dodgers hitting coach in 2004), Thad Bosley (hitting coach in Oakland with Wash), Gerald Perry (hitting coach for Cubs, fired in June), Greg Colbrunn (minor league hitting coach for Yank
ees), Dave Hudgens (former A’s hitting coach), Mike Boulanger (Minor League hitting coach), and Toby Harrah (former Ranger, current hitting coach for Tigers). I’m sure there are a bunch of other names too that I haven’t heard yet. So obviously, there are a lot of choices. It’s just about finding a good fit.

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Eddie Guardado: Is he really retiring?

Here’s what we know: He’s definitely thinking about it. But that’s about all we know. He didn’t pitch too well towards the end of the season, so as terrible as it sounds, I’m kind of hoping he retires. He’s a free agent, and I just don’t think it’s useful to pay him a significant amount of money for just one more year when he’s at the end of his career and losing his stamina.

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Outfield: What will our outfield look like next year?

Here’s what we know: Marlon Byrd (righty) is a question mark. We have Josh Hamilton (lefty), Julio Borbon (lefty), David Murphy (lefty), and Nelson Cruz (righty). We also have Chris Davis (another lefty in the lineup) as our starting 1st baseman, and Salty is a switch hitter. So we could possibly have 5 left-handed bats in a 9-man line-up. That’s not so good. Borbon is rumored to be “the center fielder of the future,” but he has a weak arm. He’s supposed to be working on that this winter, but who knows? Josh Hamilton had a spectacular 2008, but he had trouble staying healthy this year. I don’t want to lose anybody, but I have this sneaking suspicion that we’re going to trade David Murphy. That hurts me, because he’s a good Texas boy, but I just can’t shake that feeling. And I have a feeling that Nelson Cruz could be great. I’m mean he could be Josh-Hamilton-in-2008-great. But what about Craig Gentry? He was the surprise September call-up from AA. It makes the most sense that he would at least begin next year in AAA, but it’s certainly an intriguing idea. He’s a righty, with an incredibly strong and accurate arm, and he’s supposedly speedy on the bases, but he needs to learn how to bat against big league pitching.