Monday, January 31, 2005

Some Ranger notes 

Chris Jenkins, a columnist from San Diego, has a couple of notes on the Rangers today...

In connection with the Magglio Ordonez situation, he mentions that Buck Showalter and John Hart have been pushing for Hicks to quit dealing with Boras...something that would seem to be difficult, given that he represents current Rangers Kenny Rogers, Gerald Laird, Vince Sinisi, and Mark Teixeira.

He also notes that "the latest beneficiary of Hicks' largesse" is Buck himself, whose extension through 2009 means that he is under contract for two years longer than any other manager in baseball.

Which goes well with John Hart, who has the distinction of being the highest priced G.M. in baseball.


Sunday, January 30, 2005

Peter Angelos and the Orioles 

The Washington Post with a piece on Peter Angelos and his hands-on tendencies as an owner.

Angelos is one of the few owners out there who I think is worse than Tom Hicks.


Sosa implications on Alfonso Soriano 

With the Cubs now having traded Sammy Sosa to the Orioles, Chicago has a problem which the Transaction Oracle, among others, have pointed out...their best outfielder is now Corey Patterson.

Newcomer Jerry Hairston, Jr., is a second baseman by trade, but may be put in the outfield, along with some other random Dusty Baker selection. Unless, of course, he takes Todd Walker's spot at second base, in which case there are two open outfield slots.

Dusty is a manager who likes veterans with playoff experience, along with guys who can run, and isn't concerned about that new-fangled OBP thing.

An opportunity thus may be out there for the Rangers to try to work out a deal to send Alfonso Soriano to the Cubs, to be their new rightfielder.

The big hurdle, of course, is Soriano's balking at playing in the outfield. But Dusty Baker is the type of manager who commands the respect of his players, and if any manager could convince Soriano to move to the outfield without complaining, it would be Dusty.

Picking up Soriano would be a p.r. coup for the Cubs, who dumped a big name superstar for almost nothing in the Baltimore deal. Soriano is the type of well known name that the Cubs fans would recognize, and would be more palatable than Jeromy Burnitz or someone of that ilk for a starting outfield job. And his skill set is exactly the type that would fit in with Dusty's perception of what makes a good player.

What would the Rangers want in return? If I'm John Hart, I start off by asking the Cubs if Todd Walker will accept a trade (as a free agent signee, he can't be traded without his permission until June 1). Assuming Walker would -- and he supposedly elected against signing with the Rangers primarily because they wouldn't guarantee him the second base job, a problem that is solved if Soriano is dealt in the deal -- the Cubs have plenty of interesting young arms to include in the package. Sergio Mitre would be on the top of my list. Other options would be Angel Guzman, or Rule 5 selections Andy Sisco or Luke Hagerty, assuming they ultimately are returned to the Cubs.

If the Cubs believe that Soriano would move to the outfield, this seems like the perfect fit. The Cubs have a deep farm system full of the type of high-ceiling power arms Hart likes, and with both Walker and Hairston, they could send the Rangers back a second baseman as part of the deal.

This is all speculation on my part, of course...I've seen nothing that suggests that this is being considered by either side. But it seems, to me, to be a good fit...so I'm keeping my fingers crossed...


Jeff Nelson heading back to the M's 

2004 Ranger free agent bust Jeff Nelson is apparently about to sign a minor league deal with the Seattle Mariners, with an invite to spring training.

Based on his performance for Texas last season, that's a good thing for the Rangers...he might make the team, and give the Ranger hitters opportunities to slap him around this season.


Reeves on Hart, Delgado and Daniels 

Jim Reeves today asks a question I've been wondering, as well...

Why was Jon Daniels, the assistant G.M., handling the negotiations with Carlos Delgado, rather than the highest paid G.M. in baseball?

Isn't Hart's job to negotiate these sorts of deals?

If he's delegating tasks that are that important to his underlings, what, exactly, is he getting paid to do?


Friday, January 28, 2005

Jason Jones retires 

According to the DMN, Jason Jones has retired.

The outfielder was an organizational soldier who caught Buck Showalter's eye, and got some playing time in the outfield and at DH with the major league club in 2003, before missing most of 2004 with injuries.

Jones was going to be looked at behind the plate at Oklahoma this season, with an eye towards making him a utility player.


Sosa traded to the Orioles 

According to a report just aired on ESPN, Sammy Sosa has been traded to the Orioles, for Jerry Hairston and two minor leaguers.

The Cubs are kicking in some cash, supposedly, and the whole thing depends on Selig's approval.


Rosenthal on Sosa 

Minutes after I posted my Sosa entry, Ken Rosenthal's article on Sammy Sosa came online.

Rosenthal says that the most earnest talks involving Sosa have been with the Orioles, who were shut out in the free agent market this offseason and are wanting to make a splash, particularly with the Nationals invading the Orioles' home turf.

Sosa's agent is quoted as saying that he expects Sosa to be traded, although Rosenthal states that Sosa will want a contract extension in exchange for waiving his 2006 option that becomes guaranteed if he is traded.

If Sosa wants out of Chicago -- and given that his agent is predicting he'll be traded, it appears that he does -- the contract extension issue is something that could prove problematic for him, something he may have to give on if he doesn't want to return to Wrigley Field for 2005.

Which could provide an opening for the Rangers, if he can't land an extension.

If Sosa thinks he is singing for his supper -- thinks that he has to perform in 2005 to get a nice deal for 2006 and beyond -- the Rangers are a very attractive destination. A hitter seeking to rebuild his value is going to find no better park in the A.L. to play than TBIA, where the hitter-friendly environment boosts numbers in a way that no other stadium other than Coors Field can match. And Sosa, in Texas, has the luxury of DHing the majority of the team, which should mean less wear and tear on his body.

It shall be interesting to see how this plays out...


Sosa, maybe? 

From what I understand, Buck Showalter was recently on the radio, saying that the Rangers had irons in the fire on a couple of significant trade possibilities.

On then the Chicago Sun-Times has an article today, that says:

The Sammy Sosa saga remained in flux Thursday as Cubs general manager Jim Hendry had trade negotiations over the telephone with Baltimore Orioles executive vice president Jim Beattie and Washington Nationals general manager Jim Bowden.

To add to the lingering and uncertain drama, a new mystery club also has become involved in the talks this week.

This team's publicity-shy GM wants to stay anonymous and has asked the Cubs not to reveal his interest in Sosa.

That's got John Hart written all over it.

Sosa is owed $17 million in 2005 and a $4.5 million buyout in 2006. He has an $18 million option in 2006 that vests automatically if he is traded, and it is pretty much a lock that any team trading for Sosa is going to want him to waive that provision.

If the Cubs pick up a chunk of the money owed, and if Sosa costs nothing but money and a fringe prospect, I'd definitely be interested in bringing him here to DH. He had a pretty bad season in 2004, but he's been a tremendous hitter for the six years prior to 2004, and he's not a terrible player to take a risk on.


Diamondbacks DFA Rob Hammock 

Catcher Rob Hammock has been designated for assignment by the Arizona Diamondbacks.

He's not a bad player. Can hit a little, although he didn't last season. He's probably better than either of the two catchers the Rangers will start the season with.

And he's also a perfect example of why you don't waste a roster spot and a guaranteed contract on someone like Sandy Alomar, Jr., early in free agency.


The Dean Palmer Comeback 

Since there's little of note to talk about right now, unless we really want to dwell on how much interest the Rangers have in Magglio Ordonez, or obsess over what blackmail material Agustin Montero must have on John Hart in order to get a major league contract...

I thought instead that I'd wax nostalgic, in light of the comeback attempt of former Ranger Dean Palmer.

Palmer was considered an elite prospect about fifteen years ago, despite minor league numbers that on the surface were underwhelming. A career .242 minor league batting average and .414 slugging percentage, plus an unimpressive walk rate and a ton of strikeouts, aren't the sort of stats that normally gets anyone excited about a third baseman who doesn't have much of a glove.

But this was back when the Rangers were being extremely aggressive in their placement of their top prospects, and Palmer was one of their youngest American players, playing a half-season in the Gulf Coast League at age 17, putting in a full season in the Sally League at age 18, and cracking AA by age 20 -- an age when most player are about to start either their junior year in college or their first year of full-season ball. As one of the youngest players in the Texas League in 1989, he hit 32 doubles and 25 homers, putting himself on the map as an elite power hitting prospect at a time when 25 homers in a season was good enough to crack the top 10 list.

The Dean Palmer Era in Texas started midway through 1991, when the Rangers, finding themselves well out of the pennant race, shipped incumbent third baseman Steve Buechele to the Pirates. Pittsburgh was in a position where their window of opportunity was rapidly slamming shut -- Bobby Bonilla would be a free agent at season's end, Doug Drabek, John Smiley and Barry Bonds were eligible for free agency after the next season, and the small market Pirates had resigned themselves to being unable to hold the team together, opting (foolishly, it turns out) to lock up Andy Van Slyke instead of Bonds.

Desperate to shore up a bad situation at third base (Jeff King had played there, poorly, in 1990, and was sharing time in 1991 with Bonilla, who was splitting time between the outfield and third), the Pirates overpaid to land Buechele. They gave up phenom pitcher Kurt Miller, who was the fifth pick of the 1990 draft and was heralded as one of the best young arms in the game, along with Hector Fajardo, another hard-throwing righthanded pitching prospect. When the deal was done, Tom Grieve claimed that, under normal circumstances, there wasn't a player on the roster that could command two pitchers of that quality, and the deal was heralded as a steal for the Rangers.

Buechele, meanwhile, was solid for the Pirates down the stretch, and performed well in an epic NLCS battle between Pittsburgh and Atlanta, a series that featured four shutouts, among which were two 1-0 games. Sadly, Pittsburgh, as always, couldn't get over the hump, and after taking a 3-2 series lead didn't score another run in the series, missing out once again on a shot at the World Series.

Buechele was a free agent after the season, and ended up re-signing with Pittsburgh...despite being a fan favorite with the Rangers, Buechele had been displaced by Dean Palmer, who only hit .187 in 1991, but whose .216 isolated power number was evidence of the raw power potential that had Rangers management so excited.

Palmer was solid, if unspectacular, for the next three years, holding down third base while tantalizing the Rangers with his potential, until he finally exploded in 1995. Over the first six weeks of the season, he started hitting the way Rangers fans had always hoped he would, putting up an incredible .336/.448/.613 line that put him among the league leaders in almost every offensive category. The guy who was described as having the quickest wrists of anyone in the Rangers organization, the guy whose offensive ceiling was thought to be as high as any young player, was finally having his breakout year.

And then on June 3, 1995, it came to an abrupt halt. At home against the Minnesota Twins, facing Kevin Tapani, Palmer took a big swing and then screamed, dropping his bat and grabbing his arm. On that swing, his bicep had torn, ending the All-Star and MVP talk, putting him out essentially for the year, although he did return to play a couple of games in September.

The Rangers, who were 20-16 at the time, two games back of Anaheim and even with Seattle in the A.L. West, went .500 the rest of the way, finishing 74-70 and in third place, four and a half games back, in Johnny Oates' first season as manager. Palmer was replaced by Mike Pagliarulo for most of the season, who represented a big downgrade from Palmer.

Ironically, though, come September, Palmer's replacement Pagliarulo saw his place taken by another promising third base prospect -- Luis Ortiz, a 25 year old who came over from Boston that offseason in one of Doug Melvin's first deals, the trade that sent Jose Canseco to the BoSox for Otis Nixon. Ortiz got an audition that September, and unlike Palmer four years earlier, he didn't show enough to stake a claim. Palmer reclaimed his starting job, and a year later, Ortiz was sold to Japan.

The 1996 Palmer was much like the pre-1995 Palmer...a power hitter who struck out a lot, solid but unspectacular. Still, he was a key contributor on the first Ranger team to ever make the playoffs, and seemed to still be part of the core group that the Rangers would build around going forward. But in 1997, he struggled badly, the team failed to build on the success of 1996, and the Rangers fell out of contention. They had tried to replace Darryl Hamilton, their centerfielder on the 1996 team, with Damon Buford, a Melvin and Oates fave from Baltimore who had come over from the Orioles in exchange for former Loyola Marymount basketball star Terrell Lowery.

Lowery, for what it is worth, is another fascinating could-have-been story...he was on the incredible run-and-gun Marymount basketball teams that were cracking 100 points with ease, teaming with Bo Kimble and the late Hank Gathers. Sandy Johnson, the scouting director for the Rangers in the late-80s and early-90s, picked Lowery in the second round of the 1991 draft, while lamenting the lack of creativity in his fellow scouting directors who avoided the toolsy types like Lowery...Johnson was anti-Moneyball before anti-Moneyball was cool. That same mentality had led to Johnson passing on Auburn slugger Frank Thomas to take Texas Tech football player Donald Harris with the fifth pick of the first round just two years earlier, because, he claimed, Thomas couldn't do anything but hit. Harris, of course, was a bust, and Thomas is a future Hall of Famer.

Lowery tore up his knee in 1992, which slowed his development and robbed him of his speed, which means that we never will really know if Johnson was right in taking him so high, or if he would have been another toolsy bust like Harris. But when Melvin replaced Grieve as the G.M., he was willing to deal Lowery to bring Buford to Texas, and installed him as his new centerfielder for the 1995 season.

Buford was a disaster, and Melvin started searching desperately for a new centerfielder, someone who had the range to cover the broad expanses of center field for the Rangers (particularly with the plodding Rusty Greer and Juan Gonzalez at each corner), while still hitting enough to contribute to the lineup. As it happened, Kansas City had a centerfielder -- Tom Goodwin -- they were willing to deal, if they could get a veteran third baseman in return.

Palmer, of course, was a veteran third baseman. And coming up behind him in the Rangers system was Fernando Tatis, a guy who was like a new-and-improved version of the 1991 Palmer...22 years old, with power potential, but also with speed and better defense than Palmer. He was lighting it up in AA Tulsa, with 51 extra base hits in 102 games, plus a solid walk rate, and Tatis's development made Palmer expendable. And thus, on July 25, 1997, Palmer was shipped to the Royals for Tom Goodwin, to make way for Fernando Tatis, just as Steve Buechele before him was dealt mid-season to make way for the promising Palmer.

Palmer played well with the Royals, and signed a 5 year, $36 million deal with the Detroit Tigers as a free agent after the 1998 season. The Tigers ended up buying a good season, an okay season, and three injury-plagued, disastrous seasons for their $36 million, as Palmer (along with Bobby Higginson) became the poster child for the Tigers' payroll problems in the early 21st century. And now, having last played in 2003, Palmer is coming back to try to revive his career.

What's sad for someone like me, who started following Palmer's progress back when he was still a teen, is wondering what could have happened if Palmer had stayed healthy in 1995. That was the year he seemed to have put it all together, when it appeared he was taking The Leap, was making himself an elite player. And after the bicep tear, he never got back to that level.

It may very well be that that was nothing but a hot streak, and if Palmer had stayed healthy, 1995 would have just been a performance spike, an outlier year of greatness in what was otherwise just a solid career. Or, on the other hand, it could have been his big step forward, the year that he established himself as one of the best in the game, and the injury and lost year ultimately cost him his place as one of the greats. We'll never know.

The whole saga is a case of could-have-beens...Palmer and Lowery both saw injuries short-circuit them. Kurt Miller had a great 1992 season, after which he was ranked as one of the top 10 prospects in baseball by Baseball America. He struggled mightily in 1993, though, and ended up getting dealt less than two years after he was originally acquired by the Rangers, along with Robb Nen, to the Florida Marlins for Cris Carpenter. Miller flamed out, but Nen -- an injury-plagued pitcher who was out of options, and whom the Rangers had lost patience with -- established himself as an elite closer, causing Ranger fans to curse Tom Grieve whenever Tom Henke or Mike Henneman would blow a game thereafter.

Tatis, of course, was later dealt in yet another deadline deal, this time in 1998 for Royce Clayton and Todd Stottlemyer. Tatis had one season of greatness, which caused much wailing and gnashing of teeth for Rangers fans, before sliding back into mediocrity and, now, oblivion, another tale of what could have been.

Tatis was replaced by Todd Zeile, who ended up getting replaced by Mike Lamb, who was pushed aside by Hank Blalock, who, finally, has staked a firm claim to the third base job in Texas, fending off Mark Teixeira, who ultimately was moved to first base.

And for those of us who are hoping for greatness from Blalock, who are looking for him to be the next George Brett, we can look back at Palmer, and Tatis, and what might have been for them...and hopefully, we can be happy with whatever we get from Hank...


Thursday, January 27, 2005

Misfit Rangers and minor league deals 

Jay Powell has signed a minor league deal with the Braves.

It is kind of strange, given that Powell had T-J surgery in July, and likely won't be 100% until 2006.

But who knows...maybe Atlanta thinks they see something there...


Van Benschoten tears a labrum, is out for the year 

Stud Pirate pitching prospect John Van Benschoten is out for the season with a torn labrum.

What makes this story particularly interesting, to me, is the fact that JVB was considered an elite hitting prospect when he came out of college -- his potential as a positional player was considered greater than his pitching potential.

Given the awful success rate for pitchers coming back from torn labrums, and the fact he's going to be on the shelf for a year, I'm wondering if it wouldn't be better for the Pirates to have him DH all season, in, say, high-A, to keep the season from being entirely wasted. If he can still hit, then it may be better for the Pirates to go ahead and switch him to first base or the outfield now, rather than waste development time trying to get him back from the labrum problem.


Galloway, Reeves take their shots at Ranger management 

On back to back days, the Star-Telegram's top two columnists, Randy Galloway and Jim Reeves, have blasted Ranger management on the issue of credibility.

Randy Galloway's column was more of a criticism of the Rangers' idea of moving Mark Teixeira off of first base to make room for Carlos Delgado, but he also essentially accuses the Ranger brass of lying about the Carlos Delgado negotiations.

Jim Reeves' column, meanwhile, is basically a broadside against a management group that seems to think that lying to their fans about what they are doing, and going to do, is acceptable.

This is the harshest criticism I've seen of Ranger management since the Fuson fiasco last summer, and I think it is warranted. As Reeves points out, a lot of the frustration stems from the fact that Hicks hasn't re-invested the savings from letting all the big names leave into team payroll. But it also stems from the fact that, with this management group, you never get the sense that you are getting the straight story.

Kudos to Reeves and Galloway for taking Hicks, Hart & Co. to task on this.


Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Americans playing in Japan 

I stumbled across a piece in the Japan Times outlining the gaijin playing in the Japanese League this season.

It is a fascinating collection of has-beens and almost-wases...and in case you want to know why no minor league veteran DH-types are lying around anymore, waiting to be scooped up as an NRI by a team looking for a cheap DH platoon, it is because they are all in Japan.

Pedro Valdes (a former Ranger), Fernando Seguignol, Larry Barnes, Kevin Witt, Tuffy Rhodes, Damon Minor, Karim Garcia, and Roosevelt Brown are all plying their trade in Japan, rather than kicking around the minors waiting to have a Ken Harvey/Calvin Pickering career breakthrough (or, if you prefer, a Ken Phelpsian breakthrough).

Other interesting names include former Rangers Shane Spencer, Brandon Knight (whom the Rangers dealt for Chad Curtis), Cliff Brumbaugh, Aaron Myette, Tony Mounce, Julio Santana, and Darwin Cubillan, and former Aggie pitchers Ryan Rupe and Kevin Beirne.


Transaction Oracle on the Delgado signing 

He likes it, from Florida's P.O.V.


Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Rangers interested in Ordonez, asking for his medical records 


After striking out on Carlos Delgado, the Rangers appear to be getting involved in the Magglio Ordonez pursuit.

According to T.R. Sullivan, who quotes Scott Boras, Ordonez's agent, pretty liberally, Ordonez:

1) Won't take a one year deal
2) Doesn't want a significant paycut from the $14 million he made last season
3) Won't DH

Oh, and Ordonez is coming off two knee surgeries, which limited him to 52 games last season, when he posted his lowest OBP since 1999, and his lowest slugging percentage since 1998.

Ordonez is a curious case...when healthy, he's a terrific hitter, a guy with a career .300 EQA who before last season hadn't posted an EQA lower than .304 since 1999. He's not a $14 million per year player, but if healthy, he's a very solid middle of the lineup bat, a guy well worth a 3 year, $36 million contract.

The "if healthy", though, is the hangup. His knee problems have been the source of much mystery and speculation, as Boras has limited access to Ordonez's medical records. Ordonez recently traveled to Austria to have a procedure done on his knee...the procedure had to be done there because it hasn't been cleared for use in the United States.

Boras claims, though, that he's been working out for five months, that he's resumed baseball activities, and that "Whatever clubs need to see, we're willing to do that."

Boras has being laying in the weeds with Ordonez all offseason...it appears that, with the Rangers having been jilted by Carlos Delgado and no other significant free agents left on the market, he may be hoping that Tom Hicks gets an itchy check-writing finger and jumps to land someone, rather than be left empty-handed. Magglio Ordonez is the only single girl left in the bar at 2 a.m....and it looks like Boras is now using that to his advantage, pressuring teams who are afraid of going home alone to make a bad decision. This is particularly true in the case of Baltimore and Detroit, two teams that have reportedly been aggressive in courting free agents, only to end up, for the most part, empty-handed.

Hicks is saying the right things, that the medical records have to be reviewed, that there has to be some protection in case Ordonez can't come back. But after Carl Everett and Brian Jordan, you'd think that the Rangers would be leery about guys who are coming off of major knee problems. I suspect that Ordonez won't be back to 100% until towards the All Star Break, if at all in 2005, so any team pursuing him would need to expect not to get much out of him in the first part of 2005.

I'd be very leery of Ordonez, though. Sullivan claims that if "Ordonez is seeking a contract that exceeds the four-year, $52 million deal Carlos Delgado agreed to with the Florida Marlins on Tuesday, then the Rangers will likely bow out." If Ordonez wants anything close to Delgado's deal, the Rangers need to stay away.


Weird Sherrington column 

Kevin Sherrington's Tuesday column is mainly fawning over Mark Teixeira, and advocating for him to stay at first base for the foreseeable future.

I don't have that big of a problem with that, although I think he'd be more valuable in right field, and I doubt that Magglio Ordonez is a better DH option than Carlos Delgado, as Sherrington suggests.

But then, towards the end of the column, Sherrington gets a bit distracted and suggested that the Rangers should have more aggressively pursued starting pitching...in particular, Derek Lowe...

Yeah, Sherrington concedes, he "wasn't great" last season -- but hey, he was 3-0 with a 1.86 ERA in the 2004 postseason, and Sherrington thinks that having "someone with a track record" if the Rangers ever get to the postseason is a necessity...

Sherrington asks: "Isn't Lowe, 31, worth the $36 million over four years he got from the Dodgers?"

The answer, of course, is no...he's not worth $9 million per year for four years. He's not worth $4.5 million per year for two years. And Sherrington concedes that "it might have taken as much as $12 million a year" to get him to Texas.

I don't understand why some folks are still so entranced by Derek Lowe. As has been pointed out all over the web, best case scenario, Lowe is a league average innings eater. And $9 million per year is way too much for that...


Weird Sherrington column 

Kevin Sherrington's Tuesday column is mainly fawning over Mark Teixeira, and advocating for him to stay at first base for the foreseeable future.

I don't have that big of a problem with that, although I think he'd be more valuable in right field, and I doubt that Magglio Ordonez is a better DH option than Carlos Delgado, as Sherrington suggests.

But then, towards the end of the column, Sherrington gets a bit distracted and suggested that the Rangers should have more aggressively pursued starting pitching...in particular, Derek Lowe...

Yeah, Sherrington concedes, he "wasn't great" last season -- but hey, he was 3-0 with a 1.86 ERA in the 2004 postseason, and Sherrington thinks that having "someone with a track record" if the Rangers ever get to the postseason is a necessity...

Sherrington asks: "Isn't Lowe, 31, worth the $36 million over four years he got from the Dodgers?"

The answer, of course, is no...he's not worth $9 million per year for four years. He's not worth $4.5 million per year for two years. And Sherrington concedes that "it might have taken as much as $12 million a year" to get him to Texas.

I don't understand why some folks are still so entranced by Derek Lowe. As has been pointed out all over the web, best case scenario, Lowe is a league average innings eater. And $9 million per year is way too much for that...


Delgado to the Marlins 

Delgado signs with Florida for 4 years, $52 million. An option could make it worth 5 years, $64 million.

Well, at least that's over.

It is rather ironic, though, that last offseason, the Marlins were trading Derreck Lee, their incumbent first baseman, because they didn't want to pay him...and now are spending millions more on the older Delgado...


Monday, January 24, 2005

Rangers sniffing around on Magglio Ordonez 

Not too surprising.

They are apparently checking him out.

Although John Hart is quoted as saying, "We will be very happy if we take the team we currently have to spring training."



Fluff Q&A from the Ranger website 

Nothing of any real note...

But hey, it is there, in case you want to see what the folks who get paid by the Rangers to write about the Rangers have to say about the Rangers...


Sunday, January 23, 2005

Sloane accuses the Rangers of reneging on DH issue 

The latest on the Delgado situation:

[i]Sloane said the Rangers told him on Sunday afternoon that if Delgado signed with Texas, he probably would be a designated hitter most of the time.

"From the first conversation with the Texas Rangers, we made it crystal clear that Carlos Delgado had no interest in being a full-time DH," Sloane said. "If we had 25 conversations with the Texas Rangers, we were told in 24 of those that the question of him playing first base was no issue. Earlier today, we were told that is changing and that 75 percent of his at-bats, should he choose to sign with the Texas Rangers, would come as a DH.

"After three months of negotiations, we were given less than five hours to tell them yes or no, to make a decision that affects not only the rest of Carlos Delgado's baseball career, but the rest of his life."[/i]

If this is true, this pisses me off even more.

The DH/1B situation should have been a non-issue. If they assured Sloane that Delgado would play 1B, and then backed off on that today, that tells me that the Rangers were never really serious about signing him, that this was just posturing to satisfy the fans.

I'm starting to really hate Tom Hicks.


I'm depressed 

Adding Delgado would have simply made this team a good team. An 82-85 win team, maybe better if everything broke right.

As currently situated, though, this is a sub-.500 team.

This offseason has been a disaster. We lost Ben Kozlowski for no good reason, did basically nothing to improve the team, and are wasting money on dreck like Sandy Alomar, Jr.

But on the plus side, Tom Hicks made sure to apply some of that "financial flexibility" to sign John Hart and Buck Showalter to contract extensions.

There's a glimmer of hope, I guess, that the Rangers could try to get Mike Sweeney from the Royals, or Mike Cameron or Cliff Floyd from the Mets.

But at this point, I'm pretty much resigning myself to a season of mediocrity.


Rangers out of the running for Delgado 

T.R. Sullivan writes that the Rangers are now out of the running for Delgado.

So the Rangers go into 2005 with David Dellucci as their DH.

This team will struggle to finish .500.


Delgado's decision reportedly due within 48 hours 

The Miami Herald is reporting today that Carlos Delgado's decision is expected to be made "within the next 48 hours".

I hope so. I'm tired of waiting.


Sullivan not real optimistic on Delgado 

T.R. Sullivan today writes on the Delgado situation, and doesn't seem too optimistic about the Rangers' chances.

The Rangers have gone four years, according to Sullivan, and are in the $11-12 million range that all the competitors have apparently been hanging around, although the Ranger offer includes deferred money, lowering the present value of the contract.

Sloane is apparently shopping the Rangers' offer, which isn't all that surprising. My initial optimism that a deal would be done by today is fading...I'm starting to believe that the Rangers are just being used by Sloane to juice an extra year and a little more money out of the Mets...


The Mechanics Of A Breaking Pitch 

I don't think I've ever linked to a Popular Mechanics article before, but they've got a piece on "The Mechanics Of A Breaking Pitch" that I think is a pretty neat read.

Debunks the notion that the breaking ball is just an optical illusion, and Jim Kaat explains how each type of pitch is actually thrown. Neat article.


Saturday, January 22, 2005

The NY Post claims Mets, Marlins are willing to match 

New article in the New York Post on the Delgado situation.

The Post says that the Mets and Marlins have each told Delgado's agent David Sloane that "they could make comparable offers", according to a source...

The Mets and Marlins as described as being "neck and neck" for Delgado, although Texas is described as the best fit...

Hopefully, this will get resolved tomorrow...


Stupid, stupid, stupid column on Roger Clemens 

Look, I'm not a big Roger Clemens fan. I've always thought he was something of a jackass. Thought he was part of that whole dysfunctional New England sports scene that I want nothing to do with. Great pitcher, one of the greatest ever, no question, but I've never really liked him.

That said, Mike Celizic's column for MSNBC today is just asinine. One of the stupidest columns I've ever read. In a nutshell, Clemens has made millions, so he shouldn't care about the money he makes now. He should be about winning, about allowing the Astros to spend more money on other players, because years from now, his paycheck won't matter anyway, but his legacy will.

The most telling tidbit:

"I don’t get it. If I were Roger Clemens, I’d offer to pay for the opportunity to put myself so high on the all-time lists that no one will ever catch me. Getting paid to go out at the age of 43 and further distance myself from all present and future pursuers would be a bonus."

No, Mike Celizic, if you were Roger Clemens, that's not what you'd do. You wouldn't offer to pay to stick around for a year after winning the N.L. Cy Young Award. You wouldn't just take whatever the team wanted to give you after having taken a huge paycut the year before, and after having led your team to the NLCS and caused a big boost in attendance whenever you pitched.

This sort of demagoguery from the press, I find pathetic. I'm tired of whiny sportswriters complaining about how athletes get millions to do what so many people would love to do for free. You know what? I'd love to be a professional writer. I'd love to write all those books John Grisham or Stephen King or Anne Tyler or Philip Roth have written. And by golly, I'd do it for free...I wouldn't demand all those millions that Grisham or King get.

Of course, it is a pointless comparison, because millions of people don't buy my books. So it is pointless for my to speculate that, if I were as popular as Stephen King, I'd publish all my books for free and give writing workshops to disadvantaged children. Just as it is pointless for Mike Celizic to lecture sanctimoniously about how Roger Clemens should be humble and grateful for the opportunity to play a game for a living...millions of people are willing to pay to watch him play.

What a bunch of wannabes would or wouldn't do doesn't matter. Because I'm not going to sell millions of books, and Mike Celizic isn't going to have folks pay to watch him pitch.

And what Mike Celizic thinks he would or wouldn't do doesn't matter. Celizic believing that Roger Clemens should pitch for free for some ethereal reason is absolutely meaningless. And I feel dumber for having read his whining.


Friday, January 21, 2005

One more change on the Delgado situation 

The New York Times article has changed.

Instead of a 3 year, $39 million deal, as was initially being reported, the Times is now quoting that "member of an American League team's front office who has been briefed on the discussions" as putting the purported contract value at 4 years, $48 million...


From the New York Times: Rangers offer 3 years, $39 million 

The New York Times, citing a front office member of an A.L. team that had been "briefed" on the Delgado negoations, has put the Rangers offer to Delgado at 3 years and $39 million.

That would make them the high bidder right now, surpassing the 3 years, $35 million offered by Florida, and the three years, $30 million the Mets have on the table.


Phillies claim Edwin Moreno on waivers from Rangers 

The Phillies have claimed Edwin Moreno on waivers from the Rangers.

Moreno was added to the 40 man roster after the 2003 season, when he posted an impressive 3.29 ERA for AA Frisco, while splitting time between the rotation and the bullpen. The ERA, however, masked a strikeout rate and K/BB ratio that were nice, but not as dominating as a low-3 ERA would suggest.

Moreno was awful in Frisco last season, and was shut down with shoulder problems.

The big surprise, to me, is that he lasted this long on the 40 man roster...he's one of the players, along with Ruddy Yan, Ryan Wing, and Agustin Montero, that I thought should have been 40 man casualties before Ben Kozlowski, who was claimed off of waivers by Cincy earlier in the offseason.

For a team with a couple of open roster spots, Moreno isn't a bad gamble...maybe he can get his career back on track with the Phillies.

This leaves two open spots on the 40 man roster now...


Sickels on Nickeas 

In his mailbag column today, John Sickels fields an inquiry on the Rangers' 2004 5th rounder, Mike Nickeas.

Nickeas, a catcher out of Georgia Tech, turned some heads playing in Spokane last season, where his bat performed much better than expectations. He's got an invite to the major league camp this spring, albeit probably primarily because teams needs lots of catchers early in the spring to work with the pitchers. But Sickels has praise for his defensive skills, and while he notes that some question whether he can hit the breaking ball at higher levels, he goes so far as to say that Nickeas could be one of the best catching prospects in the game a year from now.

Also, Sickels announces that his last column for ESPN will be on February 1. I'd heard some rumors that he was being moved out, but this is the official confirmation.

Not too surprising, unfortunately...ESPN apparently can't have good writers like Sickels clogging up their website when they need room for John Kruk and Buster Olney...


Comments on the Delgado meeting today 

From the AP story on the meeting...

"Tom Hicks said that he was going to come to Puerto Rico and give it his best shot," Delgado's agent, David Sloane, said in an e-mail. "He did all that and more."


"I think they recognize it was a very strong offer, I think they recognize we went certainly farther ... it was more aggressive than anything we talked about before," Hicks said. "I think we made a very compelling offer."

Yep...I'm thinking on Sunday, they'll be announcing a 4 year, $50 million deal with the Rangers...


As Delgado Turns 

Word buzzing all over the internet is that the Rangers' meeting with Delgado and Sloan today went very well. Jim Reeves apparently is saying that he thinks that the Rangers have Delgado locked up, Sloan is saying that he expects to have things worked out in the next few days, Hicks says that they gave it a great shot...

Good buzz...now, this whole thing could be a ploy to get the Mets to up their offer, but I don't find that to be real likely. Bottom line, I wouldn't be surprised if Delgado signs with Texas by Sunday.

And if he does, I'll put the number at 4 years, $50 million.


Clemens re-ups with Houston -- 1 year, $18 million 

The Rocket gets paid...

That's a lot of money. And this could end up impacting the potential Soriano deal one of two ways. One, the Astros could believe that, with Clemens back, they are still a contender, and thus need to add a bat to the lineup, meaning that they are more likely to try to land Soriano.

Or it could mean that, with Clemens taking $18 million of the budget, they can't afford to add Soriano and his $7.5 million.

I lean towards the former interpretation...Clemens isn't making that much more than had been budgeted for just Beltran, and the Astros had made plans to have both Beltran and Clemens in Houston. So they should be able to afford both Soriano and Clemens. And I tend to believe that Clemens would be less likely to return if he didn't think that the Astros would be making other moves to strengthen the club for 2005.

So hopefully, a Soriano for Backe and Burke, or Soriano for Astacio and Burke, deal is on the horizon...


Extensions for Hart, Buck 

The Rangers announced contract extensions for John Hart and Buck Showalter today.

Hart got a two year contract which renews each year, and Buck got a three year extension, which puts him under contract through 2009.

Meh. It just means that Tom Hicks will have to pay them that much more when he fires them.


Thursday, January 20, 2005

T.R. Sullivan breaks down the Delgado race 

A lengthy analysis by T.R. Sullivan, looking at the pros and cons for each contender in the Delgado saga.

I'm too tired and worn down by this whole thing to really analyze Sullivan's analysis. It is, though, symbolic of how pitiful this offseason has been, that the Delgado situation has become so huge for the Rangers.

They haven't even been in the running for any other significant free agent. If the Rangers don't sign Delgado, there's going to be a huge letdown for us fans, I think.


More on Delgado 

A New York Times article for Friday characterizes the Rangers as the third team in a three team race for Delgado, saying that they aren't likely to offer more than $10 or 11 million per year...

The Mets, meanwhile, have supposedly had "internal discussions" about going as high as $13-14 million per, while Delgado's agent is trying to get somewhere between Carlos Beltran's annual salary ($17 million per year) and Adrian Beltre's ($12.8 million)...

Obviously, we'll know more after the meeting between Hicks, Hart and Delgado on Friday...


Today, On Delgado 

A flurry of reports on the Delgado situation...

T.R. Sullivan reports in the S-T today that things are looking good on the Delgado front. According to club officials, Hicks has the "glint in his eye" he gets when he wants a free agent, and his personal involvement and decision to go with the rest of the Ranger delegation to see Delgado on Friday is a sign that he wants to get the deal done. He's apparently backed off on the previous $55 million budget, which would have forced the Rangers to move Soriano to get a deal with Delgado done, and is apparently willing to add both Delgado and Soriano to the team.

Evan Grant in the DMN is less optimistic, noting that the Mets have scheduled a meeting today, before the Rangers can meet with Delgado. Grant also suggests that the Ranger plan -- for Delgado to be primarily a DH -- could work against them, as the N.L. suitors are offering a first base job.

If it is really that big of a deal, personally, I'd just as soon the Rangers let him be the first baseman, put Teixeira in the outfield, and let Mench or Hidalgo DH.

Meanwhile, New York Newsday is suggesting that the Mets are the favorites, and are preparing an offer of 4 years, $45 million to Delgado. Newsday cites a source as saying that the Rangers will go four years, if necessary, but won't go over $10 million per year.

The New York Daily News, meanwhile, cites "industry sources" as saying that they believe the bidding will top out at 3 years, $11-12 million per year. The Daily News also repeats the rumor that the Rangers don't want to go above $10 million per year, and imply that the Mets will end up landing him, given that they are willing to do three years at $11-12 million per.

Finally, the New York Post also seems to believe that the Mets are going to end up with Delgado. They are reporting that Delgado has asked for 5 years, $80 million, while the Mets have only offered three years, $30 million and the Marlins have gone 3 years, $35 million.

The tone of all this seems to suggest that the Mets, Marlins and Rangers are the key players still in the Delgado sweepstakes, with the Orioles appearing to fade. Pretty clearly, all the New York papers think that Delgado will end up a Met, although that appears to be based in large part on faith that Minaya will ultimately open up the checkbook and top any offer the Marlins or Rangers make.

If it takes 3 years, $36 million to get a deal done, then Tom Hicks and John Hart need to get the deal done. If Minaya is willing to go 5 years at $14-15 million per year, then I'll support Tom Hicks' decision not to match that figure. If Minaya decides he's going to spend whatever it takes to get Carlos Delgado to New York, then hopefully the Rangers will drop out of the bidding when it reaches outrageous levels, and start thinking about, say, targeting Lance Berkman in the 2005-06 offseason.

But it sounds like we should know by the end of the weekend where Carlos Delgado will be playing in 2005.


Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Alex Cora off the board 

Alex Cora has signed with the Indians for 2 years, $2.9 million.

Not a bad deal, although Cleveland doesn't really have anywhere to play him.

Cora was one of the few remaining viable options to play 2B if Soriano were dealt. At this point, I'd guess that the Rangers have to send him to Houston, if they are going to make a deal, since the Astros are about the only team that can send back someone who can play second base for the Rangers in 2005.

And Chris Burke, whom the Astros are supposedly offering, is probably not that far from Soriano anyway.


Rangers sign Almanzar, DeRosa 

The Rangers have signed Carlos Almanzar and Mark DeRosa today.

Almanzar was due to go to arbitration next month, and signed a one year, $1.1 million deal. That's a reasonable deal...I'm a big Almanzar fan, and think having him in the bullpen to handle the 7th and 8th innings is a big part of making the pen a strength of the team.

DeRosa got a minor league deal with an invite to spring training. He's fine as an option for the utility infield job...he can hit a little, play different positions, and isn't getting a guaranteed deal or a spot on the 40 man roster. Not a bad pickup at all.


Loaiza off the market 

Esteban Loaiza, whom the Rangers were supposedly sniffing around on, has signed with the Nationals.

One year, $2.9 million, continuing the Nationals streak of overpaying for mediocre to bad free agents.


Gagne signs a two year, $19 million deal 

The Dodgers avoided arbitration with Eric Gagne, signing him to a 2 year, $19 million deal, with a mutual option for 2007.

The main reason this is worth noting for Rangers fans is that Gagne's agent is Scott Boras -- who, of course, also represents Mark Teixeira. Some Ranger fans have already started talking about needing to shop Teixeira, because Boras clients insist on going to arbitration every year, will never sign multi-year deals, and will never re-sign with their own teams. The argument is that, rather than lose him for "nothing" (even though he isn't free agent eligible until after the 2008 season), and rather than have to go to arbitration with him every season, we should get rid of him and bring in a more pliable player who will be more cooperative on contract talks.

Gagne's deal just goes to show that even Boras clients will forego arbitration. We'll see what happens once this deal is over, but to talk about trading Teixeira just because of his agent is foolishness.


Billy Beane interview 

Fellow blogger Tyler Bleszinski of Athletics Nation has an exclusive interview with Billy Beane up on his site.

Very good stuff, definitely worth checking out, if only to keep tabs on what the enemy is thinking...


On Boras and ethics 

Marc Levin, an attorney in Austin -- described as "a lifelong Astros fan" -- wrote a whiny editorial in the Houston Chronicle about Scott Boras, accusing him of unethical and illegal behavior in the Carlos Beltran negotiations.

This is a pretty silly piece. It comes across as someone mad at Boras because Boras's client didn't sign with the writer's favorite team, and thus he's lashing out.

The conclusion of the editorial is particularly sanctimonious:

"To be sure, the blame goes well beyond Boras for the integrity deficit in both baseball and the corporate world. From steroids to revenue sharing, the players' union and owners have so far failed to ensure that the game is played on a level playing field. From Enron to WorldCom, millions of Americans have suffered financially as a result of deceptive statements.

While Boras is unlikely to face any ethical or legal repercussions, professional athletes should choose agents who negotiate in good faith and abide by basic rules of fair play. Like their clients, baseball agents are entitled to play hardball and swing for the fences, but they should refrain from making misleading pitches."

So he links Boras's hardball negotiating tactics to steroids and Enron, while also whining about baseball owners not implementing revenue sharing so that there is a "level playing field".

Bottom line, professional athletes should choose agents who will best represent their interests. If that means engaging in scorched earth tactics such as the type Boras engages in -- if that is what the player feels will ultimately best serve him -- then so be it.


LeBreton on the Delgado situation 

Gil LeBreton today has a piece in the S-T about the Rangers' quiet pursuit of Carlos Delgado.

While I agree with a lot of LeBreton's central premise -- that most of the free agent signings this offseason have been excessive, particularly for pitchers, and the Rangers were wise to stay away -- he has a little more faith than I do in Tom Hicks' willingness to open his wallet.

I'm still disturbed by the rumblings -- Buck Showalter's denials notwithstanding -- that payroll is slotted at $52-55 million, and thus Soriano has to be traded to make room for Delgado in the budget.

While a Soriano deal isn't a bad thing in and of itself -- and LeBreton's whining notwithstanding, I'd deal Soriano for Chris Burke straight up -- the notion that this team can't afford both players is quite irritating. We'll see soon enough how serious Tom Hicks is about solidifying this team.


Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Clemens asks for $22 million 

A few weeks back, Roger Clemens accepted arbitration with the Houston Astros, a move most expected was simply a maneuver to extend his negotiating window with the Astros, should he decide to return.

Apparently, that may not be the case, as Clemens today filed for a $22 million salary in 2005. The Astros have offered $13.5 million.

The $22 million is the most ever requested in arbitration, and would be the highest amount ever paid to a pitcher for one season.

I'm not sure if this is just a negotiating ploy, or if Clemens is serious about seeking $22 million from the Astros for 2005.

Either way, though, he appears to have Houston owner Drayton McLane over a barrel.


Rangers agree to a one-year deal with Matthews 

The Rangers have signed Gary Matthews Jr. to a one year deal.

No financial terms was disclosed. This means no arbitration for Matthews, and Carlos Almanzar is the last arbitration-eligible player remaining without a contract.


Monday, January 17, 2005

Robbie Alomar to the Devil Rays 

The Rangers, who were supposedly interested in Alomar, have dodged a bullet with Alomar going instead to the Devil Rays.

I think the Transaction Oracle summed it up best.


Alfonso Soriano signing -- link 

One year, $7.5 million, per the S-T.


Soriano signed 

The Ticket is reporting that Alfonso Soriano has signed a one year deal for $7.5 million, thus avoiding arbitration.

Right in the middle of the $7-8 million folks expected him to get. I'll provide a link when there's online confirmation of the deal. But that's reasonable enough, considering the parameters of the arbitration process.

I don't think he's really worth that, of course, but he'd get around that if they went to the arbitrator.


Delgado to choose between Florida and the Mets? 

Sportsnet Canada is reporting that Carlos Delgado will choose between the Mets and the Marlins this week.

Bad news for the Rangers, if true...but given that Tom Hicks and a contingent of Ranger brass are supposedly meeting with Delgado later this week, we might want to take this report with a grain of salt.

I don't know how much you want to trust a baseball story that comes from a site with a big "HOCKEY CENTRAL" banner at the top of the story...


Notes from Ken Rosenthal 

Ken Rosenthal's Inside Dish includes a couple of interesting items for Rangers fans...

First, he says that Kevin Mench remains a popular target for teams looking for a cheap outfielder, but that the Rangers are resisting efforts by others to pry him away.

Secondly, he notes that Billy Beane has the right to opt out of his contract with the A's if ownership changes, which means that, with Lewis Wolff's anticipated purchase of the club, Beane might become the highest-profile G.M. ever to hit the free agent market.

Tom Hicks has made it clear, in overpaying for John Hart (the highest-paid G.M. in baseball), that he'll spend for front office types. If Beane, the best G.M. in baseball, becomes available, Hicks needs to be on the phone, checkbook in hand, immediately.


Sunday, January 16, 2005

Possible Cameron/Byrnes trade 

Rumors abound that the A's and Mets are close to consummating a trade, with Mike Cameron going to the A's for Eric Byrnes and Chad Bradford.

That would be bad for two reasons...first, the A's would be a much better team with Mike Cameron chasing down fly balls in center field. Beane had apparently targeted Cameron as a free agent in the 2003-04 offseason, ultimately losing him to the Mets.

Second, that Mets would be making that deal, supposedly, to free up more money to throw at Carlos Delgado...which, of course, would make it that much less likely we'd snag Delgado...


On steroids and amphetamines 

Jon Heyman's column today talks about baseball's decision to test more stringently for steroids, while ignoring amphetamines. From his column:

"The trainer, who spoke anonymously, said amphetamines 'are more performance-enhancing than steroids.' He said, 'An average ballplayer on steroids is still an average ballplayer, with a little more power. An average ballplayer on greenies has increased awareness, increased hand-eye coordination and increased energy.'

What's more, the trainer said amphetamines are far more prevalent than steroids, ticking off various greenie options: 'There's 24 hours, eight hours and time release.' The trainer said, 'If 50 percent do steroids, maybe 80 percent do amphetamines.'"

And while the steroid scourge is recent, amphetamines have been around baseball for years...Jim Bouton wrote at length about the issue in Ball Four, which is a diary of his 1969 season...


Saturday, January 15, 2005

Old Rangers never die 

In the realm of stud teenage shortstop prospects with Texas, before there was Joaquin Arias, there was Benji Gil.

Gil, of course, flamed out, and ultimately resurfaced as a utilityman.

U.S.S. Mariner is reporting that he's signed a minor league deal with the Mariners.


Delgado and the Marlins 

The Washington Post is reporting that the Florida Marlins and Carlos Delgado began "serious" negotiations today, with the Marlins offer three years, $34 million.

The Orioles have supposedly only offered 3 years, $25 million.

The Rangers need to be willing to go to 3 years, $36 million.

If Delgado signs with the Marlins for 3 years, $34 million, because the Rangers wouldn't go that high, I'm going to be furious.


The Rangers in Latin America 

Lengthy piece from Todd Wills in the DMN for Sunday on the Rangers expanding their presence in Latin America.

Pretty much a puff piece, although there's one disheartening comment:

"With the Rangers out of the $100 million-plus payroll business and down to the $60 million-65 million range, they need new avenues to find cheaper players."

The Rangers should not be a $60-65 million payroll team.


A's give Durazo $4.7 million deal 

The Oakland A's have re-signed Erubiel Durazo, for one year at $4.7 million.

I thought that there was a chance that he'd be non-tendered, with the A's preferring to find a cheaper option rather than risk arbitration with him. That $4.7 million isn't bad.

The same article also indicates that Eric Byrnes, probably my least favorite player in the majors, is saying that he's about to sign a one year deal for over $2 million.


Friday, January 14, 2005

Sickels on Ben Harrison 

In his Down on the Farm Mailbag for espn.com today, John Sickels talks about Ranger 2004 7th rounder Ben Harrison. He grades Harrison, an outfielder who played at Spokane last season, as a C, noting that his high K rate and low walk totals in the Northwest League have him concerned about Harrison's ability to make contact at higher levels.


The Delgado saga rolls on 

T.R. Sullivan today says that the Rangers are still players for Carlos Delgado, although Tom Hicks continues to act constrained by his budget. Supposedly, club officials are "reviewing" the possibility of having both Soriano and Delgado on the payroll.

Sullivan says that the Astros are willing to give up Chris Burke, "but little else", for Soriano...personally, if the Astros are willing to make that deal, I'd pull the trigger.

Sullivan also says that club officials "laughed at" reports out of Atlanta, of the Rangers talking to the Braves about sending them Mark Teixeira. Various permutations of the rumor I've seen floating around included Teixeira for John Thomson and prospects, or Teixeira for Rafael Furcal. Needless to say, either of those would be bad options...


Thursday, January 13, 2005

Young wants Delgado 

For what it is worth, Mike Young is pushing for the Rangers to get Carlos Delgado.


Ruddy Yan outrighted to Oklahoma 

Ruddy Yan has been outrighted to Oklahoma, removing him from the 40 man roster.

Of course, he never should have been added to the 40 man roster anyway, but hey...


Tim Redding and Alfonso Soriano 

An article featuring Tim Redding grousing about his second-class status in Houston includes a suggestion that Redding could be part of the package sent to Texas for Soriano.

I don't really have a whole lot of interest in Redding. He's about to turn 27, he's got a good arm but hasn't put things together consistently, and seems to have raised a bunch of questions about his makeup over the past few years.

Redding needs to go to some team where he can fill the R.A. Dickey role...pitch middle and long relief, spot start, and see if he can get his act together without being in the rotation full time to start the season. I don't think that's possible in Texas.


Galloway on Hicks and Delgado 

Great column today from Randy Galloway, who is holding Hicks' feet to the fire on the Delgado issue.

As Galloway says, the Delgado signing is coming down to credibility versus flexibility.


Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Marlins re-up LoDuca 

The Marlins have re-signed Paul Lo Duca.

Three years, $18 million.

For a catcher who turns 32 in April, who isn't impressive defensively, and who has a .269 career EQA and is still coasting off of one great season. Oh, and he tends to wear down over the course of the season.

I find this pretty mystifying.

Best case scenario, based on a reasonable career path, they'll be overpaying somewhat for a solid, unspectacular catcher.

Worst case, in the middle of 2006, they'll be desperately trying to find someone to dump him on, where he can be an overpaid backup.

Maybe they'll send him to the Reds for the similarly overpaid, not very good Eric Milton, who also has a three year deal.

Bad signing.


Beltran, Boras, and the Astros 

Good article by Richard Justice today on the Beltran saga, and the way Boras manipulated the process with the Astros and Mets.

I'm not really an Astro fan, and I think Astros fans have had reason to be angry with Drayton McLane in the past, but this isn't one of those situations.


Tuesday, January 11, 2005

On the starting pitching front 

According to the Washington Post, "two industry sources" indicate that the Rangers are involved in discussions with Esteban Loaiza.



Cameron asks the Mets to deal him 

Mike Cameron has requested that the Mets trade him, rather than move him to right field to make room for Carlos Beltran.

I've talked about this before, but the Rangers need to be on this. Bring Mike Cameron to Texas and plug him in centerfield.


Fuson to Toronto? 

In a very short article, Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun reports that Grady Fuson may be joining the Blue Jays' front office, although he offers virtually no details.

Fuson, of course, worked with Toronto G.M. J.P. Ricciardi in Oakland...


Who is Brandon Backe? 

The Rangers have supposedly targeted starting pitcher Brandon Backe in their discussions with the Astros involving a trade of Alfonso Soriano.

Backe isn't exactly a household name, though. So who is Brandon Backe?

Brandon Backe was an 18th round draft choice of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays out of Galveston Community College in 1998. He was drafted as a shortstop, but converted to pitching in 2001. In December of 2003, he was sent from the D-Rays to the Astros in exchange for Geoff Blum, veteran random utilityman extraordinaire. Baseball America didn't seem overwhelmed by the deal, noting in their analysis of the deal that "Backe projects as a setup man thanks to his 92-94 mph fastball and a slider that can be a plus pitch at times."

Backe was brought up just one week into the season to join the the Astro pen and was unimpressive, posting a 5.32 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP in 22 innings, allowing 4 homers and 8 walks against 15 strikeouts while pitching in relief. Once he was sent back down to AAA New Orleans, though, he was terrific, splitting time between the pen and the rotation, posting a 2.80 ERA with 74 Ks and 26 walks in 64 innings pitched. With Wade Miller and Andy Pettitte on the shelf, Backe was brought up in August and thrust into the rotation. Backe's peripherals didn't improve, but his ERA did, dropping to 3.80...curiously, as well, his ERA at home was 2.61, vs. a 6.52 ERA on the road. Still, he was pretty much an unknown until the postseason, when he had three impressive starts to help get the Astros ever-so-close to the World Series.

So what is the impression of Backe? CBS Sportsline's scouting report on Backe coming into the playoffs said:

"Solid competitor, everything is hard. His best pitch is a slider or fastball. He's got a chance to be a starter, but his lack of experience for this year might hurt him in the playoffs. I don't see him pitching that much, but in each series he might get a start. If (Sunday's regular-season finale against Colorado) was any indication of what may happen, he could be one of the biggest keys in the series -- if he's a guy who can get them to the next two guys, Clemens and Oswalt. "

ESPN, meanwhile, provides their own scouting report on him, crediting him with four major league pitches -- fastball, slider, cutter, and change -- and notes that he throws his fastball, which sits around 91, as both a two-seamer and a four-seamer. The report notes that the Astros were impressed with his poise and aggressiveness, and look at him as a #4 or #5 starter next year, and possibly better than that going forward.

Backe's DIPS ERA the past two years hasn't deviated significantly from his regular ERA, so he's not getting helped or hurt by defense or luck. In the majors, he's allowed more flyballs than groundballs, which is something the Rangers have wanted to avoid bringing into TBIA, particularly for a righthander.

Looking at everything, I can't say that I really see why the Rangers would be so hot for him. He's a decent pitcher who had a nice run at the end of the season, but he's hardly a guy who is a lock to be a mainstay in a rotation going forward, or even a potential top-of-the-rotation starter.

Maybe the Rangers think they see something there...but I don't see that he's such an asset that he'd be a potential dealbreaker in an Alfonso Soriano trade.


Shawns Green and Estes to the D-Backs 

Along with the wire report of Shawn Green being introduced as a D-Back, Shawn Estes has supposedly signed with the D-Backs, one year at $2.5-3 million.

I don't get it.

The Dodgers are kicking in $8 million towards his salary this season. Under his original deal, he was owed $16 million for 2005. He insisted on a contract extension to waive his no-trade clause, and the D-Backs ended up signing him to a new 3 year, $32 million deal. So, basically, they are paying him $8 million per year for the next three years, and giving up Dioner Navarro, a quality catching prospect, along with three minor league arms in the deal. Baseball America breaks down the prospects in this piece.

I'm not sure why Arizona wants Shawn Green that badly. He was very good for several years, but he's coming off seasons with EQAs of .286 and .280. He's 32, so there may be an assumption that he's due to bounce back to the .300-.320 level EQAs he posted in his late-20s, but he's also at the age where very good but not great players oftentimes fall off the table pretty quickly -- I'd be less surprised if he was useless by 2007 than if he returned to his 1999-2002 level of production over the life of the contract.

And he may be limited to 1B, rather than his usual right field, because of shoulder problems. That wouldn't be so much of a problem, if it weren't for the fact that Troy Glaus, another big D-Back f.a. acquisition, might also be limited to 1B because of shoulder problems.

And then there's Shawn Estes.

Shawn Estes isn't good.

He walks a bunch of batters and doesn't strike anyone out.

But he gives up a lot of ground balls, which I guess the D-Backs, with their hitter-friendly stadium, are looking for.

Yeah, he pitched at Coors last season, but he had a 5.53 ERA on the road, with 18 homers in 19 starts.

He's nothing more than an NRI...Arizona has become one of the worst-run organizations in baseball.


SI's Hot Stove Power Rankings 

The Rangers are ranked #22.

The most depressing part of the capsule?

Key additions: RF Richard Hidalgo, C Sandy Alomar Jr.



More on Delgado 

There's a great comment to my Delgado post from "Hightower", that I wanted to comment on:

Delgado, like the entire market, is overpriced. A one year deal makes sense, even for the per annum salary he wants, but guaranteeing 3 years' worth is pretty risky. He's older, and burly DHs in their 30s are really not _that_ hard to come by, after all.

The team has worked hard to compose itself from within, and that's what we'll see them continue to do this year. As we get into the last year of CHP's contract and figure out exactly where we're at with our own pitching, we'll be much more effective in planning and budgeting for the F.A. market.

Really, though, this year's free agents haven't been worth bidding on. The market's been a joke.


I don't disagree with most of that. As I've said before, I'm glad we've sat out of the Milton and Wright bidding. There are some deals out there that we should have pursued, I thought -- Lieber, Miller and Radke in particular -- but for the most part the pitching market has been overheated.

Whether Delgado is overpriced or not is, I think, debateable. I'd go 3 years, $36 million to bring him here. I'd consider a vesting option for the fourth year. But whether or not you think that is a good price, given his age and knee problems, is certainly something that reasonable people can disagree about.

However, my greater concern is the fact that the Rangers aren't vacillating on this because they think he's overpriced -- rather, from what T.R. Sullivan is saying, the Rangers don't feel like they can afford him when Soriano is here.

And if that's the case, they should have non-tendered or traded Soriano. Or maybe not given Hidalgo $5 million, or Barajas almost $2 million, or Brocail $1 million.

If they think Carlos Delgado is asking for more than he's worth, then fine. Don't pay him. But don't try to sell me on the notion that they'd like to sign him, but just can't afford it without moving Soriano. Because by doing so, the team is revealing that the "financial flexibility" they supposedly garnered from the ARod trade was simply not true.


Juan Gone returning to the Indians 

Juan Gonzalez apparently will sign a minor league deal with the Indians.

Another attempt to get back on track a once great career gone into the tank because of injuries and, some think, a lack of desire...

It will be interesting to see if Gonzalez can pull off a Ruben Sierra-esque career renaissance, after being written off...

And just the fact that he's willing to take a minor league deal would seem to bely the thoughts that he doesn't care about playing any more, and was only hanging around for the paychecks...


No Delgado for Texas 

T.R. Sullivan today says that the Rangers are pretty much out of the Delgado race, with the Mets likely to sign him at $12-14 million per year.

According to Sullivan: "Rangers officials insist they don't see a situation where they can have both Soriano and Delgado on the same team, not unless owner Tom Hicks makes an exception to the stated payroll budget. Right now, the Rangers are looking at a $52-$55 million payroll, plus the $9 million they owe on Alex Rodriguez's contract."

So, basically, we are Pittsburgh or Kansas City...but better yet, we're Pittsburgh or Kansas City while paying the Ho $14 million and Soriano $8 million in 2005.

Essentially, we have $30 million to spend on the rest of the team. After winning 89 games and seeing a huge jump in attendance, Tom Hicks is slashing payroll, and the team has done virtually nothing to improve this offseason.

What an awful offseason.


Monday, January 10, 2005

Mets sign Humber 

The Mets have signed their first round draft pick, Philip Humber.

Humber, out of Rice, was the #3 overall pick of the draft, and one of three Rice Univesity pitchers picked at the top of the first round. The other two Rice hurlers, Wade Townsend and Jeff Niemann, have yet to sign. Townsend returned to classes at Rice, which cost Baltimore negotiating rights with him, and Niemann is still negotiating with Tampa Bay.

First Beltran, and now Humber...Minaya had a busy weekend...


Welcome to New York, Randy Johnson... 

Randy Johnson has issued an apology for his tirade against a cameraman when he was in New York for a physical this morning...

According to the website for CBS2, whose cameraman was involved in the incident:

Monday morning, in midtown on Madison Avenue between 58th and 59th streets, CBS2 cameraman Vinny Everett shot some video of Johnson, a standard procedure with a big-name athlete coming to town.

[em]Johnson batted aside our camera with his right, non-pitching hand, swiping it away. Johnson was accompanied by Yankees director of team security Jerry Laveroni, and both yelled at Everett, saying, "Don't get in my face.....don't talk back to me!" [/em]

I've got to say, that's pretty funny...I thought it would be a good half-season before crazyass Randy Johnson torqued out at the press in New York. Little did I know it would be in his first trip there...

Hope you enjoy your stay in the Big Apple, Randy...


We can't have Soriano and Delgado 

T.R. Sullivan today writes about the Soriano and Delgado situation.

Basically, he says that the Rangers would have to "free up some money" by trading Soriano in order to afford Delgado. Sullivan writes: "Club officials do not envision being able to have Delgado and Soriano on the same team."

So unless the Rangers can work out a trade of Soriano to the Astros, no Delgado for the Rangers.

This infuriates me. This absolutely is inexcusable from Tom Hicks.

The whole point of the ARod trade was so that the team could have "financial flexibility". Supposedly, ARod had to be traded to save the team millions to spend on other players. And this offseason, the contracts of Rusty Greer, Todd Van Poppel, Jay Powell, Jeff Zimmerman, and Herb Perry came off the books, clearing obligations of almost $20 million from the payroll.

And yet, the only real move the Rangers have made this offseason is to sign Richard Hidalgo at $5 million. And now, suddenly, the team that had all these contracts falling off the books, the team that traded the best player in the American League to get "financial flexibility", can't sign Carlos Delgado -- who fills a need, and who wants to come here -- unless they dump Soriano and his $8 million he'll get in 2005?

What particularly irks me is that I've defended Tom Hicks over the years. I've called him the best owner in the Metroplex (although admittedly, that's setting the bar pretty low).

But I've had enough. He lied to the fans about the ARod situation. He lied to the fans about the Grady Fuson fiasco. And now, it turns out he's lied to us about his willingness to spend money on the team. His assurances that the ARod trade was all about "financial flexibility", that the money saved would be put back into the team, have turned out to be false. The money saved is going back in Tom's pocket, while he chooses to run this team as a small market club.

Well, a small market club in one of the biggest metropolitan areas in the country, and with the highest-paid G.M. in baseball.

I'm no Soriano fan. I think he'll be overpaid. But given the current commitments, there is absolutely no reason why Carlos Delgado and Alfonso Soriano can't both be on the Rangers next season. To act like Soriano has to be moved because the Rangers can't afford him and Carlos Delgado is a slap in the face to Rangers fans everywhere.

It is time for Tom Hicks to go. Sell the team, Tom. Sell it to someone who gives a damn about the fans.


Sunday, January 09, 2005

Baseball America Roundtable: Stats vs. Scouts: The Great Debate 

Baseball America hosts a roundtable discussion between two "statheads" -- Gary Huckabay and Voros McCracken -- and two scouts -- Eddie Bane and Gary Hughes.

There's some interesting stuff, and a couple of the guys come off as being fairly unpleasant folks to deal with, but it is a good read.

Going through it, though, got me thinking about the hostility that seems to exist between the two camps, the way it has become a form of trench warfare with both sides having dug in and become dead set on holding their ground no matter what.

One of the most unfortunate elements is that, as sabermetric principles have started to become more integrated in baseball, a lot of the "statheads" are still stuck in a bomb-throwing, outsider mode. It is like when an opposition party finally starts making gains and getting power after years of being on the outside...the communication skills and political aspects of trying to get things done, rather than just sit on the sidelines and criticize, don't always translate.

Some of the folks at BP coined the phrase "beer and tacos" when discussing the scouts vs. stats debate. They say, why do you have to choose between stats and scouts? Why do you have to have either beer or tacos? Why not both, particularly since they go so well together? The problem is, there are those in the sabermetric community for whom, it seems, ridiculing the traditionalists has become a way of life, part of their schtick, and working towards a compromise doesn't fit in their worldview. I've heard statheads dismiss anything gleaned from watching a player perform as "visual scouting", an archaic form of data-gathering that simply injects unreliable subjective information into what should be an objective process, needlessly confusing the evaluation process. Rob Neyer, after the 2004 draft, wrote a column sneering at the capsule reports filed by scouts on various amateur prospects.

But there are weaknesses in players that cannot be gleaned through the statistics alone, that require personal observation to discover. A hitter's swing may be too long, making him vulnerable to hard-throwing major leaguers and leading to ridiculous strikeout rates and lower batting and slugging averages on the major league level -- think Jack Cust or Carlos Pena. A pitcher may be dominating at high-A because he's polished and has great control, but doesn't have the stuff to get batters out at the major league level consistently -- think Mario Ramos or John Stephens. Fielding, in particular, is difficult to judge using statistical methods right now, leaving it particularly vulnerable.

There's nothing for us "statheads" to be ashamed of about that. The stats may identify a player out there that is being overlooked, but that the scouts think is flawed or can't make it because of physical limitations. It doesn't mean that a prospect should be dismissed out of hand, but the scouting reports should be taken into account when evaluating the prospect. Similarly, a player may scout extremely well, but have K/BB rates or poor isolated power or other statistical keys that suggests that he won't pan out. One has to synthesize that data, incorporate both aspects in order to make a proper evaluation. It would be foolish to ignore the subjective evidence solely in favor of the objective evidence, and reveals exactly the type of ingrained biases that Bill James and Craig Wright and others at the vanguard of the sabermetric movement fought against when they took on the traditional baseball types.

The whole point of the sabermetric movement was to get more data, better data, more comprehensive information to incorporate in your evaluation and decision making process when looking at players and teams. It was about understanding, the quest for knowledge and truth.

Unfortunately, it seems that some have turned it into a pissing match, a holy war to show that they are right at the traditionalists are wrong.

I want to see prospects play. When a pitcher gets called up by the Rangers, I want to make sure I see them pitch on TV as soon as possible. I'll Tivo the game if I'm not going to be home. If the game isn't on in Houston, where I live, I'll ask those who watched for a scouting report. When folks I know are going to see a minor league game, or are going to spring training, I want them to bring back a report on what they observed.

I remember seeing Hank Blalock when he was at AA, getting goosebumps seeing him at the plate, watching how damn professional he looked up there, how, even though he was the youngest player on the field, he carried himself like he was a ten year veteran. I remember coming away even more impressed with him than before I saw him.

But then, why was I watching for Blalock in particular anyway? Because he was putting up stats that were out of this world, when he was just 20 years old. I wanted to see him to verify subjectively the stats -- the objective evidence -- that I had already received. If I didn't know anything about him -- or if he was 26 and putting up a .230/.280/.350 line -- would I have even noticed him? I don't know...

I do think that there is a tendency, even by those who are aware of the trap, to overemphasize what you see, particularly with first impressions. I know fans came back from Surprise this spring raving about Joaquin Arias. Jamey Newberg has him ranked as one of the top two or three prospects in the organization, based, from what I understand, in large part on what he saw from him this spring. And Jamey is not alone...Buck loves Arias, scouts love Arias, the folks who see him love him.

And yet, I look at the numbers, and see a guy with limited power potential, who doesn't walk, and who has great defensive skills but has yet to translate that into great defensive ability. I see a guy who, if everything pans out, is a quality defensive shortstop who will steal bases and hit for average, but won't have the OBP or power to be a premium offensive player. And I also see a guy who, at 19, still has a long way to go, still has a lot of developing to do and a lot of hurdles to overcome before he can even reach that potential. I see a guy who may be getting overvalued by the traditionalists because his skills at such a young age are so exciting, but have only so far that they will be able to go.

And just like the statheads need to have the scouts to point out that the guy who is dominating AA with the 87 mph fastball, the decent but not great breaking ball and change, and the superior control looks to be way too hittable to be a top-of-the-rotation starter in the majors, the scouts need the stathead types to point out that the toolsy outfielder with the great speed and tremendous batting practice power isn't showing the plate discipline or the power development that he needs to be an elite prospect. Done properly, it provides a form of checks and balances, with each side tempering the biases of the other, acting as the devil's advocate to make sure that each side of the situation is being examined.

One of the things in Moneyball I thought was so fascinating was Billy Beane's refusal to go see Nick Swisher, the college outfielder he absolutely loved, and wanted to take with the A's first first-round pick. He wouldn't go because he didn't want to tip off other people that he was on Swisher that hard...but at the same time, he was desperate for the scouty information on him...for the subjective evidence that so many in the stathead crowd want to dismiss. And the two top prospects at this point from the infamous Moneyball draft -- Swisher and pitcher Joe Blanton -- are guys who were coveted by both the stathead and scouting crowds. Beane, the Michael Corleone of the stathead crowd (with Bill James, of course, being Vito Corleone), wanted to have the subjective information along with the objective information, and if he couldn't see Swisher himself, he at least wanted his lieutenants to see him and bring him back the news from the front.

Going forward, the most successful organizations are going to be those that can synthesize both the stats and the scouts. One of the reasons I am such a big Grady Fuson fan is that I feel he's one of the best at combining the two. A thriving organization is going to have the Ian Kinslers and Kameron Loes, but also have the Juan Senreisos and the Joaquin Ariases. A successful organization has to be able to utilize information from both branches to determine who has the best chance for success, who is being overvalued or undervalued by your competitors and potential trade partners. And scouts and statheads alike need to view each other as complimentary pieces of the same puzzle, rather than competitors in a zero-sum game.


The DMN on Delgado 

Monday's DMN features a short piece from Todd Wills, talking about the implications of Beltran signing with the Mets.

As discussed here at length, Wills suggests that Beltran going to the Mets makes it less likely they'll break the bank for Delgado, thus making it more likely that he ends up in Texas.

Wills also mentions that Beltran's leaving Houston could "revitalize" the Soriano-for-Brandon-Backe talks that were going on between Texas and Houston at the winter meetings.

But no new information...


Mets, Beltran agree to a 7 year, $119 million deal 

According to New York Newsday, the Mets and Carlos Beltran have agreed to a 7 year, $119 million deal.

Now, let the other dominos start falling.

One other thing that has been brought up...it will be interesting to see whether the Mets are going to try to move Mike Cameron now. He's the best defensive CF in the game, gets on base, hits for power, steals bases...and the Mets would likely pay some of his contract if someone would take him...

Again, as with Cliff Floyd, something the Rangers should look at...


Bob Klapisch: Soriano to the Astros 

From the Bergen Record's Bob Klapisch today:

Beltran's decision to leave the Astros came as a shock to many in the industry, and will now spur Houston to acquire Alfonso Soriano from Texas, according to a National League executive.

Soriano for Backe has been the scenario kicked around, although I've also heard it suggested that 2B prospect Chris Burke would be included, so the Rangers would have someone to man 2B until Ian Kinsler is ready.


Sullivan on the payroll 

In the S-T today, T.R. Sullivan puts the payroll for the 2005 Rangers at around $52-55 million.

That's a small-market payroll, folks. That's not a payroll for a team that expects to contend.

Sullivan indicates, though, that the Rangers are still sniffing around Delgado, and he also makes mention of the Soriano-to-Houston trade talks reviving. If trading Soriano to Houston for Brandon Backe means we have enough money to sign Delgado, then I'm in favor of it.


Don't Worry, Be Happy 

DMN columnist Tim Cowlishaw joins those in Bobby McFerrin mode today, basically saying that the Rangers did the right thing in staying out of the free agent market, and claiming that they just need a young pitcher to develop to make the playoffs.

While I agree with Cowlishaw that most of the free agent starters out there were overpriced, doing nothing besides adding Richard Hidalgo and Sandy Alomar, Jr., to last year's team is a recipe for a sub-.500 finish. If Delgado doesn't sign with the Rangers, this looks like a 75 win team, to me...


Saturday, January 08, 2005

Houston fails to re-sign Beltran 

With the deadline for Beltran to sign with the Astros passing tonight, and no deal being reached, Houston is now out of the Carlos Beltran sweepstakes.

The Mets becoming the leading candidates to sign him, which would take them out of the running for Carlos Delgado, leaving Texas and Baltimore as the primary two suitors there.

And with Beltran leaving Houston, hopefully the discussions about sending Soriano to Houston will be revived.


Rangers overpay for Barajas 

One year, $1.85 million for Barajas.

Unbelievable. The Buck/Hart contract cronyism strikes again.

Barajas isn't a good player. He's a poor defensive player. He doesn't get on base. Last year, he hit a bunch of homers in the first half of the season, leading folks to clamor about what a great pickup he was and what a great job Rudy Jaramillo did in "fixing" him.

Then, in the second half, he hit .225/.261/.370, which is about what would be expected from him given his career performance.

This contract is absurd and indefensible. They are overpaying for a bad player. For less than $1 million more than the Barajas/Alomar combo, they could have gotten A.J. Pierzynski and Gregg Zaun, which would have been one of the better catching combos in the league. Instead, they've got one of the worst catching situations in the league, and are overpaying for the privilege.


Yankees re-sign Sierra 

Sierra sticks with New York for 1 year, $1.5 million...

So they now have Tino and Sierra and Giambi to DH. Plus Bernie Williams, at this point, should probably DH, or at least move to a corner outfield spot, except Matsui and Sheffield are already in place.

The good news here is that Sierra won't be coming back to Texas, as had been rumored...


The Delgado Saga 

We've got conflicting information coming out about the Florida Marlins and Carlos Delgado...

The Miami Herald is saying that the Marlins have offered Delgado a multi-year deal, citing "a baseball source with knowledge of the talks". This story came out late last night.

The Sun-Sentinel is reporting that the Marlins have offered a 3 year deal for over $30 million, according to "industry sources".

The Palm Beach Post, meanwhile, citing "multiple sources", says that the Marlins have made a one year deal, thought to be similar to the heavily-backloaded, one year, $10 million deal they signed Pudge Rodriguez to in 2003.

So who knows what the real story is...

Realistically, though, I find it hard to believe that the Marlins are serious contenders. Their home park is an extreme pitcher's park, so if Delgado wants a one year deal to rebuild his value, he'd be a lot more likely to come to Texas, where the possibility of putting up eye-popping numbers is a lot higher. And a multi-year deal from Florida is probably going to have a lot of deferred money, so even if they were offering three years at more than $30 million, the present value of the deal is likely a lot lower.


Derek Lowe to the Dodgers 

Derek Lowe signs with the Dodgers for 4 years, $36 million.

Really awful signing by DePodesta. Lowe's not very good. He was awful last season. He had one fluky year in 2002, and a great post-season, and people act like he's a legit #2 starter.

I'm just glad he didn't end up here.


Friday, January 07, 2005

Mientkiewicz won't give up ball caught for last Series out 

Weird article...

I got nothin'.


The S-T on Delgado 

The S-T today has a piece by T.R. Sullivan on the Delgado situation...

A few choice quotes:

"Carlos has great interest in playing in Texas, which we have expressed to the Rangers management several times," Sloane said. "We're not looking for any records, and we're not looking to break the bank."

. . .

"We're certainly monitoring the situation, but I would not characterize us as the front-runner," Rangers general manager John Hart said. "I would characterize us as a club that's staying in reasonable proximity.

"There's certainly an attraction for an offensive player like Carlos in this ballpark, but there is a difference in the economics."

. . .

The Rangers are constrained by budget issues as owner Tom Hicks is adamant that the payroll stay within the team's revenue stream. That the Rangers still owe Chan Ho Park $29 million over the next two seasons has kept them from being more aggressive in the free agent market.

I'm tired of hearing about Chan Ho Park.

If Tom Hicks is "adamant" that the Rangers are going to be a $60 million payroll team, then there's not much point in hoping for this team to be a legitimate contender on a consistent basis.

If Tom Hicks is "adamant" that the Rangers are going to be a $60 million payroll team, then really, we're in the same boat as Pittsburgh, Kansas City, and Cincinnati. Just another third-rate, small-market franchise.


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