Posted tagged ‘Texas Rangers’

Prince Fielder introduced by Texas Rangers, chooses #84 as his jersey number

December 2, 2013
(AP Photo/Richard Rodriguez)

(AP Photo/Richard Rodriguez)

This week, new Texas Rangers first baseman Prince Fielder was introduced to the media after a blockbuster trade that sent second baseman Ian Kinsler to the Detroit Tigers.

With his new team also comes a new jersey number. Fielder will wear No. 84 with the Rangers, not the No. 28 he had worn through his 1,322 career games with Milwaukee (2005-11) and Detroit (2012-13).

“It’s a new start I guess, and 84 is the year I was born. It’s just fresh,” Prince said. “I think it works.”

That also happens to be the last year the Tigers won the World Series.

(AP Photo/Richard Rodriguez)

(AP Photo/Richard Rodriguez)

Rangers General Manager Jon Daniels believes that Fielder is ready for a new beginning and can help the Rangers score runs more consistently.

“A guy of his magnitude, a perennial MVP candidate and one of the top power hitters in the game, isn’t available if he’s coming off a career year,” Daniels said. “Based on the work we’ve done and our reports on him, we’re confident there’s a lot more in the tank.”

Prince is confident, and he’s excited to get going.

“I just want to play,” Fielder said. “Right field is very nice for me, so I’m definitely going to look into that. I’m happy to be here. I just want to play hard and win some games.”

I am a jersey fanatic and I think that having the #84 in baseball is a ridiculous number. In baseball, only players from the minor leagues wear that high of a number during spring training games because the rosters are very large and the players are not guaranteed a major league roster spot. The last #84 I could think of is former Giants and Angels first baseman J.T. Snow. He wore #84 in 2006 for the Boston Red Sox in honor of his father Jack, a former NFL player.  As for the all star’s new start in Ranger blue, Prince will be at a place where he can find the power in his swing. That little league park in Arlington is going to help the slugger produce some big numbers and I expect the big fella to have success deep in the heart of Texas…

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MLB Hot Stove: Moves that get overlooked so far this winter

November 25, 2013

When it comes to the MLB offseason and Free Agency everyone looks to the Jhonny Peralta’s new 4 year contract with the Cardinals or the big trade swap between Texas and Detroit involving Prince Fielder and Ian Kinsler. While those deals are significant for the 2014 season, there are moves that go on throughout the winter that doesn’t get everyone’s attention on television or in the newspaper that should be noted to all baseball fans.

Nick+Punto+Arizona+Diamondbacks+v+Los+Angeles+JTUk13Yrdh4xLet’s start with infielder Nick Punto signing with the Oakland A’s. In Los Angeles last season with the Dodgers, he had a very good defensive year at 3rd Base and Shortstop. But let’s start off with his value. He had a WAR (Wins Above Replacement) of 2.2 and 22 RAR (runs above replacement). He had a line of .255/.328/.327 in 335 plate appearances for the Los Angeles Dodgers but it wasn’t his bat that makes him so important because he defense makes up for that line. His Rdrs/year (Defensive Runs Saved) at 3rd and SS was 11 which is very good at the hot corner including 48 double plays turned and a .974 fielding percentage. Note, this is a utility player who will bring leadership and depth to a team that was lacking that in the postseason. Like I said, this is not a sexy signing but it is very influential to the Oakland A’s ball club in 2014.

Colby+Lewis+Toronto+Blue+Jays+v+Texas+Rangers+kQR2Vtq3VDmlNext is a signing that occurred today with Colby Lewis and the Texas Rangers. He signed a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training. If Lewis makes the major league team, he’ll make $2 million in base salary and can earn up to another $4 million in incentives. He won 26 games for the Rangers in 2010-11 and in the playoffs he was 4-1 with a 2.34 ERA. Here is the important part, he started 200 innings in both of those years and had a winning record in a ballpark that is tough to pitch in. The Rangers will lose Matt Garza and lack veteran leadership in their rotation. If he can get it right after shoulder surgery in 2012, he can be an innings eater and can be that important back of the rotation guy at a very low cost compared to the Royals signing Jason Vargas for 8 million a season with a career 4.30 ERA. At the age of 34, he shouldn’t be the same pitcher we saw 3 years ago but I expect him to be effective and help the club get more wins this season. Watch for his story when Spring Training arises. I like his comeback potential.

penaCatchers are at a premium in baseball, especially defensive ones. When the Cincinnati Reds signed Brayan Pena and the Tampa Bay Rays signed Jose Molina on two-year contracts, I thought they were extremely smart moves from both clubs.

For the Tigers last season, Pena had a good percentage catching 30% of runners stealing bases. He also presented some pop in his bat with a .297 average, 4 home runs, and 11 doubles in 71 games. Not many backups catchers have those types of numbers in the big leagues and the Reds lacked a catcher with home run power and strong defense behind the dish.

molina raysOn the other side, Molina is a defensive wizard and is essential for Tampa Bay’s pitching staff. During the 2012 season he held the staff to a 3.22 ERA and a 3.74 in 2013. He had a value defensively of 6.2 compared to the league average of 0.9 in 2012 and 3.9 compared to league average 1.4 in 2013. In his two years with a Rays uniform he has had 55 runners killed on the base paths which shows how valuable he is compared to any other catcher in the market. Plus, he ranks first in framing runs above average with 33 which is 5 better than his brother Yadier Molina who is the best defensive catcher in the National League.

As for the offense, he has batted a poor .228 with the Rays but his defense is more valuable than his offense and you could see that in the 2013 Wild Card game against the Indians as he led Alex Cobb to 6 2/3 scoreless innings and striking out five.

So after reading this I hope you realize that while adding a player like Robinson Cano can make a huge difference in wins for any roster in the major leagues, it is the buying low and getting high reward players that fans don’t know about going into spring training. I hope I have kept you informed on smart deals for teams that needed improvements at those positions.

Texas Rangers bolster pitching rotation by adding Roy Oswalt

May 29, 2012

Free agent pitcher Roy Oswalt has signed with the Texas Rangers.

The sources said that if Oswalt is called up by July 1, he gets $8 million pro-rated — 4 million in his pocket. He can also earn an extra $1 million in incentives if he makes 10 starts.

Oswalt, who had previously auditioned for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Philadelphia Phillies, Boston Red Sox and the Rangers, had given teams indications that Texas was his destination of choice. He has a close relationship with club president Nolan Ryan, and he apparently likes the thought of pitching for a contending team that’s close to his Mississippi home.

Oswalt, 34, has a career record of 159-93 in 11 seasons with Houston and Philadelphia. He is a three-time All-Star who has finished among the top five in National League Cy Young Award balloting five times in his career.

After waiting until spring training and failing to land a job to his satisfaction, Oswalt told major league clubs in late February that he planned to wait until midseason to return.

This is a big move by the Rangers. Their main problem this season has been the rotation and by adding the veteran Oswalt, it gives them much-needed depth. The amount of money they spent on him is a little pricy but this reminds me of the same deal the Phillies made with Pedro Martinez back in 2009. Martinez became a big part of the Phils run in October bringing them all the way to the World Series and staying healthy to last through two months. If the Rangers want to win, they need to pitch. It is as simple as that baseball fans and Oswalt provides that stability to try for a ring three years in a row…

“You just got punked! Twitter style…”

March 19, 2012

 

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Texas Rangers catcher Mike Napoli didn’t find what was supposed to be a joke by former teammate C.J. Wilson, tweeting his cell phone number over the weekend, to be all that funny.

Now with the Los Angeles Angels, Wilson tweeted Napoli’s number to more than 116,000 of his followers this weekend. The tweet has since been deleted, but Wilson’s timeline is filled with mentions of the incident, and he reportedly received a number of calls and texts.

This all started when Napoli put on twitter that he was looking forward to hitting home runs off the left-hander.  CJ Wilson wanted his revenge.

After posting the number, Wilson later tweeted: “Okay I think we’ve all had a good time, I’m even with mike for saying he can’t wait to hit homers off me.”

Napoli said he can’t do anything about what Wilson did, nor will he retaliate.

“I don’t know what he’s doing or what his meaning was behind it,” Napoli said Monday. “He really doesn’t know me that well to kind of do that. I haven’t talked to him in a while.”

If Wilson was upset, Napoli said the Angels pitcher should’ve just called him rather than getting back at him via social media.

“If I have a problem with somebody, I’m going to call them,” Napoli told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “I just think it was uncalled for. …

“You don’t do that. I am not taking it as a prank.”

I love it when athletes use twitter but not in the way these two players used it. I get the rivalry and the fun behind it but come April, I think we will see Napoli hit in the back with a pitch when these two teams meet. I am actually excited to see what evolves of this. Will this be a season long battle or just some fun between former players getting into the others head? I mean, these two were one game away from a World Series title and look at them now. All they care about is making fun of each other rather than actually getting to the bottom line. These players need to produce on the field in baseball games and not in the locker room with the internet. The internet is a great tool, but it could bite you in the butt when you don’t use it correctly…

Which is a better Walk off Grand Slam in the Postseason? Rangers Nelson Cruz or Mets Robin Ventura?

October 11, 2011

CLICK HERE TO WATCH VENTURA HOME RUN

In my opinion, it has to be Ventura because it forced a Game 6 and then went on into Game 7 where they lost on a bases loaded walk to Andruw Jones by Kenny Rodgers. Don’t get me wrong, Nelson Cruz’s home run was a bomb and it was awesome to give them a huge lead but the Mets game winning home run was more critical and the game was in the 15th inning. That’s a miracle…

AL West Preview

April 1, 2011

Donnie Dwyer of the Sports Cycle breaks down the American League West with projections and players to watch out.

Michael Young has got “No Respect” from Texas Rangers

February 8, 2011

Here is an article on ESPN Dallas from great writer Jim Reeves on what I was writing about yesterday with the disrespect the Rangers have for Michael Young:

If this had been the first chapter of a “Whodunit?” the ending would already be ruined for us. We’d already know who the “killer” was long before we reached the end of the book.

In the curiously sad and bloody case of the Texas Rangers and Michael Young, however, we’d also know it was “death by committee.” It was a conspiracy to commit “murder” on the local career of a player whose only crime was in giving his heart and soul to an organization he loved with every fiber of his being.

So here’s my list of those culpable in this heinous crime:

John Hart did it.

And Jon Daniels.

And Nolan Ryan.

Tom Hicks did it, and so did Chuck Greenberg. An aggressive prosecutor probably would also indict Buck Showalter as an accessory to the crime.

Each and every one of them is guilty of bringing the Rangers’ de facto team captain to this sorry juncture in his stellar career.

No, they didn’t mean for it to come to this. Sure, their intentions were pure in the sense that they were almost always trying to do what they thought was best for the team, which is what they are paid to do. But ignorance is no excuse in the eyes of the law and baseball fans. Good intentions don’t mean squat when they ultimately drive a good man and a great employee to the point of asking to be traded.

Hart was the first to underappreciate Young, and that was before he even knew him. When the former Cleveland GM arrived in Arlington in 2002, insiders say, he didn’t think all that much of Young. That would change over time, but when the Rangers traded Alex Rodriguez for Alfonso Soriano, Hart and Showalter asked Young to move to shortstop to accommodate the defensively challenged Soriano.

Soriano ultimately would be moved to the outfield a few years later in Washington, but the Rangers didn’t have the guts to ask him to do that. No, it was easier to wait for the team-minded Young to voluntarily change positions.

Feeling guilty and humbled by Young’s gracious acceptance, the Rangers then would overpay him by signing him to a lucrative contract extension. Now they’re squirming because they’re stuck with a $16 million a year player who is not a great middle-of-the-order hitter or defender.

Daniels, Ryan and Hicks all are culpable because of the poorly handled shift of Young to third two years ago to make room for rookie Elvis Andrus at short. Those wounds still crack open and bleed from time to time.

Greenberg gets tossed into the same pot because of the latest moves that have brought us to this distasteful impasse, including the signing of third baseman Adrian Beltre and the trade for first baseman/catcher/DH Mike Napoli, and because he sits at one of those desks where the buck eventually comes to rest.

A good defense attorney, of course, would argue that Young agreed to become the Rangers’ DH in 2011 and said he would, once again, take one for the team. What’s a club supposed to do, he might plead to the jury, but take him at his word?

But that was before the Napoli trade, which threatens some of Young’s at-bats at DH and first base. That was before his name began to constantly show up in trade rumors, and before Young’s immense pride and common sense kicked in, and he looked three years down the road, when his current contract runs out, and realized that being labeled strictly a DH would not help his bargaining power.

He has every right to be unhappy about this third affront to his dignity. Over the years, the Rangers have given plenty of lip service to how much they appreciate Young, but as usual, actions speak much louder than words.

Once upon a time, Young was a better-than-average second baseman. He won a Gold Glove at short, which was probably more a statement about the esteem in which he is held throughout the American League than about his actual ability at the position. He was not a particularly good defender at third, but it’s not his fault that’s where the Rangers put him.

It’s clear now that Michael Young has reached the end of his rope and his patience with the Rangers. If they haven’t shoved him out the door, they’ve at least swung it wide open and planted a foot firmly on his rear end. So go ahead; make Michael’s day.

Do what he’s asked. Pay him the respect of doing this one last favor, not because it’s what’s best for the team — I simply don’t believe that’s true — but because he deserves the chance to see whether he can find an organization that will fully appreciate him for what he brings to a team, on the field and off. The Rangers, sadly, have never been that organization.

Even with the nice, fat contract, they’ve never really committed themselves to Young. They’ve always had one eye out for something better.

This is one of those things the Rangers, historically, have never done well. They’ve never just come right out and said, “This guy is ours, from beginning to end. We’re here for him because he’s always been here for us.” There’s never quite been that mutual love and respect that goes into a “forever” relationship.

It didn’t happen with Jim Sundberg. It didn’t happen with Ivan Rodriguez. It doesn’t happen much, period, and it seemingly never happens with the Rangers. I’d hoped that might change under the new regime, but maybe that’s what baseball is now. Team owners and executives have to forget about the personal stuff and concentrate solely on the numbers, financial and otherwise.

Every now and then, you would think there might be an exception to that cold, hard reality. But I guess not.

Will the 2011 Rangers be better off without Young?

No, and hell no.

Is that strong enough for you?

OK, maybe I have it all wrong. It’s possible. I’ve been wrong before. Maybe I vastly overrate Young’s value as an iconic clubhouse leader and example as a team player. Maybe he’s not the perfect team player I think he is. Maybe, like so many “seamheads” out there, we should simply rate him by the numbers and forget about what he brings to clubhouse chemistry.

For the Rangers’ sake, I almost hope so. Because otherwise, when they finally pull the trigger on some deal, it’s going to leave a gaping hole in the psyche of this clubhouse that will be felt for years to come.

Unfortunately, we already know how this is going to end and we know whom the guilty parties are.

Go ahead, Rangers; do what you have to do.

Make Michael’s day.

…Just reading this article made me sad. How much this guy has done and how much he gets thrown around. I hope they don’t throw him around to another team but if he is happier on another team then I guess they have to let him go. Who would you rather have Mike Napoli or Michael Young? Really…