Jul 312012
 
DempOswalt

Ryan Dempster Shakes Things Up for the Texas Rangers (In a good way)Recently acquired right-hander, Ryan Dempster, may be new to the American League, but he is no stranger to the Texas Rangers. The native of Sechelt, British Columbia, Canada, now comes to Arlington, Texas, North America, to the team that originally drafted him during the third round of the 1995 MLB amateur draft.

Colby Lewis is a somewhat relevant comparable to Dempster. Dempster is a few years older and managed to avoid the disabled list—as well as the Japanese League—so he has a considerably larger track record. But looking at each right-hander’s stats this season, you can see certain similarities between Lewis (6-6, 3.43 ERA, 1.076 WHIP, 6.64 SO/BB, 1.4 HR/9) and Dempster (5-5, 2.25 ERA, 1.038 WHIP, 3.07 SO/BB, 0.8 HR/9).

Lewis featured superior control, as his league-leading strikeout-to-walk ratio indicated, but Dempster is far less susceptible to the long ball.

Dempster’s long ball totals might trend up as Rangers Ballpark in Arlington boasts the 11th highest home run per game total (1.116) in the league. Dempster’s former stomping grounds, Chicago’s Wrigley Field, as clocks in at 16th, with a 0.973 per game average.

Not long after word came down about the Rangers’ acquisition, the team announced that former ROY and converted starter, Neftali Feliz, had a torn elbow ligament and would require season-ending surgery.

This made Feliz the team’s second TJ surgery casualty in the last week, as Colby Lewis was lost for the season just a few days ago.

Dempster’s arrival will help to stave off the near rampant paranoia that swept through Rangerville after Roy Oswalt was thwacked mightily last night during the Rangers 15-8 loss to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Roy Oswalt to the bullpen

• During Spring Training, the Texas Rangers were kicking the tires on inking a deal with the then unsigned free agent Roy Oswalt. The only reason they didn’t pull the proverbial trigger was due to the diminutive right-hander’s reluctance to pitch out of the bullpen.

• Well, even if you’re a perennial former All-Star, you’ve got to pitch well as a starter to avoid the ‘pen. Roy Oswalt has been moved to the bullpen after last night’s terrible performance. It will be interesting to see if Oswalt will ask for his release.

Scooter, captain clutch

• Wow. When the Rangers decided to sign Oswalt they did so to hedge against Neftali Feliz’s injury. However, they also did so because because Feldman was absolutely terrible in his spot-starts. 5-straight wins later, and fresh off of a dominant eight-inning performance two nights ago, Scooter has beaten out Oswalt for a rotation spot.

• If Feldman can turn it around, Oswalt can too. This is why I was somewhat shocked when I found out that Oswalt was the odd man out in the Rangers current rotational plans.

Move over, Derek Holland

• No, Holland’s spot is safe. But his claim as resident comedian might not be a given. Holland, quasi-famus for his Harry Caray impersonation might have to come up with something knew, as Dempster’s Caray is hard to beat.

• Don’t get me wrong, Dutch’s is pretty spot-on.

• Who do you think gets the edge?

I’m just glad the Geovany Soto addition doesn’t have to stand alone as the “big” trade acquistion

• Yeah, I pretty much said it all in the emboldened title. Ah Well. Go Rangers!

Ryan Dempster Shakes Things Up for the Texas Rangers (In a good way)
picasion.com

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
Jul 312012
 
soto copy

UPDATE Soto will now be joined with former battery mate, Ryan Dempster. Dempster, snatched away from the Yankees by Rangers GM Jon Daniels moments before the deadline’s time limit, has a 1.55 ERA with Soto catching. The Rangers traded away two Single-A prospects—INF Christian Villanueva and RHP Kyle Hendricks. As long as you kept your receipt on your Geovany Soto jersey, you should be able to get your money back.

Geovany Soto: A Rangers Trade that truly Baffles, Unless...UPDATE: Dempster in the Hizzy

“Your beard is no match for mine, Mark Harmon…even when I’m clean shaven. Besides? Can you hit big league pitching 19% of the time?! I thought not!!!”

So, the Texas Rangers have acquired catcher Geovany Soto and an unspecified amount of cash from the Chicago Cubs for pitching prospect Jacob Brigham.

Since Yorvit Torrealba has been designated for assignment, it is presumed that Soto will function as the backup catcher.

The unspecified cash will most likely be used immediately to get really, really drunk. Because that’s what you do after getting shellacked 15-8 by the Angels.

I suppose it’s time we get to know the man named Soto.

Yorvit Torrealba vs. Geovany Soto

• Wow. Yeah, if UFC had fighters of this caliber, they’d have folded years ago.

• Soto has more pop. Torrealba has more slap. This isn’t Soto’s fault. When you spend this much time manicuring your beard, you don’t want to get punched in the crumb catcher.

• Soto, while flailing about aimlessly in the batter’s box, is more likely to doink one out. Torrealba will kick an umpire’s ass.

• Seriously, have you ever seen a player talk smack to the umpire after a swinging strike call?

Potential Derisive Nicknames and/or drunken proclamations to scream or chant (at your own risk)

Geovany Soto: A Rangers Trade that truly Baffles, Unless...UPDATE: Dempster in the Hizzy

“Hello Ranger Nation, I’m television’s ‘Geovany Soto.’ And I’d like to show you how big boys groom themselves.”


• Yes, Yorvit’s peculiar first name and its rhyming qualities will be missed. Pronounced “Yore-veet,”
“Tore-E-Habla” every time he did something dumb—like get himself crossed up on a fastball he called for—the keen drunken fan could easily proclaim:
“Yep! More sheet from Horri-ablah!” However, you must be careful, as Yorvit will climb into the stands Ty Cobb-style and kick your ass. He’ll also drink your beer, and eat your nachos while staring awkwardly at your significant other. He could pull this off because nobody on the field even noticed he was gone.

• Aside from the basic “Hey Geovany, where’s the rest of the boy band?” There is very little in his actual name that lends itself well to drunken exclamations, but I’m going to try anyways.

Geovany So-So

• Tidily sums up his career as well as capturing (rather optimistically) the level of excitement his arrival brings to Arlington.

Geovany So-terrific!

• Should Soto go completely nuts a la Napoli last season—yeah right—there will be no shortage of tee shirts with this moniker.

Geovany So—god **** awful, is tha* th* best yo* got *or us Jon eff*** Daniel*—Terrible

• Only rolls off the tongue well after beer number 18.

Top-notch facial hair

Geovany Soto: A Rangers Trade that truly Baffles, Unless...UPDATE: Dempster in the Hizzy

Oh c’mon, we all used to have this poster.

• Soto’s pristine fur-camouflage is clearly 80-grade. Normally, a beard of this quality comes with an angelic singing voice, skinny pants, and at least four other pre-pubescent 30-year-old dudes that provide background dancing, during performances at the Golden Triangle Mall.

• Okay, that’s a little mean-spirited on my part. I should never make fun of the Golden Triangle Mall.

• I do foresee a potential relationship between Soto’s beard and Koji’s sideburns. Really, that’d be quite beautiful. The unruly ‘burns from the wrong side of the tracks; Japanese-tough, no doubt. Soto’s chin strap and mini-stache, making eyes at that fluffy goodness from the get go…

Geovany Soto: A Rangers Trade that truly Baffles, Unless...UPDATE: Dempster in the Hizzy

Those bad boys mean business.


It’s a baffling trade, unless…

• Yeah, all kidding aside, I’m truly baffled why we move one subpar backup catcher for another. Sure, Soto is four years younger, but a .195 batting average is exactly that. Unless…

Maybe, just maybe, the Soto move is a precursor to bringing in Matt Garza or Ryan Dempster. And if that was the case, it makes a lot more sense.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
Jul 302012
 
BD8E8129

Could Cliff Lee be a Texas Ranger (Again)?

Yeah, that would sure add comfort to even the most restless of Ranger Nation souls.

As I’m sure we are all more than aware, there is approximately 24 hours left for this year’s non-waiver MLB Trade Deadline. I’m also confident that even those of us who still have dial-up Internet access—looking at you Mom and Dad—are well aware that Zack Greinke is a member of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

And he’s already lost once for the Halos! Snort, giggle, repeat. Guffaw as necessary.

Some of the names that were bandied about have lost a little luster. Josh Johnson. James Shields. Both are solid pitchers, but would either one actually be good enough to rise to the top of a pretty solid Rangers’ rotation? Maybe, maybe not. Shields had 11 complete games last season, and produced a sparkling 2.82 ERA. This year? Zero complete games, a league-leading 156 hits allowed, and a not-so-savory 4.52 ERA.

And the Rays would want one of the killer Ps or the “Oltimate Warrior”? Pass. Besides, if Shields were to wear the Rangers red or blue, it would take away from the pleasure of beating him senseless in the playoffs as the Rangers are want to do.

Josh Johnson? It’s hard to naysay a power-pitcher that’s 6’7″ 250 pounds. But the Marlins supposedly want a bevy of prospects that would even outweigh what the Angels shipped off for Greinke. Yep, you guessed it—it’d be one of the killer Ps and possibly the Oltmeister.

Plus, Johnson’s injury-riddled past leads one to believe that this giant with the eye-popping potential and stuff to match is constructed of paper-mache. You’re going to want something more fireproof when that thermometer hits it’s mid-August southern stride.

So what does that leave in regards to rotation quick fixes? Well, it may be quite a long shot, but it does leave one Clifton Phifer Lee as a possibility.

If you’re a glass is half empty type, Cliff Lee is the dude that lost two games in the 2010 World Series for us. Personally, I’ll always remember him as the only reason we made it to the dang World Series in the first place.

Ciff Lee is about the only name I can think of that would allow me to let loose my death grip on the Mike Olt, Jurickson Profar, and Martin Perez-types. How far-fetched is the notion t hat Cliff Lee could land in Arlington once again? Well, Buster Olney of ESPN seems to think it could happen:

Yes, it would take a premium prospect (or two.) Yes, there would be a HUGE financial investment. But the window for greatness always seems to shut a little prematurely—Philadelphia Phillies, anyone? So if it’s possible, I say get this done. Bring him on down. We always kind of considered Lee one of our own, anyways.

Not only am I the optimistic sort, I also believe in atonement…there’s a chance—albeit remote—that Cliff Lee could land back in Texas. Hey, everyone deserves a second chance to make the right decision.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
Jul 282012
 
Josh Hamilton 13

Podcast Episode 17: Trade Deadline Part 2 & Slumping Josh

The trade deadline is fast approaching…Scott & Jasen discuss some recent developments, the Rangers next move and the slump of Hambone.

The Angels landed the first blow yesterday in dealing for Zack Greinke to add to an already salty starting rotation, but did they mortgage too much  of there future for a rental player?

Will the Rangers answer with a deal of there own?  Josh Johnson or James Shields?

Do the Rangers need to add some offensive help?  Could we see a big bat that could eventually serve as the replacement of Josh Hamilton – someone like Carlos Gonzalez or Justin Upton?  Or, are we simply looking for depth form the likes of Alfonso Soriano or Jeff Francouer?

Speaking of Hamilton, he is currently in the midst of the biggest slump in his career and he’s starting to hear the boo-birds at Rangers Ballpark. What does this mean long-term? Can Hambone turn it around this year when we need him the most – September & October?

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
Jul 272012
 
Josh Johnson 2

Continuing the Trade Target Profiles today with Josh Johnson, who has peaked the interest of many Rangers fans over the last couple of days.  With Cole Hamels off the market and the unsavory thought of Greinke being nothing more than a 3 month rental, Johnson’s attractiveness shot up the charts quickly.

Joshua Michael Johnson

The Player

Potential Trade Target Profile: Josh JohnsonJohnson has long been a player of desire for Rangers fans, primarily due to the fact that the Marlins are always a volatile team when it comes to the trade market – either buying or selling big every season.

The 28 year-old Johnson grew up in Oklahoma, which has been  used in the media recently as a reason why he would be a logical trade target for the Rangers – being closer to home would make him happier.  Also floated out there for the media to gobble up is that his wife wouldn’t mind being closer to her family…in Orange County.  Seems the Marlins are pandering to the Rangers and Angels…bidding war anyone?

Johnson is a two-time All-Star and finished fifth in the 2010 NL Cy Young voting.  Since his first full season in 2006, he hasn’t necessarily been the model of consistency in regards to playing time and health, only surpassing the 20 games pitched mark three times in his career (2006, 2009, 2010).

After a successful rookie campaign in 2006, Johnson had issues early in 2007 and was eventually shut down and had to undergo Tommy John surgery which caused him to miss the second half of 2006 and the first half of 2007.

Similar to Greinke, he has one season (2010) that stands out on paper as a season of dominance, but his 2009 numbers were very strong as well and  he was well on his way to a dominant 2011 before being shut down early due to inflammation in his right shoulder.

All that said, this dude is a stud and I don’t view him as any more of an injury risk than any other alternative.

As noted, the contact situation is attractive here because we’re not dealing with a 3-month rental.  Johnson’s contract pays him $13.75M this year and the same in 2013.

The Measurables

Year Age Tm W L ERA G CG IP H HR BB SO ERA+ WHIP SO/BB
2005 21 FLA 0 0 3.65 4 0 12.1 11 0 10 10 112 1.703 1.00
2006 22 FLA 12 7 3.10 31 0 157.0 136 14 68 133 140 1.299 1.96
2007 23 FLA 0 3 7.47 4 0 15.2 26 1 12 14 60 2.426 1.17
2008 24 FLA 7 1 3.61 14 1 87.1 91 7 27 77 121 1.351 2.85
2009 25 FLA 15 5 3.23 33 2 209.0 184 14 58 191 133 1.158 3.29
2010 26 FLA 11 6 2.30 28 1 183.2 155 7 48 186 180 1.105 3.88
2011 27 FLA 3 1 1.64 9 0 60.1 39 2 20 56 239 0.978 2.80
2012 28 MIA 6 7 4.14 20 0 119.2 125 7 35 105 99 1.337 3.00
8 Yrs 54 30 3.14 143 4 845.0 767 52 278 772 134 1.237 2.78
162 Game Avg. 13 7 3.14 35 1 208 189 13 68 190 134 1.237 2.78
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/27/2012.
  •  Exceeded 200 innings only once in his young career (2009)
  • Current WAR is 1.7, which is lower than Harrison, Darvish and Colby Lewis (R.I.P. Colbra), but a 6.4 in 2009 and a 6.8 in 2012 far surpass the high-marks of any current Rangers starting pitchers.
  • Similar players of note in terms of performance (according to Baseball-Reference.com) are:
    • Clayton Kershaw, Jair Jurrjens & Adam Wainwright for career
    • David Cone, Adam Wainwright and Orel Hershiser  for similarity thorugh age 27 (2011 season for Johnson)
  • While his career has been brief and subject to time away for recovery, Johnson has been a better first half pitcher, posting second half marks of 3.83 ERA (compared to 2.71 in first half) a 1.318 WHIP (compared to 1.186 in first half)
I Split W L ERA G CG SHO IP H HR BB SO WHIP SO/BB
April/March 8 6 2.88 28 2 0 147.0 121 6 47 140 1.143 2.98
May 11 4 2.66 27 0 0 169.1 144 8 51 140 1.152 2.75
June 11 7 2.62 22 1 0 144.1 128 7 53 135 1.254 2.55
July 9 4 3.20 25 0 0 151.2 145 16 43 140 1.240 3.26
August 10 5 3.71 22 1 0 138.1 127 8 42 122 1.222 2.90
Sept/Oct 5 4 4.29 19 0 0 94.1 102 7 42 95 1.527 2.26
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/27/2012.
  •  Johnson has faced the Rangers only once in his career, shutting down the Rangers offense in 2010 by pitching seven strong innings, striking out 7 and giving up only one run on 1 walk and 4 hits…in a no-decision.
  • Johnson has never faced the Angels, A’s or Mariners.

Could Josh be a Ranger?

Potential Trade Target Profile: Josh JohnsonMost prefer Johnson to Greinke at this point.  Neither player is having a career year by any standards, but both have the make-up and ability to be dominant aces on the mound.

The Marlins have put the word out that there is only a 5% chance that Johnson is dealt away this season.  They have already made to big trades this season as their fire sale is well under way – sending Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante to the Tigers and sending Hanley Ramirez to the Dodgers.

It’s also well known that the Marlins current asking price for Johnson is very steep.  While this may be posturing on there part, you have to figure it’s higher than what could be expected for Greinke (rental).

What would the Rangers have to give up to land Johnson?  Given the Marlins dealt away there third baseman (Ramirez), you have to assume that Mike Olt (recurring theme of these trade discussions) would be involved in any package.  Beyond Olt, I could see another lower-tiered prospect or two being involved.  An interesting scenario that I have only seen discussed once (so it’s probably not going to happen) would have the Marlins including super-utility player Emilio Bonifacio in a deal to the Rangers, with the Rangers increasing their package beyond Olt to  include a more highly rated pitching prospect.

Just gonna float this out there:

  • Rangers give Mike Olt, Justin Grimm and a player to be named (marginal prospect at best)
  • Marlins give Josh Johnson and Emilio Bonifacio – with no help on Johnson’s contract.

***Bonifacio would be under the Rangers control through 2015 and has good value as a switch hitter that can play just about any where in the field.

While many are putting better odds on a deal for Greinke occurring (lower asking price, history with Doug Melvin), I think a deal for Josh Johnson is possible.  The Marlins are in a complete rebuilding phase now and know that the return they could net for Johnson will never see a higher point.

Who’s next?  James Shields is on deck unless I get another request…

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
Jul 262012
 
greinke_brewers

Rangers Trade Market Update: Zack GreinkeJust days away from the trade deadline…rumors continue to swirl around the Rangers.  Below is a compilation of what’s being said regarding Zack Greinke – so that you don’t have to wander aimlessly around the internets and accidentally stumble across something dirty…

If you missed our initial Profile of Greinke, check it out.

Zack Greinke

  • Josh Cohen (Bleacher Report):

All indications point to Texas reloading its rotation through a trade. The team’s website reports the Rangers want to add a “difference-maker” to the rotation, with Greinke and Hamels leading their wish list. Texas has coveted prospects in Jurickson Profar and Mike Olt, and it would not hesitate to move them for a pitcher like Greinke.

  • Timothy Rapp (Bleacher Report):

The Rangers are already (arguably) the best team in baseball. With Greinke, I think that argument would have to be put to rest. And perhaps finally—after two seasons coming up just short—the Rangers would finally get a World Series title for a team in its prime.

  • Tom Haudricourt (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

The Rangers’ primary target was Hamels, and now that he is off the market they will have even more interest in Greinke. Their top prospect is shortstop Jurickson Profar, whom the Brewers would love to have, but Texas considers him an untouchable. Third baseman Mike Olt is another coveted prospect, but the Brewers have a three-year commitment to Ramirez, who would have to be moved to make room. The Brewers would be very interested in obtaining left-hander Martin Perez, the Rangers’ top pitching prospect, and also have scouted right-hander Justin Grimm.

  • Phil Rogers (Chicago Tribune)

Zack Greinke needs important innings to pitch, and the Texas Rangers need a splash. Given the track record that Nolan Ryan and Jon Daniels have of getting their men, it will be a surprise if Greinke isn’t traded to the Rangers. The Brewers not only scouted a start by Rangers’ prospect Martin Perezon Tuesday against Boston but also had a scout watchingNeftali Feliz in a minor-league rehab appearance.

  • Austin Lyon (Orlando Sentinel)

Texas executed a similar trade in 2010 when it acquired Cliff Lee from Seattle and that move helped the Rangers reach the World Series. With a loaded farm system, Texas has more than enough pieces to make an attractive offer to Milwaukee, which appears poised to start rebuilding. With the Angels and suddenly surging Athletics right on the Rangers’ heels, it’s imperative they make a move for the stretch run and I believe they’ll add Greinke.

Greinke seems to be the hot topic right now and more teams are jumping into the mix (White Sox and Nationals to go with standard Braves, Red Sox, Angels & Rangers).  How serious are these other teams?  Who knows, but we do know that the Rangers have the young talent to best any of them if necessary – let’s just hope it doesn’t come to that.  Keep in mind that Greinke is just a rental, but don’t forget that he could put this team over the top…

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
Jul 252012
 
portraitoffuturestarters copy

Texas Trade Rumors: With Cole Hamels off the board, will it be Josh Johnson, or Zack Greinke?

“You mean I’m going to be traded to a team with postseason aspirations?! Hells yeah I’m cool with that!”

Cole Hamels will not be coming to Arlington after all. Evidently he wants to languish in last place with Philadelphia. And per various reports, he has about 144 million reasons why.

Here’s a look at some pitchers that are on the Rangers’ radar. You can call them “trade possibilities” or, better yet, potential agents serving the noble cause also know as the “Scott Feldman to Playoff Rotation Protection Program.” SFiPRPP if you’re so inclined.

Clifton Phifer Lee

Yeah, hard to believe a dude from Benton, Arkansas has the middle name of “Phifer,” huh? Yeah, not really. Kind of shocking that it’s not his first name.

”Phifer! Gramma is out of pseudoephedrine for her crystal meth. Here’s some cash, now you hitch on down to Allsup’s and gather her up some, y’hear? Get me a pack of Pall Malls too, hon.”

Look, I don’t think Cliff Lee is going anywhere. I’m also convinced that his Arkansas kin aren’t meth manufacturers—it’s not like he’s from Missouri.

Seriously, Lee’s exorbitant contract makes him far less movable than Michael Young, even back when The Face could still hit.

Phifer’s owed $75 million over the next three seasons (not counting this one), plus a vesting option of $27.5 million in 2016 (insert ear-rattling whistle here.)

Lee will be 34-years-old next month. At his current age of 33, he’s giving up home runs to pitchers. Also, he hasn’t won a postseason game since he beat the Yankees in the 2010 American League Championship Series…

You still want him over here?

Yeah, me too.

Since the Rangers probably won’t snatch the far-fetched Lee, with whom do they have left to choose?

Zack Greinke—The “Section 8”
What do you think, R. Lee Ermey?

Texas Trade Rumors: With Cole Hamels off the board, will it be Josh Johnson, or Zack Greinke?

“Greinke’s a section 8! Plus there’s no damn ‘k’ in ‘Zachary,’ so what gives with the ‘Zack’ thing?!”


I’m sure we’ve all seen Full Metal Jacket. Rather than a fully loaded M14 rifle (as well as a crippling case of insanity), Greinke comes equipped with a 98 MPH fastball, wipeout slider and a slight Social Anxiety Disorder.

As a baseball fan, I love Zack Greinke—even if his full name is “Zachary” which has nary a “k” in it. But as a Rangers fan, I’m a little iffy on selling the farm to get him to Arlington.

He’s a strange cat. Last night, he pitched brilliantly, went dong-city on Cliff Lee and did it all on 11 days of rest. Evidently, he needed to “recharge his batteries.” Hmmph.

Greinke’s downside is that he hasn’t had the playoff experience of Cole Hamels. And he certainly hasn’t seen the postseason success of the 2008 World Series MVP.

Plus, why can someone with such an unbelievable arsenal not dominate no matter the domicile?

Greinke’s home/road splits over his career are perplexing. Home: 51-28, 3.42 ERA, 4.12 SO/BB ratio. Road: 34-48, 4.18 ERA, 3.05 SO/BB ratio. Hmmm.

And in the playoffs, Greinke’s been hit hard. It’s a small sample size, but in his three career postseason starts (all of which came last season…the Royals don’t play in October, silly), he’s gone 1-1 with a 6.48 ERA.

Regardless, I’d love to see Greinke in a Rangers uniform. He’s already turned down a nine-figure deal from Milwaukee, so you know he’s up for a change. Now it’s just up to JD to pull the trigger.

Josh Johnson—Mr. Glass

Texas Trade Rumors: With Cole Hamels off the board, will it be Josh Johnson, or Zack Greinke?

They call him…”Mr. Glass.” Okay, just me. But still.


Josh Johnson is a stud, and possesses every skill you (or anybody else) would want from a TORP.

Upper-90s fastball, with an excellent slider. He grew up just outside of Tulsa, Oklahoma, so you know he understands how awesome Texas is.

Plus, at 6’ 7” and 250 pounds, Johnson is a dude you want on your side when the shit goes down—be it down the stretch, in the playoffs, or in the parking lot of the local Whataburger.

So what’s the downside? Well, he’s often-injured. He’s already had Tommy John surgery—who hasn’t, right?—and various shoulder issues forced him to be shutdown in 2010, and to miss most of 2011.

I’m all for a Josh Johnson pick up. Even though he has a checkered injury past, if he could just stay 100% this season—that might be all the Rangers need for the ultimate postseason prize…

Other possibilities…

Matt Garza: The Rangers have been interested in Garza for a number of years. He’s an enchanting option, since, like Johnson, he has another year of control.

James Shields: The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are supposedly hot and heavy over Mr. Shields. The Rangers should acquire him and them dump him in Oakland…just so the A’s will win enough games to keep the Angels from making the playoffs.

Mwahahahahahahaha!

The Tampa Bay Rays aren’t exactly out of the A.L. East race, and with Joe Maddon at the helm, I’m not sure you can ever dismiss them…the Rays might not want to move Shields anywhere.

And that’s cool with me, as long as those dang Angels don’t snag him (or anything other than missed opportunities.)

The non-move move

It’s definitely not the sexiest of moves. The “non-move,” that is. But there is word that the Rangers are willing to slide Ogando back into the rotation. Not only would this create a viable playoff rotation, it would also keep our fantastic farm system and its bevy of prospects intact.

Texas could then focus on picking up some far less expensive bullpen pieces, and making a postseason go with their rotation “as is.”

Forecast

In true Ron Washington fashion, my “gut” tells me that the Rangers are going to acquire a pitcher sometime between now and next Tuesday’s non-waiver deadline.

Wow, I’m really going out on a limb, eh?

I tend to agree with Joey Matches in that the Mike Olt for Josh Johnson trade speculation is long on mutual benefits…it could definitely happen.

After all of the rampant rumors and spine-tingling speculations, it’d be hard to “settle” for a non-move. It’d be a letdown similar to car shopping with crappy credit—look at all the cool stuff we’re not getting!

But an even tougher sell than remaining static would be a playoff rotation with a name like “Scott Feldman” in it.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
Jul 252012
 
Cliff Lee 2

Just the thought of Cliff Lee back in a Rangers uniform brings chills.  Cliff was at the heart of what was the most magical season in franchise history.  Many years from now, even if the Rangers have multiple World Champion flags flying in the Ballpark, we’ll always think back on 2010 as the turning point – and what a vital role Cliff Lee played in that season.

Could the Rangers really bring Lee back just two seasons later?  Who’s the Smoak and Beavan of 2012 that could lure Lee away from his current squad?

With the Phillies and Cole Hamels finally reaching a long-term agreement, the Phillies may look to move Lee to free up some funds and plug some holes with young talent.

Clifton Phifer Lee

The Player

Potential Trade Target Profile: Cliff Lee

While it’s not even certain that the Phillies are shopping the left handed veteran pitcher, it makes sense that they would at least field offers given their positioning in the NL East race (as noted in the Hamels profile).  With Hamels garnering a larger contract than Lee, and the hopes of much good coming out of 2012, the Phillies could deal Lee in hopes of refocusing those funds during the off-season and adding some young talent to prepare for the future.

Unlike both Hamels and Greinke, Lee would not be merely a rental since he is under contract through 2015 with a vesting option for 2016.  So, one could assume that the asking price, similar to the Justin Upton scenario, would be higher.

Lee is a three-time All-Star and has finished in the top seven of Cy Young voting four times in his career (2005, 2008, 2010, 2011).  He was also the 2008 AL Comeback Player of the Year after bouncing back from sub-par campaigns in both 2006 & 2007.

Lee is making $21.5M in 2012 and will be paid $25M/year between 2013 and 2015. The 2016 vesting option would pay Lee $27.5M.  Lee is 33 years-old now, so the contact carries him through age 36 unless the vesting option is picked up, in which case it would take him through age 37.

Lee has been involved in four big trades in his career, three of which he was the prized centerpiece.

  • June 27, 2002: Traded by the Montreal Expos with Brandon Phillips, Grady Sizemore and Lee Stevens to the Cleveland Indians for Bartolo Colon and Tim Drew.
  • July 29, 2009: Traded by the Cleveland Indians with Ben Francisco to the Philadelphia Phillies for Jason Knapp, Carlos Carrasco, Jason Donald and Lou Marson.
  • December 16, 2009: Traded by the Philadelphia Phillies to the Seattle Mariners for J.C. Ramirez, Phillippe Aumont and Tyson Gillies.
  • July 9, 2010: Traded by the Seattle Mariners with Mark Lowe and cash to the Texas Rangers for Matthew Lawson, Blake Beavan, Josh Lueke and Justin Smoak.

Cliff Lee is an “Ace” and would fit the bill as the front line starter that the Rangers desire.

The Measurables

 

Year Age Tm W L ERA G CG IP H HR BB SO ERA+ WHIP SO/BB
2002 23 CLE 0 1 1.74 2 0 10.1 6 0 8 6 260 1.355 0.75
2003 24 CLE 3 3 3.61 9 0 52.1 41 7 20 44 122 1.166 2.20
2004 25 CLE 14 8 5.43 33 0 179.0 188 30 81 161 80 1.503 1.99
2005 26 CLE 18 5 3.79 32 1 202.0 194 22 52 143 111 1.218 2.75
2006 27 CLE 14 11 4.40 33 1 200.2 224 29 58 129 102 1.405 2.22
2007 28 CLE 5 8 6.29 20 1 97.1 112 17 36 66 72 1.521 1.83
2008 29 CLE 22 3 2.54 31 4 223.1 214 12 34 170 167 1.110 5.00
2009 30 TOT 14 13 3.22 34 6 231.2 245 17 43 181 131 1.243 4.21
2009 30 CLE 7 9 3.14 22 3 152.0 165 10 33 107 135 1.303 3.24
2009 30 PHI 7 4 3.39 12 3 79.2 80 7 10 74 124 1.130 7.40
2010 31 TOT 12 9 3.18 28 7 212.1 195 16 18 185 133 1.003 10.28
2010 31 SEA 8 3 2.34 13 5 103.2 92 5 6 89 168 0.945 14.83
2010 31 TEX 4 6 3.98 15 2 108.2 103 11 12 96 113 1.058 8.00
2011 32 PHI 17 8 2.40 32 6 232.2 197 18 42 238 160 1.027 5.67
2012 33 PHI 1 6 3.72 16 0 111.1 107 11 22 106 107 1.159 4.82
11 Yrs 120 75 3.65 270 26 1753.0 1723 179 414 1429 116 1.219 3.45
162 Game Avg. 15 10 3.65 34 3 222 219 23 53 181 116 1.219 3.45
CLE (8 yrs) 83 48 4.01 182 10 1117.0 1144 127 322 826 108 1.312 2.57
PHI (3 yrs) 25 18 2.93 60 9 423.2 384 36 74 418 134 1.081 5.65
TEX (1 yr) 4 6 3.98 15 2 108.2 103 11 12 96 113 1.058 8.00
SEA (1 yr) 8 3 2.34 13 5 103.2 92 5 6 89 168 0.945 14.83
AL (9 yrs) 95 57 3.88 210 17 1329.1 1339 143 340 1011 111 1.263 2.97
NL (3 yrs) 25 18 2.93 60 9 423.2 384 36 74 418 134 1.081 5.65
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/25/2012.

So, looking at what he’s done so far in 2012, throw the wins and losses out the window – the Phillies have been extremely inconsistent offensively and have been without many of their big bats due to injury.

Focusing on more of the individual pitching metrics, we see that his ERA and WHIP are both elevated compared to recent performance and his K/BB ratio is down.  Again, this is only over half a season – half a season in which not much has gone right for anyone wearing a Phillies uniform.

  • Lee’s current WAR 1.9, which is down from a career high of 8.3 in 2011 and below that of Darvish, Harrison and Greinke (just to name just a few).
  • On the list of players with similar performance to Lee are Dan Haren, Justin Verlander and Josh Beckett – pretty salty.
  • Historically, Lee has pitched slightly better in the second half of the season.
  • Lee has started 14 games at Rangers Ballpark in his career, accumulating a mark of 6-5 with a 5.07 ERA  and a 1.149 WHIP.
  • Lee has started against the Angels 12 times in his career, going 7-4 with a 2.95 ERA and a 1.042 WHIP – lowest ERA against any AL opponent that doesn’t play their home games in Oakland.

Could Cliff be a Ranger?

Potential Trade Target Profile: Cliff LeeSo, will the Phillies put Cliff on the trading block?  I don’t know that they’ll come out and publicly announce they are looking to move him, but I would never expect Phillies GM Ruben Amaro to do something like that – he’s been known to have ninja like qualities like our beloved JD.  I would think that if the right offer for Lee comes along, the Phillies will jump on it.

What would the Rangers have to give up for Cliff?  Mike Olt…plus.  Given Lee’s contract situation (locked up through 2015), a package for Lee would include Olt and two additional strong prospects (think Martin Perez caliber).  There is some thought that the Phillies could also have some strong interest in Leonys Martin, given the potential of losing center fielder Shane Victorino after the season.

Cliff is a long-shot, primarily because of his contract situation.  If the Phillies are willing to listen, I’m sure the Rangers could put forward the best offer over the other contenders in the trade market (Angels, Red Sox, Dodgers, Reds, etc.) because of the depth they have in their farm system.

I’d put better odds on a deal for Greinke or Marlins starter Josh Johnson occurring.

Speaking of Johnson, his profile is on deck, so stay tuned.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
Jul 232012
 
ROYCOLBY

UPDATE
Per ESPN’s Richard Durrett, Rangers’ right-hander Colby Lewis has been diagnosed with a torn elbow ligament that will likely require surgery…Lewis has been the Rangers most successful starter during their last two World Series runs.

The severity of the injury coupled with Lewis’ imminent loss for the remainder of the year may make a trade for pitching help likely…

UPDATE: Colby Lewis likely lost for season with Torn Ligament

Worried about Lewis and/or Oswalt? Greinke would more than compensate for either, should they be lost for an extended period of time.

The Texas Rangers’ pitching staff continues to provide an all-you-can-eat buffet for the rabid injury bug.

And the Rangers have begun to plug the holes before the dam explodes.

Rather than Roy Oswalt on the hill tonight, it’s Scott Feldman. Tomorrow night’s starter will be recently re-promoted left-hander Martin Perez.

It appears that Oswalt, who was scratched from tonight’s start due to lower-back stiffness, is being treated day-to-day. However, the fact that Oswalt has dealt with back issues in the not-so-distant past is somewhat alarming.

Colby Lewis, who had just made his first start after being reinstated from the 15-day disabled list, is now back on the dreaded DL. For Lewis, it’s a continued bout with right forearm stiffness. And it’s very clear that that the Texas Rangers aren’t going to take this matter lightly.

Oswalt had really been coming on lately, pitching well over his last two starts after getting banged around by 30-plus hits during his initial three starts. Over his last two games, Oswalt was 1-0 with a 1.50 ERA, while featuring his usual free-pass stinginess.

Lewis was in line to win his most recent start last Wednesday in Oakland. He pitched well, throwing five innings of three-hit ball, but the Athletics scored one run off of each subsequent Rangers reliever, which culminated in a walk-off victory for Oakland, and a no-decision for Lewis.

Although the time might seem ripe to push the panic button with full-force, as long as Roy Oswalt’s back issue is nothing that requires a DL stint, the Rangers are still in fine shape.

Naturally, Scott Feldman isn’t everyone’s first choice to start games, but he has been not horrible over his last three starts.

In that span, he’s 2-0 with a 5.29 ERA, with only two walks and 12 strikeouts. Yeah, I know, that ERA isn’t something that Scooter’s mother would proudly affix to the refrigerator, but it’s better than the six-plus ERA whopper dangling around his neck prior to his first win of the year.

Feldman, oddly enough, is a much better pitcher at home than on the road. He’s 2-3 with a respectable 4.05 ERA at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington in 2012. His road record and ERA (1-3, 7.62) can produce symptoms that closely mirror those of only the most hardcore cases of West Nile Virus.

Dizziness, headaches, nausea. Look at his home numbers again. Now if the symptoms don’t go away, go see a doctor immediately, or stop drinking straight from the beer tap…

21-year-old Venezuelan left-hander, Martin Perez, has looked very solid over his last three appearances, two of which were starts. Over that span, he’s 1-1 with a 2.92 ERA.

So the Rangers have the proper sutures on hand to sew up the recent injury-induced contusions. However, they also have the proper ammunition to amputate the limb entirely, and attache a better arm in its wake.

That was just a confusing way to say that the Texas Rangers have eight more days to make a trade, should they feel the need to do so.

You’ve heard the names. Zach Greinke. Cole Hamels. Possibly even a Matt Garza.

Of course the flip-side of that coin are the names that would have to be in place in order to initiate the speculative trade.

Jurickson Profar. Mike Olt. Perhaps Martin Perez.

Profar is most likely off limits, but should he be dangled as trade bait, the sting of his potential loss could easily be soothed by a World Series Championship…and should Texas bring in one of the aforementioned aces, the end result of the 2012 season could possibly bring forth the organization’s first championship.

Tonight’s Matchup:

RHP Scott Feldman (3-6, 6.25 ERA), versus LHP Felix Doubront (10-4, 4.24 ERA)…

Go Rangers!

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
Jul 232012
 
Zack Greinke 2

So, for those of you that have listened to Episode 16 of the Baseball Do Podcast, you know we are focusing first on some of the bigger names with the Trade Target Profiles.  I was tempted to jump to Cliff Lee today (as we dedicated a good amount of time on the podcast to a Lee-Rangers reunion), but decided instead to opt for Greinke in the off chance that we hear any news related to a Cole Hamels extension (which impacts Lee’s availability).

Donald Zachary Greinke

The Player

Potential Trade Target Profile: Zack GreinkeFirst things first, if Greinke ever dons a Rangers jersey, I think we should all agree right now to call him “Donald”.  Just has a good ring to it…

Greinke, like the previously profiled Cole Hamels, is a free agent after the 2012 season, so should be viewed as a rental.  The Rangers would obviously have an opportunity to negotiate with Greinke for an extension if he were traded to the team, but it’s likely that the young (age 28) pitcher will hit the open market this winter.

Greinke won the 2009 American League Cy Young award, which was also his only All-Star season.   As you can see below in the “Measurable’, Greinke was nothing short of dominant in 2009 but has failed receive a single Cy Young vote in any other season.

Part of what makes Greinke so attractive is his potential.  Don’t get me wrong, he is a front line starter now, but at the age of 28 (turns 29 in October), he should have his best years still ahead of him and has shown that he has the talent and make-up to be something special.

That said, the price tag for Greinke should be lower than Hamels and much lower than a player who is locked up beyond 2012 (Lee & Upton).

In a poll conducted by MLBTradeRumors.com, Greinke is currently the runner up to Hamels in terms of which starter rumored to be on the market would provide the biggest boost.  Hamels has dominated the results, garnering 59% of the total to Greinke’s 19% (note: Cliff Lee is not included in poll).

One final note on Greinke…he has a history of mental illness as he was diagnosed with depression and social anxiety disorder a few years ago.  He momentarily gave up on baseball, but returned to the game after getting diagnosed and treated for his illness.  This isn’t a joking matter and not something that should be taken lightly…by Greinke or the Rangers.

The Measurables

Year Age Tm W L ERA G CG IP H HR BB SO ERA+ WHIP SO/BB
2004 20 KCR 8 11 3.97 24 0 145.0 143 26 26 100 120 1.166 3.85
2005 21 KCR 5 17 5.80 33 2 183.0 233 23 53 114 76 1.563 2.15
2006 22 KCR 1 0 4.26 3 0 6.1 7 1 3 5 116 1.579 1.67
2007 23 KCR 7 7 3.69 52 0 122.0 122 12 36 106 124 1.295 2.94
2008 24 KCR 13 10 3.47 32 1 202.1 202 21 56 183 125 1.275 3.27
2009 25 KCR 16 8 2.16 33 6 229.1 195 11 51 242 205 1.073 4.75
2010 26 KCR 10 14 4.17 33 3 220.0 219 18 55 181 100 1.245 3.29
2011 27 MIL 16 6 3.83 28 0 171.2 161 19 45 201 104 1.200 4.47
2012 28 MIL 9 3 3.57 20 0 116.0 117 7 28 117 117 1.250 4.18
9 Yrs 85 76 3.80 258 12 1395.2 1399 138 353 1249 114 1.255 3.54
162 Game Avg. 12 11 3.80 37 2 200 200 20 51 179 114 1.255 3.54
KCR (7 yrs) 60 67 3.82 210 12 1108.0 1121 112 280 931 116 1.264 3.33
MIL (2 yrs) 25 9 3.72 48 0 287.2 278 26 73 318 109 1.220 4.36
AL (7 yrs) 60 67 3.82 210 12 1108.0 1121 112 280 931 116 1.264 3.33
NL (2 yrs) 25 9 3.72 48 0 287.2 278 26 73 318 109 1.220 4.36
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/23/2012.

As noted, Greinke’s 2009 season stands out when you look at his full career – almost to the point where you could easily argue that 2009 is the outlier and some blend of 2008 and 2010 are much more likely from a results standpoint.

  • Greinke’s current WAR for 2012 is 2.0, which is the exact same as that of Colby Lewis and Yu Darvish, which begs the question as to how big of an improvement he is over our current starters.
  • Greinke has pitched at Rangers Ballpark 6 times in his career (5 of which were starts), and has a record of 2-3 with a 2.38 ERA and 1.029 WHIP – for whatever that’s worth.
  • Greinke’s salary is $13.5M (same in 2011).
  • Among the list of most comparable players to Greinke (in terms of performance), both James Shields and Oil Can Boyd are top comparisons – now that’s a party.

Could Donald (aka Greinke) be a Ranger?

Potential Trade Target Profile: Zack Greinke

First order of business required is that the Brewers officially start shopping the young pitcher.  While they haven’t fully declared themselves as sellers, getting swept by the division leading Reds over the weekend got them one step closer to doing just that.  It’s strongly believed that the Brewers will indeed try to trade Greinke…assuming they don’t make a push to extend his contract, as the Phillies are doing with Hamels now.

In the last podcast, Jasen and I talked briefly about Zack Greinke as a trade target for the Rangers and explored the idea of his status as an “Ace”.  Whether you want to classify him as that or not, you can’t argue that he is one of the top 3 (if not 2) starters on the trade market right now.  Whether or not he would be a Game 1 starter in a playoff series may not be as important as if he would be one of our four starters in a playoff series – in other words, does he improve our starting rotation?

I’m of the belief that he does.  While he may not provide as big of an impact as Cole Hamels or Cliff Lee (debatable), he would definitely be an upgrade in the rotation.

What would it take to get Greinke to Texas?  Via trade, the Brewers would have interest in Mike Olt (as everyone does) as well as a number of the Rangers young pitching prospects – most notably Martin Perez.  Given Greinke is only a 3 month rental, I would envision the deal consisting of Perez and another mid-level prospect headed to Milwaukee in return for his services.  Via free agency after the season, I’d guess 6 years/$110M.

Remember, unless the Brewers and Greinke reach a long-term agreement, Greinke will be on the free agent market after the season.  So, while the Rangers may have some interest in Greinke long-term, they don’t have to make the move now via trade. However, if the goal is to add a front line starter to the rotation in 2012 (and the Rangers believe Greinke is indeed a front line starter), then they’ll have to reach a deal and give up on some young talent.

In the end, I’d give better odds to a deal for Greinke happening than I would for Hamels, Lee or Upton.

Got a request for who we profile next?  Leave a comment.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
Login