Timothy Howell

Aug 092012
 
5Stages

Roy Oswalts 5 Stages of Bullpen Acceptance + Dustin Pedroia JokesFormer Texas Rangers starting pitcher, Roy Oswalt, didn’t take too well to the news of his demotion to the bullpen. He lost out on a rotation spot due to the reemergence of Scott Feldman—coupled with his own mysterious blend of extreme-hitability and acute suck.

Psychologically speaking, Roy Oswalt is making marked improvements. From the fan’s perspective, he’s still being an a-hole.

Hey, we all understand that the road to bullpen acceptance is an arduous journey, marked by the self-acceptance of regression and marred by the subsequent roundhouse kicks to the ego.

I mean, really, aside from the $4M dollar deal (for half a season’s work) coupled with the fact that a trip to the bullpen is actually an easier job…let’s not forget that Roy Oswalt truly is the victim here…

Let us now join Roy Oswalt as he so astutely navigates his way through the 5 Stages of Bullpen Acceptance

1. Denial

“I still consider myself a starter.”

That’s actually quite healthy, Roy. When you go out there in the sixth inning rather than the first inning, just say to yourself “I’m starting now. I still consider myself a starter.” Do that, please…because when you were a starter your mantra was apparently “I’m a gas can. I consider myself a a can of gas; to make this fire explode.

2. Pain and Guilt

I actually think ‘ole Roy skipped right over this one and had another heaping helping of denial.

“I had two bad starts. We won four of my six starts. Guess I should have won ‘em all.”

Oh, Roy. You had one decent start. Dude, in your other five starts you were hit so hard that pitching machines secretly high-fived when not hanging their metallic heads in mock embarrassment.

3. Anger

“I’m gonna kick Scott Feldman’s ass. Freaking Hawaiian-born hippie.”

Okay, Roy Oswalt never actually said that. I’m sure we all realize he was thinking it, though. Probably word for word.

Why so angry Roy O?

Well, it’s pretty simple. Remember when Scooter wasn’t the best pitcher in the history of MLB, way back when he was 0-6 with a sideways 8 for an ERA?

Well, so does Roy. Yep, so does Roy. Roy remembers… And it chaps his ass.

4. Depression

“I haven’t said anything like that.”

Roy, the first sign of depression is a refusal to admit something that you’ve already admitted even though you don’t recollect said admittance.

Duh.

That’s Psychology 101 brah!

5. Acceptance

“I’m in the bullpen. I’ll throw down there and see how it goes.”

Glad to have you aboard, Roy…

Really Easy (yet curiously satisfying) Dustin Pedroia Jokes

Normally, in this space, I’d simply make fun of Dustin Pedroia’s sub-dimunitive size…so why should today be any different?

• Dustin Pedroia is earning some extra income nowadays thanks to a lucrative Just For Men TV spot. Perhaps you’ve seen it:
Roy Oswalts 5 Stages of Bullpen Acceptance + Dustin Pedroia Jokes
• Pedroia isn’t even going gray! Just For Men hired him because they can save that much more money by not having to teach an actual infant to dance.

• Did you know that you can actually fit two Jose Altuve’s into one Dustin Pedroia? Just make sure to ask Jose Altuve if it’s cool with him before attempting to do so…

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Aug 062012
 
troubleintexas

Texas Rangers News: So, Whats Up with Roy Oswalt and Josh Hamilton?The Texas Rangers had just taken two-of-three from the Kansas City Royals, a team that they had failed to defeat in ’12 prior to their three game series last week in KC. That should be good news, but there were some uncharacteristic clubhouse issues that overshadowed the Rangers’ first series win in almost two weeks.

Josh Hamilton—More than a nicotine fit?

• As we all know, Rangers’ slugger Josh Hamilton is a very troubled man. Also, the entire world (those that care at least) have been enlightened as to why Hamilton went from totally MVP-legit to “can barely muster a hit” in the span of two months.

The man’s personal life is none of my business and really doesn’t concern me in the slightest. However, his quips to the media and his recent scuffles with the coaching staff have lead me to believe that he is going through something more intense than nicotine withdrawal. And no, I’m not hinting at substance abuse. I don’t think that’s the issue here.

However, something is eating at Hamilton—could be his personal life, movie deal, or whatever—that he normally has been able to deal with no problemo. The further Hamilton slips into the recesses of his own mind, the less likely retainment of his services becomes. In fact, I’m of the belief that Hamilton will not be a Ranger next season, and should things continue as they have, he may be given the C.J. Wilson treatment.

Roy Oswalt—Clubhouse Problem?

• Evidently, Roy Oswalt, who looked fantastic last night over his two innings of relief work, was asked to go out for a third inning, and declined. If this was due to any other reason aside from physical inability, it is absolutely inexcusable.

Naturally, Oswalt was a starter his entire career, and there was a fundamental agreement in place that he’d remain in that role for the Rangers. But still, any major leaguer that can look outside of his own personal dilemmas for a fraction of a second should be able to understand that baseball is a business, and the business of winning entails making moves that are best for the team, not best for Roy Oswalt, etc.

Besides that, if Oswalt is the competitor that I believe him to be, he should take this “demotion” as an opportunity to kick butt and show the world that he’s not a shell of his former All-Star self. He can pitch his way back into the rotation, especially given the way the injury bug has feasted on the Rangers’ rotation this season.

Here’s hoping there was some sort of mixup or miscommunication between Washington and Oswalt that will explain yesterday’s scenario. If not, this is the type of rift that can cause clubhouse issues. If that’s the case, it’s too bad. Oswalt had looked really sharp in his two appearances coming out of the ‘pen.

The Michael Young situation

• Is their any coincidence that the very moment I read that Michael Young is starting at shortstop tonight, there was an ear rattling thunderclap followed by rain? Sure, it wasn’t quite a flood of biblical proportions, but Texas in August is about as likely to see precipitation as Rangers’ fans are to, well, see MY start at shortstop…

Elvis Andrus isn’t starting tonight due to a sore shoulder—that he wouldn’t have encountered had he not blown past his third base coach’s stop sign last night. It’s why Young gets the nod at SS.

Young playing defense at all anywhere, is newsworthy. First and foremost, he’s just plain awful in the field. Secondly, it limits Ron Washington’s ability to play Mike Olt.

Young has not-so-quietly strung together his worst season as a major leaguer in 2012. Anytime he is run out there wearing the leather—and to a certain extent offensively—the Rangers’ chances of winning are diminished.

Mike Olt had a bad game yesterday, striking out with the bases loaded and committing the game-ending error on a bad throw from third to second base. Still, his power potential and normally reliable glove work (at third base at least) make him a more viable option to start over Young.

Michael Young’s career UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating) is -55.5 at shortstop. Yes, my coffee just went down the wrong pipe as well.

I suppose this means that the Rangers backup shortstop, Alberto Gonzalez, has played Plinko with Washington’s Tree of Trust while plummeting down to Earth after hitting every single branch.

Up Next:

The Texas Rangers travel to Boston today for a three game series with the Red Sox. Starting tonight for Texas is RHP Yu Darvish (11-7, 4.38 ERA) vs. Boston’s RHP Aaron Cook (2-5, 5.24 ERA).

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Aug 032012
 
Hamilton copy

Cliff Lee Claimed on Waivers, Josh Hamilton Feels Big Gs Wrath and Derek Jeters Sex ChangeWhat a fabulous day in the wonderful world of Major League Baseball!

Some of today’s hottest stories read more like something from a trashy celebrity gossip column than an awesome baseball-centric website.

Well, who are we at Baseball Do to let the tabloid rags have all the fun (and pageviews)?

Vengeful fist of Old Testament “G” dishes out punishment on Josh Hamilton

• Josh Hamilton has always been the number one priority to the big “G,” everyone’s favorite benevolently bearded head-honcho of Heaven.

This of course is not exactly breaking news. Because, let’s face it, who cares about war, fathom, death or really expensive gas prices when Hamilton isn’t happy?

Well, just like a top mob boss, once you make a deal with the big “G” you’d better darn well hold up your end of the bargain…

Hamilton, after setting the world on fire in April and May (metaphorically, of course), quickly morphed into the worst player in the history of Major League Baseball in June and July (chart, below).

Cliff Lee Claimed on Waivers, Josh Hamilton Feels Big Gs Wrath and Derek Jeters Sex Change

And now, finally, we know the reason why: The Wrath of the Big G.

Now why in the “h,” “e,” “double hockey stick,” had we not figured out the reason until now? The answer to his suck-factor was smack-dab under our sniffers the whole time! Much like the sweet, sweet scent of Skoal.

Evidently, Hamilton made a pact to stop the lip service, only to later give in to the evil clutches of the un-saintly snuff stuff once again.

Oh, the horrors! Truly, hell hath no fury like a plummeting OPS.

Here’s hoping that Hamilton can come to some kind of mutually beneficial agreement with the big G, because as it worked out, Hami’s punishment ended up being harsh only on his fans. What in the Hades? We were the ones that had to suffer through his nicotine-free bouts of inexplicable suckage.

Cliff Lee Claimed on Waivers, Josh Hamilton Feels Big Gs Wrath and Derek Jeters Sex Change

“Me dang it. I knew I should have gone with the 7 1/4″ hat. I have thick hair though, y’know? Now I’m out $36.99. There is no ‘diety discount’ at Lids, friends, I’ll tell you that right now.”


New York Yankees’ Captain, Derek Jeter to undergo sex change

• It’s a well known fact that shortstop Derek Jeter has lost his fair share of range over the years. Now, it’s become apparent that the Captain is willing to lose far more than that…

Derek Jeter, per numerous reports, as well as good old fashioned common sense, is all set to undergo the necessary surgery needed for him to finally flee the vestige of the fairer sex.

Yep, Derek Jeter is going to become a man, man.

Concerned for El Capitan? Well, you should be, as this surgery is hardcore. Yeah, gone are the day’s where all it took to go from chick to dude was a little duct tape and a cadaver’s hooded hero.

Asked about what he is most excited about once the sex change is complete, Mr. 3000 said that “Being able to urinate while standing up,” is the most alluring ability but that “picking out towels for aesthetics rather than function, as well as selecting cute shell-shaped soaps due to their sweet smells rather than cleaning properties…” will be sorely missed.

No press release has been issued by the Yankees in regards to Jeter, who most likely, was (pre-surgery) Major League Baseball’s first female ball player.

Once his considerable stitches have finally heeled, it is unknown whether or not Jeter will boycott Chick-Fil-A, since they frown upon the consumption of fried chicken between same-sex partners, and now his formerly heterosexual relationship will become a homosexual one.

Jeter’s longtime beau, Alex Rodriguez, was unavailable for comment, but sources say he’s probably pissed off, as he could live off the Original Chicken Sandwich (no pickle.)

Cliff Lee placed on waivers

• Former Philadelphia Phillies second-string ace, and decent left-hander, Clifton Phifer Lee, had been placed on the waiver wire, making him eligible to be claimed by any of nine different teams. This no-trade clause was inked in blood after he nipped a vein and signed his elventy-billion dollar contract prior to the 2011 Major League Baseball season.

No team put in a claim on Lee, but one team’s leader—name of Derek Jeter—has snatched up the the former resident of Benton, Arkansas.

Jeter, still recovering in his ginormous mansion while allowing his recently acquired bald-headed yogurt slinger (with matching knackers) to heal properly, was quoted as saying that Cliff Lee will be put to work immediately, and will function mainly as his third-string “pool boy,” but will also “take care of things around the house that I don’t want to anymore.”

When pressed for more information as to what these mundane tasks might entail, Jeter stated that: “I ruined my decorative soaps by using them to clean my hands after working all day on my hot rod. Then, I destroyed my lovely show-towels—the ones with Alex’s beautiful face with the minotaur body—by drying off my hands!”

An audible sigh was heard in the background from superstar third baseman (and Jeter’s chief boy toy) Alex Rodriguez. As it turns out, A-Rod was particularly melancholy because he hates it when Jeter refers to him as “hot rod,” even more so in public. He was also a little miffed about the minotaur hand towels too.

“So anyways, Cliffy Poo can run to the Bed, Bath and Beyond to pick up some supplies, and then just slap me silly if I try to use them again,” Jeter said with a wink in my general direction.

When asked if he would travel with his newly acquired man-servant to the local Bed, Bath and Beyond, his normally jovial mood headed south in a hurry.

Jeter stomped his foot—almost ruining his $200,000 Borgezie Stillettos. His face became drawn as his eyes narrowed. His right hand extended in a limp-wristed finger wag, first to the heavens, and then to my chest.

“NO! No, no, no! I will NOT go to the three bees with Phifer Lee! That is HIS job! Be.
(stiletto stomp) Sides. (stiletto stomp) They don’t let real men shop there anyways.”

It was a chilling moment, and one that will live with me forever. I’m going to keep my complementary minotaur towel. Yeah, that’s right complEmentary. It goes well with my free Chick-Fil-A sandwich coupon.

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Aug 022012
 
Elvis

Walk Off Rangers Win so Huge it Overshadows Dempster/Olt DebutsHad the Rangers lost last night, you’d better believe that this post would be all about Ryan Dempster and Mike Olt’s Texas Ranger debuts.

Only problem with that is the Rangers did not lose. Quite the opposite, as they won in thrilling fashion, 11-10.

And oh boy was that a much needed “w.”

So bad have the Rangers bats been, and so woeful the starting pitching, I feel it’s best we bathe in the glory of last night’s throat punch to the second-place Los Angles Angels of blah-blah-blah.

Stay down, Angels. Save yourself further embarrassment. Should you rise, we’ll just lay you out again, each time more forcefully than the last. This Division, this League, it’s ours. We’ve got this sh**.

That’s how Texas Rangers baseball suddenly feels again—and it’s fantastic.

It’s a win that will be fondly remembered as summer’s heat recedes while the regular season gradually gains intensity before blooming into postseason play.

Man, that Rangers’ tenth inning…A half frame that functioned as snake oil for the soul, capable of healing all ailments, while restoring plummeting batting averages and halting the rise of our chief A.L. West combatants.

Hell, it might even halt Roy Oswalt’s regression and fix Josh Hamilton’s inexplicable batting misadventures.

Some thoughts from last night’s tenth inning Angels-beat down:

Joe Nathan

• In the top of the tenth inning, in a 7-7 tie—in a game that the Rangers had trailed by as much as six runs, closer Joe Nathan immediately delivers his best Koji Uehara impersonation. Eight-hole hitter, Chris Ianetta, promptly whistles a go-ahead home run into the left field seats for an 8-7 advantage.

Then, after two quick outs, Nathan plunks Torii Hunter, and here comes Albert Pujols. Yep. Two-run rocket shot to left field, Rangers down 10-7. I’m not sure what left quicker, Pujols’ homer, or the crowd’s feel-good vibe.

But, so magical was last night, that Joe Nathan not only gets to stay in town unharmed, he gets the win!

Michael Young

• Sure, we all know Michael Young is having a down season. No need to delve deeper than that. Young seemingly grounds out to Angels’ shortstop Andrew Romine, only to reach on an error. He’d eventually score the run that brought the Rangers within one, 10-9.

Mitch Moreland

• Injured for over a month, Mitch Moreland has hit safely in all three of his games since being reactivated from the disabled list on Monday. No hit was bigger than his line-drive single that tied the game up 10-10.

Moreland could provide the stretch run offense the Rangers have so sorely lacked.

Ian Kinsler

• Yes, Kinsler was the only out recorded by the Angels in the tenth inning. Yes, it was a meekly hit weak pop-up that didn’t leave the infield…but his game-tying, leadoff homer in the bottom of the ninth inning more than makes up for any of his shoulder-dropping, groan-inducing games of pepper with second baseman the league over.

Nelson Cruz

• Nelson Cruz’s laser beam solo shot should have been for the walk-off win. But that doesn’t matter. What does is that The Boomstick is heating up baby…and Nellie goes nuclear, he can carry the team almost solomente.

Mike Napoli

• Quietly—it’s hard to make much of a racket after last year’s slash line—Mike Napoli is starting to show signs of life—as well as pop. Naps has hit five home runs in his last 10 games and was an almost-overlooked 3-for-4 last night with 2 RBI.

Elvis Andrus

• Despite Ian Kinsler’s big game last night, there will be plenty that feel Elvis Andrus should be the Texas Rangers’ leadoff hitter. I’m beginning to be one of them. It’s not that Kinsler sucks, but it seems his skill-set might be better suited lower in the batting order.

Regardless, Elvis made a case for not only batting leadoff, but for team MVP last night. One of the few Rangers that has stayed consistent at the plate all season long, Elvis’ ringing, walk-off double still induces goose bumps nearly 14-hours later.

Ryan Dempster

• Arguably the happiest Ranger of all, Dempster toes the rubber for his Texas debut tonight. Why so happy? It’s hard enough switching teams, but how about having to be your team’s ace and losing streak stopper all at the same time?

Mike Olt

• If Olt takes to the big leagues as he has at every level of the minors, the Rangers might have their own version of Mike Trout. Okay that’s a bit far-fetched, but Olt has flashed prodigious power, a plus-glove and a knack for drawings walks throughout his minor league career.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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Jul 202012
 
TEX

The Texas Rangers currently have a six-game lead in the A.L. West over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. So, as they say, this one is for all the cheddar.

Lactose intolerant? No problem. How’s this—this one may be for the title.

During this three game series, the Rangers have a chance to ostensibly put the A.L. West title on ice. Don’t just take my word for it, check out what Rev Halofan has to say about it on Halo’s Heaven…however if typos and poor sentence structure give you the willies, I’d advise against the visit.

If the Rangers can pull off the sweep, they’d be looking at a nine game advantage. Should the Halos run the table, the Rangers are still sitting pretty—albeit precariously—with a three-game advantage.

The Angels are fresh off of a series with the Detroit Tigers, where they lost three of four. The Rangers sandwiched in a two-game split with the A’s around two off days.

The Rangers are rested, and here’s hoping they’re ready…

Here’s a look at tonight’s starting lineups:

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (50-43, L 10: 4-6)

Jered Weaver vs. Derek Holland, an Angels/Rangers Preview

Trout’s having a remarkable season: .352 BA, 14 HRs, 45 RBI, and 30 SB…and he’s doing it for the MLB minimum…why did they sign Pujols again? Lol.


LF Mike Trout
RF Torii Hunter
1B Albert Pujols
DH Mark Trumbo
2B Howie Kendrick
3B Alberto Callaspo
SS Erick Aybar
CF Peter Bourjos
C Bobby Wilson

VS

LHP Derek Holland (6-4, 4.57 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 7.5 K/9)

This will be the Dutch Oven’s third start since being activated off of the disabled list, due to what is medically referred to as “Shoulder Influenza.”

Since Dutch’s one-month hiatus, all signs have pointed to him once again having a solid second half—he’s 2-0 with a 1.98 ERA since reactivation.

Holland has been tough to beat on the road all year. He’s 4-1 with a 2.58 ERA away from Arlington.

Right-handed batters hit him with power (10 HRs) but have put together a pedestrian slash line: .234/.289/.445. Left-handers bat: .267/.340/.378 with just two home runs.

Tonight will mark Dutchy’s first start against the Angels in 2012. Over his career, Holland is 5-3 with a 4.97 ERA covering nine starts at the Angel Stadium. The Halos are batting .291 off of the left-hander from Newark, Ohio.

Texas Rangers (55-36, L 10: 5-5)

Jered Weaver vs. Derek Holland, an Angels/Rangers Preview

Elvis Andrus has hit Jered Weaver well over his career.


2B Ian Kinsler
SS Elvis Andrus
LF Josh Hamilton
3B Adrian Beltre
1B Michael Young
RF Nelson Cruz
DH David Murphy
C Mike Napoli
CF Craig Gentry

VS

RHP Jered Weaver (11-1, 2.26 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, 6.7 K/9)

Jered Weaver is one of the game’s elite pitchers. When he toes the rubber at home, he’s arguably the best in the game.

In his career, Weaver has only lost 18 times at the “Big A.” So far this season, he’s gone 6-0 with a microscopic 0.58 ERA.

Current Texas Rangers are batting .258 off the 6’ 7” right-hander, with Elvis Andrus (.429 BA, HR, 4 RBI) leading the charge. Josh Hamilton (.270, HR, 5 RBI), Michael Young (2 HRs) and Ian Kinsler (2 HRs) have also seen some success against the Northridge, CA native.

Right-handed batters produce a slash line of: .230/.279/.373 with 3 home runs off of him with left-handers fairing even worse: .187/.234/.264 with 5 home runs.

Notes:

• Jered Weaver’s lone loss on the season came against the Rangers on May 13 at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. He lasted just 3 1/3 innings, while surrendering eight earned runs.

• Mike Trout has jettisoned past the “having a great year” realm and smack-dab into “greatest season ever by a 20-year-old” territory. So far in July, the fleet-footed center fielder is batting .414 with 6 home runs.

• The Angels are currently fifth in the A.L. in pitching with a 3.76 ERA. They’re in a three-way tie for second place with a .269 batting average…The Texas Rangers are the A.L. leaders in batting average, with a .278 mark, and are second in pitching, with a 3.68 ERA—so take that, Anaheim!

• In their previous six matchups coming into tonight, the Rangers and Angels have split the difference, with each team going 3-3, as the Rangers took two-of-three in Arlington in May, with the Angels doing the same in Anaheim last month.

Go Rangers!

Up Next:

RHP Yu Darvish (10-6, 3.96 ERA) vs. RHP Ervin Santana (4-9, 5.60 ERA)—Saturday, 3:05 (CT).

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