Feb 232013
 
Baseball Do Episode 25   Reaction to Josh, a painful trip to the dentist and American League strength of schedule rankings

Nolan is really saying “shut up Josh”

Josh Hamilton is gone, but not forgotten, as his words once again merit response from the Baseball Do guys and infuriate much of Ranger Nation.  Scott and Jasen discuss Josh’s comments on DFW as a “baseball town” and his attempt to play Rangers fans that will be present to boo, cheer or stand in silence at the Rangers first home game (against the Angels) on April 5th, 2013.  Nolan thinks the Rangers can still be contenders without Josh, do you?

We experience a technical breakdown, but determined afterwards that editing it out was too exhausting and beyond our technical know-how…so enjoy that!

Do you love have another man’s fingers in your mouth?  If not, you’ll wanna hear Jasen horrifying story of a recent visit to the dentist’s office.  Got one that top’s it?  Share in the comments section below.

We wrap up by breaking down a recent article from ESPN.com’s Buster Olney related to strength of schedules for 2013 in the American League.  The rankings is interesting and is yet another way of looking at the decisions that will be made as the Rangers approach the 2013 trade deadline.

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Feb 142013
 

The 2nd Annual Baseball Do Field Trip is all set.  Who would have thought that we’d ever make it to the 2nd one of these things…?

If you didn’t get to go last year, you missed out on a great time.  The food at Mixed Up Burgers was excellent (as always) and everyone enjoyed hanging out there before heading over to the Ballpark to see the Rangers beat Oakland.  If we learned a lesson from last year, it was that it’s hot on June 30th.

While this is never a true deterrent from going to the Ballpark for most of us, we decided that if we could get out to the Ballpark earlier or later in the season for some cooler weather, we would do it. That said, we moved the Field Trip up earlier in the season this year to enjoy the nice 2-3 weeks of Spring time that we get to enjoy here in Texas in early April.

Let’s get to the details:

  • Saturday, April 6th, 2013 – Angels at Rangers, 3:05pm first pitch – 2nd home game of the season!
  • Field Trip starts at 11am at Mixed Up Burgers in Grand Prairie, just a short 5 minute drive to the Ballpark.  Your Field Trip ticket includes a burger, fries and soft drink or tea at Mixed Up Burgers.  They have plenty of adult beverages as well (cold bear on tap, margaritas and the infamous $0.50 Beer Thirty), but those will be on your own dime.
  • 2013 Field Trip   Burgers, Baseball and a One of a Kind Rangers ShirtField Trip includes a world famous “2nd Annual Field Trip” t-shirt (artwork coming soon).  Please provide your shirt size(s) in the note section when you purchase your Field Trip though Paypal.
  • We’ll hang out at Mixed Up Burgers, enjoy a great meal and give out some door prizes and then head over to the Ballpark around 2pm.  Each Field Trip includes one Lexus Club ticket to the game.  We have an entire Lexus Club section reserved for this, so we’ll all be seated together.   You will receive your ticket to the game at Mixed Up Burgers.
  • All this for $60!

This is gonna be a great time!  Beautiful early-April day game against the dreaded Angels, and the former love of our lives, Josh Hamilton.  Throw in the t-shirt, great food and fellowship with other Rangers fans – it just doesn’t get any better than that.

Click here to purchase your tickets to the 2nd Annual Baseball Do Field Trip today!  We have a limited number of tickets, so don’t wait too long.  Tickets to this game will be in the high demand.

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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?

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Jun 012012
 

Rangers head to Los Angeles of Anaheim

Friday Morning Knuckleballs5 1/2 games separate the Rangers and Angels.  By the end of the weekend, that margin could be as small as 2 1/2 or as large as 8 1/2.  It’s hard to label this series as “pivotal” given the separation between the two teams and the fact that it’s still early June, but we know how good the Angels could be, and we were all expecting that this would be a season long battle for the American League West.

Three weeks ago, the Rangers and Angels met at the Ballpark, with the Rangers taking 2 of 3.  Since then, the Angels have gone 11-6, including an 8 game winning streak.  During that same stretch, Albert Pujols has started showing signs of life (7 home runs) and former Ranger C.J. Wilson has been nothing short of spectacular…still a douche…but spectacular (1.05 ERA in last 3 starts).

“It’s not surprising,” Rangers outfielder David Murphy said. “They’re basically playing how we and everyone else in the world expected them to play. When you spend as much money in free agency as they did and when you get off to as bad of a start as they did, you’re bound to draw some negative attention. They’re back on track.”

During that same stretch, the Rangers have put together an uninspiring 8-8 record.  The pitching staff has continued it’s descent back to earth and the offense has been sporadic at best.  That said, the Rangers are good enough to display a level of dominance that could beat an all-star team at any moment, and it’s this that makes us feel good heading into this weekend…that and the fact that Jerome Williams can’t continue to pitch as well as he has (5-2, 3.81 ERA).

“Beyond the fact that they’re the defending AL West champions and a pretty good ballclub, we have to approach them like any other team,” Angels slugger Mark Trumbo said. “If we treat them like Goliaths, I think we’re going to be defeated going into the series. I don’t think you’re ever going to hear anybody in this room say they’re fearful of that team or think that they’re a better ballclub because that’s just not the case.”

Quick Hits

  • Rangers closed out the month of May with a .500 record at 14-14.
  • New Ranger Roy Oswalt will make his first start of the season tomorrow for Round Rock.  Oswalt spoke with media yesterday, and sounds eager to contribute.

“Looking at the team as a whole, one through nine, it’s probably the best lineup in the game,” Oswalt said. “I was thinking that if I could get over here and help the team out, as far as eating up some innings and take a little pressure off the bullpen, that maybe it would push them over the top.”

  • Oswalt also shared his wait-and-see approach to this season.

“This is the team to beat,” Oswalt said. “I made the decision to wait until the season started. It gave me a little bit of an opportunity to evaluate the teams and see just who I thought would be the best team going into it. A lot of times, you look good on paper at the beginning of the season, and then things can change here and there.”

Take me to the Card Shop

Friday Morning Knuckleballs

Larry Cox sporting the sweet beard…before they were uncool and then cool again.

 

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Feb 102012
 

2012 American League West by Position (Part 2)On to round two…

To catch up on what we’re doing and understand the scoring, check out Part 1.

Score at the end of Round 1:

  1. Rangers: 5 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 4 = 21
  2. Angels: 3 + 5 + 3 + 3 + 3 = 17
  3. Athletics: 2 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 2 = 8
  4. Mariners: 1 + 2 + 2 + 1 + 1 = 7

Left Field

  1. 2012 American League West by Position (Part 2)Josh Hamilton, TEX
  2. Vernon Wells, LAA
  3. Seth Smith, OAK
  4. Trayvon Robinson, SEA

Let’s break this down.  Vernon Wells is a better player than what we saw in 2011.  Josh Hamilton is as well.  Josh Hamilton is a better player than Vernon Wells.  Is he so much better that he deserves the bonus point here?  I think so.  If we go by 2011 alone, Josh would easily get the bonus, posting a 4.2 WAR, with Wells at 0.3 (Seth Smith was actually better than Wells with a 1.9).

I’m willing to look beyond just 2011 as I do really think Wells will improve upon his first season with the Angels, in which he only played in 131 games.  That said, I think you could say the same thing about Josh.  While his 2011 numbers look good, they were accomplished in only 121 games due to injuries.  Hamilton posted a .882 OPS, compared to the 1.044 OPS he posted in 2010 (MVP season).

In addition to the superior 2011, Josh is also the superior player.

Center Field

  1. 2012 American League West by Position (Part 2)Peter Bourjos/Mike Trout, LAA
  2. Coco Crisp, OAK
  3. Craig Gentry/Julio Borbon, TEX
  4. Franklin Gutierrez, SEA

This was the weakest position across the board in 2011, with Bourjos putting together the best year without question.  There are rumors swirling that the Angels may look to deal Bourjos to make room for phenom Mike Trout.  While I like the idea of Bourjos leaving the American League West, I don’t know if I like the idea of Trout getting more playing time.  Whether it’s Bourjos or Trout or a combination of both (worst case), they lead the pack.  In fact, I’m giving the Angels duo the bonus here, which can base on speculation or Bourjos’ production last year (4.2 WAR) compared to the others on the list.

The battle for 2nd here was very close in my mind, and while I think Gentry can continue to improve (if he wins the job outright), I think Crisp is a better player in 2012.  This is definitely one to watch.

You could make an argument to put Gutierrez in the 3rd spot here, but he’s too far removed from his best season (2009) to think he’s going to be able to bounce back enough to outperform whoever mans center for the Rangers.

Right Field

  1. 2012 American League West by Position (Part 2)Torii Hunter, LAA
  2. Nelson Cruz, TEX
  3. Ichiro Suzuki, SEA
  4. Josh Reddick, OAK

This was the toughest ranking of the outfield positions by far.  Let’s start at the bottom.

Reddick put together a nice season, but needs to prove he can do it again, which I don’t think he’ll do in 2012 as he’ll be in  much weaker line-up.

Ichiro is a Hall of Famer, and one of the greatest hitters of my lifetime.   Ichiro is also going to turn 39 later this year, and while it doesn’t look like he’s slowing down (40 SBs in 2011), his offensive production is on the decline.

So, it comes down to Nellie and Torii for the top spot.  I know many of my fellow Ranger fans are going to gripe about this one, but I have to give Hunter the top spot for 2012.

Cruz had the higher OPS in 2011, and is the better offensive player at this point.  Hunter is the better defensive player and has proven to be more durable and reliable.  It’s very close, but 150 games from Hunter edges out 125 games from Cruz.  Prove me wrong Nellie…

Designated Hitter

  1. 2012 American League West by Position (Part 2)Michael Young, TEX
  2. Jesus Montero, SEA
  3. Mark Trumbo/Kendry Morales, LAA
  4. Jonny Gomes, OAK

Jesus Montero has the ability to be #1 on this list, as does Mark Trumbo, but they won’t in 2012.

Montero was a very highly regarded prospect that came up in the Yankees farm system and debuted last year with the big league team.  He was recently dealt to Seattle in exchange for Michael Pineda.  While he’s well on his way to becoming a productive big league hitter, he’s still developing and has moved to a weaker line-up.  If we’re talking long-term, Montero is easily #1 on this list, as he has more upside than just about anyone on any of these lists. With that, I feel good about slotting him 2nd.

At first glace, I had the Angels in the 2nd spot here, but The Angels, like the Rangers, have some flexibility (though not as much) with the guys that are going to DH this year in that Trumbo and Morales can also play first base.

The soon-to-be 38 year-old Bobby Abreu struggled in 2011, and is becoming more of a situation hitter as opposed to a full-time DH, so I’ve removed him here.  It’s going to be interesting to see who get the bulk of at-bats at the DH position for LA in 2012.  I’m leaning towards it being split pretty evening, with Morales seeing a few more at-bats if he’s healthy, primarily because he’s a switch hitter.

Score at the end of Round 2:

  1. Rangers: 21 from Round 1 + 5 + 2 + 3 + 4 = 35
  2. Angels: 17 from Round 1 + 3 + 5 + 4 + 2 = 31
  3. Athletics: 8 from Round 1 + 2 + 3 + 1 + 1 = 15
  4. Mariners: 7 from Round 1 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 3 = 14

Round 3 will be posted early next week and will cover the bench and the manager.

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Jan 252012
 
  • Wednesday Morning CurvesScott Boras worked his magic once again  as Prince Fielder signed with the Detroit Tigers yesterday afternoon for 9 years at $214M.  It was the popular belief that the Nationals held the pole position as of yesterday morning and that the Rangers were out due to the demand of more than 5 years.  All along, there has been a mystery team…and the mystery team won.  Again.
    Full details of the contact haven’t been released yet.  One would speculate that there is some sort of club option and trade clause built into the deal, but we’ll have to wait.
  • With Prince officially off the market now, the Rangers will shift their focus to the contract needs of their existing core, most notably Josh Hamilton.
    According to T.R. Sullivan (MLB.com), “The Rangers’ biggest priority right now is outfielder Josh Hamilton, who can be a free agent after this upcoming season. The club is actively working with his agent, Michael Moye, on a possible contract extension that would prevent him from leaving, but an agreement does not appear imminent.”
  • Beyond Hamilton, the Rangers are expected to start or return to talks with Mike Napoli, Ian Kinsler, Derek Holland and Colby Lewis, with Holland being the only one of the five that the Rangers have under control beyond 2012.
  • Relief Pitcher Koji Uehara rejected a trade to the Toronto Blue Jays, which was one of the teams on his no-trade list.  The Blue Jays didn’t hesitate to move forward by signing Francisco Cordero to a 1 year/$4.5M contract to help fill the set-up role in their bullpen.
    Baltimore is still a likely trade partner for the Rangers with Uehara, Gerry Fraley (SportsDayDFW) reports “Baltimore remains interested in Uehara, who kept his home in the area after the Orioles sent him to the Rangers last summer.”
  • Alden Gonzalez (MLB.com) wrote a good piece on the escalating rivalry between the Rangers and Angels.  Gonzalez calls out the current off-season, saying “The rivalry reached a fever pitch during the offseason, in the comfort of air-conditioned offices and through the art of savvy business. The Angels and new general manager Jerry Dipoto — seeking a surge after back-to-back playoff absences — struck gold on Dec. 8, spending nearly $330 million to sign the best hitter of this era, Albert Pujols, and steal former Rangers ace C.J. Wilson. Then came the Rangers — eager to maintain their standing as back-to-back division and league champs — committing more than $110 million to pluck the heralded Yu Darvish out of Japan.”
  • After reading that, I stand up and emphatically yell “Can’t wait!” in my best Bart Scott impersonation.
  • Wednesday Morning CurvesDallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was one of more than ten bidders for ownership of the L.A. Dodgers.  While current owner Frank McCourt expects to get in the neighborhood of $1.5B for the club, Cuban went on record last year saying he would not bid more than $1B, saying “I don’t think the Dodgers franchise is worth twice what the [Texas] Rangers are worth.”
  • The Giants and Tim Lincecum (aka Jim Likelakeum; see below for Lincecum’s greatest moment) agreed to a 2-year/$40M.

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Dec 082011
 

Good bye C.J.   Thanks and good...well, just thanks.It’s official.  The Angels have landed C.J. Wilson to the tune of $75M over 5 years.  He’s going home, and getting a very nice contract.  Can’t blame him, but still quite a bit of animosity towards him from Ranger fans, and it really started during the post-season and escalated to it’s peak today.  While I’m on board with this feeling, let’s not diminish what he did for this organization, especially over the last two seasons.

  • 2010: 15-8 with a 3.35 ERA, 170K and 93BB over 204IP, 7.5k/9IP
  • 2011: 16-7 with 2.94 ERA, 206K and 74BB over 223.1IP, 8.3k/9IP – improvements across the board; All-Star and 6th in AL Cy Young voting
He wasn’t a big game pitcher, which has been well documented (All-Star game loss, poor post-season showing), and you have to wonder if that is something that will always plague him, of if that’s something he can figure out.  I’m hopeful that we don’t get to see him show us either way.
With the signing of CJ and Pujols on the same day – arguably the top pitching free agent and without-a-doubt the top hitting free agent, the Angels have made quite a splash.  This doesn’t always carry over onto the field.  Only time will tell, but regardless, this only increases my excitement for Rangers baseball in 2012.
Trust in JD!
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Dec 082011
 

Pujos to Angels...The AL West just got a little more interesting as the Angels made the biggest splash of the off-season (and potentially of any off-season since Rangers signed A-Rod), by signing Albert Pujols to a 10 year contract, worth $250-260 million.

The Ranger’s arch-enemy has made a bold move, and they may not be finished, as they are still rumored to be the front runners for CJ Wilson.  I would have to think that they are pulling that offer off the table at this point given.  Pujols was a bigger need for CJ in my mind for that team, which makes this even worse for Ranger Nation.

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Dec 082011
 

Mildly Warm StoveBusy times at the winter meetings.  Things have been somewhat quiet on the Ranger front.  A few quick hits here, and then Jasen and I hope to get a new podcast up tomorrow night.

  • CJ Wilson is all but gone.  Expected to sign with the Angels today (5 year offer), with the Marlins still lurking in the background offering more years (6)
  • With Buerhle off the table (Marlins), this removes the two top FA starting pitchers from the market – have to think Yu or trade at this point.  If it’s trade, no reason to do it now…
  • We’re in on Fielder…we’re out on Fielder…we’re “stealthy” on Fielder…in the end, feels like we are probably out of the mix here, but you never know.
  • Yu Darvish expected to post today, and Rangers are considered to be one of three teams expected to make a serious bid – others being Blue Jays and Yankees.  I think the Yankees are the most realistic after watching Cashman on with the MLB Network crew last night.  He was very clear that the starting rotation is the #1 priority and something that they want to improve upon going into next season.
  • Angels snag Latroy Hawkins to help their bullpen – nothing major, but a nice acquisition.
  • Marlins continue to be rumored to be in on EVERY free agent – talk about putting it all on the line.
  • Hamilton wants a new contract prior to start of 2012 season.  Napoli does too, just don’t know that we’ve seen that put out their publicly.  Let’s hope Rangers can get both of these locked up.
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