Jul 192013
 
Matt Garza
Texas Rangers Trade Rumors: Is Matt Garza Headed to Arlington?

A potential trade to the Rangers should be a pleasant surprise for Matt Garza.

As has been reported for the last three years, the Texas Rangers are in apparent hot pursuit of the Chicago Cubs’ Matt Garza.  This comes as no surprise since every time the 29-year-old right hander has been available, the Rangers have been in the mix.  So what’s different this time?

 

First and foremost, mutual need.

 

The Texas Rangers currently have five starting pitchers on the disabled list.  The Chicago Cubs are in full-on rebuilding mode and are looking to replenish their farm system with as many prospects as possible.

 

Secondly, the Chicago Cubs’ asking price might finally suit the Rangers.

The Cubs have been after the Rangers’ 22-year-old left hander, Martin Perez, for just about as long as the Rangers have Garza.  However, just as in times past, the Rangers have put the nix on the inclusion of Perez of any deals. That is, anything short of a “blockbuster” type of deal for the likes of a Giancarlo Stanton or a David Price.

Per T.R. Sullivan, the Rangers are working on getting a deal done with the likes of Mike Olt, C.J. Edwards, and Neil Ramirez being bandied about.  Apparently, the Rangers are giving Luke Jackson the “Martin Perez” treatment—at least for this deal—and leaving him out of the Garza trade discussion.

Mike Olt, clearly, is the biggest name involved in the trade rumor.  Coming into this year, he was Baseball America‘s #22 Prospect in all of baseball.

Olt made his major league debut last season, and aside from one exciting walk-off hit, he was largely a letdown.  Olt had a terrible start to the 2013 season, and was placed on the disabled list with some ocular issues.  He had been playing better of late however, so now might be the best time to maximize his trade value.

C.J. Edwards, is a 22-year-old right hander, drafted out of Mid-Carolina in the 48th round of the 2011 MLB Amateur Draft.  Edwards started this year at Class-A Hickory and is having a fine season—going 8-2 with a 1.83 ERA.

Neil Ramirez was drafted by the Rangers in the first round of the 2007 MLB Draft.  Ramirez has been a somewhat frustrating prospect. A rapid climber during his first three seasons, Ramirez has been on a yo-yo swing between Triple-A Round Rock and Double-A Frisco since the 2012 season.  Ramirez has been with Double-A Frisco all season, and has pitched well, going 9-3 with a 3.33 ERA.

Check back often for the latest in the Matt Garza Saga.

@TMurrayHowell

 

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Mar 192013
 

Jasen and I got a chance to hangout (no pun) with Patrick and Eddie from ShutDownInning.com tonight.  We talked about Mitch Moreland, getting in bed with Elvis Andrus and Bob Bland.

Enjoy!

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Feb 172013
 

Baseball Do Episode 24   3rd base, booze and 3 keys to success for 2013Is there a position that you feel better about on this Rangers squad right now than 3rd base?  Adrian Beltre has become a fan favorite, a leader and a fixture at the position for the Rangers (and the American League All-Star team) over the last two years and will man the position for the Rangers through 2015 (possibly 2016).  It just so happens that the Rangers have a pretty salty young prospect in Mike Olt at the position as well, so what’s his future?

To break up the baseball talk, we decided to talk about the exciting topic of alcohol.  We discuss preferences, current favorites, drunken states, friends and most importantly – responsibility.

To wrap up, we go back to the “Dear Baseball Do…” question bag and Jasen provides his 3 keys to success for the Rangers in 2013.

The 2nd Annual Baseball Do Field Trip will be here before you know it.  What are you waiting on?

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Oct 082012
 
Josh Hamilton is an awesome baseball player, when he wants to be.

Replacing Josh Hamilton: Do The Texas Rangers Have In House Options?Today is the first Monday of the Texas Rangers off-season. Once the 2012 postseason has come to an end, Josh Hamilton will likely saunter off from Arlington and make a beeline towards financially greener pastures. With him, Hamilton will take his immeasurable baseball talents, as well as his various psychological, ocular, and assorted addiction issues.

But not to worry, Josh Hamilton has said that he’ll give the Rangers first crack at re-signing him…Well aw-shucks, and gosh golly all-to-pieces, that sure is mighty kind of you, Josh.

All personal cynicism aside, what this really means is that the Texas Rangers have first shot to politely decline the offer he and his agent deem necessary. If you are a Texas Rangers fan—not solely a Josh Hamilton fan—then you understand that not giving him the contract he wants is best for the team. Hami wants a lengthy deal. When discussing a long-term contract—in this case, longer than four years—you have to consider: age, injury-issues, and, with Hamilton, a history of alcohol abuse, caffeine dependency, severe dry eye, and, oh yeah, an apparent lack of focus during the most important game of 2012.

Unless Hambone decides to sign a four-year (better yet, three-year) deal, then the Rangers are no longer a viable option. Besides, Hamilton and his wife, Katie, have far too many impoverished people to help for the measly makings of such a short-term deal.

In-House Options: Craig Gentry, Leonys Martin?

Replacing 43 home runs and 128 RBI is even more difficult than it sounds. Neither Craig Gentry nor Leonys Martin is ever going to be a three-hole hitter. However, Gentry supplies plus-defensive and explosive speed, whereas Martin has an upside high enough that the Rangers were willing to dish out the dough to harangue the Cuban into coming to Texas in May of 2011.

Replacing Josh Hamilton: Do The Texas Rangers Have In House Options?

More Craig Gentry. It’s what the people want.

The Problem: Defensively, Gentry and Martin are HUGE improvements over Hamilton. Offensively, not so much. Despite Gentry’s breakout 2012 campaign, he is best suited as a fourth outfielder; speed off the bench if you will. Martin, who will be just 25-years-old at the start of 2013, needs to prove that he can hit at the big league level, and thusly might be a click behind Gentry on the depth chart.

How To Fill the Offensive Void—Rookies to the Rescue?

Prized prospects Mike Olt and Jurickson Profar now have a few major league at-bats under their belts, and could plug the Hami-hole in 2013, should they ascend to their sky-high ceilings offensively.

The problem: The Rangers’ best player, Adrian Beltre, blocks Olt, a natural third baseman. Jurickson Profar has Elvis Andrus well ahead of him at shortstop, and the recently re-upped Ian Kinsler at second. Although Olt has seen some big league time in right, Profar’s skill set is more suitable for the outfield, should the Rangers decide to re-position the two.

The Free Agent Market

Naturally, the Texas Rangers will be looking at other available free agent talent. B.J. Upton and Nick Swisher come to mind. Although Swisher is better suited for right field, both he and Upton would provide an immediate offensive upgrade over Gentry and Martin. An Upton or Swisher signing would also provide the Rangers time to let Profar and Olt get consistent playing time in Triple-A for the 2013 season.

@TMurrayHowell

Replacing Josh Hamilton: Do The Texas Rangers Have In House Options?

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Sep 022012
 
Texas Rangers v Cleveland Indians

Feldman Falters in the First, Rangers Cant Recover as Tribe triumphs 4 3Scott Feldman is beginning to develop a pattern.

No, I’m not just talking about his current five-game losing streak. Feldman is having—quite consistently over his last six starts—one bad inning.

Every start.

Last month against the Detroit Tigers, it was the four-spot he surrendered in the sixth inning that was his ultimate undoing. In his next start, against the Yankees, it was a three-run third. The Orioles jumped on him for four in the fifth during his next go-around…then the Twinkies dropped a deuce on Feldy in the fifth inning (once again.) And, last night, the Tribe gave Texas a Scooter-scalping for four earned runs in the first inning.

If you’re keeping score at home, he need only surrender a big second-inning to close out the first six frames, dart-style.

Last night’s 4-3 loss had the makings of an extremely short outing for Feldman, as Oswalt was beginning to get loose in the bullpen with just one out in the first inning.

Feldman recovered nicely, and stellar relief from Alexi Ogando and even gasp! Koji Uehara, kept the Indians to only four runs, total. Unfortunately, Adrian Beltre can’t do it all himself and the first-frame four-spot proved insurmountable.

Here in a few hours the Rangers will turn to Derek Holland to try and take their fourth-straight series, so hey, pound a few coldies and go get ‘em tomorrow…

Oakland Athletics Watch

• I don’t know about you, but I still find myself scoreboard watching—without even looking at Oakland’s box scores. I just don’t consider them a threat. But I think that it’s high time to start giving them more than a cursory glance.

They are currently a measly three games out of first place with a 75-57 record. Think about that for a moment. The Texas Rangers are having their best season in the franchise’s history…and the stupid Oakland A’s are only three games behind them.

With their current record, the A’s would be in sole possession of first place in the A.L. Central as well as the N.L. West…it’s definitely time to circle our calendars for September 24—September 27, when the A’s arrive for a four game series in Arlington that might just have some playoff implications…

Up Next:

LHP Derek Holland (9-6, 4.90 ERA) is currently riding a modest two-game winning streak. For HollandO, a native of Newark Ohio, there is truly no place like home. The 25-year-old lefty is 2-0 with a 2.16 ERA against the Tribe over his career.

For the Indians, it’ll be RHP Zach McAllister (5-5, 3.82). Like the Indians, McAllister has struggled over the last couple of months. He’ll be vying for just his third win since July.

The first pitch is scheduled for 12:05 (CST).

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Aug 122012
 
Detroit Tigers v Texas Rangers

In dramatic fashion, last night’s 2-1 Texas Rangers’ win over the Detroit Tigers was a perfect example of the past meeting the present.

All decked-out in their 1970s powder-blue retro uniforms, it was fresh-faced rookie Mike Olt (born in 1988) who provided the offensive jolt to fuel the walk-off win.

Did Mike Olt just turn into the “Oltimate Warrior”?

Rangers Play it Olt School With 2 1, Walk Off Win over Detroit
gif creator online

I’m pretty sure the transformation is complete, friends…

And let’s not forget about Derek Holland, either.

I’m sure we all predicted that Dutch—who has been homer-prone and largely ineffective all season—was going to go toe-to-toe with Justin Verlander.

Yep.

And when Austin Jackson led off the first inning with a home run, we all knew that ‘ole Dutchy was going to settle down just fine, right?

Sure.

Baseball is a crazy, bizarre, occasionally unsettling, always challenging, and prolifically unpredictable game. And somehow all of those things make us love it that much more—especially after a Rangers’ win as exhilarating as that one.

Rangers Play it Olt School With 2 1, Walk Off Win over Detroit

Kicking it Olt-school, no doubt.


Up Next:

Yu Darvish (11-8, 4.72) takes the ball for Texas, with right-hander Rick Porcello (9-6, 4.62) on the hill for Detroit.

Porcello

This will be Porcello’s third start against the Rangers this season, and his second at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

At Comerica Park on April 21, Porcello was blistered, bruised, and beaten badly. He lasted just one inning while allowing 8 earned runs on 10 hits.

Two months later in Arlington, Porcello pitched well, scattering six hits over six innings while striking out seven to pick up the win.

The 24-year-old from Morristown, New Jersey, has a career mark of 2-2 with an 8.47 ERA against the Rangers.

The Yu

I don’t buy into the notion that Yu Darvish is wilting in the Texas heat. Sure, he’s 1-4 with a 7.04 ERA since July, but I don’t think the sweltering summer conditions are to blame. What with global warming and all, it’s hot everywhere…yes, even in Japan. In other words, Darvish has handled the heat before.

For The Yu, his problems are the same-old, same-old. Poor fastball command gets him behind in the count, he tries to pour one in the zone for a strike, then gets too much of the plate…Thwack.

It’s not like his stuff is the issue. He somehow struck out nine in Boston while also surrendering seven doubles. It’s way too early to label him as a “nibbler” but he definitely needs to improve his command while challenging hitters during pitcher’s counts.

This will be Darvish’s third start against the Detroit Tigers. He’s 2-0 with a 3.37 ERA. Yu’s last start against the men from Motown was arguably the finest of his career, as he walked just one—the only time all season he hasn’t given out at least two free passes—while scattering four hits and notching 10 strikeouts.

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Aug 062012
 
Scott Feldman 2

By: Dustin Dietz

My debut article with BaseballDo got me to thinking about a player’s Major League debut and how one is judged just by seeing the player perform for the first time. If the player is successful when one first lays eyeballs on the rookie, then one will more than likely think of the player in high regard. If the player fails, then one will probably think the player has no chance of becoming a big league All-Star.

Not only are first impressions relevant in baseball, but are also a major part of society in general, and have been since the beginning of time. Completely unrelated to the great game, what does every human being think when he or she first lays eyes on another attractive human being? Well, some might tell you he or she considers what his or her parents will think of the dreamy eye candy. However, do not believe any person who ever says that. Any person with a modicum of intelligence will tell you he or she first noticed how attractive the other person was. It is only human nature.

In baseball terms, when fans see a player perform for the first time, they will become enamored with a player who does something positive in his first game. For example, Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Starling Marte hit a leadoff home run on the first pitch he witnessed in the major leagues. Instantly, Pirate fans fell in love with the young stud.

It feels like the first time...giving Scooter a second lookLast week, highly touted Ranger prospect Mike Olt made his long awaited big league debut and singled sharply into left field his first at bat against former Ranger hurler C.J. Wilson. While many Ranger fans were already aware of Olt’s potential stardom, after one at bat, fans thought Mike Olt had punched his ticket to Cooperstown.

In that same game against the Angels, newly acquired catcher Geovany Soto went 2-5 with two RBI and Ranger fans already considered him an improvement over Yorvit Torrealba despite the fact Soto is hitting under the Mendoza line.

Basically, what I am trying to say in my interminable spiel is I have a tremendous amount of pressure to provide useful and intriguing content in my first article with BaseballDo, or I might be considered a gigantic failure. After all, fans were questioning Ryan Dempster after his first start with the Rangers last week despite his solid track record.

It feels like the first time...giving Scooter a second lookSo, when pondering what I should write with the pressure squarely on my shoulders to give BaseballDo readers a positive perception of my writing ability and baseball cognizance, I decided to center on what every Ranger fan wants to read about and that is pitcher Scott Feldman. What better way to make a debut than to talk about the greatness that is Scott Feldman.

I am not here to advocate Scooter is the greatest thing to happen to baseball since hot dogs. However, where would the Rangers be without Scott Feldman this season? Since taking the loss on June 14th against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Feldman has won six consecutive decisions after losing his first six to improve his record to an even 6-6.

Since the loss to Arizona, Scooter’s ERA has dropped from a pathetic 6.50, to a more reasonable 4.52. Feldman’s ERA is now only 0.14 higher than Japanese import Yu Darvish’s 4.38. Yet, when one reads fan postings on Twitter about Scooter’s upcoming starts, one would think the apocalypse is approaching and Feldman is the worst pitcher in major league history.

The truth is Scott Feldman has been the Texas Rangers most consistent pitcher in the last six weeks. Since he appeared on July 8th in an extra inning win against Minnesota, Feldman is 3-0 with a miniscule 1.09 ERA and has allowed only 3 earned runs. No other Ranger starter is within 2 runs of Feldman’s microscopic ERA. Yu Darvish’s ERA is 7.66 in that same time period. Yet, fans still have a positive perception of Yu and negative perception of Feldman

Scott Feldman was worse than dreadful the first two months of 2012. To put it simply, his sinkers were not sinking, his cutters were not cutting, and his curve ball was not curving. Feldman was leaving far too many pitches up in the zone, and his location was horrendous.

Since Feldman’s first win in San Diego on June 19th, Feldman’s curve ball has more bite, and his sinker is beginning to resemble the pitch which helped him win 17 games in 2009. Feldman has also learned to effectively throw a split-finger changeup he first developed during a rehab assignment last season. Scooter’s last three starts are prime examples of his recent improvement (22 1/3 innings pitched, 3 earned runs allowed, and a 14/1 K/BB ratio.)

The Rangers have been hit with a myriad of injuries to the pitching staff this year, and Scott Feldman has helped pick up the slack as he has started 13 games and given the club a total 77 2/3 innings. While the innings have not always been outstanding, Feldman has taken the ball whenever manager Ron Washington has asked him too.

Scott Feldman is nothing close to a Cy Young Award Winner, and never will be, but he has been a valuable member of the Texas Rangers in 2012. I am not saying fans should become smitten with the bearded Ranger player man, but it is about time fans start giving Feldman some reverence as he has been the most efficient Ranger starter in the second half.

It feels like the first time...giving Scooter a second look

I hope I have made a positive first impression with all the loyal BaseballDo readers. While a Scott Feldman article certainly is not slugging a first pitch home run far into the bleachers in his first major league at bat, it is at least comparable to a seeing eye single.

By: Dustin Dietz

Follow Dustin Dietz on Twitter @DustinDietz18

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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…

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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…

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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.

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