Nov 012012
 
Josh Hamilton 10

According to Dayn Perry (CBSSportsline), the odds-makers over at Bovada.lv have put out odds on where Josh Hamilton will sign this offseason.


Who will sign Josh Hamilton next?

San Francisco Giants: 3-1
Atlanta Braves: 5-1
Texas Rangers: 5-1
Philadelphia Phillies: 7-1
New York Yankees: 9-1
Chicago Cubs: 9-1
Boston Red Sox: 9-1
Pittsburgh Pirates: 10-1
Toronto Blue Jays: 10-1
Los Angeles Dodgers: 15-1


Let me be the first to say that there are a few teams on this list that I think have no shot or no interest in Hamilton

Phillies – No interest and no shot.  Unless they can find a way to unload some of the veteran contracts that they currently have in place, I just don’t see GM Ruben Amaro adding another large contract to the mix, especially a player north of 30 years old.  Here is a quick look at some of their top salaries for 2013:

  • Roy Halladay – $20M

    <b>Thursday Sound Off:</b> Hambones New Home...<br><b>Prediction:</b> Staying in Texas

    Hamels with Phillies GM Ruben Amaro

  • Cole Hamels – $19.5M
  • Ryan Howard – $20M
  • Cliff Lee – $25M
  • Jon Papelbon – $13M
  • Jimmy Rollins – $11M
  • Chase Utley – $15M
That’s $123.5M for 7 players, most of which are getting a little long in the tooth.  This is NOT a team that is going to give a 4-6 year contract to Josh Hamilton.  In addition, the fan base in Philly is quick to turn on poor performance and lack of effort – can you imagine the treatment Josh would have gotten from the fans down the stretch in 2012 if he had been playing for Philly?

Cubs – No interest.  Theo Epstein is in the process of rebuilding and while the Cubs will soon be at a point where they are ready to supplement a strong base of talent in free agency, they aren’t their yet.  Hamilton’s age and the potential for injury and fatigue due to his past and playing style just don’t fit in Theo’s plan.  Cubs fan’s would love Josh…but it’s not happening.

Pirates – Are you kidding me?  No shot.

Official Prediction

Don’t see any odds on the field (everyone else), but would assume they would be somewhere around 30-1, if not larger.  I’d bet on the field at 30-1 (heck, even 25-1) before I’d consider the Phillies, Cubs or Pirates.

In fact, the team that I think will sign Josh Hamilton is not even mentioned above.

My official prediction as to who will sign Josh Hamilton….as of right now….always subject to change….

The Houston Astros

<b>Thursday Sound Off:</b> Hambones New Home...<br><b>Prediction:</b> Staying in TexasIs this crazy?  Here is my thinking:

  • Money: They have to have money!  They don’t have anyone on their current roster that is deserving of a big contract, so they must have the money to make it happen, even considering they’ll have to overpay.
  • Ownership: Jim Crane is a crazy ass, looking for attention and desperately seeking any opportunity to make a big splash.  So much so, he was considering bringing the Roger Clemens circus to town late in the 2012 season.  Signing Josh Hamilton and being the “mystery team” would be a BIG splash.
  • Location: Josh and his family are clearly comfortable in the DFW area and while it’s still five hours away…it’s as close as he’s gonna get to staying here.
  • AL West: The Astros will be joining the Rangers in the AL West starting in 2013.  Josh is familiar with the lay of the land in the AL West, which benefits the Astros and provides a certain level of comfort for Josh.
  • Houston Fans: Low expectations…if any.  The excitement generated over the signing would follow Josh into the regular season and mask any lack of effort or disinterest – if those issues are still there – which I don’t think they will be.

Nevermind the fact that the Astros are horrible.  I think Josh will value the situation and the contract more than any team’s current level of play or postseason hopes.

Prediction #2 - Josh will play like a man possessed in 2013 and win the AL MVP despite:

  • Houston’s weak lineup which provides him no protection
  • The fact that the Astros will be out of the playoff race by mid-April
This sucks given his poor exit from the Rangers…but you know you agree.

So, what do you think?  Have I sold you on Josh in a Astros uniform in 2013?  Or do you trust the odds provided by Bovada?

Vote in the poll below and sound off in the comments section.

What uniform will Josh be wearing in 2013?
Toronto Blue Jays
Boston Red Sox
New York Yankees
Texas (Rangers)
Atlanta Braves
San Francisco Giants
L.A. Dodgers
Houston Astros
Other (leave comments)
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Oct 302012
 
YoshiFeldy copy

Thanks to the San Francisco Giants making quick work of the Detroit Tigers in the World Series, we can all plop our buns down onto the MLB Hot Stove that much faster.

Sadly, since Major League Baseball free agents have a five-day window until they truly set sail for financially greener pastures, there is painful little news on the free agency front.

Thus, here are some notes on some quasi-newsworthy Texas Rangers stuff:

Rangers Ballpark in Arlington to Undergo Changes

So, there is going to be an opening added behind home plate. I suppose this is to subdue the infamous “jet stream” that supposedly prevents the Rangers from signing premiere starting pitchers.

Isn’t the jet stream effectively neutralized by the fact that the Rangers get to pitch against the Houston Astros more than ever next season?

And isn’t the eradication of said jet stream also a bad thing for Rangers’ hitters?

The Rangers also announced that foul territory will be minimized to make room for more “premium” seating. Okay, sure, this one makes sense on a monetary level at least.

However, fans beware: David Murphy and Nelson Cruz might be flying into the stands with greater regularity than a Josh Hamilton bat. Dodging a bat is one thing, but skirting a Boomstick is an entirely different matter…

It could get ugly.

Texas Rangers Offseason News: Feldman Flees; Sayonora Tateyama

Less foul territory could result in Boomstick “Cruzing” into your Boomstick.

All told,  I guess a little change is good. And, hey, if making RBIA less hitter-friendly is what it takes to get Zack Greinke in the house, then I’m all for it.

Rangers Decline Option on Yoshinori “Human Jet Stream” Tateyama; and Scooter McPooter

Goodness, what with the aforementioned solutions to the jet stream problem and the Rangers subsequent dismissal of Yoshi Tateyama, have we seen the last of the long ball at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington?

Now that Scott Feldman will fly the coup, let the debate begin: “Who will be the Rangers sixth starter heading into Spring Training 2013?” Goosebumps. I got ‘em.

On a side note, I knew buying 100 tee shirts with “Hottie Tate…yama that is!” might not have been the best business investment.

No biggie, I’ve still got my “Roy Oswalt MVP” shirts to fall back on…

Will the Rangers Go After the Young Japanese HS Phenom?

Japanese High School right-hander, Shohei Otani, made it public that he intends to enter the Major League Baseball Draft rather than play baseball professionally in Japan.

The Texas Rangers have been rumored to be very interested in drafting the pitching prospect, whose fastball has been registered as fast as 200 Nautical Miles an Hour, or something like that.

Numerous quotes from inside sources have also linked the Rangers to Otani, but since I don’t speak Japanese, I have no freaking idea what was said.

In all seriousness, I think the Rangers stand a very solid chance of landing Otani. After all, what Japanese teenager wouldn’t want the opportunity to play alongside Yu Darvish?

@TMurrayHowell

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Oct 252012
 
Barry Zito, yep Barry Zito, did it with his arm and his bat last night.
Thoughts on Game One of the 2012 World Series

Yeah, you don’t let this guy beat you. You just don’t.

And just like that, the first World Series game that has not included the Texas Rangers since 2009 has come and gone.

Plain and simple, it just feels weird to watch the Fall Classic without our favorite team in the mix. I’m not the only one that’s upset. Famed denizen of the Texas State Fair, “Big Tex” was so bereaved by the Rangers’ late-season collapse and subsequent postseason exit that he set himself on fire…presumably in protest.

Or something like that. Personally, I always thought of Big Tex as more of a football fan, but I guess the Dallas Cowboys haven’t really done too much to keep the flame from the flesh either, so to speak.

Here’re some notes/observations from last night’s San Francisco Giants thrashing of the seemingly hapless Detroit Tigers:

• My first thought after the conclusion of the San Francisco Giants’ 8-3 game one win was that: “Former Ranger Joaquin Arias is going to get a freaking World Series ring before any current Ranger.” This initial notion led me to consume beer number nine whilst moving on to my second thought on the matter which was: “$hit.”

• I realize that some of this was necessitated by days of rest and what not, but by using Barry Zito in game one—and unbelievably getting a win out of him—the G-men have effectively reversed their rotation. Zito last night, Madison Bumgarner tonight, Ryan Vogelsong for game three, and ace Matt Cain for game four…if you’re a Giants fan you’ve got to like this; especially if Bumgarner can put together a strong start.

• Last night was the first time this postseason that the Giants have won a game one. I don’t think the Tigers are the type of team to rally from being down 2-0 or 3-0 like San Francisco has done. In other words…

Doug Fister needs to pitch well tonight. He needs to find an answer to the 37-year-old riddle named “Marco Scutaro.” He’s got to keep Pablo Sandoval in the park and off of the base paths. Fister needs to avoid the big inning; he doesn’t need to dominate but he does need to keep the San Fran offense to a minimum.

• So, at what point last night did I realize that the Tigers were going to lose game one? The exact moment that Barry Zito went “oppo” for an RBI single.

• Last night’s big third-inning gained steam for San Fran with two outs when Angel Pagan—”Pagan Angel” for those with dyslexia or Tigers fans—hit a double right off of third base. Literally. His hit immediately brought back memories from last year’s ALCS when Miguel Cabrera ripped a shot off of third base in Detroit against the Rangers. I’d go on about karma but thinking of last year’s ALCS—since the Rangers were not only a part of it but the eventual victors—makes me sad.

• Well, at least the St. Louis Cardinals have been eliminated, huh?

I’d like to know your World Series predictions and thoughts. Before last night, I had the Tigers winning it all in six games. What do you think? Just use our comments section below to let us know how you see the 2012 Fall Classic playing out.

Thoughts on Game One of the 2012 World Series

And to think, had the Rangers made it past the Orioles, the Big Tex tragedy could have been avoided.

@TMurrayHowell

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Jun 092012
 
Screen shot 2012-06-09 at 3.14.32 PM

Scott Feldman Seeks first Win, Looks to Keep Giants at BayIt took eleven tries for the Texas Rangers to finally win a game in the home of the San Francisco Giants. Today, Scott Feldman will be looking to get his first win of 2012 in his second career start at AT&T Park.

Hey, it could happen.

They say the first win is always the most difficult…they’ve managed to ex-the-hex, so maybe Feldman’s will be next?

A win this afternoon and the Rangers could secure the San Fran series—something they haven’t done since they swept Toronto nearly two weeks ago.

Here’s a look at the game two matchup between the Texas Rangers (34-25) and the San Francisco Giants (33-26).

RH Scott Feldman (0-4, 7.02 ERA, 1.64 WHIP, 4.0 K/9) vs. RH Ryan Vogelsong (4-2, 2.38 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 6.5 K/9)

Feldman

Feldman’s last game, against the Oakland Athletics was fantastic—until the second inning rolled along.

Yes, there truly is nothing like an 8-run second to put a damper on a 1-2-3 first eh? It happens. Well, it has happened to both Derek Holland and Scott Feldman this year. Here’s hoping it won’t ever happen again.

In Feldman’s career at AT&T Park, he is 0-2 with a 7.04 ERA which is alarmingly consistent with the numbers he has put up this year so far overall. The Giants are batting .286 against the tall right-hander.

Scooter schools:

Gregor Blanco and Ryan Theriot have yet to record a base hit against Feldman in four plate appearances.

Kicks Scooter’s pooter:

Melky Cabrera. The “Melk Man” owns a .333 batting average against him.

Vogelsong

One of the best stories of last year’s season was the emergence of Ryan Vogelsong as a quality right-handed starter—at the not-so-tender age of 33 after battling various arm injuries throughout his career.

The former fifth-round draft pick (1998) put it all together last year, earning an All-Star berth, finishing up at 13-7 with a 2.71 ERA.

Vogelsong is largely a mystery to the Texas Rangers, as he has faced just three everyday players—Adrian Beltre, Yorvit Torrealba, and Michael Young.

Loves to face:

Adrian Beltre. Beltre is hitting just .167 against Vogelsong over his career.

Sees him well:

Yorvit Torrealba. Torrealba hasn’t been in the box against Vogelsong that much (6 PAs). But what he has seen he’s liked. Yorvit has scorched him to the tune of a .667 BA.

Rangers keys to victory:

Nobody expects Scott Feldman to pull a “Matt Harrison” and dominate the Giants for nine innings. However, it would be nice if Feldman could go at least five innings and surrender less than four runs.

If Feldman can manage that, and the Rangers’ rested bullpen—hat tip to Harri—are effective, the Rangers should be able to manage a second-straight win…if last night’s offensive production wasn’t just an illusion.

Prediction time:

I think the Rangers can manage enough offense to beat Vogelsong today. After that, it’s all up to Mr. Feldman. If he surrenders more than five earned runs, the Rangers might not have enough to battle back into the game. I think Feldman will have his best start of the season, and the Rangers will win 6-4.

Go Rangers!

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Jun 092012
 
TheGentry5

Texas Rangers Score the Cinco, Give Zito and Giants El StinkoLast night’s 5-0 victory over the always-tough-on-Texas San Francisco Giants couldn’t have possibly come at a better time.

Clearly, the Texas Rangers were in a funk, and getting damn tired of the entire state of California. In their last seven games, they’d lost five; two-of-three in Anaheim and three-of-four in Oakland.

Yeah, Oakland. Ugh.

So, naturally, their final opponent during their 10-day West Coast tour was the San Francisco Giants.

Remember them? Sure, they were the ones who finally solved Cliff Lee’s unbeatable postseason riddle— ending the Rangers’ World Series bid in five games back in 2010.

The G-men also happen to play in a park that Texas had yet to win a game in. Not one stinking game! Heck, the Rangers hadn’t won a game in the city of San Francisco since 1998.

And oh yeah, toeing the rubber in game one was Barry Zito (18-6 career against Texas.)

If Zito pitched as well against every other team as he usually does against the Rangers, he might be punching a ticket to the Hall of Fame.

But, hey, if baseball was even moderately predictable it sure as hell wouldn’t be as much fun…especially when it’s the Texas Rangers’ turn to defy the odds.

Playing crappy in Cali? Craig Gentry wasn’t having it. Woeful on the westside? Ian Kinsler had had enough. Add another losing streak to the Rangers long list of recent letdowns? Matt Harrison said “no way.”

Harrison (8-3, 3.87 ERA) was masterful. He scattered just five hits over his nine innings of work, with four strikeouts and zero free passes.

Of his 111 pitches, 77 were of the strike variety (69%) and 18 of the 27 batters he retired he did so via the ground ball out.

Harrison’s fine effort was the highlight of the night but not the whole story…

Craig Gentry, hitting machine

• Gentry matched the entire Giant’s hit total with his 5-for-5 performance last night. His average skyrocketed 40 points, to .341. His 2 RBI—from the 8-hole—would have been enough by themselves for the win.

When Ian Kinsler pops it up 380-feet, we don’t groan

• Second pitch of the game, Kinsler takes Zito deep to left field for his seventh big fly of the year.

Let the hitters hit

• Every starting non-pitcher (NL ball is a beating) recorded at least one hit last night for the Rangers.

Here’s a look at some other numbers of interest from last night:

0.76

• Average number of long balls launched at AT&T Park per game in 2012—the lowest of any park in the major leagues.

22

• Career total in leadoff homeruns for Ian Kinsler after his first inning smash.

• Also the number that Josh Hamilton now has on the year.

• Coming into last night’s contest, 22 was the total amount of homers hit at AT&T ballpark all season before Kinsler and Hamilton connected.

8

• With the 5-0 win, Matt Harrison picked up his 8th win, tying him for the American League’s most with Rays left-hander David Price.

3

• Number of shutouts Harrison now has in his career.
• Also, the number in years since he threw his last one.

2

• Number of home runs the Rangers had managed over their last 8 games…they needed only five innings to match that total last night against Zito.

10…

• …long days since Hamilton had hit his last home run—May 29th against the Seattle Mariners.

Here’s hoping the Rangers can start their first winning streak since last month’s Toronto Blue Jays beat down…

The second game of this best-of-three series is scheduled for a 3:05 (CST) first pitch and will feature the Rangers’ Scott Feldman (0-4, 7.01 ERA) against the Giants’ Ryan Vogelsong (4-2, 2.38).

Sure, on paper this might look like another mismatch favoring the Giants. But so did last night’s game, and that one worked out just fine.

Make sure to check back this afternoon for the full game two preview as only BaseballDo can…um…do!

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