Oct 182012
 
Rangers' rookies Tanner Scheppers, Justin Grimm, and Wilmer Font could be viable options to replace Mike Adams.
MLB Free Agent Mike Adams: Should Rangers Re Sign the Righty?

Rangers’ rookies Tanner Scheppers, Justin Grimm, and Wilmer Font could be viable options to replace Mike Adams.

Like most of us, I’m still smarting from the fact that Major League Baseball decided to continue its postseason even after the Texas Rangers were eliminated.

Seems kind of rude, doesn’t it?

So I guess It’s time to move on. And move on we shall. The Texas Rangers are going to be an excellent team for many years to come, even if Josh Hamilton and Mike Napoli end up signing elsewhere.

Today we take a look at yet another Texas Rangers free agent, right-handed reliever Mike Adams.

Mike Adams—2012 stats: (5-3, 3.27 ERA, 7.7 K/9, 2.9 BB/9)

Due to injury, Adams wasn’t going to pitch for the Rangers this past postseason. As it turned out, he didn’t miss much. Adams, like fellow free agent reliever Koji Uehara, was acquired at the 2011 MLB Trade Deadline.

The Rangers decision whether or not to re-sign Adams seems easy considering that he was recently diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome, or “TOS.”

If you’re like me, your first thought was: “What’s the big deal? Just head on down to the local Thoracic Outlet Mall and grab homeboy another thoracic…”

Evidently it just doesn’t work that way, and TOS is a serious issue that can end careers.

Yikes!

MLB Free Agent Mike Adams: Should Rangers Re Sign the Righty?

Need a new thoracic, friend? Last season’s thoracics have got to go!

So, why waste your office downtime reading about any attempts to re-sign a dude who may never recover from his current injury? I mean after all, you could be watching Kate Upton’s Cat Daddy in slow-mo for the hundredth time, right?

Author’s note: no link provided for the aforementioned Upton dance. Trust me, you follow that link and there is no chance you’ll finish this article, and, well, I couldn’t blame you.

Look, it’s easy to forget, but Adams was one of the best relievers in MLB over a two-year period, and TOS is extremely treatable. Plus, this condition might mean the Rangers could re-sign him on the cheap.

The Sinton, Texas, native earned $4.4M last season, but he could be inked for significantly less should the Rangers make an offer. However, if the Rangers decide to let Adams and his bad wing fly free, all is not lost. Texas does have a bevy of in-house options that could make for a 2013 bullpen enhancement, minus the dinero advancement.

Replacement Options: Tanner Scheppers, Justin Grimm, Wilmer Font

Tanner Scheppers (1-1, 4.45 ERA, 8.4 K/9), at age 25, is eight years younger than Adams, and flashed a good deal of potential during his first taste of the bigs in 2012. All told, the 6’4” former first rounder (2009, 44th overall) showed a plus-fastball that touches triple digits and a decent feel for an off-speed pitch.

Justin Grimm (1-1, 9.00 ERA, 8.4 K/9) burst onto the seen during the Rangers’ June Swoon of pitching problems—when seemingly every pitcher was headed to the dreaded disabled list.

Grimm, a fifth round pick of the Rangers’ in 2010, won his major league debut—albeit against the Houston Astros—and compiled an excellent strikeout to walk ratio of 4.33 over his 14 big league innings of work. Just 24 years old, Grimm’s future is all but, and he has an outside chance of cracking the Rangers’ bullpen (or possibly rotation) in spring training.

Wilmer Font has been in the Rangers’ organization since 2006. So he should be like 34 years old, right? Wrong. Font was signed as an amateur free agent out of Venezuela at the tender young age of 16.

MLB Free Agent Mike Adams: Should Rangers Re Sign the Righty?

Jamie Moyer was 47 when Font was born, and Brian Wilson is looking pretty old these days.

Font had had to grow up fast. Only 22, he’s already had Tommy John surgery and made his big league debut with Texas. Granted, his command was bad—he walked four in his two total innings of work—but his solid stuff was evident. With further refinement, Font could be a key piece in the Rangers’ bullpen for many years to come.

Should the Texas Rangers Make Adams An Offer?

We here at Baseball Do would love to hear what you think about the Texas Rangers’ chances of re-signing this year’s crop of free agents. So, should the Rangers make Mike Adams an offer, or are they just fine moving forward thanks to a deep farm system? Let us know what you think in our comments section below.

Yep, that’s it! Now back to “reading” about Kate Upton…

Follow Timothy @TMurrayHowell

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Jun 072012
 
NS_22Sheppers3.jpg
Derek Holland to the 15 Day DL, Ogando to Rotation, Scheppers called up

Go get 'em, kid.

As if being shutout by Bartolo Colon 2-0—the team’s first shutout of the year—isn’t bad enough, the Texas Rangers have placed their second starting pitcher of the year on the disabled list.

Derek Holland, whose fastball lost considerable velocity in the fifth and sixth innings of his last start on Tuesday, has been placed on the 15-day DL with what is being described as left shoulder fatigue.

The “diagnosis” of a shoulder issue was unexpected, as it was initially thought that a stomach virus might be what would cause a possible DL stint. Holland has lost 15 pounds over the last two weeks due to the malady.

Derek Holland’s injury creates a broad-range ripple effect throughout the organization.

Alexi Ogando is back in the rotation

I’m a big Alexi Ogando fan, especially as a starter. I was disappointed when he wasn’t given another chance in the rotation out of spring training.

However, he is a damn fine reliever, and I’m all for the Rangers strengthening what aspects of their game they deem necessary—in that case, it was the bullpen that needed some help.

Ogando’s move to the rotation creates a few questions:

• Is he properly “stretched-out” enough? Can he go more than four-innings a start?

•How will his departure impact the bullpen?

Tanner Scheppers is called up from Triple-A

Scheppers was the Texas Rangers’ 44th overall draft pick out of Fresno State in 2009. He has long been on the team’s 40-man roster, but this will be his first time up in “The Show.”

• Scheppers has been healthy this year but has had a history of injuries in the past.
• Anytime a rookie is brought up, you never really know what you’re going to get in terms of success…they don’t always work out as superbly as Robbie Ross.

Koji Uehara’s heightened roll

Right-handed reliever Koji Uehara has been outstanding for the Texas Rangers in 2012. So good has Uehara been that he is no longer my favorite whipping boy for easy laughs.

Hell, it’s not easy to make fun of a 0.54 WHIP. How will Uehara react now that his importance has been increased greatly?

• Can Koji continue to produce at the same level in high-leverage situations?
• Will he be able to work as a “bridge” in Ogando’s absence?
• Can he go multiple innings if the situation dictates?

Scott Feldman remains the team’s number five starter

Feldman has been a hot topic of debate recently. He has yet to earn a win in his spot starts, and has seemingly pitched worse each time he’s run out there.

Most people—especially after his 8-run shellacking on Monday—wanted Feldman’s head on a platter. They wanted him to be left out of the rotation and kicked off the team….if you were one of those fans then the Holland injury is your worst nightmare.

• Feldman will remain the team’s number five starter—and he might even continue in that role when Roy Oswalt makes his debut in a few weeks.

• Believe it or not, Feldman will be missed in the Rangers bullpen. His continued absence could be an additional blow—coupled with Ogando’s loss—that weakens one of the Rangers’ strengths.

Final Analysis

You never want any of your starters to go down with an injury. One of the keys to the 2011 Texas Rangers was their ability to stay on the field (rotation-wise). This year’s squad—now with just two DL stints—hasn’t by any means been “injury prone” but anytime you lose a starting pitcher, much less two, there are negative ramifications.

Honestly, I feel that this might have occurred at the best possible time for the Texas Rangers. Not only is it early in the season, but many felt that a change might be necessitated by their recent struggles against inferior teams.

Well, here’s that change you’ve been hoping for. Ogando’s back in the rotation, and we finally get to see what the fire-balling right-hander Tanner Scheppers can do.

Relax.

Everything is going to be just fine. Yes, I realize that tomorrow we take off to play the San Francisco Giants in a stadium that we have never won a game in. Hey, all this means is that we’re due.

The Texas Rangers are in first place in the AL West by 4 1/2 games. There’s no need placing your finger anywhere remotely near the panic button as long as we are atop our division.

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Feb 232012
 

We took a closer look at likely Opening Day starter Colby Lewis yesterday.  If you missed it, check out “A Closer Look at the Cobra”.  Mike Maddux announced yesterday that both Colby and Scott Feldman will pitch in the Rangers first Cactus League game on March 4th.

Thursday Morning ChangeupsNolan Ryan spoke to the media yesterday, covering a number of topics including Yu Darvish and Josh Hamilton.  Here are some excerpts:

  • Nolan compared himself at age 25 with Darvish, saying ”I think it’s neat and exciting that he has the following that he does and so many people are excited about it.  When I look at my career and his career and where I was at 25 years old, there’s a substantial difference.  I had a control problem. I was very durable, but I didn’t have the feel for the baseball or my delivery as he does with his. That’s one of the unique things about him.  At 25, he’s still a very young pitcher and he has great delivery and control of his delivery and a good feel for the baseball. When I say that, what I mean is that he can throw different pitches, he can locate his pitches. For a 25-year-old, that’s quite an accomplishment.”
  • On the excitement around seeing Darvish pitch, “We’re all excited about seeing him throw, watching him work, and so I think watching video on him I have an expectation of what he’s going to be like, so I don’t think there’s going to be much difference of the videos I’ve seen of him.  But seeing his delivery, watching him from different angles and that kind of stuff, obviously, everybody that’s been involved in this process is anxious to see that.”
  • Thursday Morning ChangeupsOn the adjustments that Darvish will have to make in MLB, “He’s going to have to learn the hitters; that’s something he won’t be able to do until he pitches to them and gets a feel for them. There will be an adjustment to the baseball some, pitching on a five-day rotation where he’s been on a six-day rotation over there. We’ll obviously try to help him any way we can.  But I think from being around him, I get a feel that those things he’ll handle well.  I think that’s his type of personality and the way he’s been raised.”
  • In wrapping up on Darvish, Ryan provided some advice to the young pitcher, “”My advice to him would be just to come in and not try to do more than you’re capable of doing,” Ryan said. “Just enjoy the spring and enjoy the new situation and challenges that he has and if he has any concerns or questions, we’re here to support him. I’d like to develop a relationship with him where he’d feel comfortable if he did have something on his mind or was bothering him that he could feel comfortable enough to come visit with me about it.”
  • Regarding concern for Hamilton, ”I think we’re all concerned with Josh in that us who don’t have an addiction don’t truly understand the challenges that Josh has.  So we’re concerned for him, and as an organization we try to do everything we can to help in any way we can. One of the things that Josh realizes after this last time is the support he does have out there, and that’s probably very comforting for him.”
  • On Josh’s attitude, ”Josh has great attitude, is looking forward to getting down here and going to work and is very excited about the upcoming year and with great anticipation.  I really think he’s very focused on this time of year and what he needs to focus on. I think he’s in good shape and is working hard. I feel very positive about where Josh is coming into camp.”

Ryan hit on some other topics, but these were by far the big two, and rightfully so.  Nolan also talked about the team in general and said this regarding their outlook, “They are very determined again this spring as they are last spring,” Ryan said. “I don’t hear them talking about the World Series. I think they’ve moved on and have put it behind them.”   Ryan handled the media very well, and seemed to be initially amazed by the amount of media present.  On to non-Nolan updates:

  • According to Gordon Edes, at ESPNBoston.com, Roy Oswalt will announce his decision today as to who he will pitch for in 2012.  The Red Sox and Cardinals seem to be the strong bets at this point.  You can read the update from Edes here.
  • Joe Nathan seems eager to step into the closer role for the Rangers, saying “I’m excited.  I had a great workout this winter and have looked forward to this day for a long time.”
  • Regarding the Rangers team chemistry and clubhouse, Nathan said ”Obviously, I haven’t seen them all together in one place yet, but I’ve heard they all get along real well and that’s why they’ve done so well.  There’s talent here, just like there is in every clubhouse, but usually the thing that separates squads is how well they get along and how well they pull for each other and it looks like these guys do that as well as anyone.”
  • The Rangers hired Tony Fernandez as the special assistant to general manager Jon Daniels.
  • Neftali Feliz is fully embracing his new role and preparing for the increased stamina requirements.  “I’m doing more leg lifting so I can have the endurance.  I’ve been working a lot more on my changeup because I didn’t use that as much as a closer, and my slider.  Those two pitches were my focus.”
  • Feliz had this to say about his off-season meeting with former ace Pedro Martinez, “He gave me a lot of good advice.  He talked to me about my mental training and preparation and to understand that not everything is going to be easy and that things are going to be hard at times, but to keep my head up and keep at it.”
  • Wanna know how we think Feliz will perform this season – “The Other New Guy”
  • Jasen and I talked extensively about the Rangers pitching depth and the eventual rotation in our Spring Training Special podcast.  T.R. Sullivan (MLB.com) provides his thoughts here and provides a full breakdown of the pitching staff here.
  • Thursday Morning ChangeupsTanner Scheppers, who is going to work exclusively out of the bullpen this Spring, is excited about the opportunity, but still wants to be a starter down the road, ”It’s definitely nice to know my role going into it.  Long term, I would still like the opportunity to start, but right now I have to go out and perform and be competitive.”
  • Derek Holland wants us all to know that even though he’s a joker off the field, he’s nothing but business when he’s on the mound, ”At some point, I’m going to have a bad game and the last thing I want is for people to think that its because I did a Harry Caray impression.  If I have a bad game, it’s about not executing pitches. I have my fun. But when I come here, it’s not about goofing around. I’m serious every minute I’m on the field. It’s time to get to work and finish off what I started last season.”
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