Category Archives: Botts

Why Plug Botts Straight into the Clean-up Spot? And Go Cruz!

Botts may have been cleaning up in Oklahoma, but why in the world would Washington put him in the 4 spot in his 2007 debut in the majors? Your first game up is pressure enough. Throwing him into the cleanup role straight away is ridiculous.  And it’s showing as so far tonight, he’s clearly pressing and is 0-4 with 2 stikeouts and 7 LOB against Cleveland.

Meanwhile, Nelson Cruz is hitting well again tonight. It’s nice to see that, and I have a feeling he may just be around to stay this time.

Botts to Start in Cleveland Tonight

Big thank you to Scrub Brush League bloggers Tom Riggs & Rob Allen who caught a great scoop today, posted it on their blog and then quickly shared it in a post here on Rangers or Robbers:

“Here’s a scoop:
At 11:00am this morning, Rob (of the podcast) was at DFW airport and ran into Jon Daniels AND Jason Botts. Both are headed to Cleveland, where Botts will join the line-up tonight. When Rob asked him who was being sent down, JD said he’d make that decision when he got to Cleveland.
Rob and I want to believe that JD (thinks) our little podcast operation is “big time” and just didn’t want to say yet. But, since he doesn’t know us from Adam, it’s likely that he’s still making up his mind.
We posted the news on our website, but YOU are the first person we told!”

Well it’s about time Botts gets the call! And unbelievably, JD has now done two things right this week – the Gagne trade and finally calling Botts up. And in two consecutive days for that matter. He’s on a roll!

Also interesting to know he’s going to Cleveland. I suspect he’s also going up to greet several of his newly acquired players now that he can step away from his phones with the trade deadline passed.

Meanwhile, I bet Hicks is too busy licking his chops over how to invest the millions of dollars in 2007 salary they just dumped to bother with a trip on his private jet to meet Salty, Gabbard and go up and say hi to his team.  Anyone doubt that Jerry Jones or Mark Cuban would be in Cleveland tonight under such circumstances? I bet Hicks is running around while peeing his pants in the recently excavated land for Glory Park. Someone grab a camera and get a picture of that gloriful sight tonight!

What a Win! But Please Save it for Later in the Season!

Great walk-off win tonight!  But can we save that stuff for August and September? 

Hicks and Daniels may get confused by improved performance and decide to keep trying this season when the Rangers have no chance to make the post-season, every reason to trade Teixeira (who was openly talking today about talking to Baltimore after next year where he’d love to play since he grew up an Orioles fan) and no chance to be a championship caliber team unless they do a major overhaul.

Don’t I want my team to win?  YES! 

But after 27 years as a Rangers fan, I want to finally see them be a championship contender. 

Hicks and DanielsHart get confused too easily, especially when Hicks sees a chance to sell more tickets and add to his $,$$$,$$$,$$$ (10 figures there for a reason). 

More highly exciting wins like tonight and next thing we know, Hicks will have Little Jon trading Botts and Hurley for a 30+ year-old outfielder who’ll be a free agent in the winter just to help Jeff Cogen convince casual fans that they “could use some baseball” and sell more tickets to their charade, saying, “we’re excited by how we’ve been playing, by how this Young team has responded, and think we’re primed to make a late season run, especially when Tex, Kinsler, Blalock and Padilla return.” 

Scary, because I can actually hear that coming out of Hicks’ mouth as they introduce Shawn Green as the next “final piece” to take the Rangers to the playoffs while Botts and Hurley go start great careers as Mets.

And the casual Rangers fans would buy more tickets because… hey the Rangers are “in it.”  And this town – especially the phony, see-and-be-seen crowd predominantly from the Dallas side of the Metroplex – can jump on or off a bandwagon faster than the North Texas Tollway Authority sucks money out of your bank account on the Tollway, 121 or George Bush.

Meanwhile, us true, long-time Rangers fans watch another season tank away while the club is drained of talent.  And those bandwagonners that Hicks milks to fatten his wallet could care less because they’ll be paying full price to go see a pre-season Cowboys game.

Don’t I want to see my team win?  NO!  Not yet.

Relaford? What? Are We Trying to Pump Up His Trade Value? Where’s Botts?

Why in the world are the Rangers giving major league at bats to Desi Relaford? Desi was delegated to the minors after ’05.  His MLB AVG hasn’t seen the sunny side of .250 but three times in his career. Why in the world is he playing for the Rangers in Kinsler’s absence?

Why not stick Catalonotto or Hairston at 2B for couple weeks and finally get Botts up here? 

Has Jason Botts broken some laws or pissed off Jon Daniels in some way we’re unaware of? He’s hitting .320 with a .970 OPS and a 15-game hitting streak for the AAA Oklahoma Red Hawks while leading the Pacific Coast League in doubles.  What more can he do at that level?  What don’t we know that is keeping him in Oklahoma?

Meanwhile, Relaford was only hitting .257 with 2 stolen bases in 63 games for the Red Hawks.  Relaford may be the only remaining, healthy guy in the Rangers’ organization whose defensive play is close to MLB caliber at 2B, but team defense should be the last worry of a team that needs to rebuild.  Meanwhile, if say, Cat were able to show that he still has a little something at 2B, doesn’t his trade value go up as a solid utility man for a contender?

This is a scary sign that the Rangers front office is actually trying to win instead of develop players… unless Little Jon DanielsHart thinks some team in contention is looking for a career .244 hitter as that final piece that will put them into the World Series.

Announcing the 2008 Texas Rangers 25-Man Roster!

Well, since tonight’s game was rained out and the 2007 season has long been over, I thought I’d finish a post I’ve been thinking about for a while. 

I doubt I’m the only Rangers fan looking ahead to what might be in the cards for Texas in 2008.  If I were GM – and bi-POD Tom Hicks was willing to quit his hypocracy and take some meds for his bi-polar owner disorder to put some smart money where his mouth is – then this is what the Rangers would look like in 2008 (how new additions got here explained in parentheses):

Starters:

  • C –  Adam Melhuse
  • 1b – James Loney (Teixeira Trade) or Nate Gold
  • 2b – Kinsler
  • SS – Young 
  • 3b – Blalock
  • LF – Cruz
  • CF – Torri Hunter (FA)
  • RF – Marlon Byrd
  • DH – Sosa???????

Bench:

  •    C – Laird
  •   U – Catalanotto
  • OF – Botts
  •  IF – Ramon Vazquez

Rotation:

  1. Mark Buerhle (Free Agent)
  2. Kevin Millwood
  3. Zack Miner or Chad Billingsley (Teixeira Trade)
  4. Padilla
  5. McCarthy or Loe

Bullpen

  • R – Vasquez
  • R – Mahay
  • R – Benoit
  • R – Eyre
  • R – Murray
  • SU – Wilson
  • CL – Otsuka

The bullpen looks to be shaping up well.  Otsuka will likely be gone, but I’d keep him unless the offers are too good to refuse (and would then sign one of several FAs that will be on the market this offseason).

The rotation is much better with Buerhle taking the top spot and Miner or Billingsley in the middle, putting Millwood at #2 and Padilla at #4, which are spots they’re more suited for.  Buerhle would be my big signing.  I know his velocity is down.  But we need a lefty, and he keeps reminding me of Kenny Rogers (with a better attitude).  The guy just knows how to pitch and win.  Is it a Championship caliber rotation – no.  But it’s a big step in the right direction.

The offense will be better.  I worry about no big bat to replace Teixeira, but if Hunter could repeat his current season, he’d make up for much of the lost production.  Also, Sosa is listed as a question mark.  He’d have to cut down on his K’s for me to keep him.  If he can’t do that, I’d sign an aging power bat to come in, provide some production, and be a veteran presence while contributing to a building sense for winning.  But knowing next year is a stepping stone toward real, sustainable competitiveness, I like the look of the order and the opportunity for some prospects to show if they can bust out.  If not, I’d chase a big signing after the ’08 season.

My expectation would be for this team to finish somewhere just north of .500.  But expectations for 2009 would be to contend in the West, win it in ’10 and make real runs into the playoffs from 2010 – 2012.

BTW, I also happen to think this is Hicks’ plan because it syncs with his business interests, but more on that another time.

Teixeira Traded to Tigers! Texas Takes Three!

As outlined in the previous post, the Tigers would benefit A LOT from taking Teixeira from Texas.  But what could Texas get for him?

Of course that depends on a few variables.  Do they pair Tex with a bullpen arm?  Are Kenny Rogers and Nate Robertson back and playing well when the trigger is pulled on the trade?  Is Tex injury free and in good form at the time of the trade?  Are Tom Hicks and Little Jon DanielsHart finally going to be focused and smart enough to make a trade that benefits their team at least as much as the one they deal with (unlike recent deals with Milwaukee and San Diego)?

For the purposes of this post, let’s assume the answers to the last three questions are all yes (I know that’s a stretch for the last one).  For the first question, let’s assume they trade Tex straight up, although a commenter to the previous post made a great point that adding Gagne (for contractual/financial/health reasons, it would be Gagne, not Otsuka) to the deal would make it extra rich for Detroit as they need bullpen help.

So who does Texas take for Tex?

First, Texas would have to take Sean Casey.  The Tigers won’t carry an under-performng Casey (.341/.345/.280 with no HRs and only 19 RBIs in baseball’s most productive lineup this year) and Tex through the end of the year.  Texas will do Detroit the favor of not forcing them to waste a roster spot or any AAA at-bats with Casey who’s contract ends this year.  And, Casey may actually perform decently in the lefty-batter friendly Ballpark, although Comerica Park isn’t exactly unfriendly to lefty batters.  Also, maybe Casey can share some wisdom for Jason Botts (if DanielsHart ever pulls his head out of his keister and gets Botts up to Arlington), who should get a shot at earning the 1B job for the long-term.

Next, the Rangers turn to the mound.  Remember that Texas can’t develop pitching, so they don’t want to take any of the Tigers’ pure prospects.  Texas needs pitchers who have developed past prospect status and already turned the corner into becomming a bonified major league pitcher.

That’s why the Rangers take Andew Miller.  He’s a lefty, which the Rangers need and which matters in The Ballpark, who’s young but has already had some success at the Major League level.  Texas would be better to get someone with at least a full year of major league starting experience, opposed to just two starts and some bullpen work last season.  But Miller nearly made Detroit’s World Series roster, and all accounts have him on track to become a stud.  He’s signed through 2009, which means the Rangers would get at least 2 meaningful years of service out of him.  And, by the 2009 season, he and the Rangers could both be ready to reach new heights.

But wait, there’s more!

As Miller is just barely out of prospect status (actually he’s still listed as a prospect by Baseball America – #10), it’s going to take more for Texas to part with Tex.  Casey’s a throw-away throw-in that amounts to addition by subtraction for the Tigers.  And Teixeira for Miller straight up would be a Jon Hart caliber deal (that means it would suck for Texas).  That’s why Texas also takes Zach Miner. 

Too much, you say?  Not if the Tigers really do want to win it all now and maybe next year.  They need help at first base, and with no notable firstbasemen heading toward free agency this winter, 1b talent may demand a premium since there won’t be any good rent-a-player deals to be had.  With the surprising emergence of Chad Durbin’s career-best early performance (he’d be the Rangers’ fall-back request if the Tigers balk at Miner), Zach’s already been relegated to the bullpen, even without Kenny Rogers in the rotation.  So when Kenny returns and another starter loses their place in the Tigers’ rotation (likely Nate Robertson), then Zach’s heading backwards fast.  The Tigers are hurting in the ‘pen, but when Joel Zumaya and Roman Colon return to health and Robertson heads to the ‘pen, they’ll be looking a lot better and can get by without Miner who can’t really be happy out there.  Plus, the Tigers will still have chances to grab more relief help through another trade (or maybe this is where Gagne comes into the picture, but the Tigers would then need to add a decent near-ready outfield prospect – not quite Cameron Maybin, though).

So it comes down to this – are the Tigers willing to part with two pitchers who would never be more than 3rd or 4th in their starting rotation (that’s how loaded they are with starting pitching) to have a terrific shot at possibly two World Series titles?

I was in Detroit for my grandfather’s funeral last fall when the Tigers were making their post-season run.  In fact, my family and I visited Comerica Park the afternoon of October 14th.  Game 4 of the ALCS was scheduled that night, and downtown Detroit was already abuzz by late morning.  Later that evening, I was watching the game at a bar playing quarter video poker in the MotorCity Casino while waiting for a seat at a Texas Hold ‘Em table when Magglio Ordonez hit his 3-run walk-off homer to complete the sweep of the A’s and send the Tigers to the World Series.  The place went nuts.  The city went nuts (but remarkably no cars were burned that night). 

Detroit’s had a taste of what championship baseball feels like, and that can be addictive.  I think they want to complete the worst to World Champions fairytale that the Cardinals rudely interrupted last year.  And I think they may want two bites at that apple.  With Tex adding switch-hitting power and a solid average to their lineup and Gold Glove defense at first base, I think the Tigers do the deal, and win at least one World Series because of it.

And, don’t discount the fact that Scott Boras, Teixeira’s agent, would probably love to see this deal happen.  As most other contenders have first base covered, getting Tex probably the best opportunity available for him to ride in and make significant contributions to one or two championships would make his value skyrocket by his free agent winter in ’09 when the Yankees would be primed to snatch him up at a ridiculous price.  (I don’t see the Yankees having what it would take to get Tex this season – and I don’t think Tex is ready to play in New York yet.)  As much power as Boras weilds, his backdoor lobbying for this deal could help make it happen.

Meanwhile, the Rangers get two guys who may not headline, but could certainly anchor their rotation as at least real #2 and #3 pitchers.  And with lots of free agent outfielders on the market this winter (Torri Hunter – having a career year in his FA season and on his way to a 7th straight Gold Glove – should be taming The Ballpark’s centerfield next season), the Rangers could turn things around quickly.

P.S.  As the Tigers are my second favorite team and Tex is a favorite player of mine, this would thrill me on several levels.  My favorite team gets back on track, while my second favorite team could win a ring or two with the help of a good guy in Tex who deserves better than to languish with the bottom-dwelling Rangers.  And who knows, maybe we’ll have a new owner by 2009 who would be willing to pay to get Tex back here to help charge up the Rangers return to contention!

More on the Upside of Failing Fast

A week ago, in a post that included some venting about my frustrations with WordPress, I wrote about the Upside of Failing Fast:

“At least they’re collapsing in May so Hicks, Cogen and DanielsHart can’t string us out until the usual Rangers August-September fade out.  One lesson about risk taking, is that if you’re going to fail, fail fast.  The Rangers have almost always dragged us through a gradual failing.  Failing fast could be the best thing this team has done in years.  It would make Little Jon DanielsHart a seller around the deadline (not that he’s kept a lot to sell – except Tex, but more on that later), and prevent him and Hicks from making some stupid deal that costs us dearly in the long-term just to keep the Rangers close enough that they can keep selling more tickets.  And then the young guys can play. ”

(Hey – if “journalists” can quote themselves sometimes, why can’t I?”)

As the Rangers went 3-3 since that post, I thought more about the concept.  And I found myself worried that they were winning.

Let me explain.

What would the Rangers possibly gain from playing .500 or slightly better ball the rest of the season?  They’re just not good enough, not to mention healthy enough, to make up a 9.5 game deficit against the Angels who apparently OWN them this season (remember Hicks views the Angels as “our partners”).  And if they win just enough to keep us – and Hicks and DanielsHart – hoping against hope, we risk seeing management make some hare-brained trade to try to win now at the expense of the long-term picture/pitching and the further erosion of talent from the system (see previous posts about the could/should-be team comprised of recent ex-Rangers).

Even Dale Hanson got it right on the radio yesterday when he compared the Rangers recent history to that of the Cowboys – where management continues to make moves thinking they can contend now at the expense of longer-term success.

As a 27-year fan of the Texas Rangers, I can wait another year or two for someone to finally put together an organization that is built to win a championship.  And maybe, just maybe, failing fast will be enough for Hicks and DanielsHart to do some things differently now that will help the team in the long term.

AND, in the meantime (if Hicks and DanielsHart are serious about stability), it gives new manager Ron Washington the time to develop the young talent we do have while gearing up our core guys (e.g. Young and Kinsler, and… well, that may be it) for a serious run at championship-caliper baseball from ’08-2010.  It can be done – just look at Detroit (more on that another time…).

So let the young guys get their at bats and throw their innings.  Let’s see if McCarthy, Tejeda, Loe or Rupe can be winning starters in the major leagues.  Let’s see if Cruz, Botts and so on really do have the stuff to have long prolific careers ahead of them.

And, like the Cowboys in 1989, let’s have our 1-15 season so we can build for the future and turn things around in big way!  The Cowboys starting seeing real improvement by the end of 1990, made the playoffs in ’91 and won the first of three-out-four Super Bowls in 1992. 

There are significant differences in how to build a winning football versus baseball organization, but the long-term focus is needed in Arlington.  And with that in mind, let’s root for the real winning to start taking root late this summer giving the Rangers momentum into next year and beyond.