Category Archives: Frank Catalanotto

Who Played Their Last Game as A Ranger Today?

Things are picking up a bit on the Teixeira front (seperate post to follow).  Other than (hopefully) Teixeira, who else lost their final game as a Ranger this afternoon in Kansas City?

Eric Gagne? 

Reports still linger that Gagne may be shipped to the Yankees, but I haven’t seen anything of late about who the Rangers may get in return. The Yankees are not on Gagne’s list of team to which he can veto a trade, but he’s made it clear that he wants to remain a closer. Will his attitude get in the way of the Yankees coughing up something for him knowing that they won’t take Mariano Rivera out of the closer spot? A few other teams may still have interest. 

My belief he should get traded: 100%

Chances he actually gets traded: 40%. 

Joaquin Benoit?

Lots of teams want him, and I say they can have him. Been tired of his roller-coaster inconsistencies over the years. It’s time to cut bait and sell high. What’s being offered in return? Reports are sketchy. Some rumors say the Braves (still the apparent leaders in talks to acquire Teixeira) have also been asking.  Maybe Benoit goes to Atlanta in an uber-deal. If so, be prepared for him to succeed for several years and to be tempted to feel that we should have kept him. But don’t. We’re seeing the best he can do as a Ranger, and it would be down hill from here (at best).

My belief he should get traded: 100%

Chances he actually gets traded: 70%. 

C.J. Wilsom?

He;s another one the Braves are rumored to be angling for, but Little Jon Daniels Hart should be able to get something done without giving up C.J. He’s been a strong lefty out of the bullpen who’s improved significantly in each of the past 3 seasons. I don’t see him as a closer like some fans do, be he could be a heck of a set-up man for a long time.

My belief he should get traded: 10% (never say never – would have to blow my hair back with the return we get)

Chances he actually gets traded: 20%. 

Gerald Laird?

Rumor has it the Cubs may still be interested, and electing to take a catcher – A-baller Max Ramirez – for Kenny Lofton could be a small sign about what the Rangers are thinking.

My belief he should get traded: 50% (I don’t think he’s our long-term answer at C, but unless we’re offered something real juicy, he deserves the rest of this season and next with Rudy Jaramillo givng him every chance to be more consistent at the plate.)

Chances he actually gets traded: 20%. 

Others of note: 

Ron Mahay could also be subbed into a deal with the Braves, but while he’s older, than C.J. he’s still got good years left in him – enough to contribute when the Rangers could be ready to contend in ’09 and beyond. JD should hold onto him unless it’s a deal maker in another trade, but his name hasn’t been mentioned much lately.

Silence has fallen over Sammy Sosa, probably because he’s STUNK all July (.274/.359/.188) with only 2 HRs – if only he’d kept chugging away for a few more weeks, we might have gotten something decent for him.

Frank Catalanotto’s name was bantied about in some reputable spots a few weeks ago. That’s all gone quiet. It’s a shame. I met Frank during his first stint with the Rangers, and I like him. If he hadn’t been hurt this season, I think he’d be producing enough to garner interest from a contender, and return a couple good prospects if traded. But he’s just not up to par this year. He’s been showing signs of improvement, but likely not enough to generate value in return.

Just about a week ago, several teams were reportedly showing interest in Jamey Wright.  Validly so, as he’d been doing well. But two consecutive bad outings since (10 combined innings with 6 earned runs (another 2 unearned) and only 3ks against 11 hits and 10 walks) killed almost all chances that someone will take him. 

After starting the month on a tear that turned some heads and spawned some rumors, Whiffy Whifferson ($4.35 Million Man Brad Wilkerson) has 27ks to 17 hits for July and only one HR since the first week of July. I really don’t like to just rip on people, but when they’re making crazy money that makes no sense (unless he has compromising photos of Tim Hicks), this calls for an exception. I posted earlier that JD should take a bag of peanuts for Wilkerson if offered. At this point, he should take a piece of chewed gum scraped from the bottom of a bleacher seat in whatever team’s park that might be willing to part with that much for Whifferson. And JD should then have to chew the gum straight through an entire Rangers game as punishment for wasting that much money. Imagine what that could have done for kids in poverty! How does JD sleep at night? Or Whiffy for that matter. Man up and give some of the money back, dude.

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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.

Did the Rangers Season End the Same Night As the Mavericks’?

Or did it start?

Two nights ago, I was sitting in a great sports bar – FX McRory’s in Seattle – watching the Mavericks’s season end in an embarrassing loss.  Meanwhile, the Texas Rangers dropped two in day-night double header at home against the Yankees.

Since then, the Rangers have played better and are well on their way tonight to winning a second straight game since Thursday’s double disaster. 

But while that’s encouraging, here’s what haunts me…

The two losses on Thursday crowned a 5-game losing streak for the Rangers.  Meanwhile, the team hasn’t won 3 straight so far this year.  And while the rotation has me wondering if the team is capable of winning 4 straight all season, the offense and, worse, the bullpen were the culprits in the double-defeat, the 5-game slide and a majority of losses this season.

Both Thursday games features solid starts, and the chance for the bullpen to keep the team in the game.  But Benoit and Francisco couldn’t keep the door closed.

When Jon Daniels is on record as saying the bullpen, “will be a competitive advantage” for the Rangers but even it continues to falter, what’s left?  Yes, Daniels was thinking Gagne would be in the bullpen when he said that, but that was always a risky thought (one I think was worth acting on, but just isn’t working out so far).

So can the Rangers make up for a 5 game slide and an 11-18 start?

Maybe.  There’s still a few variables to play out before that can be answered with any confidence.

If Gagne returns, and contributes the rest of the season with 1 or less additional trips to the 15-day DL, then the bullpen gets a whole lot better and hold on to win a lot more games.  Instead of Benoit, for example, Gagne would probably have been on the bump in the 8th in Thursday’s day game.  If he’s on his game, it’s unlikely he gives up a passed ball and a double to Matsui after a Texiera error that would have put Jeter away.  And with Otsuka fresh, the Rangers would likely have won or at least taken the game into extra innings.

The other variable – three usually steady bats.  Everyone is talking that the Texas lineup is in a complete top-to-bottom slump.  But when I investigated, I was surprised to see that most guys are performing about at a rate to be expected – with the huge exceptions of Young, Catalanatto, and Lofton.  Those three will do better, but when?  If they don’t get things going this month, it will probably be too late.   

The final major variable – an anchor in the lineup.  The Rangers need a powerful, steady bat to anchor this lineup, and Texiera is not it.  He’s a .280, 35-HR hitter.  That’s good, but too much of his production tends to come later in the season and in too inconsistent spurts, which make his contributions just not good enough to make everyone else in the lineup better.  As good as the Rangers’ offense has been for years, they still need a batter that every opposing manager and pitcher circles when they come to town out of fear.  There’s plenty to be nervous about in this Rangers lineup – top to bottom (except Laird) – but not a lot to cause constant fear in opponents all season.  Carlos Lee proved that last year, as he is the type of guy who can do that, and in so doing, make the rest of lineup reach or sometimes exceed expectations.  The Rangers need someone else to anchor their lineup. 

Baseball is a game of thin margins and many variables.  But I think these three will tell us in the next three weeks whether the Rangers season is salvageable.  And let’s hope the two-win streak completed with a 5-RBI performance from Young while I was writing this is the start in the right direction.