Category Archives: Jamey Wright

Gagne Trade Next on the Rangers’ List of Things to Stink Up?

They’ve stunk up the AL West. They’ve stunk up a trade for Kenny Lofton. And they’ve somehow managed to really stink up the trade for Mark Teixeira. What’s next for Little Jon DanielsHart and Tom Hicks?

Eric Gagne, come on down! You’re the next Rangers trade chip on The Price is Wrong!

Talk has picked up surrounding Gagne with rumors involving the Yankees, Angels and Mets (three teams not on Gagne’s limited no-trade list) as well as the Red Sox and Indians (who are on the list) and the Dodgers and Mariners (whom no one seems to know if they’re on the list or not).

After Jon Daniels gave away Lofton and Teixeira for far less than any competent GM should have been able to get, the sharks are circiling. If I were a GM of a contending team with A or AA prospects, I’d be calling JD with all kinds of low-ball offers now (for Gagne, Benoit, Laird, Millwood, Wright) as he suddenly seems enamored with ultra-young prospects full of question marks. 

But they better strike fast, because Jon Daniels shouldn’t have a job for too much longer!

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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.

Flop or Flurry? Who Will Go First from Rangers?

Mark Teixeira. Eric Gagne. Akinora Otsuka. Kenny Lofton. Jamey Wright. Brad Wilkerson. Sammy Sosa. Joaquin Benoit. Jon Daniels. Tom Hicks.

Speculation has been made about each of the above going elsewhere be the July 31 trade deadline (OK, the last two are wishful speculation on my part – but I know you’re with me there).  But with only 11 days to go, much is left to be done. Will Hicks and Daniels flop again this trade season, or with more players on the block than any other team in baseball, will we see a flurry of trades could define the Rangers’ future?

Jamey Wright’s performance on Saturday may make or break some teams’ interest in him after an impressive streak (2-0 with a 1.38 era in July).  With few arms on the market, he could actually command some decent value – maybe a decent outfield prospect to join Marlon Byrd in the Rangers’ 2008 lawn guard?

Offers for Tex should be solidifying as I write.  But can Little Jon DanielsHart get the arm(s) the Rangers MUST get in return for Teixeira?

With Otsuka on the DL, teams are asking about Benoit. The Rangers have to decide if Joaquin can be this good as a middle reliever for at least 2-4 years since the Rangers should still be rebuilding next season but ready to compete in 2009. Or has he FINALLY peaked and thus should be dealt now?

Gagne should be gone in a week or so. There’s no reason to keep for the rest of the season when he’ll be a free agent in the winter (one of MANY closers who’ll be available) and several contenders are hurting for a closer. Factor in the injury risks, and trading Gagne ASAP is the smart decision. But can JD get anything in return?

Lofton is an oft-overlooked commodity. He’s a seasoned veteran who, at 40, is still putting up numbers that any contender would love to have (.309/.391/.447 with 20 SBs). He’d be a rent-a-player, which will decrease his value, but he should still command a mid-tier prospect or two.

Wilkerson is a mystery to me. Why is this guy still in the Major Leagues, and why are there rumors that some teams might want to acquire his services? He’s making $4.35 MILLION DOLLARS this year.  Why? He’s a career .249 hitter (with a career best avg of .268 in ’03) who is on pace to achieve twice as many strikeouts as hits by next season. If someone will offer the Rangers a bag of peanuts for Wilkerson, I think JD has to pull the trigger.  $4.35 MILLION for that? There’s conclusive proof that sports economics have gone crazy.

And, with a big “in your face” to all the nay-sayers, Sammy Sosa has played well enough to attract interest from some contenders – especially as a lefty-killer. But his miserable July could mute interest.

So, who goes first? 

My money is on Lofton. He’s the surest bet for the least sacrifice the Rangers have to offer. Gagne and Tex should command MUCH more, but getting a deal done for Kenny is a cleaner matter.

Trade Rumor of Interest: Dontrelle Willis May Be Avalilable!

For years, I’ve been saying that the Rangers should make the Marlins an offer they can’t refuse for Dontrelle Willis.  At only 25, Dontrelle is THE premiere young-but-developed lefty in the game today.  The Rangers need a lefty. In his column today, Ken Rosenthal mentions that now that Mark Buehrle is off the market, the D-Train’s value hasn’t been higher in some time, which could open the Marlins’ ears to trade offers.

The same was said last season.  And I have to believe that if Little Jon DanielsHart had put a package together out of some combination of John Danks, Fransisco Cordero, Laynce Nix, Kevin Mench, Nick Masset and Jacob Rasner, Willis would be a Texas Ranger right now.  Instead, we have McCarthy and Cruz left from deals that sent those guys packing.  Wouldn’t you gladly take Willis for as many as four from that list and not have McCarthy or Cruz? 

Before you accuse me of using hindsight that’s 20/20 – I said this last year, in repeated posts on T.R Sullivan’s blog and elsewhere.  When the Rangers didn’t try and the Marlins pulled back from shopping Willis, I suggested the Rangers turn their eye toward acquiring the next-best, developed young attainable lefty – Mark Buerhle (who they had and missed a chance to get).

It’s rare to get a second chance.  If the Marlins’ door is even slightly cracked open, Hicks and Daniels ought to kick it in with whatever it takes.  They should go “All In” if they have to.

Seriously, if it takes sending the entire Oklahoma Red Hawks roster to the Marlins to get Willis, that’s what the Rangers should do.  I truly believe that they’d be more successful over the next 5-7 years with Willis (assuming they resign Dontrelle after 2009 and he stays healthy for most of that time) than they would be with all of the prospects they have at AAA (maybe 3-5 of whom will ever make any meaningful contribution to the Rangers).

OK, that’s nuts, and I am exaggerating to make a point.  But if it took packaging Hurley, Rupe and Botts – I’d do it in a heartbeat.  Botts would be the hardest to let go of, but the Rangers don’t seem to want to bring him up anyways.  Hurley and Rupe – they’re still prospects.  We have NO idea what will become of them, but history shows the odds are stacked against them ever developing their full potential as Rangers or in The Ballpark.  A bird in the hand is worth two prospects in the bush leagues – easily. 

In fact, that offer may not be enough for the Marlins.  OK.  We’ll throw in Tex (we’ll pay 30% of his salary next season) and the Marlins’ choice of Cruz, Tejeda or Kasey Kiker but they have to throw in Mike Jacobs.

Many say Willis is over-rated.  He does need to do better against righties, but he would immediately be the Rangers’ ace… head and shoulders better than any pitcher they’ve had this millenium.  He’d make the entire rotation better by pushing Millwood to #2, lowering the need to sign a free agent this winter from a top-of-the-rotation guy to a mid-rotation winner, while McCarthy, Loe, Padilla, Volquez, Wright, Wood and Mendoza compete for the last two spots.

Robbers Evidence: Bye Bye Buehrle

In several previous posts, I’ve mentioned how Mark Buerhle could have already been a Ranger(https://rangersorrobbers.wordpress.com/2007/04/19/robbers-evidence-exhibit-a-revisited-no-buerhle-no-no/) and should be the free agent pitcher the Rangers sign this winter (https://rangersorrobbers.wordpress.com/2007/06/27/announcing-the-2008-texas-rangers-25-man-roster-2/).

Well, all that’s a pipe dream now as the White Sox resigned Mark Buehrle to a 4-year, $54 million contract

That narrows the field of starting pitchers the Rangers should consider signing this winter (Buehrle topped my list, and I think only Carlos Zambrano could be argued to be a better signing amongst the would-be class of winter free agents).

And without a single starter with a winning record or an ERA under 5.30 going into this week’s All-Star break, a shrinking free=agent pool increases the pressure on Ron Washington and pitching coach Mark Connor to develop at least one (if not two) of the young or trying-to-comeback Rangers pitchers into a contributing starter who can win more games than he loses (in order of liklihood at present:  Loe, McCarthy, Wright, Tejeda, Hurley, Wood, Koronka, Rheinecker, Rupe).  It also makes the return to form of Millwood and Padilla more important, because the caliber of free-agent starter the Rangers can sign this winter just went down unless they ink Zambrano, which I don’t think is likely nor do I think he’d be worth the price as he’s not a great fit for the Rangers or The Ballpark.  That probably means Millwood will be the Opening Day starter again, and he’s really a #2 at best.  Finally, it puts more importance on Jon DanielsHart and Hicks getting a trade done (and done well) with Teixeira – as Tex is the only chip they have left to acquire a pitcher with top-of-the-rotation talent (Chad Billingsly is looking really nice at this point – maybe too nice for the Dodgers to part with after going 1-0 in 2 July starts with a 2.25 era and 14 Ks in 12 IP). 

So congratulations to Buehrle and the White Sox, and to Tom Hicks, the Rangers front office and coaching staff and their pitchers aspiring to be worth a spot in a competitive major league rotation:  TIME TO GET ROLLING!

Vicente Padilla Going on the DL… and That’s Great!

No, I’m not the type to be happy when someone is hurt.  I wish Padilla a quick, full and easy recovery.

But the reality is that he’s not doing the team any good right now – and I’m not just referring to his struggles. 

If it were possible, I would send Millwood and Padilla down to AAA anyways, giving all the starts possible to Loe, McCarthy (assuming he does indeed return soon), and Tejeda plus some combination of Wood, Koronka, Cruceta, Rupe (when he’s ready) and by August – Hurley.

The upside to failing fast is there’s no reason not to give these young arms experience and a chance to break through now.  If just 1 or 2 of them become winners by late next season, the Rangers could be ready for contention again as early as 2009.

In the meantime, Millwood and Padilla need to get healthy and figure some things out.  They’re veterans who don’t need big league innings to do either.  Plus, as Jamey Newberg points out, I won’t be surprised to see both of them suddenly improve in late ’08 and all of 2009 when they’re in money years of their contracts.  I’ve been having similar thoughts on that, and while I won’t go as far as Jamey and predict a division crown for the Rangers in ’09 (there are too many things Hicks and Daniels can and likely will screw up between then and now), I do believe it’s a real possibility.  If…

In the meantime, enjoy a good rest, Vicente.  See you in a few weeks, months, next year – whenever, really, take your time!

Go Loe!

In a previous post, I claimed the Rangers made the “Wright” decision in slotting Jamey Wright into the 5 spot and Loe into the bullpen.  Even after Wright flunked out of the 5 spot, Loe stunk out of the bullpen and Loe made a very strong first start, I still think that was the only call the Rangers could make coming out of camp.  And if you haven’t noticed, I’m no fan of the front office and would normally pounce on an opportunity to flog them, even if meant admitting I was wrong.

But, Wright had shown “electric stuff” in camp, and knowing they have one of the worst rotations in baseball, the team-changing “what if” wild card possibility that Wright presented had to be played. 

And so it has.  And consistent with tradition, the Rangers didn’t catch lightning in a bottle – not with Wright.  And not with Loe in the bullpen.

But link Saturday’s start to Kameron’s Spring, and it looks like a storm-front might be moving in.  One where K-Low might be the lightning in the Rangers’ bottle.

But let’s not get too worked up yet.  Loe’s shown potential before.  I still think he needs a fourth pitch.  And, he’s fighting a heap of tradition of Rangers could-be pitchers who quickly found themselves could-have-beens (or if they’re lucky, off to another team where they more often than not flourish comparatively) victims to the merciless Ballpark mound and big-inning needy offense that wreaks havoc on young pitchers striving to develop the mental edge needed to succeed in the major leagues.