Category Archives: Kenny Lofton

Mid-Season Adjusted Ex-Men Rangers Roster

(View this post at the new Rangers or Robbers site

As a follow-up to yesterday’s post (which was a follow up to a series of posts in April), here’s a look at my team of recently-departed, still-active ex-Rangers, after some mid-season adjustments to the bullpen, and picking up recently made available additions to the impressive list of talented ex-Rangers (Teixeira, Lofton, Mahay & Gagne).

Lineup (with stats to date for this season: OBP/SLG/AVG):

1.  Kenny Lofton                   OF          L    (.369/.416/.296, 7hr, 25rbi, 67r, 21sb)
2.  Alfonso Soriano               LF           R    (.336/.511/.297; 18hr; 42rbi; 74r; 18sb)
3.  Carlos Lee                        RF          R    (.356/.536/.302; 24hr; 95rbi; 68r)
4.  Alex Rodriguez               SS/3B     R    (.407/.633/.300; 39hr; 114rbi; 107r; 14sb)
5.  Mark Teixeira                1B            S    (.388/.535/.291, 17hr, 61rbi, 56r)
6.  Adrian Gonzalez             DH/1B    L    (.339/.477/.265; 19hr; 68rbi; 64r)
7.  Mark DeRosa                  2B/U      R    (.363/.418/.288; 7hr; 54rbi; 40r) 
8.  Ivan Rodriguez               C             R    (.289/.426/.279; 9hr; 50rbi; 39r)
9.  Esteban German           3B/INF   R    (.372/.399/.284;   3hr;   29rbi;   36r; 8sb)
Bench
Rod Barajas                    C            R    (.343/.376/.214; 4hr; 9rbi; 15r)
Mike Lamb                     INF       L    (.375/.478/.296; 11hr; 34rbi; 40r)
Travis Hafner                DH/1B   L    (.380/.438/.254; 18hr; 70rbi; 58r)
Gary Matthews, Jr.       OF         S    (.338/.448/.275; 14hr; 65rbi; 67r, 12sb)

Starting Rotation
Chris Young                 R          (9-4; 2.02era; 119k; 44bb; 124.2ip)
Kenny Rodgers            L          (3-2; 5.23era; 17k; 12bb; 32.2ip)
Doug Davis                  L          (9-10; 3.81era; 101k; 76bb; 146.1ip)
John Danks                 L         (6-10; 5.22era; 22GS; 122.1ip; 96k; 46bb)
Adam Eaton                 R          (9-8; 6.36era; 82k; 57bb; 133ip)

Bullpen

CL:  Francisco Cordero            R          (36sv; 0-4; 3.14era; 66k; 17bb; 48.2ip)
SU:  Eric Gagne                         R          (16sv, 2-0, 3.62era, 39G, 37.1ip. 14bb, 34k)
Ron Mahay                                L          (3-0, 2.53era, 34G, 46.1ip)
Doug Brocail                              R          (4-1, 3.88era, 44G, 53.1ip)
Brian Shouse                             L          (1-1; 2.60era; 52G; 34.2ip)          
Ryan Bukvich                           R          (1-0, 2.96era, 31G, 27.1ip)
Aaron Fultz                               L          (3-2, 3.28era, 36G, 24.2ip)

Question: Could any other team put together a better 25-man roster consisting of players that have left their organization but are still playing?

The Marlins leap to mind as they’d have a great rotation of former Marlins, but just off the top of my head, I think there offense would be very weak.

Ex-Men Texas Rangers Roster

(READ THIS POST AT THE NEW HOME OF RANGERS OR ROBBERS: http://rangersorrobbers.blogspot.com)  

 

Probably the most fun I’ve had in drafting a blog post was in April when I looked at the team that could be formed using just recently departed, still active former Texas Rangers.

The point of that series of posts was to show clearly how bad the Rangers have bled talent out of their organization. To me, doing so is a clear indicator of Hicks’ terrible ownership and lack of commitment to winning.

It’s really almost magical the way Hicks and his front offices have run the Texas Rangers into the ground over the years.

Consider this magical disappearing act: Hicks managed to turn ARod into Soriano and then turn Soriano into Wilkerson (while still paying $7 million a year to the richest team in sports for ARod’s contract). That takes some real talent to in effect turn probably the most productive hitter into one of the worst!

Anyway, I thought I’d look back at the team of former Rangers I composed back in April and see how they’re doing (keep in mind that you have to grant me some dramatic license here as the salary of this team would be very unrealistic, but that’s not the point).

Lineup (with stats to date for this season: OBP/SLG/AVG):

1.  Esteban German          3B/INF   R    (.372/.399/.284;   3hr;   29rbi;   36r; 8sb)
2.  Gary Matthews, Jr.     CF          S   (.338/.448/.275; 14hr; 65rbi; 67r, 12sb)
3.  Alfonso Soriano          LF           R    (.336/.511/.297; 18hr; 42rbi; 74r; 18sb)
4.  Alex Rodriguez           SS/3B     R    (.407/.633/.300; 39hr; 114rbi; 107r; 14sb)
5.  Travis Hafner              DH/1B    L    (.380/.438/.254; 18hr; 70rbi; 58r)
6.  Carlos Lee                  RF          R    (.356/.536/.302; 24hr; 95rbi; 68r)
7.  Adrian Gonzalez          1B/DH    L    (.339/.477/.265; 19hr; 68rbi; 64r)
8.  Ivan Rodriguez            C            R    (.289/.426/.279; 9hr; 50rbi; 39r)
9.  Mark DeRosa             2B/U       R    (.363/.418/.288; 7hr; 54rbi; 40r) 

Bench
Rod Barajas                    C            R    (.343/.376/.214; 4hr; 9rbi; 15r)
Mike Lamb                     INF         L    (.375/.478/.296; 11hr; 34rbi; 40r)
David Dellucci                 OF          L    (.301/.389/.234; 4hr; 20rbi; 25r)

Starting Rotation
Kenny Rodgers            L          (3-2; 5.23era; 17k; 12bb; 32.2ip)
Chris Young                 R          (9-4; 2.02era; 119k; 44bb; 124.2ip)
Estaban Loaiza             R          Injured all season
Doug Davis                  L          (9-10; 3.81era; 101k; 76bb; 146.1ip)
Adam Eaton                 R          (9-8; 6.36era; 82k; 57bb; 133ip)

Bullpen

CL:  Francisco Cordero            R          (36sv; 0-4; 3.14era; 66k; 17bb; 48.2ip)
SU Bryan Corey                       R          Did not make an MLB roster
LR Chan Ho Park                    R          (0-1; 15.75era; 1GS)
MR Fabio Castro                     L          (12.27era; 5G; 3.2ip)
MR Darren Oliver                    L          (4.39era; 43G; 41ip; 31k; 15bb)
MR Brian Shouse                     L          (1-1; 2.60era; 52G; 34.2ip; 20k; 11bb)           
MR Aaron Sele                        R          (3-1; 4.12era; 25G; 43.2ip; 26k; 18bb)
MR Dan Kolb                          R          (9.00era; 3G; 3ip)
 

As with any team, I would have needed to make some early season adjustments.

Loaiza’s injury would have forced me to call on Danks (LHP; 6-10; 5.22era; 22GS; 122.1ip; 96k; 46bb) to fill his spot. Doug Davis’ surprising performance would be a plus. And with the offense and defense on this team, it’s safe to assume that each pitcher (maybe even Danks) would have several more wins based on their era’s. For the post-season, Young, Rogers and Davis would likely be more than enough to get the team through. 

The bullpen would have needed some major retooling, but there aren’t as many former Rangers out there to choose from for the bullpen as you might think. Nick Masset is one guy who probably would have been added to the ‘pen. Still, with Cordero closing, and Oliver, Shouse and Sele contributing, there’s a solid core to build around. 

The lineup would have been shuffled. Lamb and German would be platooning at 3B. Hafner, Lee and Gonzalez might have been shuffled around the order, and Dellucci would likely have been demoted and replaced.   

But still, wouldn’t this be some team!  

Now imagine adding in Teixeira, Gagne, Lofton and Mahay at the trade deadline!  

How many games do you think this team wins for the season? 

To Torii or Not to Torii? That (Seems to Be) The Question

After a couple of days of posting rest after the deadline, it’s time to start watching our Young Rangers team develop, refocusing on Tom Hicks’ failed ownership and looking toward the future.

As T.R. Sullivan posted earlier this week, “The number one question surrounding the Rangers for 2008 is if Torii Hunter will be their centerfielder. That’s No. 1.”

So let’s start there.

I’ve thought for a while, that the Rangers should sign Torii in the off-season. Other than pitching, a near consistent need of the Rangers’ has been a CF who can play defense and contribute offensively. According to Wikipedia, “ESPN called Hunter a “daily web gem,” referring to ESPN’s nightly highlight reel. He has won six consecutive Gold Glove Awards for his defensive prowess.” And his production has been consistently around a .270avg/.800 ops (with a bit of a power surge over that in the past two seasons). Plus, he lives in The Colony and is a decent guy.

But now, I’m not so sure.

I don’t like signing guys after they have career years, which is what Torii seems to be having (although after a hot start in April-May, he’s actually been hitting under his career averages).

Second, he’s just old enough to be concerned about whether he’ll be a real contributor when the Rangers window for contention (’09-’12) is open. It can be done (remember that Lofton guy who just left here). But it’s rare for a guy to perform at or above career numbers at 35+ (Torri turns 35 in 2010).

Third, the Rangers are missing a long-term leadoff hitter, and that could also be addressed with a CF free agent. Hunter is more a fit in the middle of the order.

Fourth, with Teixeira gone, the Rangers need a clean-up hitter or better protection for Botts if he proves he can hit cleanup. I don’t think Torri is the answer there.

Fifth, there are a lot of CF free agents this winter, including Corey Patterson, who is 4 years younger, would cost less, plays Gold Glove- caliber D, (UPDATE: suggesting Patterson could lead off was a big oversight on my part. He could be a contributor, but definitely not a lead-off hitter.) could lead-off and steals bases like crazy (which would allegedly fit Washington’s style), and is Lefty whose numbers (which are just a notch under Torii’s) would almost certainly get a boost in the Ballpark and with Rudy Jaramillo’s tuteledge. Plus, we just picked up a promising CF in Left-handed hitting 27-yo David Murphy who should be a September call-up.

So while I’m not ready to say signing Torri would be a mistake. I am backing off my previous position that he should definitely be a Ranger next season and taking a wait-and-see approach.

Besides, I agree with the T.R.’s suggestion that the top question about the Rangers, “really should be … if the Rangers will have the discipline and patience to follow through with what they’ve started…” and see how their young talent can develop. (At least I agree with that on the offensive side of the equation – pitching, I’m not so sure).

Texas Rangers Trade Deadline Review: Jon Daniels Earns D+

With a last minute, extra-credit submission in the form of the Gagne trade, Little Jon DanielsHart avoids immediate expulsion from school and pulls an F- up to a D+ for the summer trade semester. 

That’s still a failing grade overall, despite a great trade for Gagne. Why?

For a team that has always needed PITCHING but has never been able to develop pitching prospects or sign top free agent starters, it’s inexcusable that JD was not able to pry at least one MLB-ready pitcher who has at least begun a successful transition to the major leagues out of any of the contenders needing an extra bat when we were offering Teixeira – the PREMEIRE bat on the summer market who’s under contract through next season also. That’s even more inexcusable when he also coughed up Mahay along with Tex.

I can’t believe how many Rangers fans have bought into the Rangers’ public relations face-saving propaganda that getting the Braves #1, #2 and #3 prospects makes the Teixeira trade a good one. Garbage!

First, let’s review the definition of prospect:

Prospect (noun) – 1. the possibility of future success; 2. belief about the future (WordNet® 3.0 © 2006 Princeton University)

Thus, the guys we got in the deal have nothing but a possibility of success based on someone’s belief about their future performance. So we shipped off two known, highly valuable commodities for five big question marks! At least one known, as bankable as can be commodity should have been acquired in return. Unfortunately instead, only time will tell – and with these guys, time may range from this month to 4-5 years from now.

Second, consider the difficulty of forecasting prospects’ futures:

Prospects in baseball are particularly iffy. In basketball or football, it’s generally much easier to predict a prospect’s likelihood of making an impact (yes – there are plenty of exceptions). More than in other team sports, players at the major league baseball level are mostly distinguished by the mental aspects of the game – focus, concentration, pitcher-batter strategy, etc. This is particularly true where the two major aspects of the game – pitching and hitting – are concerned. There are just too many variables – again most of them mental, which are nearly impossible to predict – to developing potential and transitioning to the major league level.

Third, while we may have received the best prospects the Braves had, that doesn’t make them the right prospects for the Rangers rebuilding needs. 

1.   Salty – may be a good fit for the Rangers, especially if he can improve behind the plate. If the expectations for his future production are even 75% correct, then he’ll be a major upgrade over Laird, who should be moved to the bench or traded if Teagarden continues to progress.

2.  Elvis Andrus – an 18-yo SS who’s struggling at the plate at A Myrtle Beach. Again, last I checked, we have a great SS who’s locked-up through 2013 and a potential All-Star 2B in his second MLB season at only 25. If we want to find there replacements, I suggest the draft in – oh, maybe 2010 would be more appropriate.

3.  Matt Harrison – is a 21-yo nothing but prospect LHP at AA. He has potential, but again, when have the Rangers ever turned young pitching potential into a winner at the major-league level?

4.  Neftali Feliz – a 19-yo nothing but prospect RHP still in the rookie league.

5.  Beau Jones – a 21-yo LHP doing well, but only at Class A Rome.

On almost any other team, you might be able to bet with confidence that at least one of the three pitching prospects will become a winning starter within the next 2-4 years.  But not so with the Rangers.

That’s why JD HAD to get a pitcher who has at least begun a successful transition to the major leagues in return for Tex, much less Tex and Mahay.

The Lofton trade was also a disappointment. 

Lofton may be a 40-year-old rent-a-player to the Indians, but he will help the Indians down the stretch (on and off the field). I think his value to them is more than a Class-A catcher on whom the Braves already gave up last year to acquire Bob Wickman.  It’s a long, long road from being a Futures-Game Class A catcher to a big league contributor. 

The Gagne Trade May Have Saved Daniels’ Job – For Now 

Finally! JD got a pitcher who is well into a successful transition to the major leagues, plus one who’s a lefty from the AL in Kason Gabbard!

Gabbard has progressed well at every level, including his time in the majors. If he can keep his head straight in the unforgiving Ballpark and keep his stats within the same general range he’s been performing at, he will be a winning pitcher for several years to come. If he comes to Arlington and can improve at all – he’ll be the ace of our staff by ’09 at the latest. 

The two outfielders in the deal were also good pick-ups. Left-handed hitting 27-yo CF David Murphy could do very well in the Ballpark. He’s already had some limited success in the majors, and should be a September call up and ready to compete for a spot on the big club next season. 18-yo “5-tool” outfielder Engel Beltre is several years away, but is reportedly one heck of a prospect.  

In Sum 

Overall, the Rangers shipped off Teixeira, Gagne, Mahay and Lofton in return for: 

1 MLB-ready pitcher

2 Probably ready to break through position players (Salty and Murphy)

3 Very young, who knows what they’ll be position prospects (Andrus, Beltre and Ramirez)

3 Young, who knows what they’ll be pitching prospects (Harrison, Jones, Feliz). 

To give up that much highly-prized and sought-after talent and not have 2 MLB-ready pitchers in return is terrible.  

Salty and Murphy are strong maybe’s, but there are concerns about both of their games. And then there are six really big question marks?????? 

That leaves Gabbard as the only acquisition whose value can be close to accurately projected. 

As of today, that’s a terrible performance from Little Jon DanielsHart.

In time, if Gabbard lives up to expectation, if Salty becomes one of the leagues top producing catchers, if Murphy works out, if one of the three pitching prospects becomes a winner at the major-league level, then this could become a very good performance from Little Jon DanielsHart. But that’s too many “if’s” given all the Rangers had to offer. 

And after 27-years as a fan, there are too many reasons to be skeptical. Hanging on to hopes that so many “if’s” will pan out is just asking for more heartbreak, and I expect more from the General Manager.

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!

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.

Rangers Trade Kenny Lofton to Cleveland for… Max Ramirez?

I was right, and I was wrong.

Turns out Kenny Lofton has indeed become the first Texas Ranger to be dealt.  I was right about that.

But my hopes that JD’s ability to spin up tremendous buzz about Teixeira was “a reflection on his maturation as a GM” seems to be wrong.

JD was just taken to school by Cleveland’s GM – Mark Shapiro.

Lofton may be a 40-year-old rent-a-player to the Indians, but I think his value to them is more than a Class-A catcher that the Braves already gave up on last year to acquire Bob Wickman. To be clear, Ramirez is good prospect.  But it’s a long, long road from being a Futures-Game Class A catcher to a big league contributor. Projecting Ramirez into the big leagues is a very cloudy calculation.  I do think the Rangers need to stock up at Catcher because I doubt even Rudy Jaramillo will be able to fix Laird, and the Rangers would be nuts to put all their stock in Teagarden is being THE answer. But this looks like very low return on Lofton.

With Lofton continuing his 16-year run as a top leadoff man this season and last, going to a team for which he is best known and adored by fans, where they’re trying to chase the power-house Tigers or a Wild Card birth, JD should have been able to get more in return. 

This does not bode well for our hopes that Little Jon DanielsHart (I’d stopped calling him that for a while because I thought he was earning it) will be able to make a bloackbuster deal for Tex (much less Gagne, Benoit or Mahay).

(One way this might make more sense is if JD is hoping that by pulling the trigger early with Cleveland – before they might have upped their offer – it will put more pressure on the Tigers, Angels, Yankees and Red Sox (who would each have to compete with the Indians either to get a playoff spot or in the playoffs) to get more serious about acquiring Tex to help hold off the Indians.  And maybe also pressure Seattle and Minnesota to think more about Gagne, Benoit or other Rangers who are available to help them in them chase the Indians for the Wild Card.  This move could have that kind of domino affect – especially if Shapiro and the Indians follow it with another move. If JD’s gotten that savvy, though, I’ll let him slap me across the face at home plate during the seventh inning stretch. Happily.)