Category Archives: Marlon Byrd

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.

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Rangers Evidence: More Proof the Rudy Jaramillo is the Most Valuable Man in the Rangers Organization

Just read what Marlon Byrd had to say about Rudy Jaramillo.

Again, why do we draft pitchers instead of hitters that Rudy can turn into GMJs and DeRosas who could command pitching in return via trades?

Rudy is THE FRANCHISE!

Trade Rumors Heating Up for Gagne and Otsuka

Now that July is here, trade talks are turning much more serious, and Gagne and Otsuka have become the focal point for the Rangers while Teixeira’s on the mend.

I hope the Rangers keep Otsuka.  He’s got enough in the tank to remain an effective closer for several year – long enough to contribute more on the team than through a trade to the Rangers’ chances of becomming contenders in 2-3 seasons.

So let’s talk Gagne first, especially because he’s definitely going, and while he’d be a rent-a-player for team making a run down the stretch, he offers a bidder the added value will be 2 draft picks to wherever he goes when he walks as a free agent this winter.

According to T.R. Sullivan’s article last week, “…the Arizona Diamondbacks, Chicago Cubs, Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees have shown the most interest in Gagne.”

Gagne, another Boras client, has a list of 12-teams the Rangers can trade him to without his prior consent.  The best I can gather is that the Red Sox, Yankees, Mets and Angels, are on that list. The other eight are being kept secret.  Who knows why. And, MLB Trade Rumors is revealing more every day about Gagne’s limited no-trade clause.

So far, only two teams match T.R.’s “interested” list and Gagne’s “allowable” list: the Yankees and Red Sox – the two teams everyone wants to have interested in the same guy because they’ll spend the money, have prospects and major-league ready talent to spare, and will bid up the price on each other.

But, what do the Rangers need that they can fill through a Gagne trade?

To turn the Rangers into a championship caliber team, the need (besides a new owner), starting pitching, a firstbaseman to replace Teixeira when he leaves, a center fielder, at least one corner outfielder (assuming out of Byrd, Cruz, Diaz and Botts the Rangers can produce one capable everyday starter in one of the corners and one bench/DH player) and an upgrade at catcher (pretty much in that order).

There will be a lot of free agent outfielders on the market this winter, and the Rangers will have plenty of money to sign a starter and an outfielder (preferably Torii Hunter to finally give the Rangers a bat and – as important – a glove out of center field – see the post and subsequent comments about next year’s team two posts below). So with Gagne, I think the Rangers should focus on a corner outfielder, a catcher or a firstbaseman – in that order.

Getting a major-league ready guy who can play and contribute every day at one of those three spots will make a significant impact for the team’s future. Additionally, by addressing one of those needs with Gagne, Little Jon DanielsHart should then be able to focus solely on starting pitching for the Teixeira trade.  And, a younger, lower paid outfielder from a Gagne trade also frees up cash for the free agent market.

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.

Rangers Evidence: Go Loe!

Would the real Kameron Loe please stand up?

What a difference three weeks can make!  Back on June 3rd, I was about ready to write off K Loe as a future bullpen assett at best, but realized that if ever a team could be patient with young pitchers, the current Rangers are it (https://rangersorrobbers.wordpress.com/2007/06/03/fighting-to-be-patient-with-rangers-pitchers). 

Until this month, Loe had only seen the win column once all season – in his first start back on April 21.  Nine mostly bad starts after that, his era ballooned up to 7.40 on June 7 when he gave up 9 runs in only 2.2 innings to the Detroit Tigers at home in the Ballpark.  And even “Mr. Optimism” Ron Washington was losing patience with Loe.

But injuries to other pitchers ensured that Loe kept getting starts.  And since then, Loe’s won three straight, including a gem against the same Tigers tonight in Detroit, and his era is an amazing 2.07 over 21.2 innings in those three starts.

This is looking earily like the Loe we saw hints of in ’05 and Spring Training.  Loe becomming a bonified starter who can win more than lose could become the biggest story this side of Marlon Byrd for the Rangers this year.

Byrd, Byrd, Byrd… Byrd is the Word!

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Byrd is the word

Don’t you know about the Byrd
Well everybody knows that the Byrd is a word

Byrd Byrd Byrd Byrd is a word

Well it looks like the Rangers may have found a corner outfielder worth keeping.  Marlon Byrd is on a career-tear, batting .486 in 10 games in June, including clutch hits in each of the last two Rangers game (one amazing come back, followed by an almost amazing come back).

IF he can stay healthy and consistent at even just 3/4ths his current pace, the Rangers should consider extending his contract for another year or two before he becomes a free agent again and finds greener (as in green dollars) pastures (ala GMJ).  Now’s not the time to make that call – it’s just been 15 games – but at this point we Rangers fans have to get excited about whatever we can whenever we can.

Rangers Evidence: Great Game Tonight! & It’s a Plane, It’s Superman, It’s a Byrd!

Hats off to McCarthy for a solid start and Benoit for 3 innings of 1 hit ball!  That would have been plenty to be excited about.

But then the bottom of the order (which makes it extra phenomenal) starts a 2-out, bottom-of-the-ninth rally against former teammate and recently unhittable Francisco Cordero in which six consecutive batters – Wilkerson, Vazquez, Laird, Lofton, Byrd and Young – all hit singles to cap a 4-run comeback and win 4-3!  That’s awesome!

The other thing that’s awesome is Marlon Byrd of late!  His AB tonight saw him foul off 3 pitches after falling behind 0-2, and then singling to right off Cordero to drive in the game-tying run!  In 14 games played this season since getting the nod May 26, Byrd has a hit in all but 2 games, has a .377 average with 5 multi-hit games, and a .514 OBP through 8 games in June.  And this has generally been against teams with solid pitching – DET, OAK, BOS, MIL, SEA.  That and an outstanding defensive play tonight and in general are looking like the brightest spot for this team right now.

But, more importantly, a win like this is the type of win this team needs.  Younger guys stepped up to get it done.  Underachievers contributed to scratch out a win.  Finally, the team caught some breaks, and they did it with Tex out.

That means the team has a chance on Sunday to tie a season-high win streak of 3 games.  Maybe tonight’s gritty performance will motivate Padilla to get into the bulldog mindset he needs to find to succees Sunday.  And if they do, don’t look now, but the Rangers will have a winning record for June (5-4) after having won two consecutive series against two tough teams – DET & MIL.

Go Rangers!