Category Archives: Oklahoma Red Hawks

Will a Teixeira Trade Help the Red Sox Win the Series?

Heading into the home stretch of the Mark Teixeira sweepstakes, and all reports sound like Jon Daniels has done a good job of whipping up interest amongst the biggest players in MLB – the Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers, Angels and Braves.

Of note, the Ranger-killing Yankees deserve a lot of credit for fanning the flames of interest in Tex.  Had they not turned things around in dramatic fashion in recent weeks, they probably wouldn’t still be interested in Teixeira, and neither would the Red Sox.  But with another classic Red Sox – Yankees chase gearing up, both teams could use the boost Teixeira offers.

As of today, the leading candidate is reported to be the Red Sox, which is confounding.  The Red Sox need outfield production.  Their infield has been producing well, so I wonder how they’d shuffle up to fit Tex in.

Meanwhile, lefty starter Kason Gabbard would be a great pick up for the Rangers.  The Rangers need a lefty-starter who’s major-league proven but young. Gabbard is 25 and has shown consistent improvement this year, posting a 3-0 mark (1 win vs. Texas) with a 1.93 era in 4 starts in July, including a complete game, 3-hit shut-out of KC.  I like the way this guy looks. Jon Lester has also been mentioned, but my gut tells me the Red Sox will hang on to him (and his inspiring story).  

A pairing of either promising prospect Clay Buchholz (AAA Pawtucket) or Michael Bowden (AA Portland) with Gabbard and throw-in 1B Jeff Bailey to man first until Nate Gold or Kevin West (both of whom have been getting plenty of at-bats in Oklahoma, which is another sign that the Rangers will be doing the smart thing and moving Tex now) are ready, and the Rangers would have a great deal while the Red Sox would have some extra might to stay ahead of the Yanks and likely be able to challenge the Tigers in the post-season this year and next (which is great as those are my 2nd and 3rd favorite teams).

The wrinkle here could be that the Red Sox are on a 5-game winning streak.  The Yankees are still hot, but despite going 8-2 in their last 10, are still 8 games back. The thred on which this opportunity may dangle could be how the Red Sox do at Cleveland and Tampa in their next five games before a day off on Monday to contemplate their situation on the eve of the non-waiver trade deadline.

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!

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.