Category Archives: Ron Washington

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).

Why Plug Botts Straight into the Clean-up Spot? And Go Cruz!

Botts may have been cleaning up in Oklahoma, but why in the world would Washington put him in the 4 spot in his 2007 debut in the majors? Your first game up is pressure enough. Throwing him into the cleanup role straight away is ridiculous.  And it’s showing as so far tonight, he’s clearly pressing and is 0-4 with 2 stikeouts and 7 LOB against Cleveland.

Meanwhile, Nelson Cruz is hitting well again tonight. It’s nice to see that, and I have a feeling he may just be around to stay this time.

Rangers Fans Against Hicks!

Rangers Fans Against Hicks 

Time to turn up the heat and do all we can to run Tom Hicks out of Tarrant County.  I don’t know the man.  It’s not personal.  But he’s been a terrible baseball owner.  He’s ruining my favorite team. 

The players seem to have had it with Hicks.  Michael Young seems borderline manic at the yo-yo ownership style (wouldn’t be surprised if he demands a trade in a year or two).  Tex wants out so bad he’s acting poorly.  ARod left in a huff because of broken promises Hicks made.  And this is the first season I can remember in which the team was so bad that not one of the Rangers several All-Star caliber players had enough around him to perform at a level truly deserving of an All-Star bid (Michael represented the team well – great class as always – but we all know he wouldn’t have gone if not for the one representative per team clause).

Fans are disgusted with the teams play, their horrible finishes under Hicks and ancillary issues.  The Ballpark is becoming a circus tent, even after that stupid Amerique$t bell is gone.  Now that Hicks owns FC Liverpool, I’m betting the Rangers will be the first team in American professional sports to replace the logo on their jerseys with a sponsors ad.  I can barely afford to take my son to a game while the team’s salary has plummeted despite playing in the nation’s 4th largest MSA.

The organization’s coaches can’t say so, but they must be fed up with all the coaching and related changes at every level of the organization.

The media’s finally caught on.  Not that many of them are very trustworthy, but still, every sports reporter in North Texas has or has come close to calling for Hicks’ head.  And the national media have lambasted the team, making them a national joke.

Free agents aren’t beating a path here, not even hitters who should love to play in The Ballpark.  What does that say about how players across the majors view the Rangers organization?

Rumor has it that Nolan Ryan wants to own one of the Texas team – how great would that be!

So, Tom – pack ’em up.  We’ve had it with your terrible performance.  Seriously, would you not fire someone with your track record?  Sell the team and make some money.  Keep building Glory Park if you must and keep making money from that.  But please turn most of your attention back to Dallas and try not to mess up the Stars or the Mesquite Rodeo anymore.  You can’t live off of one Stanley Cup forever, especially one won in the infancy of your ownership.  And have fun in Liverpool (FC Liverpool fans, you can have Hicks.  Write when you tire of him, and we’ll help you run him out).

For what it’s worth, this post begins a new series dedicated to uniting fans against Hicks in support of any owner more committed to building a championship caliber team than fattening his/her wallet.

If you agree that Hicks needs to go, please state so in a comment below.  If you disagree, please tell us why (and we’ll try to read without laughing).

Anyone interested, please feel free to use the (currently rudamentary but workable) logo above on your blog, Web site, e-mail, posts, etc to symbolize your support of the movement and that you are standing up as a Rangers Fan Against Hicks!

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!

Scary Signs about the Rangers Getting Confused & Teixeira Needs to Get Back Fast!

I like Mark Teixeira – a lot.  He’s one of my son’s favorite players – and mine.  But I’m starting to wonder if he and/or the Rangers front office are purposefully taking their time to get him back into the lineup now – not July 13th after the All-Star break.

According to T.R. Sullivan’s report on Tuesday, Tex will be starting a rehab assignment soon.  Is it me, or are they lollygagging his return?  I thought only Juan Gonzalez (in his whiney-baby years) took this long to come back from a simple leg muscle strain. 

As teams will want to see that Tex is recovered fully before they trade for him, the Rangers are cutting things close.  A July 13 return gives Teixeira only 18 game opportunities to prove what he’s got after this injury – which was reportedly minor and he was supposed to be back by now.  Also, I fear the slow return may signal to other teams that Tex did more damage to his left quad than was advertised.  As teams like the Dodgers, Tigers and others look prime to consider a deal for Teixeira, all this can’t be helping his trade value.  And the longer wait could mean some teams start looking in other directions they may never have checked if Tex was back and healthy and producing.  So Tex – if you want to help the team and your career, get back fast.

In the meantime, this statement from Ron Washington also troubled me:

“We want to make sure when (Teixeira) does come back we can have him for the rest of the year, not just one day,” manager Ron Washington said.

I HOPE that is a cover statement to alleve some of the concerns I mentioned above while also positioning that we want to keep Tex unless someone makes a great offer.  But the Rangers have rarely shown that kind of savvy under Tom Hicks or Little Jon DanielsHart.

I’m starting to fear that Ron’s comment is reflective of the organization’s true feelings.  Which would be purely STUPID.  Why would they keep Tex this year?  So maybe they finish 28 instead of 35 games out of first place?  And then they have him for one last uncompetitive season in ’08 before he WALKS AS A FREE AGENT.  That would be assinine when the Rangers could trade him now and likely get a major-league ready starter plus a firstbaseman and/or maybe a prospect or three.

Unless Hicks is willing to about double the team’s salary next season through 3-4 significant free agent signings (yeah – I’m not holding my breath on that one – not even when Hicks will be more interested in winning next season because it would draw more traffic through Where’s The Glory Park and help him lease and sell holdings in his income property before the more attractive Cowboys development is ready), trading Tex is the best opportunity the Rangers have to restructure the team to not just be competitive but to possibly, finally become Championship contenders in the final years of the decade.

Waiting shows wavering.  Wavering scares me.  The only possible upside is if wavering persuades other GMs that they’ll need to aim high to “pry” Teixeira away from the Rangers.

Robbers Evidence: Millwood Was “Good” (Enough) Today

The on-line and post-game coverage of today’s Rangers victory, and Ron Washington’s post-game comments, say a lot.  I guess it proves Einstein right again in that “all things are relative.”  Because reading and hearing reports of Millwood’s performance today, and listening to Washington, you’d think a good pitcher was on the mound for the Rangers today.

Not judging by this line: 

 Kevin Millwood Texas Rangers Bad Pitching 6.17.07

Did Millwood show signs of improvement?  Yes.  Finally!

Did he seem to get better after allowing the 8 of the Reds’ first 14 batters to reach base?  Yes.

But remember, this was the Reds – the “Rangers” of the NL – their record is only a half game better than the Rangers, and their team pitching and offense are rank similarly within MLB. 

So, when a team’s “#1” starter makes it through 6 innings with 4 earned runs (that’s a 6.00 era for the day) against the second-worst team in baseball and the manager responds with words like (as reported by T.R.):

  • “He was on a mission, and he accomplished the mission,” manager Ron Washington said.
  • “He was good,” Washington said.
  • “That’s the old Millwood, bend but don’t break,” Washington said. “It’s nice to see him get that rush going. He found out he still has it. From there, he kept on working.

… well, that’s a sure sign that you don’t have a good team. 

Ron Washington May Be Getting Torched, But Don’t Forget This Is Hicks’ Mess

According to recent reports, Ron Washington – a supposedly “players” manager – has lost the confidence and respect of key members of the Texas Rangers roster.  Yes, Ron has done some things wrong.  He’s a rookie manager, and he’ll make rookie manager mistakes.  But when handed a team that:

  1. Lacks a real #1, much less a true ace, pitcher in the rotation,
  2. Has 3 unproven starters and 2 who are not intimidating, 
  3. Is missing an anchor in the lineup to protect Teixeira,
  4. Is relying on a rookie catcher who can’t hit to call games,
  5. Has a terrible outfield,
  6. Lacks any tradition of excellence or winning,
  7. Udergoes change in personnel more often than changes in Texas weather, and most importantly…
  8. Knows without a doubt after watching several free agents leave and no high caliber free agents get signed that OWNERSHIP IS NOT COMMITTED TO WINNING,

any manager is set up to fail.

Ten years ago, this month, Tom Hicks became the owner of the Rangers.  Since then, the organization has deteriorated from making the playoffs 3 out of 3 years to an embarrassment and a national laughing stock across all of baseball.  So before anyone starts calling for Ron Washington’s head, let’s consider who is to blame for the current state of the team (in decending order of who’s at fault):

  1. Tom Hicks
  2. Tom Hicks
  3. Tom Hicks
  4. Tom Hicks
  5. Tom Hicks
  6. Tom Hicks
  7. Tom Hicks
  8. Jon Daniels
  9. John Hart
  10. The Red Dot (from The Dot Race)

What’s the Red Dot to blame for?  Nothing really, but certainly more than Ron Washington.

I’ve shared plenty of thoughts in previous posts (click on Tom Hicks to the right for the most recent posts) about why Tom Hicks is the bane of the Texas Rangers and a walking insult to all Rangers fans and players.  He’s disengenuous.  He’s bi-polar as an owner.  He thinks the Angels are the Rangers “partners” of all things.  He’s the worst owner in baseball, and he’s got to go if this team is to have a chance of turning around.

So let Nolan Ryan buy the team, and then take some notes from the Tigers and Mark Cuban about how to turn a team around.