Category Archives: Rudy Jaramillo

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).

Gagne to Red Sox for Kason Gabbard! Finally A Winning Trade from Jon Daniels!

Well, the tradeline passed a few hours ago, and word has it that Gagne has been dealt to the Boston Red Sox for Kason Gabbard and two other prospects.

JD gets an ‘A’ for this one! This is a great trade for the Rangers.

FINALLY, the Rangers get a pitcher who’s already well into the process of adjusting to the major-leagues! A 25-year-old lefty, Gabbard started 4 games last season (going 1-3 with a 3.51 era, 5.35 Ks/9 and a 1.55 whip) and 7 games this year (going 4-0 with a 3.73 era, 6.37 Ks/9 and a 1.12 whip). He could immediately become the Rangers #2 starter if he can keep those numbers from ballooning more than 20% in the Ballpark. He’s 3-0 in 5 July starts with a complete-game 3-hit, 1-walk shutout of KC (and in July, an era of 3.03, a remarkable 0.83 whip, and an improving ground-out ratio).

The two minor leaguers are reportedly 27-yo CF David Murphy and 18-yo “5-tool” outfielder Engel Beltre. Left-handed hitting Murphy has 24 MLB ABs between last year and this (.250 avg and .857 ops in those ABs) and is hitting .280 with a .769 ops in 400 ABs at AAA Pawtucket. He’ll certainly see time with the Rangers this season, and with a move to the Ballpark and into Rudy Jaramillo’s tuteledge, I like the odds of him making the Rangers outfield and becomming a productive hitter next season and beyond.  Beltre is several years away, but is reportedly one heck of a prospect. 

The trade solidifies the Red Sox’s bullpen and their status as the favorites to win the AL pennant (sorry Tigers fans – ya’ll should have done more). Red Sox games just became 7-inning affairs with Gagne and Pappelbon waiting to wrap things up.

Apparently, Gagne waived his veto power over a trade to Boston (which is a smart move on his part as he’ll almost certainly get a chance to play deep into the post-season and increase his value as a free agent in the winter). When the Rangers might just try to sign him back (or will likely pickup any of 7 high-octane closers likely to be on the free agent market).

So, you Rangers fans upset about us trading Gagne – you need to study up on the modern economics and workings of MLB. Gagne, no matter how much he said (and I happen to believe him) he liked Texas and wanted to stay here, is a Scott Boras client who will be a free agent this winter. Keeping him risked watching him walk with nothing but a couple of draft picks as compensation. Instead, we got a lefty SP, an all-but-ready-now lefty CF and a great 18-yo prospect. AND, we have as much (maybe a little bit better) chance as any other team to sign Gagne this winter or acquire another closer while C.J. Wilson moves into the set-up role.

As the dust settles on this and all the Rangers trades, look for a “Texas Rangers Trade Deadline Review” post tomorrow.

Then, it’s time to start enjoying a new era of Rangers baseball and get back to seeing what we can do to get Hicks out of the owners office.

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.)

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!

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!

Why The Rangers Should Draft Hitting Prospects

As I posted yesterday, the Rangers have 5 of the first 54 picks in this year’s draft – starting tomorrow.  Whippie!

Given the Rangers continued attempts to draft and develop pitchers and In-Over-His-Head Little Jon DanielsHart indication that the Rangers are again “leaning towards pitching”, all signs point to continued deterioration of the Rangers organization.So what should they do to avoid that?  Stick to what they’re good at!

The Rangers clearly CAN produce good-to-great hitters with amazing frequency.  Four AL MVPs have gone to three different Rangers hitters in the past 11 seasons.  One batting title and 19 Silver Sluggers over the same time period.  The Rangers organization CAN turn hitting potential into capability, largely thanks to Rudy Jaramillo and The Ballpark.So let’s hope the Rangers don’t make the same mistakes they made in 1996.  According to T.R. Sullivan:“The last time the Rangers were in a similar position (in the draft) was in 1996, when they had four of the first 53 picks and used them all on pitchers. The Rangers ended up taking R.A. Dickey, Sam Marsonek, Corey Lee and Derrick Cook. Dickey, who has 16 Major League victories, is the only one of the four who pitched more than one game in the Major Leagues.”Four high pitching prospects taken, and 11 years later, the four have a total of 16 wins to show for it.  And not one of them ever made a serious positive contribution to the Rangers.

So instead, draft what you can grow. 

If the Rangers want to ever get pitchers who can perform on the bump in Arlington, they need to implement a counter-intuitive strategy.  The Rangers should grab the best offensive prospects they can with all five early picks.  Develop that offensive talent, then use it where you need it and turn the rest into trade bait to bring in pitchers who have already turned their potential into capability – mid-career pitchers we can keep for a few years who could at least be assetts to the team but definitely won’t be liabilities.  

Getting mid-career, already proven pitchers here worked to various degrees in the late 90s (enough to contribute to three division titles) with guys like Sele, Loaiza, Burkett, Hill, Morgan, etc., and it could work again.  In fact, with an intentional, deliberate strategy to develop offensive talent that can be traded for championship-quality pitching, it could work even better.  And since the Rangers can’t sign top free agent pitchers and can’t develop quality pitching, that is the only strategy that has a chance to bring enough capability to the mound in
Arlington necessary to finally contend for a Championship.