Results tagged ‘ Zack Greinke ’

2011 shaping up

I hope that all of you had a fantastic holiday season! I got some great baseball stuff for Christmas!

My Aunt Paula got me a dozen clear plastic baseball cubes so that I can display some more of my autographed baseballs, and my dad got me 2 more, so I was super excited about that. I still need at least another dozen, but it’s a great start! And I’m planning to keep getting autographs, so I hope my family keeps ‘em coming!

But the best thing was that my dad got me one of the Michael Young bats that was designed when he became the franchise hits leader this season! They only made 2010 bats, and mine came with a certificate stating that it was number 109!!

My dad said he got it several months ago, so it has just been sitting at his house waiting for Christmas!

My mom and step-dad also got me a framed picture that says “Texas Rangers,” but each letter of “Rangers” has a different picture. The first one is the famous Nolan Ryan picture with the bloody jersey after Robin Ventura charged the mound, and all of the other pictures are from the 2010 season, including Josh Hamilton, Vladdy, Michael Young, Ian Kinsler, Neftali Feliz, etc.

I think those were all of my baseball-related Christmas gifts, but a few days ago I purchased my 2011 20-game Mini Plan! Woo-hoo!!!

I know I haven’t blogged since Cliff Lee decided to go to the Phillies, so some of you may think that it caused me to go into a massive depression and I couldn’t bear to write about baseball.

The truth is that I just got busy. It’s easy to put baseball on the back burner when it’s not baseball season. And the longer I wait, the more stuff happens and I get farther and farther behind. So bear with me, okay?

Alright, in the last month (after Cliff Lee left), Zack Greinke was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers and Matt Garza was traded to the Chicago Cubs. Uh oh. That means all the good pitchers are gone, right?

Wrong. (Hopefully)

After the Greinke trade but before the Garza trade, the Rangers signed Brandon Webb. When I first heard the name, I knew it sounded familiar, but I couldn’t remember why.

As it turns out, Webb won the Cy Young while playing for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2006. But he hasn’t played in a Major League game in the past 2 years because he’s been recovering/rehabbing from a shoulder injury/surgery.

I have a good feeling about Brandon Webb, and his surgery was performed by Rangers’ team doctor Dr. Keith Meister, so THAT’S gotta be good. But Brandon Webb could be to 2011 what Rich Harden was to 2010. Who knows, right?

The Rangers also signed lefty reliever Arthur Rhodes, and I knew his name was familiar as well. He is 41 years old! But he made it to the All-Star team for the first time last year as the representative from the Cincinnati Reds.

He has been in the Major Leagues since 1991, and his age doesn’t seem to be adversely affecting him. He missed all of the 2007 season due to Tommy John surgery, but in the last 3 years since the surgery he’s had a 2.32 ERA and an opponent’s batting average of .204. Not too shabby!

He’s also a native Texan, which is always nice.

But the Rangers’ biggest aquisition this off-season is at what was previously considered a very stable position: 3rd base.

Michael Young is the face of the Texas Rangers, having spent all of his time in the majors on this team and even holding the franchise record for hits. He is signed through 2013. But since his move to 3rd base 2 years ago, his defensive ability seems to have taken a hit.

It had been suggested by numerous blogs (maybe even mine, but I don’t remember) that Young might be better used as a DH. And that is exactly what MY offered to do when Adrian Beltre became available as an option for the Texas Rangers.

Beltre accepted a 6-year $96 million dollar deal from the Texas Rangers, and he will be our 3rd baseman of the future. I’ve always liked Adrian Beltre, but since he’s 31 years old, I’m not too comfortable with giving him such a long contract.

But Beltre has won 2 Gold Gloves at 3rd base and is obviously defensively superior to Michael Young. No offense, Mikey, but the Rangers now have the strongest left side in all of baseball with Beltre at 3rd and Elvis Andrus at shortstop.

The only thing that makes me sad about adding Beltre? No more Vladdy. Michael Young has become the DH of the near future, so there’s no longer an open spot for Vladdy.

I know his performance took a sharp downward turn midway through last season, but I just love Vladdy. His personality seemed to fit perfectly in the Rangers’ clubhouse, and his quick smile is so contagious. I’ll miss you, Big Bad Vlad.

Now the Rangers are rumored to be courting Jim Thome to take turns at DH with Michael Young. Since MY can play all 4 infield positions, I’m sure the Rangers can work out a schedule where Young spends half his time at DH and the other half giving the other guys in the infield a break.

Jim Thome seems to make more sense for the Rangers at DH than Vlad for 2011, especially in light of this article by BBTiA a few weeks ago. It predicts that Thome will probably expect 350-400 plate appearances in 2011, whereas Vlad would probably expect somewhere around 600 or so.

Thome is also generally regarded as a good clubhouse guy, so that’s promising. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

The Rangers’ Winter Caravan has kicked off, and I’m planning to attend 2 of the appearances to gather some more autographs to my collection.

Then on January 22-23, the Rangers will be hosting their first 2-day Fan Fest, and I can’t wait to see what that entails! Some good stuff coming up!

Pitchers and catchers report in: 34 days

Goodbye, Cliff Lee

Well folks, it’s over. Cliff Lee is not a Ranger or a Yankee, he’s a … Philly??

When I heard the news, I was as surprised as everyone else. Who would have thought that Cliff Lee would decide to go to the Phillies for less money and a shorter contract?

But it just goes back to what I’ve been saying since he entered free agency… no one knew where Cliff Lee would decide to go. Only Cliff and his family could make that decision, and they chose Philadelphia for their own reasons.

It obviously wasn’t because of money or length of contract, so it must have come down to a personal decision about where he and his family wanted to go.

I’m not mad at Cliff Lee. Why would I be? I mean sure, I wish Cliff was coming back to the Rangers. But just because he didn’t pick my team doesn’t mean that I hate him now.

But how about the Phillies starting rotation now? Roy Oswalt, Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, AND Cliff Lee? Sheesh. It looks like the Phillies will be heading back to the fall classic in 2011.

At least he’s not going to New York. HA!!! TAKE THAT, YOU HEATHENS!!

So now I think the Rangers need to put all of their eggs in Zack Greinke’s basket. (Wait, that doesn’t sound right…)

Let me rephrase: They should do whatever is necessary to get Zack Greinke. If that means giving up Martin Perez or Tanner Scheppers, okay then. Just not both of them please!

Derek Holland? Fine. Jurickson Profar? Okay. Robbie Erlin? Sure. Leury Garcia? No problem.

Yes, it could come back to bite us later. The same could be said for any trade. But it’s not like we’re trading away all of our young talent for some has-been.

Grienke is still young, and he still has a lot of upside. And we NEED a top of the rotation starter!

CJ Wilson and Colby Lewis can’t carry us all year by themselves.

Recently, I’ve also heard that Matt Garza (Tampa Bay) could be a possible trade option. If we don’t get Zack Greinke, I would be perfectly happy with Garza!

So the same principle applies for Garza: I think the Rangers should do whatever they have to do to get one of them!

In other news, the Rangers were able to re-sign Matt Treanor for the 2011 season. That’s great, because he knows our pitching staff and he can help Torrealba get acclimated. And he’s dependable, so I feel confident with him as our back-up guy.

He’s also CJ’s preferred catcher. We don’t want to mess with CJ!

So now we’re just waiting for a front-line starter and a DH. There aren’t too many big names on the free agent market, so if the Rangers want somebody good, they have to be willing to trade some prospects.

I’ll let you know as soon as something happens!

Speculation and confirmation

Since just about everyone I know is aware of my passion for baseball, I am often engaged in baseball conversation while I am at work, family functions, and amongst my friends. I am generally considered to be the “baseball expert” among my friends and family, and it seems that everyone wants to ask me:

“What do you think will happen with Cliff Lee?”

So please believe me when I say that I have though long and hard about my answer to this question, since it’s been asked of me so often in the last 2 months or so. And my answer is:

There’s no way to know. I hope the Rangers can keep him, but I have no way of knowing what he’ll decide. Everyone is saying ‘I think he’ll go to New York because of {fill in the blank}’ or ‘I think he’ll stay in Texas because of {fill in the blank}.’

But no one can know except Cliff Lee. Maybe he wants to stay in Texas because of the team chemistry, or because we made it to the World Series this year, or so he can be as close to home as possible.

Or maybe he grew up watching the Yankees and always wanted to play for them. Maybe he’s more swayed by the team history of the Yankees and how many world championships they have.

Maybe he’ll go to whatever team will pay him the most money. No one knows for sure.

So imagine my excitement when the great Jamey Newberg echoed my philosophy!! I’m on the Newberg Report email list, and this tidbit was included in Sunday’s email:

With all apologies to the writers we all choose to trust, “baseball people” who are talking to them don’t know where Lee is going to sign. Some have more dependable opinions than others, just like writers, but Lee knows the answer to the question today (probably), Braunecker knows the answer (probably, but maybe a degree or two less so than Lee), and beyond that, Lee’s family and anyone else he wants to entrust the answer to fit in the category of reliable sources on November 28. And they’re not talking.

Exactly what I’ve been thinking, Jamey!! I’m usually excited to hear about trade rumors, especially since I’m starting to really miss baseball, and ANY information is better than no information.

But I’ll drive myself crazy if I try to dissect this Cliff Lee thing and try to predict where he’ll go. So I’ll move on to stuff that has actually been confirmed.

The Rangers have finally gotten their big name catcher for 2011-2012: Yorvit Torrealba.

Torrealba has played mostly in the National League, but he is generally known to work well with pitchers and he has a pretty good batting average for a catcher (.271 last year).

He doesn’t do too well with throwing out base-stealers, but that doesn’t mean that base-runners run rampant when he’s behind the dish.

Torrealba will be making $3 million in 2011 and $3.25 million in 2012.

Matt Treanor is a free agent this off-season, but I’m guessing he’ll be back with the Rangers in 2011. Treanor may not be a frontline catcher, but he is a solid choice for a tandem situation, and according to Torrealba’s past performances, I think that’s what will be needed.

Torrealba played 92 games for the Padres in 2010, and his season-high is 112 games (2007). But the regular season is 162 games. So if Torrealba will be starting somewhere around 90-110 games for the Rangers, we’ll need a good backup to catch the remaining 50-70 games.

That’s a significant number of games. I would hate to give such a hefty job to Taylor Teagarden, and Treanor definitely proved in 2010 that he is nothing if not dependable.

The Rangers have added some righties to the bullpen.

Today, it was reported that the Rangers signed right-handed relief pitcher Yoshinori Tateyama to a one-year deal with options for 2012 and 2013. Tateyama is a 12-year veteran of the Japanese Major Leagues, and he will turn 35 this winter.

He will come to Spring Training on the 40-man roster, but he is not guaranteed a spot in the bullpen. He’ll have to earn it, just like everybody else.

Earlier this week, the Rangers avoided going to arbitration with right-handed reliever Mark Lowe by agreeing to a 1-year/$1.2 million dollar contract.

Lowe was traded to the Rangers along with Cliff Lee from the Mariners on July 9, 2010. He spent most of his time with the Rangers recovering from a previously-existing injury, so we haven’t gotten to see a lot from Lowe yet.

The annual Winter Meetings will begin this upcoming Monday, and hopefully a lot more of the rumors that are floating around will be nailed down.

The Rangers may have filled their hole at catcher, but there are a lot of other things to be decided, including but not limited to:
1) Cliff Lee
2) Vladimir Guerrero or another DH
3) the Zack Greinke possibility

Stay tuned! I’ll post more stuff as I learn about it!

Greinke who??

The Rangers flew to Kansas City this morning to face the Royals, even though they had the day off yesterday. Under normal conditions, the Rangers wouldn’t travel on a game day after having the previous day off, but the flu bug that has been plaguing the team of late forced them to reconsider. At last count, the following Rangers have succumbed to illness of late: Eddie Guardado, Jarrod Saltalamacchia (unconfirmed, but I swear I hear the announcers say his name during the game tonight), Omar Vizquel, David Murphy, Willie Eyre, Kevin Millwood, Frank Francisco, and Vicente Padilla. Although Francisco and Padilla may be unrelated to the others. Francisco has walking pneumonia (which may or may not have escalated to pneumonia after a bout with the flu) and Padilla has… drumroll please…

SWINE FLU!!!

Vicente Padilla

Yikes! Umm, let’s just hope that Padilla doesn’t spread that flu to the rest of the clubhouse!
Going into tonight’s game, the Royals were suffering from a 9-game losing streak. And the Rangers were coming off a 4-game winning streak. Unfortunately for the Royals, they now have a 10-game losing streak, and the Rangers now have a 5-game winning streak. But despite these stats, the Rangers were pretty spooked going into tonight’s game. And rightly so. Zack Greinke, the starter for the Royals tonight, has the best ERA in the American Leagues. Translation: he’s freakishly good. Great, even. Be afraid. Be very afraid. The only good news facing the Rangers regarding the Royals’ pitching: their bullpen stinks. I’m talking day-old-fish-left-out-in-the-sun stinky. They’re awful. So all they had to do was weather Greinke’s start and make it to the bullpen.

Zack Greinke
The Rangers were feeling pretty confident about their starter tonight, Scott Feldman. He’s a young pitcher (neither a newbie nor a veteran) who has done a very respectable job of late. So they pretty much had to cross their fingers and hope for the best.
 
Scott Feldman
But Feldman blew them all away.

Don’t get me wrong, Zack Greinke did a superb job, but he let his fabulous-ness slip on a single pitch, giving up a solo home run to Marlon Byrd. Then, after Greinke was pulled, the bullpen gave up another run to the Rangers, for a final score of 2-0. And Feldman lasted 8 innings in his outing tonight, which is very rare for starting pitchers in today’s times. It was something that Feldman had yet to do this year; he hadn’t even lasted through 7 innings until now. And, to top it all off, Scott got the chance to make an impressive definsive play as well, which made him immensely happy. Usually pitchers are pretty stone-faced on the mound, but Scott couldn’t help busting out into a huge grin after the play.

Tomorrow’s pitching match-up: our 22-year-old Derek Holland (with 3 wins and 5 losses) against Luke Hochevar (with 5 wins and 3 losses). The Rangers really want to get another starter and move Derek to the bullpen, because the poor guy just isn’t ready to be a starter. He usually lasts around 4 innings, and team president Nolan Ryan is really pushing his starters to try for 6 or 7 innings. Derek just needs to work up to it. He absolutely has the potential, and I think that if he has the chance to go into the bullpen for the rest of the season, or even down to AAA to work on his endurance, he’ll be a fabulous starting arm next year or the year after next. So I have total faith in your future, Derek, and on a side note, you were really funny when I met you earlier this year on Photo Day! You’ll be great! Best of luck tomorrow!
Derek Holland
 
Originally published July 24, 2009
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