Saturday, September 23, 2006

John Hart Trade Analysis Part 1 of 4

This is part 1 of a 4 part analysis of the trades John Hart made while he was Rangers GM. Each trade will be scored a win, loss, or draw. The score is based on how each player contributed to the Rangers at the major league level.

A lot of this information came from Jamey Newberg’s article about John Hart before the 2005 season and from my dad and from my dad’s friend, Tim Breeding.


1. Nov. 27: Player to be named later traded to White Sox for infielder Herbert Perry; lefthander Corey Lee sent to Chicago to complete the trade on Dec. 17.
Win - Perry had one strong year for Texas (the year we got him). That led to Hart re-signing him for two years, during which he was hurt all the time. But since they got good major league production out of him during the time of the trade, I score it a win. I think it’s a win because they gave up nothing and got something.
Record: 1-0-0

2. Dec. 13: Lefthander Darren Oliver traded to Boston for outfielder Carl Everett and cash.
Draw - Everett was an All-Star during his second year with Texas (they traded him a week or so before the All-Star game, so he appeared as a member of the White Sox). However, Everett did so bad during his first year with the team, had such a bad attitude, and made so much money, that there’s no way I can score this a win.
Record: 1-0-1

3. Dec. 18: Righthander David Elder traded to Cleveland for lefthander John Rocker.
Loss - I think it is a loss even though Elder probably wouldn't have made an impact in Texas. Rocker was not good as a Ranger, posting an ERA of 6.66 in his one season with the club, while Elder had a 3.13 ERA in 23 innings for the Indians in that 2002 season. They combined for 3.1 big league innings in 2003, and didn't pitch in the majors in 2004.
Record: 1-1-1


4. Jan. 14: First baseman Carlos Pena and lefthander Mike Venafro traded to Oakland for lefthander Mario Ramos, catcher Gerald Laird, outfielder Ryan Ludwick, and first baseman Jason Hart.
Win - Pena and Venafro haven’t done much since leaving the Rangers. Laird looks like a solid batter and throws out most base runners trying to steal off of him.
Record: 2-1-1

5. Mar. 18: Righthander Justin Duchscherer traded to Oakland for righthander Luis Vizcaino.
Loss - Duchscherer is an All-Star, while Vizcaino never played for the Rangers.
Record: 2-2-1

6. Mar. 24: Righthander Luis Vizcaino traded to Milwaukee for lefthander Jesus Pena.
Loss - Vizcaino had a great season in the Brewers bullpen in 2002, a terrible one in 2003, and another solid year in 2004. Pena was awful in 2002, with a .311 opponents' average and a 7.26 ERA for the Redhawks.
Record: 2-3-1

7. Mar. 25: Player to be named later traded to Atlanta for lefthander Rich Rodriguez. No player was ever given up to complete the deal.
Draw - No big deal. Rodriguez posted a 5.40 ERA in 16.2 innings for the Rangers in 2002.
Record: 2-3-2

8. Apr. 3: Lefthander Juan Moreno traded to San Diego for shortstop Jason Moore.
Draw - Moreno only pitched six innings for the Padres in 2003 and I’ve seriously never heard of Jason Moore.
Record: 2-3-3

9. Apr. 4: Outfielder Chris Magruder traded to Cleveland for outfielder Rashad Eldridge.
Draw – Eldridge never made it to the majors and Magruder didn’t do much for the Indians.
Record: 2-3-4

10. Apr. 9: Lefthander Andy Pratt traded to Atlanta for lefthander Ben Kozlowski.
Draw – Neither player pitched over 10 innings for the Braves or Rangers and they both had bad ERA’s.
Record: 2-3-5

11. Apr. 22: Cash sent to San Francisco for outfielder Calvin Murray.
Win - I’ll give this a win because Murray was OK and we gave up nothing for him. It’s always good to get a player for nothing.
Record: 3-3-5

12. Jul. 31: Outfielders Gabe Kapler and Jason Romano traded to Colorado for outfielder Todd Hollandsworth and lefthander Dennys Reyes.
Draw – This trade didn't do a lot of good for anyone. All four players would move on to a different team the next season.
Record: 3-3-6

13. Aug. 18: Righthander Ismael Valdez traded to Seattle for lefthander Derrick Van Dusen and infielder-outfielder Jermaine Clark.
Draw – Neither minor leaguer did much in the Rangers’ system, and the Rangers brought Valdez right back in the off-season.
Record: 3-3-7

14. Dec. 6: First baseman Travis Hafner and righthander Aaron Myette traded to Cleveland for catcher Einar Diaz and righthander Ryan Drese.
Loss – Travis Hafner is an All-Star while Diaz barely did anything for the Rangers and Drese had 1 good year.
Record: 3-4-7

I’ll be taking a week off. Come back in two weeks for my regular season awards. Part 2 of the John Hart series will be the week after that.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Jamey Newberg Interview

This week’s blog entry is an interview with Jamey Newberg of the Newberg Report (

1. Who do you think the Rangers will add to the 40-man roster this off-season to protect them from the Rule 5 Draft?

The only two definites are John Danks and Thomas Diamond. Nate Gold might be the biggest bubble candidate; others include Johnny Lujan, Kevin Mahar, Ben Harrison, Emerson Frostad, Travis Metcalf, Anthony Webster, and Tug Hulett. Alexi Ogando will be eligible but has too many questions to be much of a risk.

2. Which 5 position players in the Rangers minor league system do you think have the best change of being on the 25-man roster next year?

Assuming you mean at some point during the season, as opposed to Opening Day...I’d say Jason Botts, Joaquin Arias, Freddy Guzman, Victor Diaz, and, hmm, maybe Anthony Webster.

3. Which 5 pitchers in the Rangers minor league system do you think have the best change of being on the 25-man roster next year?

Assuming you’re not counting guys like Kam Loe and John Koronka.... John Danks, Nick Masset, Thomas Diamond, Erasmo Ramirez, and Kea Kometani. But don’t rule out Eric Hurley at the end of the season.

4. What do you think are the Rangers top 3 off-season priorities?

Externally: the rotation, an eighth-inning monster, and a clean-up hitter. Internally: get Michael extended, keep GMJ, keep DeRosa.

5. What do you think were the best surprises for the Rangers major league team in 2006?

Certainly Matthews and DeRosa establishing themselves. Littleton, Wilson, and Rupe. Laird and Kinsler – though they weren‘t really surprises.

6. What do you think were the best surprises for the Rangers minor league system in 2006?

Masset, Harrison, Gold, Frostad, Herrera, Kometani.

7. What do you think were the biggest disappointments for the Rangers major league team in 2006?

Wilkerson and Cordero, and nobody else was close. Unless you count Eaton’s injury.

8. What do you think were the biggest disappointments for the Rangers minor league system in 2006?

Metcalf. Mayberry’s first half. Whittleman. Galarraga’s health.

9. What is your prediction for where Thomas Diamond will play in 2007 and why?

Diamond needs a full year in AAA. What he does with that assignment may determine whether he’s a big league starter or a set-up man.

10. What is your prediction for where Steve Rowe will play in 2007 and why?

Rowe’s role as a terrific influence on the young pitchers in Frisco may mean he’s back with the Riders in ‘07.

11. How did the Newberg Report get started?

Back in 1998, I used to post minor league updates on the Dallas Morning News message board (usually about Jeff Zimmerman, Doug Davis, Ruben Mateo, and Jason Romano)...some people on that board suggested I send out an email with updates so they wouldn’t have to check the message board just to see if I’d posted something new. The mailing list started with 6 or 8 recipients.

12. How much time do you spend on it per week?

Probably 15 hours a week, not counting time I spend watching the Rangers play.

13. What are the three hardest things about doing the Newberg Report?

1. The time. There’s never really much time off; there’s as much news to write about in the off-season as there is during the season. And I’m balancing it along with family, which is the most important part of my life, and my real job. I’m a partner at a Dallas law firm, which is a very time-consuming, stressful job on its own.

2. The book. Between September and October every year, putting the Bound Edition together can be draining. Don’t get me wrong: I love doing the book. But it wipes me out.

3. Trying to stave off getting into a rut with my writing.

14. What are the three most fun things about doing the Newberg Report?

1. Getting to know great people in the game, from front office guys to players to media members.

2. Getting to know players’ parents when their sons are just starting out in the minor leagues. It’s a long, hard road, and the start of it is always an unmistakable combination of excitement, pride, anxiety, and faith.

3. C’mon – this is baseball! How could it not be a blast?

15. How long do you plan to do it?

Easy answer: Until you push me aside!

16. What is the funniest or strangest thing that’s happened to you because of the Newberg Report?

Meeting Mack Brown this past April and having him tell his wife that I know more about his recruiting efforts every year than anyone else on the planet. I’m a faithful Longhorn alum but I had to break it to Mack that he was thinking of Jamie Newberg, who writes about college football for Strange moment.

17. Have there been any really unpleasant stories from doing the Newberg Report?

A few. There was one player in the system many years ago who wasn’t crazy about what I was writing and said some unpleasant, irrational things. Privately, it was hard for me to get behind him as a player after that, and I did begin to question whether I should keep the project going. There have also been the inevitable disagreements with readers and journalists from time to time, but I generally don’t let those get to me.

18. What was your favorite team growing up and why?

My love of baseball developed following the Rangers; they’ve always been my team. I was a big fan of Robin Yount, Paul Molitor, and Kal Daniels, and as a result I was a fan of the Brewers in the late 70s and early 80s and the Reds in the late 80s, but Texas was always far and away the team I cared about the most.

19. What do you like and not like about being a lawyer?

It’s an extremely challenging profession, and I love that about it. There are real chances to help people. You get to be around a lot of very intelligent, hard-working people. On the other hand, if you’re not careful, the adversarial nature of litigation can change who you are for the worse, and can affect your family – that’s one huge reason that I throw myself into baseball as well. It’s a good balance.

20. Did you play baseball growing up? If so, for how long and at what position?

I played Little League and BBI as a kid and then at Hillcrest High School. I tried to walk on to the University of Texas baseball team, and came close to making it, but ultimately my “career” ended at that point. From age 5 until my senior year in high school, I was a shortstop. My coach moved me to the outfield for my senior year (and I wish now that someone had done so earlier – I would rather play the outfield than step up with the bases loaded). I also pitched my junior and senior years in high school. When I tried out at UT, it was in the outfield.

I would like to thank Jamey for doing this interview. Jamey has been very nice to me and it was really nice of him to help me with this blog by doing this interview. I thought he had a lot of interesting answers. I was really interested that he thought Anthony Webster might be on the team next year and that Johnny Lujan might be on the 40-man roster.

Come back next week for part 1 of an analysis of the trades made by John Hart when he was Rangers GM.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Diaz Acquired and Simon Traded

Last week, the Rangers made two trades. I will analyze each of these trades below.

Trade #1: On August 30th, the Rangers acquired OF Victor Diaz from the New York Mets for Minor League C Mike Nickeas.

Victor Diaz:

In 2001, he started his MiLB career with the GCL Dodgers.

GCL Dodgers:
53 games, 195 AB, 3 HR, 31 RBI, .354 AVG, .414 OBP, .533 SLG

In 2002, Diaz played with single-A South Georgia and the double-A Jacksonville Suns.

South Georgia:
91 games, 349 AB, 10 HR, 58 RBI, .350 AVG, .407 OBP, .521 SLG
Jacksonville Suns:
42 games, 152 AB, 4 HR, 24 RBI, .211 AVG, .258 OBP, .336 SLG

In 2003, Victor was traded to the Mets organization and he did great with the double-A Binghamton Mets.

Jacksonville Suns:
85 games, 316 AB, 10 HR, 55 RBI, .291 AVG, .353 OBP, .462 SLG
Binghamton Mets:
45 games, 175 AB, 6 HR, 23 RBI, .354 AVG, .382 OBP, .520 SLG

In 2004, he was called up to the MLB for the very first time.

Norfolk Tides (triple-A):
141 games, 528 AB, 24 HR, 94 RBI, .292 AVG, .332 OBP, .491 SLG
New York Mets:
15 games, 51 AB, 3 HR, 8 RBI, .294 AVG, .321 OBP, .529 SLG

Most of his career MLB games came in 2005, mostly due to an injury by Mike Cameron.

Norfolk Tides:
42 games, 170 AB, 10 HR, 34 RBI, .300 AVG, .353 OBP, .541 SLG
New York Mets:
89 games, 280 AB, 12 HR, 38 RBI, .257 AVG, .329 OBP, .468 SLG

In 2006, Victor was back in the minors for most of the season and had an OBP of less than .300 with the Tides.

Norfolk Tides:
103 games, 379 AB, 8 HR, 38 RBI, .224 AVG, .276 OBP, .330 SLG
New York Mets:
6 games, 11 AB, 0 HR, 2 RBI, .182 AVG, .182 OBP, .273 SLG

Mike Nickeas:

In 1984, Mike’s dad Mark played with the Dallas Sidekicks. He scored a goal in the team’s first win and led the team in blocked shots.

In 2004, Mike played with short-season-A Spokane and had his best year yet, mainly because of June and July.

Spokane Indians:
62 games, 233 AB, 10 HR, 55 RBI, .288 AVG, .384 OBP, .494 SLG
In June, Mike had a .378 AVG and in July he had a .323 AVG.

In 2005, Mike was called up to Frisco.
Frisco Roughriders:
68 games, 242 AB, 5 HR, 24 RBI, .202 AVG, .263 OBP, .302 SLG
AZL Rangers:
6 games, 21 AB, 1 HR, 6 RBI, .286 AVG, .400 OBP, .476 SLG

In 2006, he had a decent year.

Bakersfield Blaze:
17 games, 64 AB, 0 HR, 6 RBI, .297 AVG, .395 OBP, .359 SLG
Frisco Roughriders:
39 games, 113 AB, 2 HR, 15 RBI, .248 AVG, .382 OBP, .363 SLG

Trade Evaluation:
I don’t think either of them will do much in the majors, but Mike works with pitchers really well. I think Diaz’s future in this organization is to be part of a future trade. He will probably be evaluated by the Rangers in major league spring training next year, and he could possibly make the 2006 team as a backup outfielder. I think Nickeas’ role in the Mets organization will be to help the Mets’ minor league pitchers reach their potential.
Grade: B-

Trade #2: On September 1st, the Rangers traded Triple-A 1B Randall Simon to the Philadelphia Phillies for cash.

Randall Simon:
Randall is known to me as the guy who hit the bratwurst at Miller Park.
In 2006 his stats for the triple-A Redhawks after being acquired late in the season were:
19 games, 63 AB, 1 HR, 7 RBI. .317 AVG, .389 OBP, .444 SLG

Simon has played parts of 8 years in the majors, with Atlanta, Detroit, the Cubs, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, and Philadelphia. His career stats are:
522 games, 1595 AB, 49 HR, 237 RBI, .284 AVG, .321 OBP, .424 SLG

Trade Evaluation:
If Randall is to ever be in the MLB again it would be as a back-up DH or back-up 1B. But it’s better than cash.
Grade: C-

Come back next week for an interview with Jamey Newberg.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

August Awards

This week I will be giving out my awards if the season were to end now.

Rangers MVP:
Michael Young: .307 AVG, 12 HR, 86 RBI
Runner-up: Gary Matthews, Jr.
Last month: 1st – Gary Matthews, Jr., 2nd – Michael YoungRangers

Cy Young:
Vicente Padilla: 13-8 W-L, 4.16 ERA, 164.1 IP, 129 SO
Runner-up: Akinori Otsuka
Last month: 1st – Vicente Padilla, 2nd – Akinori Otsuka

Rangers Rookie of the Year:
Ian Kinsler: .289 AVG, 9 HR, 43 RBI
Runner-up: Wes Littleton
Last month: 1st – Ian Kinsler, 2nd – John Koronka

Jermaine Dye: .331 AVG, 39 HR, 107 RBI
Runner-up: Paul Konerko
Last month: 1st – Jim Thome, 2nd – David Ortiz

AL Cy Young:
Chien-Ming Wang: 16-5 W-L, 3.66 ERA, 187 IP, 62 SO
Runner-up: Barry Zito
Last month: 1st – Roy Halladay, 2nd – Johan Santana

Carlos Beltran: .286 AVG, 39 HR, 112 RBI
Runner-up: Albert Pujols
Last month: 1st – David Wright, 2nd – Lance Berkman

NL Cy Young:
Brad Penny: 14-7 W-L, 3.88 ERA, 160 IP, 120 SO
Runner-up: Chris Carpenter
Last month: 1st – Brad Penny, 2nd – Tom Glavine

Come back next week for analysis of recent Rangers trades.