Sunday, July 29, 2007

Lofton Traded and July Awards

This week I will analyze the Kenny Lofton trade and give my July awards.

On Friday, the Rangers traded Kenny Lofton to the Cleveland Indians for Max Ramirez.

Kenny Lofton – Even though Kenny Lofton did a good job for the Rangers this year, he was going to be gone after this season and since the Rangers are out of the race, he wasn’t going to do anything for the club. With the Indians he will be moved to left field and down to the two spot in the batting order.

Max Ramirez – This year with the Kinston Indians he hit .303 with 12 HR and 62 RBI’s. He’s in the top ten in his league in all of those stats including tied for third in RBI’s. He’s also tied for 1st in walks with Kala Kaaihue of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans with 53 and 2nd in OBP with a .418 on-base percentage. In 2006 he hit .292 with 13 HR and 63 RBI’s and going into last year had career minor league numbers of .311/21/125. So far he has made it into 2 minor-league all-star games and has been the Appalachian League player of the year twice. Max is a great hitting catcher who tends to hit the ball on the ground to the left (40.5% of the time this year) or in the air to center (19.1% of the time this year). He is only 22 years old. Max has incredible potential.

We didn’t need Kenny at all and we got probably one of the best catching prospects in all of baseball for him. This is a great trade as this guy might be the next Victor Martinez someday. Victor is who I would compare him to.
Grade: A+

July Awards (these are the awards that would be given if the season ended today):

Rangers MVP: Michael Young: .300, 4 HR, 57 RBI: Michael is the only person on the team other than Marlon Byrd batting .300 and he’s also 2nd on the team in RBI’s.
Runner-up: Sammy Sosa

Rangers Cy Young: Eric Gagne: 2.16 ERA, 2-0, 16 SV, 29 K: Gagne has the most saves of anyone on the Rangers, the 2nd lowest ERA, 5th most strikeouts of Rangers relievers.
Runner-up: Ron Mahay

Rangers Rookie of the Year: Chris Stewart: .243, 0 HR, 3 RBI: Stewart is the only rookie who has played a decent amount of time this year.
Runner-up: Kevin Mahar

AL MVP: A-ROD NYY: .307, 35 HR, 102 RBI: A-ROD leads the league in HR and RBI, and is still batting over .300.
Runner-up: Magglio Ordonez DET

AL Cy Young: CC Sabathia CLE: 3.70 ERA, 13-5, 153.1 IP, 134 K: Sabathia has a good ERA, a great record, a great amount of innings pitched, and great strikeout numbers.
Runner-up: Fausto Carmona CLE

AL ROY: Hideki Okajima BOS: 0.89 ERA, 2-0, 50.2 IP, 43 K: Hideki has one of the best bullpen ERA’s in baseball and has good strikeout numbers.
Runner-up Dustin Pedrioa BOS

AL Manager of the Year: Eric Wedge, Cleveland, 60-43, .583
Runner-up: Mike Scioscia, Anaheim

NL MVP: Prince Fielder MIL: .283, 30 HR, 75 RBI: Prince leads the NL in homers and has a good average.
Runner-up: Ryan Howard PHI

NL Cy Young: Chris Young SD: 1.82 ERA, 9-3, 118.2 IP, 114 K: Chris leads all of baseball in ERA with a good record and good strikeout numbers.
Runner-up: Brad Penny LAD

NL ROY: Ryan Braun MIL: .356, 18 HR, 49 RBI: Braun has 18 HR in less than 60 games and has a great batting average and good RBI numbers.
Runner-up: Hunter Pence HOU

NL Manager Of the Year: Ned Yost, Milwaukee, 57-47, .538
Runner-up: Clint Hurdle, Colorado

Results of last week’s poll:
What do you think was the best player that the Rangers acquired via trade in 1996?
John Burkett – 60%
Mike Stanton – 33%
Damon Buford – 7%
Cory Bailey – 0%
Bryan Eversgerd – 0%
Dwayne Hosey -0%

Come back next week for an analysis of all the Rangers trades that will be made this week. Next week’s entry will probably be a little later than usual (probably on Monday the 6th).

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Doug Melvin Trade Analysis Part 2

This is part 2 of an analysis of the trades Doug Melvin made while he was Rangers GM. This week I will cover 1996. Each trade will be scored a win, loss, or tie. The score is based on how each player contributed to the Rangers at the major league level.

13. 1/25/96 The New York Mets traded Damon Buford to the Texas Rangers for Terrell Lowery.

Win – Terrell Lowry never played for the Mets while Damon Buford gave the Rangers one solid season batting .283 (and also one poor season when he batted .224).

Record: 4-2-7

14. 4/18/96 The Boston Red Sox traded Bryan Eversgerd to the Texas Rangers for a player to be named later. The Texas Rangers sent Rudy Pemberton (April 24, 1996) to the Boston Red Sox to complete the trade.

Tie – Bryan Eversgerd pitched 1.3 innings for the Rangers and Rudy Pemberton played 40 games for the Red Sox.

Record: 4-2-8

15. 7/31/96 The Boston Red Sox traded a player to be named later and Mike Stanton to the Texas Rangers for Mark Brandenburg and Kerry Lacy. The Boston Red Sox sent Dwayne Hosey (November 4, 1996) to the Texas Rangers to complete the trade.

Win – nobody pitched more than 70 innings for their team but Mike Stanton was a key part of the bullpen down the stretch for the 1996 Rangers playoff team (3.22 ERA in 22 games). Hosey never appeared for the Rangers. Brandenburg pitched decent for the Red Sox in 1996 (3.81 ERA in 29 games) but poorly in 1997 (5.49 ERA in 31 games). Lacy had a 5.59 ERA in 44 games over two seasons for the Red Sox.

Record: 5-2-8

16. 8/8/96 The Florida Marlins traded John Burkett to the Texas Rangers for a player to be named later and Ryan Dempster. The Texas Rangers sent Rick Helling (September 3, 1996) to the Florida Marlins to complete the trade.

Loss – Even though John Burkett helped the Rangers to their first division title (5-2, 4.06 ERA plus a playoff win), he had an ERA over 5.00 and a record of 32-35 as a Ranger. Ryan Dempster went on to become a good, solid relief pitcher and Helling pitched 100 good innings for the Marlins.

Record: 5-3-8

17. 12/16/96 The St. Louis Cardinals traded Cory Bailey to the Texas Rangers for David Chavarria (minors).

Tie – Bailey never played for the Rangers and Chavarria never played in the majors.

Record: 5-3-9

Results of last week’s poll:
Question: Who do you think was the best Rangers GM out of the last four?
Melvin: 61%
Grieve: 26%
Daniels: 9%
Hart: 4%

Come back next week for part 3 of this series unless the Rangers make a trade.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Doug Melvin Trade Analysis Part 1

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

1. 12/9/1994 The Boston Red Sox traded Otis Nixon and Luis Ortiz to the Texas Rangers for Jose Canseco.

Loss – Canseco gave the Red Sox two good years (.306AVG/24HR and .289AVG/28 HR), while Nixon gave the Rangers 1 solid year, and Ortiz hit .231 for us 1 year and 7 at-bats the next.

Record: 0-1-0

2. 12/22/1994 The San Francisco Giants traded John Burkett to the Texas Rangers for Rich Aurilia and Desi Wilson.

Loss – Rich Aurilia was an All-Star for the Giants and played there for 9 years. Desi Wilson gave the Giants one good bench year, batting .271 in 41 games. Burkett didn’t play for the Rangers until they traded for him again in 1996.

Record: 0-2-0

3. 4/14/1995 Milwaukee Brewers traded Scott Taylor to the Texas Rangers for David Hulse.

Tie - It was a trade that didn’t really matter, because Scott Taylor pitched 15.3 innings for the Rangers and David Hulse played two bad bench seasons for the Brewers (averages of .251 and .222).

Record: 0-2-1

4. 5/16/1995 The Baltimore Orioles traded Jack Voigt to the Texas Rangers for John Dettmer.

Tie – This was also a trade that didn’t really matter, because Voigt had 71 AB for the Rangers and Dettmer never played for the Orioles.

Record: 0-2-2

5. 5/18/1995 The Houston Astros traded Domingo Jean to the Texas Rangers for Roger Luce (minors).

Tie – Neither of these players played for either team.

Record: 0-2-3

6. 6/22/1995 The Cleveland Indians traded Dennis Cook to the Texas Rangers for Guillermo Mercedes (minors).

Win – The Rangers got two solid years out of Cook (ERA’s of 4.00 and 4.09) while Mercedes never made it to the majors.

Record: 1-2-3

7. 7/30/1995 The Montreal Expos traded Lou Frazier to the Texas Rangers for a player to be named later. The Texas Rangers sent Hector Fajardo (August 5, 1995) to the Montreal Expos to complete the trade.

Win – The Rangers got one decent (.260) and one awful (.212) bench year from Frazier while Hector never made it to the majors with Montreal.

Record: 2-2-3

8. 8/8/1995 The Florida Marlins traded Bobby Witt to the Texas Rangers for players to be named later. The Texas Rangers sent Wilson Heredia (August 11, 1995) and Scott Podsednik (October 8, 1995) to the Florida Marlins to complete the trade.

Win – The Rangers traded away someone who never played outside of the Rangers organization and Scott Podsednik, who has had two good years, for Bobby Witt, who gave the Rangers two seasons where he had winning records and one .500 year. Witt went 16-12 and pitched almost 200 innings in the Rangers 1996 playoff season.

Record: 3-2-3

9. 8/16/1995 The Cincinnati Reds traded Craig Worthington to the Texas Rangers for Stephen Larkin and cash.

Tie – This trade means absolutely nothing because these players combined for 90 at-bats after being traded.

Record: 3-2-4

10. 8/31/1995 The Toronto Blue Jays sent Candy Maldonado to the Texas Rangers as part of a conditional deal.

Tie – This trade doesn’t mean much either as Candy only had 30 at-bats in a Ranger uniform.

Record: 3-2-5

11. 8/31/1995 The Boston Red Sox traded Chris Howard to the Texas Rangers for Jack Voigt.

Tie – Chris Howard pitched four innings for the Rangers and Jack Voigt never pitched for the Red Sox.

Record: 3-2-6

12. 12/1/1995 The San Francisco Giants sent Rikkert Faneyte to the Texas Rangers as part of a conditional deal.

Tie – Faneyte only had 8 career games.

Record: 3-2-7

Results of last week’s poll:
Question: Who do you think should have been the AL All-Star Final Vote winner?
Jeremy Bonderman – 27%
Roy Halladay – 27%
Hideki Okajima – 27%
Kelvim Escobar – 13%
Pat Neshek – 7%

Come back next week for part 2 of this series unless the Rangers make a trade.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Newberg Night Summary

This week I will write about Newberg Night at the Ballpark (Friday night July 6th).

Newberg Night started at 4:30 in the Legends of the Game Museum with a Q&A session with Will Carroll. Will does a column called ‘Under the Knife’ for Baseball Prospectus ( where he describes and analyzes different baseball injuries. He has also written a couple of books, including ‘The Juice’. For the last few Newberg Days at the Ballpark, Will has flown to Dallas to do Q&A sessions and is always very interesting.

The year, Will answered questions for about 30 minutes, including these:
Q: Out of all the current Rangers injuries, are there any that might effect the players long-term?
A: Will mentioned Mark Teixeira, just because he’s never been injured before, so we don’t know how he’ll recover. He also mentioned Thomas Diamond, Vicente Padilla, and Brandon McCarthy. He said that Hank Blalock’s injury is common, so he should have an easy comeback.
Q: Are there some teams that are better at preventing injuries than others and if so, what do they do differently?
A: Will said that there is a difference. Some teams are significantly better because they care and put money into it. Some teams don’t care and are injury plagued. He mentioned Tampa Bay and Arizona as two teams that have done it right. He said that Texas is in the middle. Minnesota was an example of a team that has put almost no money into this area.

At 5:00 Jeff and Cindy Kuster did a presentation on the Hello Win Column Fund. Cindy is the daughter of Mark Holtz, who used to broadcast for the Rangers. They have a charity to help people with cancer. They showed some information about what the charity is for and told some stories about some of the people they helped. They then gave away a bunch of prizes to people who had donated money to the fund (you could donate money as you entered the museum). The best prize was having Will Carroll on the phone during your fantasy draft. I got to meet Jeff and Cindy later in the evening and they were both very friendly.

At 5:30, Jon Daniels came to start his Q&A session. Here are some of the highlights.

Q: Who in the Rangers minor league system do you think has the best potential at each position?
P: Eric Hurley (he also mentioned Kasey Kiker)
1B: Jon said that the answer is probably a person who’s not playing first base right now. So he asked me who I thought it should be. I said Nate Gold and he said we’d go with that answer.
2B: German Duran
3B: John Whittleman
SS: Marcus Lemon (he also mentioned Joaquin Arias)
OF: John Mayberry (he also mentioned Jason Botts)
C: Taylor Teagarden (he also mentioned Kevin Richardson)

Q: What is the deepest position in the minor leagues?
A: Catcher or 3rd base

Q: What happened to Omar Beltre and Alexi Ogando?
A: They were paid money by an organized group of Dominican Republic criminals to marry women so that those women could get into the US. The US government found out about it and banned Beltre and Ogando from getting into the US. Jon said that he though the punishment was too much for the crime.

Q: What do you think have been the three best trades you’ve made so far in your career?
A: Jon said that he doesn’t like to grade himself and would leave it up to the fans to decide.

Q: When you’re thinking about making a trade, what are the criteria you consider?
A: You need to know where you are as a club, be comfortable with what you’re losing, and know what you’re getting.

Q: Who do you think are the most likely September call-ups?
A: Botts, Cruz, and Hurley.

Other interesting comments:
- Jon said that Eric Gagne was signed to a short-term deal with hopes for a long-term fit.
- Jason Botts is not in the majors yet because they’re not ready to give him full-time at-bats.
- Eric Hurley might be a September call-up because he’s rule-5 eligible after this year. But after the Q&A session he sent Jamey a correction that Eric is not rule 5 eligible until after next season, so maybe that would change Jon’s answer.
- Trade rumors are almost never true, but they’re usually based on some truth.
- Edinson Volquez has a decent chance of being back in the majors this year.
- When asked about the Danks/McCarthy trade, Jon said that he thought McCarthy was both closer to being ready to be a big major league contributor and also had more upside.
- He said that the media reports about a player rebellion against Ron Washington weren’t true. He seemed irritated by some of the media who reported the problems. He called the reports ‘ridiculous’ and thought there were some irresponsible reports.
- Padilla will make 1 or 2 rehab starts before coming back.
- Blalock won’t be back for 4-6 weeks.
- Teixeira may be back for the first game after the All-Star break.
- Once some people come back from injury, there’s a good change Metcalf will be sent back down so that he can have regular playing time.
- When asked to name some players he’s excited about, Jon mentioned Wilmer Font (rookie league RHP) and Eric Fry (rookie league OF).
- Benoit is responding to Washington’s management style as well as anyone.
- The Rangers considered signing Bonds but fan reaction was part of the consideration when making a decision.
- He sees Kasey Kiker as a starter because he has three pitches.

At about 6:45, after the interviews, we went to our suites to watch the game. I was in the same suite as Scott Lucas and his wife Courtney, Jamey Newberg, Will Carroll, and Eleanor Czajka. I enjoyed talking to all of them and they were all really nice. It was really good to meet Scott in person and we talked for a long time.

During the middle of the game, I was on TV, thanks to Jamey. Jim Knox was going to interview Jamey and asked him what the best question was from the Daniels Q&A. Jamey pointed at me and said that I had the best question and that they should get me on. So Jim agreed and I was on TV. I read my question about who had the best potential in the minor leagues at each position and Jim asked me to give the answer for pitcher (Eric Hurley and Kasey Kiker).

It was a close game and great for the Rangers. In the bottom of the 3rd Metcalf doubled and later got moved over to 3rd. Then Ramon Vazquez got a sac fly and the Rangers took a 1-0 lead. In the bottom of the sixth Marlon Byrd walked with two outs. The next batter, Brad Wilkerson homered into the home run porch, so the Rangers took a 3-0 lead. In the top of the 7th the Orioles had two runs of there own. Going into the top of the 9th the Rangers had a 3-2 lead. Then Gagne got his 1st blown save of the year and it went to extras, tied at 3. In the bottom of the 10th Travis Metcalf got a single to start the inning. Jerry Hairston then bunted him over. Ramon Vazquez would then walk, bringing up Michael Young. Then, on the 1st pitch of the at-bat Michael Young singled past the 3rd baseman for a walk-off single.

My best friend Reid Stovall has started a blog mainly about sports and just interviewed me. You can check it out at

Last week’s poll results:
Who do you think should be the Rangers MVP?
Michael Young – 38%
Marlon Byrd – 23%
Sammy Sosa – 14%
Kenny Lofton – 5%
Mark Teixeira – 5%
Other – 5%
Jerry Hairston – 2%
Ian Kinsler -2%
Gerald Laird – 2%
Ramon Vazquez -2%
Brad Wilkerson – 2%
Frank Catalanotto – 0%
Victor Diaz – 0%
Chris Stewart -0%

Come back next week for part 1 of a series analyzing all of Doug Melvin’s trades unless the Rangers make a trade that I need to analyze.