Sunday, December 27, 2009

All-Time Rangers #16-20

This week I will continue my Top 50 Rangers All-Time List, with numbers 16-20. My last entry in this series was on November 1st.

20. Mark Teixeira: 153 HR, 499 RBI, 426 R, .533 SLG (2nd, min. 3000 plate appearances), Silver Slugger (‘04), Gold Glove (‘05, ‘06), All-Star (‘05)
Mark is 7th all-time in Rangers history in home runs and 11th in both RBI’s and runs. But his best stat as a Ranger is his .533 slugging percentage, which is second in Rangers history behind only Juan Gonzalez. Mark also won a Silver Slugger Award in 2004, won Gold Glove Awards in both 2005 and 2006, and was an All-Star in 2005 with the Rangers. Even though he did not leave very well, his stats make him the 20th best Ranger of All-Time. Of course, Mark’s greatest contribution as a Ranger may be what we got in return for him from Atlanta.

19. Buddy Bell: Rangers Hall of Fame, 3623 AB, .293 AVG, 87 HR, 499 RBI, 471 R, Silver Slugger (‘84), Gold Glove (‘79-‘84), All-Star (‘80-‘82, ‘84), 200 Hit (‘79)
Buddy Bell is 9th all-time in batting average (with at least 1500 at-bats) with a .293 batting average, and he is also 17th in home runs and tied with Mark Teixeira for 11th in RBI’s. He is 9th all-time in Rangers history in at-bats, and also won one Silver Slugger, six Gold Gloves, was an All-Star four years, and got 200 hits in one season as a Ranger.

18. Julio Franco: 98 SB, .307 AVG (3rd), 55 HR, 331 RBI, All-Star MVP (‘90), Silver Slugger (‘89-‘91), All-Star (‘89-‘91), 200 Hits (‘91), Batting Title (‘91)

Julio won a batting title as a Ranger in 1991 with a .341 batting average, and also made the All-Star game that year. He also played in the All-Star game in ‘89 and ’90 and won a Silver Slugger in all three of those All-Star years. He was the All-Star MVP in 1990 and had 200 hits in 1991. His .307 career Rangers average is 3rd All-Time, and his 98 stolen bases place 5th in Rangers history.

17. Toby Harrah: Rangers Hall of Fame, 122 HR, 143 SB (2nd), 4188 AB, 546 RBI, 582 R, 668 BB (2nd), All-Star (‘75, ‘76)
Toby was inducted into the Rangers Hall of Fame this year, as he had the second most stolen bases and walks in franchise history, the 11th most home runs in Rangers history, the 7th most RBI’s and runs, and the 7th most at-bats, as well as two All-Star appearances. That gets him up to #17, but he needs better than a .257 career average to go any further.

16. Jim Sundberg: Rangers Hall of Fame, 4684 AB, 482 R, 544 BB (3rd), 480 RBI, 60 HR, Gold Glove (‘76-‘81), All-Star (‘74, ‘78)
Jim is also a member of the Rangers Hall of Fame, and he definitely deserves it, even though he hit just .252 as a Ranger. He is 5th All-Time in at-bats (1st when he retired), 9th all-time in runs (2nd when he retired), 3rd in walks with 544 (2nd when he retired), 13th in RBI’s (4th when he retired), and he also won six Gold Gloves as a Ranger, and made it to two All-Star games.

Come back next week for #11-15 on my All-Time Rangers List.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Newberg Bound Edition Release Party

On Thursday night Jamey Newberg held his annual Newberg Report Bound Edition Release Party. It started at six and ended at ten, and it was very nice of the players to stick around since it was supposed to end at nine. It was a blast. It was held at Sherlock’s Pub & Grill in Arlington, the same place as last year. The crowd was the biggest yet, at about 600 people, and the players signing autographs were Scott Feldman, Tommy Hunter, Chris Davis, Derek Holland, Ian Kinsler, and Rusty Greer. They signed autographs and did a Q&A session. They were all incredibly nice and I would like to thank them for being there.

My dad and I got there at 5pm and it was a good thing we did because the people who got there at 6pm waited in line for over two hours to get their autographs. We’ve been going to this event for six years and it’s gotten bigger each year.

After eating dinner and getting autographs, my dad and I sat and talked with Ted Price, who does the great Rangers Podcasts at, for a couple of hours while waiting for the autograph line to die down and the Q&A session to start. That was a lot of fun. TR Sullivan also came and sat with us for a while, so we got to talk with him too, which is always great. Eleanor Czajka and her mom were selling the books at the party, and Eleanor joined us at our table for a while too. Eleanor is one of my friends and I always enjoy seeing her (and reading her blog at I also got to talk with Jamey some while I was getting the autographs. Devin Pike was there too. He started a new website at Devin helped run the Q&A session and made all the announcements. Scott Lucas also sat with us at our table for a little while and so did Grant Smith, who does sports art (see, and I enjoyed talking to them. All of these people are very nice and it’s always fun to see them at the Newberg events.

Jamey’s book is terrific as always. The forewords this year are by Peter Gammons and Kevin Goldstein. Jamey included his prospect rankings (top 72, plus breakdowns of the players in each position that are on those lists), his breakdown of 2009, what to look forward to in 2010, his 20 players who could break out in 2010, all his reports for the season, the final 2009 statistics, the 2009 draft, and his awards for the 2009 season. And his kids, Erica and Max, did a great job writing the ‘About My Dad’ section again. It is well worth the $25.

The autograph session started at about 6:00 and went until around 9:40. After that, there was a 20-minute Q&A session with Ian Kinsler, Chris Davis, Derek Holland, and Tommy Hunter (Scott Feldman and Rusty Greer had to leave before the Q&A session). Each of the players gave very good answers, and were very nice to stay late to do the session. Below is a recap of the session.

The Marines collected toys for the Toys for Tots charity at the event. Ian Kinsler is the spokesperson of the Rangers’ Toys for Tots drive this year and kicked off the Q&A with a few words about the charity and the importance of helping kids have a good Christmas.

Jamey let me ask the first question of the Q&A.

Me: This question is for Chris. When you tied the California League record hitting streak of 35 games in 2007, were you happy with the tie or were you frustrated that you didn’t break the record?

Chris: To be honest with you, I was really surprised that I tied the record. I mean 35 games is a long time. There was actually one game where I hit the ball in the six-hole and, I mean when you look at me the first thing you think of is not speed, but on this particular day I dove into first base and beat it out to make it 28 games and I was like ‘I’m happy, I don’t even care what happens now’. I was happy to get 35 games and, you know what, I think someone demolished (the record) this year.

Q: How good were you guys in youth baseball (10-14 years old)?

Ian: I was OK. I was good. I was a skinny, small scrawny kid that played shortstop. I wasn’t anything special really. I tried to pitch and got lit up. I stuck at shortstop. At 13 years old, my dad made me choose between being a position player or a pitcher. I decided to be a position player.

Chris: I was awesome.

Derek: I was not awesome. I was the kid in the outfield picking flowers.

Tommy: I was the catcher.

Q: This question is for Derek Holland. When the Rangers play in the World Series in 2010, do you think you can pitch a shut-out?

Derek: (Laughing) I really don’t just think, I know that I can do that.

Q: Do you guys feel more excitement around this off-season compared to last off-season?

Chris: Yes, I do think we have what it takes.

(Ian says something to Chris that we couldn’t hear.)

Chris: You know, it’s really sad when I’m the most educated person up here. I am from East Texas and 2nd grade was very good to me. To answer your question, yes we are very excited about this season. For the last few years, we’ve been saying that it’s a good time to be a Rangers fan, but 2010 is really the season we’ve been setting up for. I don’t want to put any pressure on anybody out here but we look to make a good run on it this year,

Ian: Every year you go to spring training thinking you’re going to win the World Series. Every team does. With that being said, I’m going into my 5th year and this is the most excited I’ve been going into spring training. This is really the year I think we’re going to gel.

Q: This is for Chris. I hear you’ve been working with Clint Hurdle. Can you compare him to Rudy?

Chris: Rudy’s great and Clint is a really good dude. It’s kind of hard to form my opinion yet, because I haven’t spent much time with Clint. As far is Rudy’s concerned, I love Rudy to death. I’m going to miss him. He’s seriously one of the best in the business. Clint’s different in how he approaches the job. He’s a lot more motivational. He’s a very positive person and I think he’s going to be good for our young hitters. I think we’re really excited about working with him.

Q: What did you think about the Mariners picking up Cliff Lee and having to face that one-two punch of him and Felix Hernandez? What team are you most worried about in the AL West?

Ian: We don’t really concern ourselves with that. We as an offense have to produce runs somehow. There really isn’t extra thought that goes into it. When you’re in the big leagues, it’s very difficult to win, no matter who you’re facing. Obviously the Angels are the team to beat in the West because they won it last year.

Chris: I think the AL West is one of the strongest divisions, just as far as pitching is concerned. I know the Yankees have a lot of great pitchers, but the West is very competitive every year because we have teams with great offense and pitching. It’s not just one or the other. The Rangers have been known as an offensive team for a long time but last year we were probably better known for our pitching. But I think as far as next year is concerned, the Mariners have made a lot of moves in the offseason and are going to challenge in the AL West. From our standpoint, our plan as a hitter just needs to be to go out there and execute to the best of our ability.

Q: I have a question for Derek and Tommy. What’s a good age to learn how to throw a curve ball?

Tommy: Fastballs and change-ups is what we threw when we were younger. You don’t need to worry about curveballs until you’re older.

Derek: (Joking) If you’re left-handed, never throw one. All fastballs, down and away.

Jamey: I asked these guys about a month ago if they could do this and they all said ‘What time to you want me there?’ They do this for you guys. They asked what kind of time I needed from them and I said 6-9pm. Well, it’s 10pm now and four of these guys are still here. I want to thank them again for sharing their time with us.

I would like to thank Jamey for hosting this great event.

Come back next week for numbers 16-20 on my all-time Rangers list.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Rangers Moves

This week the Rangers made many moves. The first was a trade with the Tigers in which they traded a player to be named later or cash considerations to Detroit for left-handed-reliever Clay Rapada. They then traded Kevin Millwood and $3 million dollars to Baltimore for Chris Ray and a Rule-5 draft pick that ended up being Ben Snyder. They then signed Rich Harden. Last, they seem to be on the verge of trading Max Ramirez to the Red Sox for Mike Lowell and $9 million. I will cover all of these, even the Ramirez/Lowell one, which isn’t a done deal.

Trade Evaluation (PTBNL or CC for Clay Rapada): Clay is 28 years old and is on the 40-man roster. He has only pitched 27.1 major league innings, and has a 4.94 ERA in those innings. He was 4-2 with a 2.76 ERA with AAA Toledo last year in 45.2 innings. In 2008 with Toledo, he had a 2.31 ERA in 35 innings pitched. This seems like a good trade to me, since we are giving up very little (and possibly nothing but cash) for a good left-handed pitcher. This is such a low-risk trade, there’s almost no way it could end up bad, but could end up very well.
Grade: A

Trade Evaluation (Millwood for Ray and Snyder): Chris Ray was dominant three years ago, as he had a 2.73 ERA with 33 saves and 51 strikeouts in 66 innings. Then in 2008, he had a 4.43 ERA along with 16 saves in 42.2 innings before getting injured and having to go through Tommy John surgery. When he came back from the surgery last year he had a 7.27 ERA in 43.1 innings pitched. But it’s normal for players to struggle in their first year back after Tommy John surgery. If he can come back from the surgery to his ’07 form, this could end up being a great trade, since we used the freed-up money to get Rich Harden, but it is also a risky one, because if he can’t come back from his surgery and pitch well, then we basically gave up Millwood for Rule-5 pick Ben Snyder. Ben Snyder, being a Rule-5 draft pick, has to stay on the major league team the whole season, or else he will return to his former team (the Giants). He has never pitched in the majors before, but with AA Richmond last year, he had a 2.88 ERA with 36 strikeouts in 97 innings pitched. He can also be a spot starter, as he started five games for Richmond. But we had to give up a lot, as Millwood went 13-10 last year for the Rangers, with a 3.67 ERA in 198.2 innings pitched. That was after having an ERA over five each of the two seasons before that. The Rangers did a good job with the money from trading Millwood, by signing Harden, and hopefully trading for Lowell, but I wish that they had gotten more for Millwood, and that they didn’t have to act like a small-market team by trading away money to make other moves. All in all, I think this trade was just okay.
Grade: B-

Free Agent Signing (Rich Harden): Rich had a solid year last year, going 9-9 with a 4.09 ERA for the Cubs in 141 innings pitched. That was after having a 10-2 record with a 2.07 ERA between Oakland and Chicago in 2008 in 148 innings. He is very injury-prone, as he has not thrown 150 innings in a year since 2004, but when he does pitch, he can be dominant. This is a very good signing, if he can stay healthy, as he could put us over the top and deep into the playoffs.
Grade: A+

Trade Evaluation (Ramirez for Lowell): If it goes through, this is a great trade, as Max Ramirez’ stock seemed to be dropping, and he didn’t seem to fit into the Rangers plans for the future anymore. He only hit .234 with 5 home runs and 43 RBI’s in AAA Oklahoma City in an injury-plagued 2009, and really seemed to fall out of the plans. Mike Lowell will be a great addition to the Rangers, if he can stay healthy, as he has problems with his hip. He hit .290 with 17 home runs and 75 RBI’s in 2009 with Boston, with almost identical stats in 2008, after having a career year in 2007, hitting .324 with 21 home runs and 120 RBI’s. Lowell can play third, first, and he can DH. It is not clear whether he will start or be a utility man yet next year, but either way this is a great trade.
Grade: A+

Come back next week for a summary of the Newberg Bound Edition Release Party.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Free Agent Outfielders

This week I analyzed the top free agent outfielders on the market, and I determined which teams might be the best fits for them.

OF Garret Anderson – Garrett had a down year last year, as he had the lowest batting average of his career, the least amount of RBI’s in his career, and had less than 15 home runs for the first time since 2004 (his lowest total since 1997). He hit .268 with 13 HR’s and 61 RBI’s. But he still qualified as a Type B free agent. The Braves could use him, but don’t necessarily need him.
Good fits – Braves, Yankees, Red Sox, Cardinals, Cubs, Giants

OF Marlon Byrd – Byrd had a career year last year, leading the Rangers in RBI’s with 89 RBI’s. He also had a .283 average with 20 home runs. He qualifies as a Type B free agent. The Rangers could really use him back and offered him arbitration, but with Tom Hicks’ money situation, it doesn’t look like he will be coming back to Texas.
Good fits – Rangers, White Sox, Yankees, Red Sox, Braves, Cardinals, Giants

OF Jason Bay – Jason qualifies as a Type A free agent, and had a great year last year. He was an All-Star, as he hit .267 with a .384 OBP, 36 HR’s, and 119 RBI’s. The Red Sox need Jason and will be willing to offer him a lot of money to stay in Boston after the way he has played for them in the past one and a half years (after being traded from Pittsburgh).
Good fits – Red Sox, Yankees, Braves, Cubs

OF Johnny Damon – Johnny also qualifies as a Type A free agent, as he hit .282 with a .365 OBP, 24 HR’s, and 82 RBI’s last year for the Yankees. Johnny is asking for a three to four year contract from the Yankees, but the Yanks are only willing to go up to two years at this point. But there is still a good chance he will stay with the Yankees.
Good fits – Red Sox, Yankees, Braves, Cardinals, Cubs

OF Jermaine Dye – Jermaine is a Type A free agent, but he will be asking for more money than most will be willing to give him, as he is old, at age 36, and he hit just .250 last year with 27 HR’s and 81 RBI’s, which would explain why the White Sox declined his option. He definitely will not go back to Chicago.
Good fits – Yankees, Cardinals, Cubs

OF Matt Holliday – Matt is the best outfielder, if not the best player, in free agency this offseason, so he obviously qualifies as a Type A free agent. He hit .286 with 11 HR’s and 54 RBI’s for the A’s last year, and hit .353 with 13 HR’s and 55 RBI’s for the Cardinals. He will probably want to go to a hitter’s ballpark since he had so much success in St. Louis last year. The Cardinals probably will not resign him since Albert Pujols will be a free agent next year, but there is still a chance the Holliday will stay a Cardinal.
Good fits – Yankees, Red Sox, Cardinals, Cubs

Come back next week for #16-20 on my All-Time Rangers List.