• HaroldHecuba: Mike Mussina is EASTERN EUROPEAN, not Italian....

This is one of a series of posts in which we throw feces at each team’s ineffectual attempts to improve and daub them with rosewater in those areas where they have managed to do so.

What is there to say about the Rangers this year? They’re clearly going to come in last—again—in an already weak division. (A division that only has four teams. Lame!) I can barely muster up the spleen required to rip them. So much for “in-your-face baseball commentary.” But let’s give it a shot anyway—after all, this may be the one post UmpBump writes about the Rangers all year. (At least until Milton Bradley acts up again.) To add interest to this fairly lackluster team, I will rely on an old writerly device: the exclamation point!

So I looked at the projected lineup of the Texas Rangers (below) one thing really stands out: only two players played 130 games or more last season, and only four topped 100 games! And when I looked at their starting rotation, I noticed that no pitcher on the list has an ERA of under 4.50!

Oof!

Texas is fielding quite a motley crew this season. Michael Young, arguably the only shortstop worse defensively than Derek Jeter! Josh Hamilton, who recovered from his crack addiction by finding Jesus! Milton Bradley, last seen causing himself a season-ending injury by trying to attack an umpire! Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who married his high school teacher!

Nonetheless, if I can set aside the ennui these Rangers induce in me, I have to admit there are some pretty interesting players on this team. Hamilton, for instance. In a recent article discussing Hamilton and Bradley, Jerry Crasnick writes:

At Rangers camp in Surprise, [Arizona,] they’re getting a crash course in what the fuss was all about. Hamilton hits high, majestic drives over the fence in batting practice, and his teammates strain for superlatives.

“We haven’t had any shortage of offensive monsters since I’ve been here,” says Michael Young, ticking off the names of Alex Rodriguez, Alfonso Soriano, Carlos Lee and Juan Gonzalez, among others. “But I think they might all take a backseat to this guy in batting practice. When you’re hitting balls to the opposite field off the top of the clubhouse, it’s just silly.”

His fellow Rangers attest that the ball even sounds different as it comes off Hamilton’s bat.

“I’ve never seen anyone as gifted as him,” Texas second baseman Ian Kinsler says. “He was born to play this game.”

Well, at least he should be fun to watch! And of course, Saltalamacchia will be getting his first full season in the bigs. That will be nice. And the aforementioned Milton is sure to entertain—for better or for worse!

Acquisitions: Milton Bradley LF, Kazuo Fukumori RP, Eddie Guardado RP, Jason Jennings SP, Chris Shelton 1B, Ben Broussard 1B, Josh Hamilton CF

Losses: Brad Wilkerson RF, Edinson Volquez SP, Freddy Guzman CF, Armando Galarraga SP, Sammy Sosa DH, Jerry Hairston Jr. CF

Projected Lineup, Rotation, and Closer:

SS Michael Young .315 AVG, .366 OBP, 9 HR, 156 games

3B Hank Blalock .293 AVG, .358 OBP, 10 HR, 58 games

CF Josh Hamilton, .292 AVG, .368 OBP, 19 HR, 90 games

LF Marlon Byrd .307 AVG, .355 OBP, 10 HR, 109 games

C Jarrod Saltalamacchia .251 AVG, .290 OBP, 7 HR, in 46 games

RF Milton Bradley, .306 BA, .402 OBP, 2 HR, 61 games

1B Ben Broussard, .275 AVG, .330 OBP, 7 HR, 99 games

2B Ian Kinsler .263 AVG, .355 OBP, 20 HR, 130 games

DH Frank Catalanotto .260 AVG, .337 OBP, 11 HR, 103 games

SP1 Kevin Millwood, 172.2 IP, 5.16 ERA

SP2 Vicente Padilla, 120.1 IP, 5.76 ERA

SP3 Jason Jennings, 99 IP, 6.45 ERA

SP4 Brandon McCarthy, 101.2 IP, 4.87 ERA

SP5 Kason Gabbard, 81.3 IP, 4.65 ERA

CL C.J. Wilson, 3.03 ERA, 1.22 WHIP (Though it could be Eddie Guardado by the time spring training is over.)

Grade: C

The best that can be said for the Rangers is that they seemed to finally admit, last season, that they weren’t going to win any time soon. They moved Mark Teixeira and Eric Gagne for prospects, and their farm system now looks better than most. 2008 is a throwaway year for the Rangers, but check back in 2010—if they haven’t done anything stupid, they could be contending by then! You never know! And as Nick so wisely said, “It’s not like they are the Pirates!”

-Hot Offseason Action Index!-

13 Responses to “Hot Offseason Action: Texas Rangers”

  1. Awww that’s so cute, like a little kid wishing Santa Claus would bring him the toys he wanted. Keep on wishing, you’ll need your imagination to keep you company come playoff time when you are where Phillies fans are used to being…watching the Eagles.

  2. Coley Ward says:

    RK, as a Mets fan you get to enjoy the Santana signing. But I’m pretty sure you don’t get to talk shit. Not yet. Not after your team’s history making collapse last season. Getting Santana is a big deal, to be sure. But it doesn’t change the fact that my team made the playoffs last season and yours didn’t.

  3. Oh, snap!

  4. Sarah Green says:

    Salted!

  5. If this deal makes the Mets “the team to beat” in the NL East, it only makes them slightly so. After Santana, their rotation is still questionable. And I think Cole Hamels will give Santana a run for his money for the NL Cy Young award.

    I’ll take the Phillies’ offense over the Mets’, the Phillies’ defense, and the Phillies’ bench. The Mets have better overall pitching.

    With the Phillies, Mets, and Braves all expecting a run at the division title, it may take just 88 or 89 wins again as it did last season.

    Good news for the Phillies: if Santana starts Opening Day, the Phillies will miss him in the first series in Queens! :)

  6. Coley Ward says:

    Bill, if the Mets rotation after Santana is questionable, I don’t think the Phillies could be called “reliable.” Kendrick. Eaton. Moyer. Yikes.

  7. Mets (2007 ERA plus):
    Santana (130)
    Martinez (166)
    Maine (109)
    Perez (120)
    Hernandez (115)

    Phils (2007 ERA plus)
    Hamels (136)
    Myers (107)
    Kendrick (119)
    Moyer (92)
    Eaton (73)

    You COULD (I’d disagree, but I wouldn’t think you’re crazy) make the argument that Hamels and Myers combined will produce better numbers than Johan/Pedro. But the latter half of the rotation isn’t even close.

    Whereas if you consider park factor the Mets lineup put up numbers that were just as good as Philly. In 2007 the Mets scored 5 fewer runs than Philadelphia away from their home parks. If you use OPS plus, the Mets come out slightly ahead.

    Defensively, the Phils are better around the horn. I still think Reyes is better at short than Rollins, but Feliz is superior to Wright, and Utley vs. Castillo probably isn’t much of a comparison. Delgado/Howard is a wash. But I’ll take the Mets outfield over the Phils. Both Alou and Burrell may be useless, but Beltran/Church is better than Victorino/Jenkins.

  8. One move that puzzled me was the Rangers trading SP Edinson Volquez for Hamilton. I mean, I think it was a fairly equal trade, but you would think, considering the Rangers’ pitching struggles the last few years, that they would value young pitching above all else. I guess either they really, really like Hamilton, or they still haven’t learned their lesson.

  9. Sarah Green says:

    I agree, Coley. They must value Hamilton very highly. Here’s what BP’s Kevin Goldstein had to say about the deal in his Rangers Top 11 prospects article:

    “Forty-eight hours ago, Edinson Volquez would have qualified for this list, and also would have ranked second. While the Rangers were desperate for outfield help, they also have been desperate for pitching (and for a much longer time), and the decision to deal Volquez, who really looked like he had turned a corner during the second half of the season, is a curious one–-as is the decision to trade for Josh Hamilton, who can’t hit lefties. In addition, Hamilton, whether we want to talk about it or not, has an extreme problem with addiction, and one year does not necessarily heal anything. To go into a rant about how Hamilton is inexplicably treated like a hero in some circles, including receiving a key to the city of Raleigh this month, and how this is a representation of everything wrong with this country’s value system, would likely require another 1,000 words and only tick off my editors and some of my readers–-we’ll see if this sentence floats through as is and serves its purpose.”

  10. Len Magsamen says:

    It must be spring.

    The Rangers will crawl out of the cellar this year (thanks A’s) and contend in 2009. By 2010, look out. The farm system is loaded with quality arms. Elvis will be in the house and Chris Davis will be taking target practice at the home run porch at The Ballpark.

    If the Rangers aren’t stupid, we may be looking at an extended run in the American League West.

    Hope springs eternal in the Spring.

  11. obvioulsy, the rangers have proved you and your degrading blog wrong. the pithcers may not be the best, but the offense definatly is.

  12. Sarah Green says:

    Haha, I think that’s the first time UmpBump has been called degrading!

    Here’s a line that appeared in the Boston Globe over the weekend: “The Rangers could become the first team to have both the league’s worst ERA and a winning record. The closest were the 1944 Red Sox, who were 77-77.”

    I hardly think you can blame us for failing to predict something that had never happened before.

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