Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Nolan Express is Back in Town

Nolan Ryan finished his playing career as a Texas Ranger.
Now he is starting a new career as the President of the same organization.
Ryan has been hired to replace former team president Jeff Cogen, who was reassigned to the same post with the Dallas Stars. Ryan will be introduced in a press conference at 3 PM today.

We will take an in depth look at the hiring later in the day.

Read the press release here.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Baseball America's 2011 Projected Lineup

Baseball America recently released it's version of the Rangers' Top 10 Prospects. As a part of the write up they did their usual lineup projections for three years down the road. So, on this Super of Tuesdays, AllThingsRangers has decided to take a look at that projected lineup and compare it to what we see in the future. The lineups are composed entirely of current players and prospects so you won't find any big Free Agent signings. So here is your look at ATR's 2011 Texas Rangers. Because in Rangers Land, three years down the road is sometimes all we have.

BA's Projection: Taylor Teagarden
ATR's Projection: Taylor Teagarden

The Scoop: We agree with BA here. Teagarden's defense will keep him behind the plate, and it now appears his bat will get him into the Rangers' lineup. This is probably the trickiest projection because of Salty, Ramirez, and Teagarden all being exciting prospects. But it is Teagarden who gets the nod with superior defense and a bat that will play here.

First Base:
BA's Projection: Jarrod Saltalamacchia
ATR's Projection: Chris Davis

The Scoop: We just don't see Salty being a full time first baseman as he enters the prime of his career. Davis has the power bat to slot in perfectly at first base for the Rangers. It is hard to take Davis' arm out of play, but first base is just a natural spot for his bat and he is the type of athlete who could excel at this position for a long time.

Second Base:
BA's Projection: Michael Young
ATR's Projection: Ian Kinsler

The Scoop: Kinsler should put a death grip on second base in the 2008 season. He has the potential to become a perennial All Star at this position. If his defensive prowess in the second half of 2007 is any indication, there will be no moving Kinsler off of second base.

Third Base:
BA's Projection: Chris Davis
ATR's Projection: Michael Young

The Scoop: It would seem Young is destined to be moved to 2B or 3B within the next few years. There is the possibility he asks to be traded as the youth movement continues in Arlington, but we feel Michael Young will retire as a Texas Ranger. We have already slotted Davis across the diamond, so he isn't an option for us here. Hank Blalock, Travis Metcalf, and John Whittleman are all possibilities here as well.

BA's Projection: Elvis Andrus
ATR's Projection: Elvis Andrus

The Scoop: He may not be a great offensive player at this point in his career, but his skill set and glove will be in the starting lineup by 2011. No pressure if you're Elvis, huh?

Left Field:
BA's Projection: Engel Beltre
ATR's Projection: German Duran

The Scoop: Beltre may still be a year or two away at this point, and Duran will have trouble getting into the starting lineup in the middle infield. He has the athleticism and the bat to handle LF, though we could just as easily see him as a super sub or holding down the SS or 3B position should a prospect need more seasoning.

Center Field:
BA's Projection: Julio Borbon
ATR's Projection: Julio Borbon

The Scoop: When you sign a draft pick, especially a collegiate player, to a major league contract the idea is to get him to the big club on a fast track. Borbon has the type of athleticism and range to handle the spacious outfield in Arlington. If he develops the way the Rangers hope he does, he will be the leadoff guy they crave.

Right Field:
BA's Projection: Josh Hamilton
ATR's Projection: Josh Hamilton

The Scoop: With a little luck, Hamilton will be a cornerstone of this Rangers team. His cannon of an arm will play well in RF and his bat will be the focal point of a young lineup.

Designated Hitter:
BA's Projection: Ian Kinsler
ATR's Projection: Jarrod Saltalamacchia

The Scoop: It is unlikely Ramirez, Teagarden, and Salty will all play together but we can dream. Salty will be a legitimate power threat from both sides and provide even more depth at catcher, first base, and possibly left field.

#1 Starter:
BA's Projection: Eric Hurley
ATR's Projection: Matt Harrison

The Scoop: Harrison has a chance to be that reliable starter that goes out and gives you 6 innings every time. He will slot in here as a result of his command and Glavine-like approach.

#2 Starter:
BA's Projection: Neftali Feliz
ATR's Projection: Eric Hurley

The Scoop: We don't feel Hurley will become an ace, but we think he is more than a reliever as Keith Law would suggest.

#3 Starter:
BA's Projection: Michael Main
ATR's Projection: AJ Murray

The Scoop: Murray will provide a second left handed pitcher and be a decent third starter who can hold down the fort while Main, Beavan, Feliz, Kiker, Beau Jones, and Zach Phillips continue to mature.

#4 Starter:
BA's Projection: Blake Beavan
ATR's Projection: Michael Main

The Scoop: Both of these guys were drafted in 2007 out of high school. Main is ahead of Beavan based on his quick signing and could crack the Rangers' rotation before his counterpart.

#5 Starter:
BA's Projection: Brandon McCarthy
ATR's Projection: Blake Beavan

The Scoop: Beavan forces his way into the rotation in Spring Training and learns the ropes as a number five starter while the Rangers groom their future ace.

BA's Projection: Kasey Kiker
ATR's Proection: CJ Wilson

The Scoop: Wilson will seize the closer's job in 2008 and be a fixture at the back end of the Rangers' pen for quite some time.

Now, just to prove how much we care, we will delve into the subject a little deeper.

1B/3B/LF John Whittleman: Will find playing time backing up Young
OF Brandon Boggs: He will be a backup at all 3 OF positions and platoon some with Duran in LF
2B/SS Jose Vallejo: Slick fielding speedster will help Duran back up the middle infield and be an all world pinch runner
C/1B/DH Max Ramirez: Will serve as main backup to Teagarden, #1 pinch hitter, and platoon partner with Davis

LR Brandon McCarthy: Never finds enough durability to start, but serves as a great swingman
MR Thomas Diamond: This power pitcher finds a home in the Rangers' bullpen
MR Beau Jones: Gives the Rangers another left handed option out of the pen with the potential to move to the rotation
MR Neftali Feliz: Much like Joba with New York, he breaks in as a reliever before moving to rotation
SU Kasey Kiker: Along with CJ Wilson, is part of best left handed reliever duo in all of baseball
SU Kea Kometani: Serves as Rangers' main 8th inning arm

And for Good Measure...A projected Batting Order:
CF Julio Borbon
2B Ian Kinsler
RF Josh Hamilton
DH Jarrod Saltalamacchia
1B Chris Davis
3B Michael Young
C Taylor Teagarden
LF German Duran
SS Elvis Andrus

So there you have it...a roster that will never see the field!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Item #5: Armando Galarraga to be Dealt to Tigers

There are reports out of Detroit that the Rangers are set to deal Armando Galrraga to the Detroit Tigers in exchange for minor league outfielder Michael Hernandez. Galarraga was designated for assignment to make room for Jason Jennings which gave the Rangers ten days to trade him. We had speculated it may have been part of something involving Marlon Byrd to the Cubs but it appears now it will be a prospect swap with the Tigers. The Tigers will likely assign Galarraga to AAA and use him as a spot starter and/or long reliever.

A little transitive logic now means the Rangers traded Alex Rodriguez and cash for Joaquin Arias and Michael Hernandez. Just a little fun fact.

We are currently doing some digging on Michael Hernandez to assess what he could bring to the organization. Hernandez was drafted 3 times without signing before signing with the Tigers as a result of an open tryout. He went through High-A ball at the age of 23 last year before playing his final 18 games at AA. He has played LF, RF, 1B, and been a DH. He has shown some power potential and finished 2007 with these cumulative stats:

BA: .259
OBP: .321
SLG: .477
OPS: .798
HR: 24
RBI: 106
BB: 45
SO: 117

Once this deal is finalized we will try and do a more in depth scouting report on Hernandez. Here is his Bio Page from

photo courtesy of

Item #4: And Now...The Rest of The Starting Rotation

It's time to play catch up. So, here are some abbreviated run downs on Jason Jennings, Kason Gabbard, Vicente Padilla, and Kevin Millwood.

Jason Jennings
6'2" 235 lbs
Born: 07/17/1978
Opening Day Age: 29

2007 Statistics
Games Pitched: 19 (18 starts)
Innings Pitched: 99
Record: 2-9
ERA: 6.45
Strikeouts: 71

2008 Prognosis:
Jennings is coming off an injury plagued he should fit in perfectly with the rest of the Rangers' starting rotation. Prior to his disastrous campaign in 2007, Jennings posted a sub-4 ERA in a hitter friendly park while playing for the Colorado Rockies. The Rangers are hoping he can channel his 2006 self for the 2008 Texas Rangers. When healthy, Jennings is capable of being a 200 inning workhorse. He is a Texas native with a chance to make good on a one year deal with a home state team. Jennings will likely slot in as the Rangers third starter behind Millwood and Padilla. Call me a blind optimist, but I really think Jennings is capable of being a serviceable pitcher in 2008. I would not be surprised to see him post a season similar to what John Thomson did for the Rangers in 2003. Thomson, who was 29 at the time, threw 217 innings for the Rangers and won 13 games. He didn't light the world on fire, but he ate up innings and showed up for every start. With some luck, Jennings will stay healthy and if he does that he has a good shot to replicate Thomson's 2003 campaign.

Kason Gabbard
6'3" 205 lbs
Born: 04/08/1982
Opening Day Age: 26

2007 Statistics
Games Pitched: 15 (15 starts)
Innings Pitched: 81.1
Record: 6-1
ERA: 4.65
Strikeouts: 55

2008 Prognosis:
Gabbard came over from the Boston Red Sox in the Eric Gagne trade. His season numbers were basically split between Boston and Texas. His numbers for the Rangers were not as good as they had been in Boston and he was shut down at the end of the year. One problem Gabbard had was his control as he walked 23 batters in Texas compared to 18 for Boston. He also threw 5 wild pitches after throwing none in Boston. Gabbard experienced stiffness in his arm at the end of the 2007 season, and that may have been a reason for the loss of control. There is no doubt Gabbard has a shot to be successful for the Rangers as LHPs fare better in Arlington. He invokes Kenny Rogers comparisons as a soft tossing lefty who can work the corners. If Gabbard can justify those comparisons, then the Rangers would be thrilled. This season will be very important for Gabbard as the Rangers try and assess who will be a part of their future and who is expendable. Kason will likely start the season as the Rangers number 5 starter meaning he will have plenty of time to work his arm into shape. The Rangers would love some continuity in their rotation and Gabbard has the potential to be a part of that. It is unlikely the Rangers will allow Gabbard to be overworked in 2008 as he has never had a professional season with more than 133 innings pitched. Kason will have to have a productive Spring Training as Luis Mendoza, Josh Rupe, and AJ Murray will be nipping at his heels.

Vicente Padilla
6'2" 220 lbs
Born: 09/27/1977
Opening Day Age: 30

2007 Statistics
Games Pitched: 23 (23 starts)
Innings Pitched: 120.1
Record: 6-10
ERA: 5.76
Strikeouts: 71

2008 Prognosis:
I am officially sick of watching Padilla pitch. He slows the game and puts his teammates at risk by constantly plunking the opposition. He seems unwilling to make any changes in his game and he gets paid handsomely to do all of this. This is an unfair analysis on my part because of my feelings about Padilla. My bias is oozing through the computer screen because I gave away tickets on 2 separate occasions because Padilla was slated to start. The guy pitched well in 2006. He was rewarded with a fat paycheck. It was more than he was worth, but it was the going rate for the season he had put up. I see countless articles stating that the Rangers need 15 victories out of Padilla and 200 innings. I say the only thing they need is 7-9 1st half victories (unlikely), a 1st half ERA around 4 (unlikely), a team in contention to lose a starter, and a phone call from a desperate GM. Hopefully I am wrong and Padilla comes into his own and becomes a solid #2 for the Rangers. Maybe he will get it through his thick skull and begin to earn his money. Maybe I am being unfair, and overly critical. Well, if I am then I offer my deepest apologies to Padilla. I am not wishing anything bad on Padilla or hoping he fails, I am simply begging him to quit hitting people, move a little quicker, and justify the contract he got. That's not too much to ask is it?

Kevin Millwood
6'4" 230 lbs
Born: 12/24/1974
Opening Day Age: 33

2007 Statistics
Games Pitched: 31 (31 starts)
Innings Pitched: 172.2
Record: 10-14
ERA: 5.16
Strikeouts: 123

2008 Prognosis:
My bold prediction; Kevin Millwood will be a professional and an example for the young pitchers regardless of his numbers. It seems even more unfair to follow my Padilla analysis with my Millwood analysis. Kevin Millwood is a guy I have the utmost respect for and view as a penultimate professional. It doesn't hurt that he puts out that "just one of the guys" vibe no matter what he's doing. He is a community servant and not a bad pitcher to boot. But, to be fair, he did not earn every penny of his money in 2007 either. Millwood was a big part of the disappointing showing by Rangers' pitchers in 2007 and at times looked old and out of shape. He seemed to be laboring all season long and just didn't look the part of a team's #1 starter. My budding optimism leads me to believe that this season could be a big one for Millwood. I just can't see the guy struggling the way he did in 2007 or even the way he did in 2006. I will be looking for the 2005 version of Millwood that earned him a $65 million deal with the Texas Rangers. More than anything I will be looking for Millwood to stay healthy. He has stated he has worked all offseason to get his body into shape and I believe the man. He has a chance to be a real mentor to guys like Gabbard and McCarthy to start the season. Not to mention the affect he could have on the AAA guys like Mendoza, Murray, Rupe, Hurley, and Harrison if and when they are called up. So you heard it hear first...Kevin Millwood, 2008 All Star and 18 game winner.

Now that I have completed the analysis of the Starting Rotation I fully expect Jason Jennings to get hurt in Spring Training and pitch 40 innings for the Rangers, Kason Gabbard to throw 215 innings, Vicente Padilla to win 20 games and be voted "Good Guy of the Year", Brandon McCarthy to be in the bullpen by mid season, and Kevin Millwood to go 4-21 and continually get into fights in the dugout. That is, after all, the way this whole prediction thing works out.

all photos courtesy of

Item #3: Keep Your Friends Close and Your Enemies Closer

Open Letter to the New York Giants:

Dear Giants,
I know my dear sweet Dallas Cowboys should have beat you. I know it deep down in my heart. They beat you 2 out of 3 times but just couldn't get it done when it mattered. You broke my heart that fateful Sunday. You wrecked my dreams of a return to glory for the 'Boys. I hate you. I hate you so very much. With that being understood, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I thank you for what you did to everyone's golden boys. I thank you for being karma personified. I thank you, David Tyree, for catching a TD and then saving Eli's butt when he made a stupid throw. I thank you, Plaxico Burress, for juking Ellis Hobbs out of his jock for the game winning catch. I thank you, Eli Manning, for channeling your brother's poise for a few weeks. But most of all, I thank you New England Patriots for showing all of us that what goes around does in fact come around. So, you stupid lucky Giants, thank you for salvaging something from this NFL season. And in closing, thank you for the 2 lopsided victories my dear sweet Dallas Cowboys are assured of in 2008.

Item #2: Deal or No Deal? The Erik Bedard Saga

Bedard to the Bedard and Orioles talking extension....wait, Bedard to the Mariners...never mind, Adam Jones has a degenerative hip condition...Adam Jones is fine...Bedard to the Mariners...again.

Howie Mandel should have been a guest host for ESPN for the past few weeks. I could just see him interviewing Andy McPhail while Dana Jacobson held a giant briefcase with Adam Jones in it while she shouted obscenities about Notre Dame. After a lot of speculation, it appears Bedard will in fact be donning a Mariners' jersey in 2008. So one left handed ace departs the American League all together, and another one takes up residency in the Rangers' division. You can't win them all.

The proposed deal would send uber-prospect Adam Jones to the O's along with reliever Goerge Sherrill and 3 other pitching
prospects. Some would argue this deal is a better return than the Twins got for Santana based solely on Jones. He is a big time outfield prospect with plus defense and definite power potential. Sherrill is a capable left handed bullpen arm, while the 3 other prospects will need more seasoning in the minor leagues. Seattle will be able to complete the deal without surrendering Brandon Morrow or Catcher Jeff Clement, two of the Mariners other top young players.

The deal will allow the Mariners to pair Bedard with "King" Felix Hernandez at the top of their rotation. The two strikeout pitchers give the M's a formidable 1-2 punch with Carlos Silva (overpaid, overweight guy), Jarrod Washburn, and Miguel Batista rounding out the rotation. There is some risk involved for the Mariners as Bedard has struggled to complete a full season and has never pitched 200 innings. Bedard is, however, one of the top pitchers in the game and will make a big impact on the AL West in 2008 and beyond.

The Chicago Cubs lost out on Bedard to a team that just flat out has superior prospects at the positions the Orioles desired. The Rangers expressed interest in Bedard right out of the gate but were told they didn't have the necessary pieces. The Orioles were presumably dead set on a top flight outfield prospect near the major league level. The Rangers just don't have that in place with Beltre, Borbon, and Boggs a year or more away. Josh Hamilton might have intrigued the Orioles but it likely would have cost one of Eric Hurley, Matt Harrison, or Kasey Kiker along with a bullpen arm and other prospects. The cost seemingly would have exceeded the value for a Rangers team that is undergoing a rebuilding process.

In other Mariners' news, they have reached an agreement with the one and only Brad Wilkerson. So while the arrival of Bedard will likely result in some strikeouts for Rangers' hitters, at least Rangers' pitchers can pocket a few K's with Wilkerson in the fold for the Mariners.

howie mandel photo courtesy of
george sherrill, adam jones photos courtesy of
erik bedard photo courtesy of

Item #1: The Johan Santana Deal

Thank the good Lord...Johan Santana is out of the American League!! Of course, the Rangers still have a weekend series against his new team June 13-15, but the man who needed only 15 IP last year to strikeout 30 Texas Rangers is now in the land of no DH's. Johan Santana, after months of rumors, was dealt to the New York Mets.

The Twins received OF prospect Carlos Gomez along with 3 pitchers in return. There was no Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy, Jacoby Ellsbury, or Jon Lester involved but the Twins did get Johan out of the AL while adding to a stable of young arms and filling a void in CF. Johan then reached a contract extension with the Mets for a gazillion dollars. If, by chance, you are interested in the actual figures you can find them here. The two best parts about this trade for me are the fact Santana will not be anchoring the Red Sox or Yankees rotations for years to come and the fact that Johan Santana will get to bat in the NL. The deal has been met with some skepticism, but the Twins did what they had to do knowing they could not afford Santana any longer.

Carlos Gomez, a speedy centerfielder, was not the Mets top OF prospect (that title belongs to Fernando Martinez) but he brings tons of speed to the top of the Twins lineup and helps make up for the loss of Torii Hunter via free agency. The three pitchers will most likely never be Santana, but they add to the Twins abundance of young arms. The Twins dealt from that surplus earlier in the off season when they landed themselves a guy they hope will be a cornerstone in their OF for years by trading SP Matt Garza to Tampa Bay for OF Delmon Young. The youngest of the three pitchers the Twins received, Deolis Guerra, has a chance to be a big time major league pitcher but he is years away. There is no doubt the Mets made a great deal and have infused life back into a team that collapsed at the end of the 2007 season. With the Phillies and Braves set to be strong clubs again and the Marlins and Nationals improving, this deal could catapult the Mets to the front of the NL East and perhaps the top of the entire National League.

One thing is for sure thought; Johan Santana won't be striking out 30 Rangers next year...I mean he can't pitch 10 perfect innings in one game...can he?

johan santana twins photo courtesy of AP
johan santana roster photo courtesy of
carlos gomez photo courtesy of

AllThingsRangers' Super Monday

There is a slew of things coming in the next 24 hours for AllThingsRangers. Some unavoidable circumstances have left the blog empty for the past week, but fear no more for today is the triumphant return. We'll talk Santana, Bedard, 40-man Breakdowns, the Super Bowl, Rangers Prospects, and much more over the next 24 hours. So sit back, put on your reading glasses, and enjoy our pre-Super Sunday...Super Monday. Let the madness begin.