THE NEWBERG REPORT — MAY 4, 2006
Little short on time, so I’m just gonna pull from a Toronto Blue Jays newsletter this morning. Hope you don’t mind me calling on a pinch-hitter.
THE NOUVEAU-BERGERON REPORT
So I’m reading this Rangers blog the other day written by some clown named Newberg, and I see this:
“We don’t have to see Cleveland again until September, and that suits me just fine. I get sick to my stomach seeing Travis Hafner in another uniform.”
Hope that jerk Newberg isn’t expecting me to feel sorry for him. Wonder how he thinks I feel having to see Michael Young in another uniform.
So the Rangers couldn’t find room for Hafner and traded him to Cleveland, huh? Yeah. Well, my beloved Jays decided that Young was expendable because of Brent Abernathy, Felipe Lopez, and Cesar Izturis.
Sure, we got Esteban Loaiza for Young and Darwin Cubillan. But Loaiza was a joke here. Never had a winning record as a Blue Jay, and after two and a half seasons, we just let him walk. (Course, the White Sox signed him to a minor league deal in 2003 and he was the runner-up in the Cy Young vote. Just our luck.)
What was Gord Ash thinking? Did he trade Young to the Rangers in exchange for Doug Melvin’s promise that he’d hire him once he got fired by Toronto? Or was he just systematically purging our stash of middle infielders by trading all of them for exceedingly mediocre returns: Abernathy and cash for Steve Trachsel and Mark Guthrie; Lopez in a four-team deal for Jason Arnold; and Izturis plus Paul Quantrill for Luke Prokopec and Chad Ricketts?
Young was the first to go. Unbelievable. Bet that homer Newberg was beside himself.
The Rangers tried to screw it up. Melvin’s successor John Hart wanted more offense at second base than he thought Young would provide. So did Hart’s assistant, Grady Fuson. But the Texas manager at the time, Jerry Narron, stood up for Young and stuck with him in his rookie season of 2001 (.249/.298/.402) and in 2002 (.262/.308/.382).
Narron was let go after the 2002 season. If we didn’t sign Frank Catalanotto away from Texas that winter, maybe Young wouldn’t have remained a Ranger.
Narron knew what he was doing. Pretty shrewd baseball man, that Narron, whose Cincinnati Reds have the National League’s best record right now.
Melvin knew what he was getting. Pretty sharp baseball guy, that Melvin, whose Milwaukee Brewers have a winning record (despite Ash’s presence as assistant GM) without any high-profile players. And that.
And there with Young sit the Rangers, leading the AL West as they’re led by the guy whose peers, in a Sports Illustrated poll this week, judged to be the most underrated player in the major leagues. I’m told that by watching Young play every day, you realize that his batting title numbers and multi-hit games don’t nearly tell the whole story.
But I don’t get to watch him every day. I get Russ Adams at shortstop, and Aaron Hill at second.
Young’s .350/.380/.548 numbers against the Jays are his best against any American League team. Figures.
He has 14 multi-hit games this year. He has eight games with just one hit.
Meanwhile, Izturis has been sidelined since August, Abernathy is in AAA, and Lopez has a dazzling .252/.323/.374 line with the Reds.
Which is a lot better than Adams’s .218/.271/.308 or Hill’s .193/.207/.273.
So spare me the sob story over losing Hafner. We traded one of the best players in baseball for a guy who has pitched for seven big league teams.
Maybe next we’ll trade Young’s best friend to Texas. Vernon Wells probably wants to be in Arlington anyway, where he grew up and where he and Charlene can raise their two kids, one of whom — Christian Michael Wells — is a few days older than Young’s son, Mateo.
Hey, Gord Ash isn’t here any more. Maybe we can get something like Thomas Diamond and Joaquin Arias and Laynce Nix for Wells.
And it still wouldn’t make up for Young and Cubillan for Loaiza.
Newberg can stick it.
Some other Nouveau-Bergeron Report notes:
Former Blue Jay farmhand Spike Lundberg is starting games again, after working in short relief for the last three years. He’s 3-1, 2.10 in five starts for AA Jacksonville in the Dodgers system.
My kids are about to eat breakfast. They like breakfast.
Watch Out for Ty Taubenheim.
High A Dunedin first baseman Josh Kreuzer, a former Ranger farmhand, is hitting a sturdy .309/.397/.582. (Take that, Michael Young!)
Watch Out for William Carnline.
Wonder if Texas would be interested in trading us converted catcher Emerson Frostad (born in Vancouver) for catcher Curtis Thigpen, a Dallas-Fort Worth resident?
Bet those Rangers would like to have lefthander David Purcey, another DFW product. Sorry, Michael Young. No chance.
Watch Out for Po-Hsuan Keng.
Don’t blame me for Cross Canadian Ragweed. They’re from Oklahoma.
Speaking of Oklahoma, righthander Chris Baker, who spent seven years in the Toronto system before signing with Texas this off-season, pitched once for AAA Oklahoma (the Rangers’ AAA affiliate) before getting traded to Houston. He pitched in Round Rock relief against the RedHawks on Tuesday, no-hitting his former teammates over four innings, walking one and fanning three.
Hey, wait a second. Roger Clemens is shopping himself to the Rangers and to all of his former teams — umm, except one. I blame Gord Ash. Just because.
On the Clemens subject, good old Gord thought he was so sly to trade him, after his 1998 Cy Young Award, to the Yankees for David Wells, Graeme Lloyd, and Homer Bush, when Texas thought it had a deal with us, getting Clemens for Ruben Mateo, Jonathan Johnson — and Esteban Loaiza.
Dang it. If we’d made that deal with the Rangers, then we would have already had Loaiza, and wouldn’t have had to deal Michael Young a year and a half later to get him. Plus, if we’d done the Texas deal we wouldn’t have had Bush here to play second base, and Young would have had a chance to get to the big leagues in Toronto.
But then we wouldn’t have had the pleasure of releasing Bush in May of 2002, a week after the Rangers came into town and Young went 6 for 15.
We’ve got Wells locked up through 2007. Then he’s a free agent. Texas will probably want him. And he’ll probably want to play in Texas. With Young. We’ll get a draft pick from the Rangers and another one from the league, but we’ll probably screw those up.
So if we lose sight of the Yankees and Red Sox by July, I’m sure we’ll be on the phone with the Rangers, just to see what they’d give us for Wells. If we can get Diamond and Arias and Nix, as an example, then we eliminate having to hope that two compensatory draft picks become legitimate prospects, and we also save the $2 million we’d have to pay in signing bonuses to the two draft picks. If we don’t talk to Texas in July, bet we do in December.
And I’ll tell you this, Newberg. If we trade Vernon Wells to you guys, six years after trading Michael Young your way, I’m coming over there.
To root for your team.