Rangers’ last playoff win was in 1996.
last winning December the Dallas Cowboys had was in 1996.
of the greatest gifts that sports gives me is that the Winter Meetings come
around every December, right when my football team makes me want to punt the TV. I could
use some baseball.
struck home as time expired and Fox went back to the studio, where Jimmy
Johnson and Barry Switzer were situated load-left, side by side, behind the
analysts’ desk. The difference between those
two epitomizes the problem with this football team.
Cowboys may have more talent than the Rangers, and may have more swagger (not
an unimportant thing), but there’s no question to me which organization is
better prepared. This football team has
overcome an overmatched general manager (who happens to be an outstanding
owner) but cannot overcome the Michelin Man, an overmatched coach of whom his players
are a reflection, consistent in their sloppiness, bad judgment, lack of
concentration, and lack of accountability.
the quarterback was bad today – awful – but that game should have been won nonetheless. Yet it’s hardly surprising that it wasn’t.
of these days, football Decembers won’t be so demoralizing, so maddening, so embarrassing.
course, I’ll be happy when I have a consistent run of baseball Septembers to
that time is coming. The baseball team
is headed in the right direction.
so much for the football team as long as it’s inhibited by this sad, sad coaching
OK. Sorry for the off-topic beatdown, but I needed
a little catharsis.
Updated details for this
Wednesday’s Party (and attached Order Form):
WHAT: Book Release Party for the 2009
Bound Edition of the Newberg Report
WHEN: 6:00-9:00 pm, this Wednesday,
December 10, 2008
WHERE: Sherlock’s Baker Street Pub & Grill,
254 Lincoln Square Center in Arlington (a few blocks west of the Ballpark,
just south of I-30 and west of Collins) – plenty of parking, and a huge party
room that we have sole access to
Jeff Zimmerman, Michael &
Cristina Young, Chris Davis, and Derek Holland (who will all sign autographs)
(during Sherlock’s Happy Hour)
ADMISSION: Free – but the “cost” for getting
autographs from our guests is the purchase of a 2009 Bound Edition, which you
can buy now (http://www.newbergreport.com/buythebook.asp)
or at the event. (The players will sign your own stuff, too – not just
If you paid for your books in advance (or do so
between now and Tuesday night), I will bring your order to the party and you
can avoid that line.
follow the autograph session.
TOYS: Representatives from the U.S. Marine
Corps Reserve will also be at the gathering to collect new, unwrapped toys for
the Rangers/Toys for Tots program. Please consider supporting the effort
to help needy children in North Texas
experience the joy of the holidays.
you’re planning to attend, please print the attached form and fill it out in
advance. When you arrive, before you can get in line for
autographs, you’ll need to pick up your 2009 Bound Edition at a separate table (whether
you’ve prepaid or not). Filling this form out in advance will speed things
up for you a bunch.
If you can’t print Microsoft Word
attachments, email me back and I’ll send the form to you within an email rather
than as an attachment. Thanks.
By the way, still no word on Milton
Bradley’s decision on whether to accept the Rangers’ offer of arbitration. He has two and a half hours to decide.
And the White Sox are reportedly on
the verge of trading Jermaine Dye to Cincinnati
for Homer Bailey.
Stay tuned for frequent emails this
week – baseball emails – as developments
Some pre-Meetings points Jon Daniels made on Wednesday that I found interesting:
Daniels said there are clubs that have been “consistent in their interest” in the Rangers’ catchers, and that he’s had second and third and further follow-up calls with some of them. Given the interest level that we’ve received, said Daniels, there’s a good chance we’ll trade a catcher this off-season — but we’re not opposed to going to camp with all four if the trade opportunities don’t fit with what we want to do.
And: “We’re not ready to move on anything, but we have a good idea where we stand with some teams. The demand is there — that’s what we’re exploring.”
While it doesn’t rise to the level of our catchers, there’s been interest in our outfield depth as well.
Daniels said we haven’t made any free agent offers yet. Free agent movement around the league this week in Las Vegas, he said, ought to be the catalyst for other things to start happening.
(Love this time of year. Can’t wait until the Meetings return to the Anatole, just to be around that unmistakable buzz.)
Daniels said he’s not actively pursuing any Japanese pitchers at the moment.
With the typical pace of the Winter Meetings and the potential for the need to act quickly, Daniels has chosen not to set aside any time in Las Vegas to interview potential hires for minor league pitching coordinator (replacing new Seattle pitching coach Rick Adair) or for the AAA and Short-Season A pitching coach positions (Mike Anderson, who had filled the latter in 2008, moves from Spokane into a pro scouting role, while the AAA post was held down by Keith Comstock after Andy Hawkins was added late in the summer to the big league staff). Although Daniels didn’t say this himself, it’s been reported that Frisco pitching coach Terry Clark is likely to move either to the coordinator’s role or to Oklahoma City.
New big league third base coach Dave Anderson filled both the minor league field coordinator position as well as roving infield instructor role in 2008. New hire Harry Spilman (the former Astros player and coach who has strong ties not only to Nolan Ryan but director of player development Scott Servais as well) could fill part of the former, while Texas may look to hire another coach to take on the infield instruction position.
Jack Magruder of the East Valley Tribune reports that Texas is one of at least six teams expressing some level interest in free agent lefthander Randy Johnson.
Go to http://www.bbtia.com/home/2008/12/6/kevin-goldstein-qa-part-i.html for an excellent Jason Parks-driven, Rangers-centric fan Q&A with Baseball Prospectus guru Kevin Goldstein. Great stuff. And it’s only Part 1.
The Rangers re-signed 25-year-old righthander Elizardo Ramirez, who was 10-7, 4.50 for Oklahoma last year and gave up nine runs in a forgettable 2.2-inning appearance for Texas on June 4. Minor league deal, of course.
Seattle outrighted R.A. Dickey. He’s halfway to former Pirates infielder John Wehner’s (1991-2001) six, which probably isn’t a record, but Wehner always seemed like King Outright to me.
Houston signed Matt Kata to a minor league contract.
Minorleaguebaseball.com ranks Neftali Feliz as the number nine prospect in baseball, Elvis Andrus number 21, and Derek Holland number 46.
A little different from the order I have them in — and I have Justin Smoak and Michael Main ahead of Andrus. Last night I packaged about 300 pre-purchased books that, on page 4, contain my Top 72 Rangers Prospects List. it’s the heaviest preorder count I’ve had yet, and I thank you all for that.
A quick thanks also to Kathy Henley and Vinh Nguyen of Kubra, Marty Yawnick of Type A Design, and the industrious Devin Pike for their huge roles in getting the 2009 Bound Edition done this year.
It’s certainly not required that you do this, but if you’re coming to the book release party at Sherlock’s in Arlington on Wednesday night (along with Jeff Zimmerman, Michael Young, Chris Davis, and Derek Holland), and if you’re a Facebook user, you can go to http://tinyurl.com/6a6ec7 and sign the guest list if you want. There’s also updated details on the party on that page.
Had a bigger report planned today but we lost power for an hour this morning, so it’s not happening. A couple notes for now:
Baseball America reports that Texas has signed 26-year-old lefthander Joe Torres, the 10th overall pick in the 2000 draft by the Angels, to a minor league contract. It’s unclear whether he was extended an invite to big league spring training, but since the Rangers haven’t issued a press release, I doubt Torres got an official invite.
After six years in the Anaheim system, the first few of which he was thought of as the Angels’ top prospect (ahead of K-Rod, John Lackey, Scot Shields, Bobby Jenks, and others) before Tommy John surgery claimed his 2004 season, Torres signed with the White Sox as a six-year free agent, and he turned in two very good seasons for Chicago. Last year, his first season at the AA level, he pitched in relief for Birmingham and posted a 2.68 ERA in 59 appearances, scattering a scant 29 hits (.164 opponents’ average, two home runs) with a sturdy 58 strikeouts, though he did issue 31 walks. Not necessarily a left-handed specialist, Torres was more effective against righthanders (.146/.267/.233) than he was against lefthanders (.189/.337/.270). Interesting chance to take.
Pittsburgh signed lefthander Daniel Haigwood.
BA also ranked prospects from this year’s Arizona Fall League season. Justin Smoak was number nine, and Julio Borbon was number 13.
John Bannister was one of only two relief pitchers in the entire AFL to land a spot on the league’s Top Prospects Team.
Jon Daniels says Texas, at the moment, is not actively involved with any Japanese free agents.
According to a local report, the Rangers voided the contract of 33rd-round pick Ben Petralli, son of Geno. Ben, who had not yet made a pro appearance, apparently has a lingering elbow issue.
ESPN’s Keith Law said in a chat session yesterday that, without studying rosters, if he had to take someone in this coming Thursday’s Rule 5 Draft, righthander Pedro Strop would be his first choice.
We’ll have to talk next time about the latest speculation on Gerald Laird’s future, with Detroit and Cincinnati apparently emerging as the most interested suitors for the Rangers catcher.
You can read more from Jamey Newberg at http://www.NewbergReport.com.
Florida has an impressive rotation, which at the moment features Ricky Nolasco, Chris Volstad, Josh Johnson, Anibal Sanchez, and Andrew Miller.
And rumors were rampant yesterday that talks between the Marlins and Giants are heavy on a trade that would send Florida third baseman Jorge Cantu to San Francisco for lefthander Jonathan Sanchez, a pitcher I’ve been enamored with in this space for a long time.
Might Florida be zeroing in on a way to get a Rangers catcher? While the Rangers wouldn’t be interested in a catcher-for-Cantu trade, this could be a way for the Marlins to essentially get exactly that done, by involving a third team — and flipping Sanchez to Texas.
Or maybe it would free another rotation member up for a deal with Texas. Nolasco, Volstad, Johnson, Anibal Sanchez, and Miller don’t all fit if Jonathan Sanchez is around. Max Ramirez won’t be enough to get one of those six, but the point is that if the Marlins make this Giants deal, they’re no longer in a position to make their starting pitchers untouchable.
This one is very much worth watching.
The White Sox have traded righthander Javier Vazquez (and left-handed reliever Boone Logan) to Atlanta, pending physicals, for a package reported to include blue-chip catcher prospect Tyler Flowers and three other legitimate prospects, infielders Brent Lillibridge and Jon Gilmore and lefthander Santos Rodriguez.
Why does this matter? Vazquez makes $23 million over the next two years. Kevin Millwood is set to make the same amount over the next two years (with the $12 million due in year two voidable if he doesn’t pitch at least 180 innings in 2009). Vicente Padilla is set to make $24 million over the next two years (assuming the $12 million club option for 2010 is picked up in lieu of a $1.75 million buyout).
The point is not that Millwood or Padilla has as much value as Vazquez (though the disparity shouldn’t be huge), but instead to suggest that the return Chicago is getting, particularly the inclusion of Flowers, helps set the market if teams who come up empty in free agency turn to Texas asking about one of its veteran righthanders. Good development.
One local writer suggests that Frisco pitching coach Terry Clark is expected to fill one of two vacancies on the Rangers farm, either the minor league pitching coordinator post vacated by the loss of new Seattle pitching coach Rick Adair or the AAA pitching coach position that Rangers bullpen coach Andy Hawkins held for three years. (Keith Comstock, who served as the Rangers’ Arizona League pitching coach in 2007 and as the organization’s rehab pitching coordinator in Surprise this season, replaced Hawkins as the Oklahoma pitching coach when the latter was promoted to big league pitching coach in August).
Cleveland hired Rangers East Coast Crosschecker Doug Harris away to be a major league pro scout.
Like with Adair, the loss of Harris is disappointing, but another clear indication that the industry understands what a good job Texas is doing in its scouting and player development programs.
Milwaukee named Lee Tunnell its minor league pitching coordinator and Bob Miscik manager at AA Huntsville. San Diego named Jimmy Jones pitching coach of the Arizona League Padres. San Francisco added John Castleberry to its scouting staff.
Baseball America will reveal its top 10 Rangers prospects on Monday.
But Monday is also the day the Winter Meetings begin, and there’s a chance that BA’s top 10 list will only be a discussion footnote next week.