Housecleaning.

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I have an old Word
document where I jot down ideas for my next report, or tuck them away for a
report down the road. 

 

I don’t always get
around to using all the notes.  And I’m
not very good about looking over the notes and deleting the ones I’ll never
use.  The document is now 108 pages.

 

In it are a bunch of
notes on this year’s July 2 international free agent class.  Some thoughts I never got around to writing about
this winter, regarding players the AL West teams added this off-season, and who
they lost.  A lot of stuff I’ve piled up about
Rich Harden.

 

The oldest two notes
in the document: (1) something I heard in 1999 about a chance Texas had to
trade Ken Hill at the 1997 trade deadline to Cleveland for rookies Bartolo
Colon and Damian Jackson; and (2) an Instant Message from Peter Gammons in 2001
that said: “Carlos Pena’s brothers Pedro and Omar are playing for Wareham and
each had two hits Thursday.” 

 

(Guess I can cross the first one off now.  The second one stays, as a reminder to me of
how much better this game is because Peter Gammons loves it.)

 

One thing that’s tucked in that document is something I wrote
in April but, for whatever reason, I didn’t find the right report to put it in:

 

 

hamilton-volquez_bipanel_576.jpg

 

Blue-chip prospect

 

Blue-chip prospect

Substance abuse suspension

 

Regression on the field

Traded, sold low

December 21,
2007

Traded, sold low

Sports
Illustrated
mid-season awards: Runner-up, AL MVP

July 2008

Sports
Illustrated
mid-season awards: Runner-up, NL Cy Young

2008 All-Star Game (first full MLB season)

July 15, 2008

2008 All-Star Game (first full MLB season)

Whoops (Deadspin: photos/bar)

Just before
Spring Training 2009

Whoops (Deadspin: video/guns)

Disabled list – ribcage strain

May 2009

Disabled list stint – back spasms

Second DL stint – abdominal surgery

June 2, 2009

Second DL stint – right elbow surgery

Regression on the field

April 2010

Substance abuse suspension

 

It
would never sell to the Network TV suits. 
“Too hokey,” they’d say, “viewers would never buy it,” and then they’d
opt instead for a pilot called “Extreme Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,”
where Kate Gosselin and Helio Castroneves build a duplex each week, using only
the tools found in the Iron Chef’s kitchen, Donald Trump’s hair products, and
Howie Mandel.

 

 

I was about to delete it tonight but as I stared at that
final “Regression on the field” note for Josh Hamilton, which I wrote in April but
which now seems like 10 months ago, I thought I’d toss it in here.

 

The parallels between Hamilton and Edinson Volquez’s careers
since The Trade have been remarkable.  Pay
attention to what Volquez has been doing on his ahead-of-schedule rehab (eight
scoreless innings, three hits, no walks, seven strikeouts in two appearances), and
if his location is there, you can see where he might surprise some people in
the second half and have as much impact for the Reds as any trade deadline
pickup gives another contender.

 

But whatever Volquez manages to do in 2010, it seems
unlikely that it would parallel what Hamilton has been doing for the last five
weeks (.421/.445/.744 in 121 at-bats since May 18, with nine home runs and 29
RBI in 30 games) and seems poised to do for the season.

 

To put it in perspective: In his storybook 2008 season, Hamilton
hit .304/.371/.530.

 

Right now, even including his pedestrian six-week start to
the 2010 season, he sits at .337/.381/.600 for the year.

 

He’d have to hit .280/.363/.477 the rest of the way this
year to end up, in the same number of at-bats, with his 2008 slash line.

 

And that could happen. 
There’s no way Hamilton keeps this ridiculous run going and stays this
locked in all year.  He may see his
numbers recede a bit, but then again may be Ian Kinsler will pick his
production numbers up, and maybe Nelson Cruz’s hamstrings are done barking for the
year, and even if Julio Borbon cools off, Elvis Andrus should get to clicking
again eventually.

 

This offense is so different when Hamilton is right.

 

Another note I may never use if I don’t use it now: While
Colby Lewis leads major league starting pitchers in opponents’ batting average
(.187, ahead of Ubaldo Jimenez’s .189), Chris Ray – who for whatever reason I still
find that I don’t completely trust – is holding opponents to a .189 clip out of
the Rangers pen.

 

Lewis’s complete opposing slash line is .187/.267/.323.  Ryan Raburn, in other words.

 

Ray’s is .189/.286/.333. 
Raburn after maybe a 1 for 5 with a double and a walk.

 

Meanwhile, Kevin Millwood, the pitcher whose departure essentially
made Lewis and Ray (and Rich Harden) Rangers, won his first game of the season on
Saturday, and sits at .296/.348/.486 for the year.  The average hitter against Millwood this year
is in Ryan Braun/Hanley Ramirez territory.

 

Buster Olney featured Michael Young in his
Sunday column for ESPN
, including in the article this anecdote:

 

[R]ight
near the trade deadline last season, Rangers GM Jon Daniels recalled the other
day, he got a phone call from Young, who was in the clubhouse.  Texas was thinking about making deals to
augment the team for a run at the AL West title – but to do so, of course, the
Rangers would’ve had to trade some of their young players.

 

“Hey,
listen,” Young told Daniels. “I just want you to know – do what you have to do,
but don’t do something just to appease us down here.”

 

In
other words: Young understood if the Rangers decided not to trade for someone
like Roy Halladay.

 

“We
like where you guys are headed,” Young told Daniels. “We like the young
players.”

 

I think I’m at the point right now, seeing what Colby Lewis
has become and what Josh Hamilton has re-become, and seeing that good-looking
3.5-game lead in the West with a day off tomorrow and the Pirates and Astros
(who tonight designated for assignment three players who played against Texas
today: righthander Casey Daigle, outfielder Cory Sullivan – who will be
replaced by Jason Bourgeois – and catcher Kevin Cash, whose departure paves the
way for Jason Castro, the Stanford catcher whom the Astros passed on Justin Smoak
in order to draft in 2008) coming to town, and the club possibly three weeks
away from an ownership transition, where I’m hopeful that if Young makes that
same phone call to Daniels in a month, Daniels “does what he has to do,” and
goes and adds a Guy.

 

In other words, remember that Step Five we talked about a
year and a month ago
?  Say it with
me:

 

It’s time.

 

 

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(c) Jamey Newberg

http://www.newbergreport.com

Twitter 
@newbergreport

 

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