I’d say it’s time for a fisking, but I’m not going into that much detail. Just a few thoughts on an article on the Rangers site today.
The title is “Daniels says Texas could add to ‘pen”. That should tell you a lot. In fact, the opening quote is “it’s more likely that he’ll be able to improve his ballclub by adding bullpen help than in any other area”. Now, you may be right, I may be crazy, but it just may be a lot of things we’re looking for, but one of them is not bullpen help. Why, you ask? If I could be bothered digging out the study I’m thinking of (my guess is it’s either in The Book or on The Book Blog, about the smartest baseball site around), it shows that the worst position to trade for during a season is the bullpen. These guys don’t pitch much, and when they do they’re prone to great variation. You’re just as likely to pick up good bullpen help by picking random player X from AAA as you are in a trade, and you don’t even have to give up something to get it.
If the Rangers have anywhere to improve, it’s the rotation. Millwood is pitching lights-out, because he’s got a contract to play for, and Feldman has been more than holding his own (seriously, all those scouts who talk about a “game face”, they never looked at Feldman and said no thanks? At least one of his parents must have been a frog). But the rest? I mean the other seven guys who’ve started a game for the Rangers next year, they’ve been below average (Padilla, McCarthy), sucky (Harrison, Holland), or roster filler (the rest). Mathis is doing well in AAA but couldn’t make the leap, Feliz is staying down a while longer, and the rest aren’t anywhere near. The thoughts of contention in 2010 rapidly fade when you think that maybe Holland and Feliz will be here, with less than a year’s experience, and the rest of the touted pitchers are still far away.
So yeah, if they want to contend in ’09, they need a starter. But then JD says “the club’s need for starting pitching is not as dire as it’s being made out to be nationally”. Uhh, right. You go into a season with basically the same staff as last year, a year when they trailed the world in pitching, and imagine they’re going to be great this time around. That May thing, where they pitched surprisingly well for a month before slumping again, that was what’s known as an outlier. June is called regression to the mean. By the way, did you notice they did the same last year – team ERA for May ’08 was 3.90, next best month was 5.08 – what’s that about? The May ’09 ERA was 3.57, best since May (again!) of ’05. Did you think they could repeat?
“Daniels said his most likely direction right now is to, “probably stay the course.”" Or, in other words, to pretend that they are contenders with the team they have, since crowds are up a little and no-one seems to be noticing the glaring holes. And, oh yeah, there’s that little thing about money. The thing where Tom Hicks bought a whole bunch of toys (Rangers, Stars, Liverpool, the AAC, the list goes on) using Other People’s Money, and now it’s time to pay the bills and he’s being found out for the fool he is. Along with a bunch of other financial geniuses, of course.
“Daniels, like manager Ron Washington, continues to express confidence that first baseman Chris Davis will snap out of a season-long slump that has the Rangers considering other options at the position.” CD sucks, so get him down to AAA. You are of course aware that he just set a record for fastest to 100 strikeouts. He is swinging at anything, and you see the fear in his eyes. I happened to be browsing a story from April yesterday, which said they’d signed Joe Kochansky as depth at first. Lost him pretty quickly, and never filled the gap. Shame, because they really need it now. Frankly, anyone would be better than CD right now. I wonder if Ben Broussard is available? CD needs to go down, but they will not admit they are wrong and send him there.
“Nationals first baseman Nick Johnson has been mentioned as a possibility and Cardinals infielder Troy Glaus could become available at some point.” Johnson will cost a lot, because the Nats suck badly, and the only way they’ll get better is by robbing someone in a trade. And yes, Glaus could become available, just as soon as he gets into a game this year. The Rangers will do better to give the job to Andruw Jones for the meantime.
“But one of the reasons why we’re in the position we are today is how we’re playing defense and Chris is a big part of that.” I always choose my first baseman based on how good his glove is. The bat, that’s kind of incidental. I mean, he’s just one number away from being a second baseman, and no-one cares how they hit, right?
“Nobody is more frustrated than he is.” Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. Yeah we are.
“Starting pitching could be more expensive, both in prospects and salary that would have to be added. The Rangers are reluctant to trade top Minor League prospects”. Me too. Really, I don’t believe the Rangers are contenders, and I don’t believe there’s only one piece out there that would make them so. There are a lot of empty shells that look pretty, but don’t help the team as much as you might think. I love Marlon Byrd’s work ethic, but let’s face it, he is a below average hitter and his fielding is pretty bad too. Shame that Hamilton had to run into a wall too many, but of course he’s more suited to a corner too.
“and this could be a tough time to add salary with the current economic conditions.” Especially when your owner was one of those morons who said “hey, property values are always going to go up, let’s gamble since it’s free money!”
I think I actually like Jon Daniels now. He’s doing a pretty good job lately. Okay, ignore the fact that Danks, Young, Volquez, Millwood, Galarraga would look like a fairly decent rotation. I mean apart from that. Clearly, in an interview like this, he’s got to say a bunch of good stuff about the team. First of all, chances are some or all of the team are going to hear about his comments, and it won’t go over too well if he tells the truth about them. And second, there’s all those tickets to sell, during the summer when it’s getting time for the Cowboys to start practicing. If they can just pretend the team is contending for another month or two, they might be able to break even this year.
But never mind, it’s his job, for now at least. Personally, if you or I gave Ron Washington an extension based on his performance this year, our feet wouldn’t touch the ground on the way out the door. JD says he has a plan, and I have to believe him, even if I think that plan is slipping to 2011 or 2012, and depending on what they do the next few weeks, maybe even 2013. At the very least, he’s padding his resume for a future director of scouting job.
The other thought that crosses my mind is Pedro Martinez. Not the ridiculous rumors that we should sign him, both sides would be foolish to do that. I actually mean the trade that took him to Boston. Carl Pavano and Tony Armas were considered top prospects, and the initial reaction was that they paid too much for Pedro. Wouldn’t hear that now, would you? No, now all you’re hear is TANSTAAPP – There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Pitching Prospect. JD ought to remember that, when he’s thinking about blockbuster deals (which should be a year or two away).
And if anyone dares to mention Orlando Hernandez, I’ll be waiting for them outside with a bat in my hand.