I’ve mentioned before that I’m an Arsenal fan. This past weekend was one of the most gut-wrenching weekends in Arsenal history, with the sale of Thierry Henry to Barcelona. If you don’t follow soccer, I don’t know if I can explain how much this means. Think of A-Rod going to the Yankees, if A-Rod was one of the most beloved Rangers players ever (at the time I would have said admired yes, but beloved no). Maybe think of A-Rod coming to the Rangers, from a Seattle point of view. Maybe think of Jeter leaving the Yankees, although Barcelona are pretty much the Yankees of world soccer now. Thierry Henry is Arsenal’s all-time leading scorer, was the main cog of a hugely successful team over the last several years, was twice runner-up for World Player of the Year, and scorer of what I would say is probably the best goal I ever saw. It is a huge blow to Arsenal to lose him, and a huge coup for Barcelona to gain him. To give you an idea of what he means to Barcelona, after his press conference announcing his signing, he went out to meet the fans, and there were 30,000 of them there to see him. Yes, I said thirty thousand people came to see him join the club, more, it seems, than show up to see half of the Rangers games. How many were there when A-Rod arrived in Texas?
So when I see all this trade talk around Teixeira or Gagne or Aki or whoever, I have to put it in perspective. None of them mean nearly that much to the Rangers. To be fair, there are eleven players on a soccer team, and only nine on a baseball team (regardless of squads), but if you are a dominant soccer player you can be worth much more to your team. If you’re a great player in baseball, you’re still only going to get four or five at-bats during a game, just like everyone else on the team. If you’re Thierry Henry, you’re going to score 30 out of the 73 goals your team scored in 2003-04, 41% of the goals. What has the best player of all time scored in baseball? I would guess it wouldn’t even be 20% of his team’s runs (or RBIs, or any other production metric you might want to throw out there). Yes, Tex and co. mean a lot to Rangers fans, but in terms of production they’re much more easily replaceable than a Thierry Henry is.
In regard to all that, I happened to be watching Fox 4 tonight, and they had a short interview with Michael Young. He reiterated a few things, that it wasn’t the manager’s fault, the players had been playing poorly, and that it’s all well and good to draft a bunch of young players but they aren’t going to help for several years and he wants to win now. He doesn’t want to rebuild, blah blah blah. You’ve heard it all before, just substitute A-Rod for Michael Young and I think that’s where we are heading. He just signed a big multi-year deal, so I guess the Rangers will have to throw in a ton of money to offset that, and once again we get to pay someone else’s payroll. It was probably an inadvisable contract in the beginning, but it’s a whole lot worse when just six months down the road the player is already complaining about the team. I’ve lost a little respect for Michael recently.
A couple of interesting links around the net today. First, go to Baseball Analysts, they have a little review of the Rangers, basically questioning why the Rangers would give Jon Daniels an extension when he hasn’t proven anything, and looking at his track record so far. I have to say I agree with most everything they have to say. The other link is the next installment in the Management By Baseball interview with JD. This time he explains how he got the job, and tells us the surprising note that this year they had their first organizational meeting (as an organization, not as parts of one) in seven years. I think this might have helped do some damage to the team, since people aren’t getting together to compare notes and know what each other is doing. This is yet another indictment of the John Hart era. One of the things I’ve noticed in this series of articles is that Jeff Angus (the MBB author) hasn’t mentioned is how badly the Rangers are doing. His interviews were conducted in spring training, so he couldn’t ask JD about it, but surely he could put in something to say “hey look, JD said we’d do this and that but it didn’t work at all”. Much of his thesis in fact appears to be just the opposite, praising JD for his management skills and seeing lessons others can learn.
Well pitched game tonight for Kam Loe, now 3-0 after being sent to the minors for two days. I think it’s time to get plane tickets for Tejeda and Millwood. As they repeatedly pointed out, he didn’t do much striking out, but he got a lot of ground balls. Unfortunately Detroit doesn’t have the full Gameday service, and only one out of three of his starts since he came back has it (and that one was at home against the Cubs, the least effective of the three), so there’s not much data to look at and see what if anything he’s doing differently. Hopefully he’ll keep it up and a few more starts will give us more info.
The Rangers are looking to Willie Eyre to start tomorrow, something I asked about a couple of weeks ago. The question is how long can he go, but then that’s a question we ask about every Rangers pitcher whenever they start. All he needs is five innings and he’ll be doing about as well as the rest of them. He certainly won’t be any worse than Kronk would be. I’m glad they brought Scott Feldman back up, he needs to do something to get his ERA off the 6.66 it is at right now.
Brandon McCarthy is going to start in Frisco on Friday night, I have vague thoughts of going to see him. When Marian reads this, she’ll be surprised, because I haven’t mentioned it yet, but since she works almost next door to the Roughriders ballpark, it might just be a good night to be there. I can indulge my little fanboy crush on McCarthy, and Josh can enjoy another ballgame.