Desi Relaford? Desi Freaking Relaford? Didn’t we have this discussion just a couple of days ago, about Vazquez? Seriously, in ten years in the big leagues Relaford has one with an OPS above league average, and for his career he’s a 74 OPS+. Yes, 74% of league average, meaning he’s just about one of the worst players ever, especially with a career that long. On occasion he’s showed a little with his glove, but overall for his career he’s below average too. Understand we’re in a bit of an emergency situation, with Kinsler’s injury adding to Blalock and Tex and almost everyone else who’s played the infield this year, but Desi Relaford? When you’re totalling up Jon Daniels’ career, this will be a big black mark in the “he did a bad thing” column. Now, I don’t pretend to know any better than JD about the current situation in the minors (wait, yes I do), but what’s wrong with Tug Hulett? Virtually identical numbers to Relaford in AAA this year, but 9 years younger, so presumably more meaningful to the future of the team. Or how about German Duran, age 22 with a .918 OPS in AA? Okay, they’re just numbers to me right now, but if you get them a little trial in the big leagues today you can help them when they come up for good in a couple of years. In 2010 Duran may be the starting second baseman for the Rangers, or a valuable trade chip if Kinsler is blocking him. In 2010 Relaford should be flipping burgers at McDonalds (but will probably be in someone’s minor league system, blocking yet another prospect).
Couple of quotes from the Rangers site: “The big question is if the Rangers’ hot streak will make them reluctant to trade off veterans and potential free agents before the July 31 trade deadline.” Yeah, isn’t that always the way? A team tanks early, gets ready to dump all it’s veterans in May, then gets on a little hot streak against some bad teams in June and decides they’re just about there. Haven’t we heard this before? Say, what’s Andres Galarraga up to these days? Or Buck Showalter? Or even Jon Daniels, who when he got the job apparently told Hicks that the Rangers are a player or two away from contending.
And a quote from JD: “But there’s stuff to be gained the rest of the season by our young guys playing in a positive and winning atmosphere.” Oh really? Then why the hell did I have to write that first paragraph, and the one about Vazquez and Jamey Wright the other day? You’re not playing the young guys, you’re bringing in washed up or worthless veterans to paper over the cracks. And leaving Jason Botts, among others, to rot in the minors. There’s a picking fruit analogy there, something about taking the ripe stuff off the vine, letting the unripe stuff ripen a little more, and leaving the rotten fruit on the ground and not picking it up at all. Okay, a little tortured, but you know what I mean.
Michael Young has apparently had a little controversy surrounding his All-Star pick, the usual “why did that guy go when our guy is better” stories, this time from Anaheim. Well boo-hoo, it happens every year. If there’s a rule that someone has to make it from every team, then someone will, even if someone better is left home. As it so happens, it wouldn’t be a bad thing for that rule to be gone, and for the Rangers to send nobody this year. But at least with Michael Young you get someone who has done it before, not some trendy Sosa-like pick. If Sosa had been the guy, there’d be some other outfielder left off who would be complaining, especially since overall Sosa has been pretty darn average.
Brandon McCarthy did just about what I expected he would tonight, giving up four runs in 3.2 innings. After a long layoff, when you’re supposed to be doing a medical rehab instead of starting against Boston, he was really kind of timid. The numbers show 47 strikes in 81 pitches, which is just under 60%, but it sure didn’t feel like that much. Three walks and one strikeout shows it a little better, he was looking like he was trying to catch corners, rather than going after guys like he has when he’s been successful. A lot of pitching is mental. If you get the mentality that they’re going to hit you, you’re going to start nibbling, and then you’ll start walking people. Julio Lugo is 0 for 31 lately, but still managed to get two walks, which tells you something, namely that McCarthy didn’t go after the people he should have. He’ll get it back though, and a start against Baltimore this weekend ought to help before the All-Star break.
Jacoby Ellsbury has had a career in just a couple of games. How often does someone score from second on a wild pitch? I would guess it’s pretty rare, especially without some kind of error involved. He’s certainly going to be center of the New England hype machine for a little while. Can anyone think of someone in the Rangers minor leagues that might fill that role? Maybe take a chance on some kid doing some good? Oh, Boston, how you will regret bringing up Ellsbury when you could have had Desi Relaford waste some space on your roster instead.