So the second half begins as the first did, in Anaheim, last time by being swept, this time with an innocuous little 2-1 loss to the Angels. Don’t you hate seeing GMJ score the winning run? Okay, so we let him go and rightly so, but still, whenever old players come back they always seem to haunt you. If you’re counting, his OPS+ last year was 119, the best of his career, and this year he is back to 109, tied with 2002 for his second best. I think the Angels will be regretting that five year deal pretty soon. But right now he’s scoring winning runs, and that’s what matters to them.
I read the Dallas Observer today, and was astonished. The cover story, titled Boy Blunder, is an interview with Jon Daniels. Here’s the quotes that astonished me:
“It’ll take a miracle,” Laird says. “But it’s a weird game. Let’s stay hot for two months and maybe we can make it interesting in September.”
So Gerald Laird believes in the team. Good for him, but don’t try and pretend you’re going to be playing meaningful games in September (except the ones to determine whether the Mariners will make the wild card). As I have said before, as hot as they think they’ve been the last month, they haven’t gained any ground. They’ll have to step up and play about .800 ball the rest of the way to get in contention, and that ain’t happening.
Tom Hicks: “We’ve had some tough injuries, and now we’ve got guys playing who are essentially minor leaguers.” Really? You mean like Desi Relaford or Ramon Vazquez? Yeah, as I said the other day, get rid of these people and bring up some real minor leaguers, guys who might actually be around in a few years and helpful to the team. Better yet, get rid of Hicks. By the way, anyone following Liverpool FC, the soccer team he bought earlier this year? He’s doing the same stuff there as he did to the Rangers, throwing money around like it will buy him success. He’s spent close to 50 million pounds on a few players, you’d think he’d learned nothing from the Rangers. Go, Tom, just go away. Tell Mark Cuban to drop his interest in the Cubs, and he can have the Rangers. No matter how much a jerk Cuban is, at least he cares about winning.
Next quote is from JD, referring to the Rangers ranking 28th out of 30 by Baseball America in the minor leagues: “With our recent draft and some of the moves we’ve already made, if we do nothing else we’ll make a pretty dramatic climb in the rankings next year. And we’re not finished.”
Well that’s a relief. That’s exactly what we’re looking for, to improve our minor league ranking. That’s what’s going to get the team to the World Series, isn’t it? Hey, maybe you can get them all the way up to 20th. That way they’ll be matching the major league team’s record over the last several years.
“I told Michael we were implementing a five-year plan toward stability and a one-year plan toward winning, running concurrently,” Daniels says. “I purposely avoid the word rebuilding.”
Does he seriously believe the Rangers will be contending next year? Or is he just telling Michael Young that so the most famous employee is not disgruntled to the media as much as his buddy Tex is? Either way, it’s a dumb idea. Okay, yeah, go for stability in five years, but don’t do the one year part, because that’s going to destroy the five year part. You’re going to get rid of useful pieces to add over-priced major league pieces, who aren’t going to do anything except complain, or hit as badly as Sosa or Wilkerson.
Do I have the answers? No. Except getting rid of Hicks, and a few others. Time is about the only thing that will help the Rangers, and unfortunately time is not what the fans want to give them, especially with Cowboys camp opening any time now. The Rangers have set a course of hitting .500 for the year, which is just about the worst thing that could happen to them. They lose higher draft picks, and they continue down the road of mediocrity or worse that the owner set in place. I’d love to be saying something different in five years, but I’m betting that in that time they’ll be trying to get to .500 again, and Michael Young, like Tex, will be long gone.
Jamey Newberg pointed out this stupid story. The story says that Tom Hicks expressed interested in re-acquiring Alex Rodriguez. Yes, you read that right, Alex, not Pudge. If you don’t believe me, go read the article. First of all, A-Rod would never come back here. Second of all, we would never take him back. I make this promise to you right now: if A-Rod ever comes back to the Rangers, on the day he is presented I will be outside the stadium, with my Alex Rodriguez Rangers jersey (yes, I still have it, buried in the closet somewhere), and I will burn it in front of as many media as I can find. And then I would never buy another thing from the Rangers, ever. Oh, I would still watch the games, on tv, but they would lose my not small expenditure on the team. This is a non-starter, and better stay that way.
Finally, I had promised to get some numbers posted about this weekend’s Angels series. In particular, I was trying to show how the two teams were pitching each other, how they were approaching each batter. Unfortunately I ran out of time to finish it, but maybe I’ll have it up tomorrow.