So I’ve decided on a strategy for the rest of the season, and a goal that the Rangers can aim for. For a couple of months I’ve been touting the “lay down and die” theory, that you’ll get the first pick and help the club more than any other strategy might. But I’ve changed my mind, since the players won’t cooperate and insist on trying to win (and also insist on deluding themselves that they’re not out of it yet). Now, my goal is simple, and only involves one other team: finish ahead of the A’s. I’ve never liked them, I’ve never really respected Billy Beane’s theories (he came across as an ass in Moneyball, and I think he largely simply got lucky having three horses to ride, without them the team was pretty average), and in a previous post I showed how their recent success was largely due to timing, that they were in an upswing in their historical behavior, which he just happened to jump on just as it took off. Don’t get me wrong, I totally believe in OBP etc, I’m a paid-up member of SABR, yadda yadda, I just think his deification by some members of the blogosphere and elsewhere is a bit over the top.
So why finish ahead of the A’s? It’ll only help them, getting a higher draft pick. Yes, that’s true, but when you get to where these two teams are going to be, in slots 7-10 in the draft, it’s all a crap-shoot anyway. Look back at previous drafts, there are too many occasions where a guy picked at 5 is a flop who never makes the big leagues, and a 6 is a superstar. It’s all random, and besides, it doesn’t really matter who the Rangers draft, they’re going to ruin them or trade them before they get good. Nope, of all the teams in baseball I hate the Yankees the most, and the A’s the second most. I don’t know why, I just do. Probably because they’re in our division, but I don’t hate the Angels or Mariners as much.
Funny thing is, Billy Beane did show his genius today, trading Jason Kendall to the Cubs. Okay, he didn’t get much in return, but he wasn’t giving up much. I’m not sure if this is Billy Beane genius or Jim Hendry stupidity though. Either way, the Cubs are in big trouble if they think Kendall will help them. You know what this reminds me of? Those years I played fantasy baseball. One guy talks another guy into giving up a star for an over the hill dud. In this case it wasn’t a start, but it was a dud. And it was always me getting the dud, which is why I always finished last. Yes, I could do Jim Hendry’s job.
Beating the A’s today is a nice start on my new goal. Well pitched by Wright, who has suddenly become the ace, with the best ERA on the team. Good of Gagne to finish it, after they got in trouble, but it proved that even with a four run lead in the 9th that we’re not out of the woods. The offense has been scratching since the All-Star break, against admittedly good pitching in Anaheim, but I think they can step it up again. After all, they have a goal now.
If you’re interested, there were four straight 4th place finishes from 2000-03, and three straight 3rds from 2004-06, so if we can get into 3rd that’ll keep the streak going. After that, four straight 2nds, then four straight 1sts from 2012-2015. Well, maybe sooner than that? Let’s get ahead of the A’s and then we’ll talk about 2012.
Speaking of bad GMs, why would JD let Aki sit on the 25 man roster without being able to pitch, for 15 days? I mean, at the very least you make a decision during the All-Star break, you say that he’s not going to be ready, give him a few more days, backdate the disabling, and get another pitcher (or hitter, since the bullpen is more than full) in. Are they afraid to DL him, because he is trade bait? You don’t think other teams won’t notice he hasn’t pitched for two weeks? If you’ve been following this at all, you know that every single day they’ve been saying he’ll be ready in a couple of days. I remember right before the All-Star break they were going to pitch him that Sunday, because he’d missed several days and they wanted him back, and I said that was a stupid idea, if he’s missed a week, give him one extra day without pitching and it turns out to be five days because of the break. But no, they didn’t think of that, but fortunately he wasn’t ready, and unfortunately he still isn’t. I like Aki, I’d keep him if I could, but since he won’t be here in 2010 (or 2012) we may as well get something for him. Kind of like Gagne. And especially like Sosa.
Reports are all over the place about Jason Botts now, everyone just waiting for him to come up. The Sosa trade talk is ongoing, with the suggestion that Sosa needs to be traded for Botts to come up. My preference would be to trade Sosa, although no-one is surely stupid enough to bite on that (maybe the Cubs are), and if not then release him to make room for Botts. All of a sudden there’s coming to be a log-jam at AAA, with Nelson Cruz having been tearing the ball too, and ready to be back. Where are we going to put all these guys if we don’t trim some of the dead wood? Botts is 27, and has wasted at least two years at AAA, while the brass keeps bringing in “veterans” who can’t hit or field. Botts apparently can’t field, but he sure can hit, and with two years experience right now we’d be sitting pretty, not having to make lame signings like Sosa to try and show the fan base they want to win.