I’ll try and work harder too

So the Rangers finally inked first round pick Blake Beavan to a contract, one day before the deadline for signing players. With that one day to go, there are still a few players left that the Rangers won’t want to get away, so expect the possibility of another signing or two being announced tomorrow. Of course, chances are some of them won’t want to sign, and will be back in the draft next year (or later, depending on what their eligibility will be). If that’s the case, the Rangers will get compensatory picks in the same spots next year (e.g. Beavan was the 17th pick this year, if he hadn’t signed the Rangers would have gotten a compensation pick after the 17th pick next year), which to me sounds like an extremely unworkable solution, which is going to need some accountants to keep track of in a year or three. What if the Rangers didn’t sign that comp pick next year? Would they get another one the year after? Would it still be after the 17th pick, or would it be after the 18th, since that’s where it would effectively be next year (assuming all other teams signed their players)? What if the team drafting 17th next year also didn’t sign their player? And so on. You can imagine the team drafting 30th overall next year actually getting about the 35th player (if five teams don’t sign their first picks this year), and the year after that 30th pick might actually be the 40th player, and so on and so on. An accounting nightmare that only an Enron fan could love (sorry, had to throw that in since I’m reading a book about the Enron scandals right now).

Anyway, they got their man, at last. You can now expect to see Beavan in the Rangers rotation in about five years time. Well, expect is a strong word, since I’m guessing there’s probably about a10% chance he a) won’t get injured, b) will still be a rotation candidate instead of in the bullpen, c) will still be with the Rangers instead of being traded, or d) won’t have veered off into some other interests, like football, or girls, or drugs, or any of 1.5 million other distractions that an 18 year old with 1.5 million dollars might have. In fact, you’ll love this quote, when asked about a timetable on reaching the Rangers he said “It depends how hard I work in order to get there”. Uhhh, yeah, sure it does, kid. Hey, why don’t you spend some of that money on a PR person, someone who’ll tell you not to say really stupid things that will make people question your work ethic the day you sign a million dollar contract? I’ve been irritated at him before on this blog, and I can see that’s not going to stop. If he ever does make the majors, I have the strong feeling that my thoughts about him will always be colored by the dumb things he has said, and the holding out he did because he wanted more money. Ironically, just a few days ago one of the Rangers’ other first round picks, Michael Main, was promoted a level after pitching well at his first stop in pro baseball. Who are you going to root for more, the guy who signed, got on with the job, and stepped one rung closer to the majors, or the guy who held out for a few thousand more dollars, threatened to go to college, didn’t pitch at all this year, didn’t get any development done, and isn’t eligible to pitch until next year?

On the other hand, who knows? Maybe he has just the right attitude to turn himself into another Roger Clemens, or Nolan Ryan. As always with prospects, only time will tell.

Nice win against KC today. Gerald Laird pulls off a bunt to hit a three run homer, and of course it’s all about him being questioned as the catcher going forward. You know, four years ago when he made his debut I thought he might have the chance to be the new Pudge, setting up to be the Rangers catcher for the next ten years or so. Of course, that kind of got derailed, not only by various little injuries but also by the idea that Rod Barajas was better than him, and by Showalter not liking him for some reason. I think if he’d gotten the chances he deserved, he might have made something more of himself. Instead he’s going to be another one of those guys who, if not traded beforehand, will be looking elsewhere once free agency comes along simply because the Rangers didn’t give him those opportunities. It’s got to be really annoying for them to trade for Salty, say he’s going to catch just a little, then two weeks later turn around and say that they’ll split time behind the plate, to see what Salty can do. Yeah, that might be good for the team, but it’s irritating for the player. Gerald has shown he can field with the best of them, he’s just had trouble getting his bat going, which since he’s been jerked around so much isn’t surprising. Right now I’d give more than even odds that Laird will be with another team next year, because JD doesn’t have the skin in the game where Laird is concerned, not compared to Salty who he traded for instead of inheriting. Laird should be worth yet another prospect, in JD’s chase to have the best minor league system around.

Padilla is going to start tomorrow. Quote: “We hope he throws well,” Connor said. “The Minor League starts don’t indicate he’s back to where he needs to be, but those are Minor League starts. Some guys don’t pitch very well in those starts.” Yeah, right. What do you call players who don’t pitch very well in the minors? Scrubs, usually. But usually you don’t give them 20 million dollar contracts. And then usually you don’t risk bringing them back up when they’ve had a 8 something ERA in 12 innings over 6 starts in the minors. That’s right, in his rehab he has averaged two innings per start. Do you think he’ll make it through two innings tomorrow? My prediction, he sucks tomorrow, and in the next couple of starts, and will eventually have season ending surgery, then will be back in the mix in spring training.

Speaking of season ending, that’s what they’re saying about Aki. Remember back in early July, when he first got injured? They didn’t put him on the DL for a couple of weeks, they kept saying it was a day to day thing, they kept hoping he’d be okay so his trade value wouldn’t be damaged. Now, six weeks later, they still don’t know when he’ll be back, if at all this year. This is another example of a pitching coach who doesn’t know what he’s doing, who is gambling with million dollar arms and losing more often than he wins. It’s not a coincidence that all these pitchers are getting hurt this year, there’s something deeper underlying it. If Blake Beavan wants to increase his 10% chance, he shouldn’t even shake hands with Mark Connor, let alone listen to his advice.

TR Sullivan took a look at where the Rangers are for next year. In a couple of places he talks about what the Rangers have to do to contend in 2008. The scary part is that Rangers ownership and management might be looking at this and getting ideas about winning next year. You know what the Rangers have to do to contend next year? Become the Angels. Seriously. If you think this team, which a while ago was almost guaranteed to lose 100 games but have improved so much they might only lose 90, is going to contend next year, then I’ve got some bridges you might be interested in. Yes, theoretically it’s possible they might contend, but in reality that’s maybe a 2% chance. They haven’t done anything to improve the major league team, they’ve got a rotation which I talked about the other day as being full of #4 and #5 starters, nothing to scare anyone, and they’re a franchise that has been drifting for years. They are going to plug in a couple of stop-gap free agents, pretend they’re big stars who are going to put the team over the top, and muddle their way back to another 70-80 win season. They don’t have the guts to tear it all down, they don’t have the minor league system to trade for the people they need, and they don’t have enough money to get the free agent pitching they need (they will get the mediocrities, the Chan Ho Park’s that will take a lot of dollars for a little result, and trumpet them as saviors). It doesn’t really matter what they do for the next year or two, they simply have to sit back and try not to destroy anything while the kids develop into a winning team in 3-5 years time.

Apologies for not getting Rusty photos uploaded yet, as I promised I would on the weekend.  Maybe tomorrow, if time doesn’t get away from me again.

Finally, it’s been fun to see some of the people that have linked to this blog over time. I’ve gotten a number of links from some high profile places in the baseball geek world. I recently passed a milestone, 1000 page views (in four months, although it took a couple of months to get to 50, so things have been getting better and better), and those page views only count people who browse or come in from other links, not those of you who read my feed, which would put the number a lot higher. It’s always an honor when I get a link, because it gives some validation to what I write and encourages me to continue. It’s especially pleasing from somewhere that I read regularly, like the Batter’s Box site that mentioned me nicely the other day in their preview of the Rangers-Blue Jays series. But today I got perhaps my biggest link ever, from Slate magazine discussing the online analysis of the Gameday system.  I’ve read Slate for years, they’re one of the premier online magazines around.  To get mentioned in there is definitely the highlight of this blog so far, even if their implication is that I’m among the geekiest of the geeks.  I’m proud to be a geek, and I’m proud to get that link.  Thanks to all who read.

2 Responses to “I’ll try and work harder too”

  1. codypo Says:

    What’s your take on Padilla after last night? He looked good against the godawful Royals, but I’m wondering if it was all an illusion.

  2. Steve West Says:

    The Royals are awful, but fact is that with the win tonight they now have an identical record as the Rangers, 53-67. They came into the series averaging just 3.6 runs in their last 10 games (the Rangers were little better at 4.4). I’d say that KC was the perfect team to come back against.

    Padilla did look good, in terms of Game Score his best outing of the year (65, next best 61), but contextually Millwood had his best outing the night before and even Rheinecker looked good against them tonight. For his first start back after a long layoff, and having pitched badly in the minors, I think Padilla did very well, better than I expected. 5 innings was pretty decent given he was on a pitch limit. 8 strikeouts was excellent.

    Simply put, it’s too soon to tell what this game means. Maybe he really got over his injury and is pitching like he could. History tells us that he’ll fall back next time though. If I was a betting man I’d put the over/under on his Game Score next time at 40, but then I’d probably do that for any start he has this year.

    Thanks for the question!

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