Thursday, February 14, 2008
I sure wish I could get excited about baseball season starting. The Rangers officially opened spring training today in very fitting Surprise, AZ. Although, there is no surprise where the Rangers will finish this year, last place. Surprise, the biggest issue is pitching. For 37 years its been pitching. What was done in the off-season to address this? The most significant signing in the off season just turned 61. 2nd biggest news this offseason was John Rocker admitting he used roids as a Ranger. He joined Canseco, Pudge, Juan Gone, Palmeiro as the cream (and the clear) of our crop.
Here are some Rangers highlights:
1972-1993 - Nolan Ryan beats up Robin Ventura
1994 - Rangers win first division title. They were 52-62 that year. . So embarrassed MLB, they cancelled the World Series.
1996-1999 - Rangers win three division titles in four years. Postseason record: 1-9, with a nine game losing streak to the Yankees.
2000-2007 - Rangers finish (in a division of four) 4th, 4th, 4th, 4th, 3rd, 3rd, 3rd, 4th
The Rangers are the oldest franchise that has yet to appear in a World Series; in fact, they have yet to win any playoff series. They are the oldest franchise in the 4 major pro sports to never win a championship. They have never won a home playoff game.
The Rangers list five Hall of Famers:
Ted Williams - Really? What did he contribute as a Ranger? He managed the '72 team that went 54-100
Ferguson Jenkins - In a 19-year career he pitched six years for the Rangers
Gaylord Perry - 22-year career, three years for the Rangers
Nolan Ryan - 27-year career, five years for the Rangers
Rich Gossage - 22-year career, one year for the Rangers
One Ranger hat in the Hall, Nolan. Mets: 5 years, Angels: 8 years, Astros: 9 years, Texas: 5 years. He wears the T because he worked for the Rangers at the time. It should be an Astros cap.
Let's look at retired numbers:
42 - Jackie Robinson
34 - Nolan Ryan, franchise savior
26 - Johnny Oates, dead manager
So, I know your thinking, Bill, there's always next year. OK, lets look at the Strangers starting lineup:
C: Gerald Laird - 2007 average: .224
1B: Ben Broussard - typically the power corner, 2007 HR: 7
2B: Ian Kinsler - Baseball Reference compares him closest to Bill Salkeld
SS: Michael Young - Centerpiece of franchise. Actually, decent so he'll be traded midseason
3B: Hank Blalock - Power corner, 2007 HR: 10
LF: Marlon Byrd - Percentage owned in ESPN fantasy league: 2.3%
CF: Josh Hamilton - He's owned in 6.1% Congrats! You're the star in the outfield!
RF: Milton Bradley - He's got some game
DH: Frank Catalanotsupposedtostarto: 2007 - 44 RBI
"Ace"(hole) - Kevin Millwood: 10-14, 5.16 ERA, 1.62 WHIP, .301 BAA, 172 IP, 123 K
Salary: 9.8 million
Vincente Padilla: 6-10, 5.76, 1.63, .299, 120 IP, 71 K - Salary: 9 million
Jason Jennings: 2-9, 6.45, 1.55, .301, 99 IP, 71 K - Salary: 5.5 million (This was the Rangers signing to bolster the staff)
Brandon McCarthy: 5-10, 4.87(congrats for being the only Ranger under 5.00), 1.56, .278, 101 IP, 59K
Stats with Boston: 4-0, 3.73 ERA
Stats with Texas: 2-1, 5.58 ERA
In the fantasy world, most drafts run 25 rounds, 10-12 teams. That is 250-300 players. ESPN projects the Rangers will have 1 pitcher that would be drafted, C.J. Wilson, in the 25th round. And only because he collects saves.
As the great Ron Jackson says: GO RANGERS!