Tag: rangers

Mets Fans’ Dream Come True

OK, maybe seeing the San Francisco Giants and Texas Rangers face off in the World Series isn’t exactly a “dream” for a Mets fan. But a World Series played between the Philadelphia Phillies and the New York Yankees is pretty much a Mets fan’s worst nightmare, isn’t it?

Even though the Giants used to play in the Polo Grounds, and wear the same shade of orange as the Mets, I have a hard time rooting for them — mainly because they are an NL rival. Further, I just can’t bring my self to pull for specific players on the Giants; namely, Tim Lincecum, Pat Burrell, Cody Ross, and Guillermo Mota. And I don’t find “fear the beard” to be particularly inspiring, either.

At the same time, it’s hard for me to favor a team that plays in the Adulterated League — the one that continues to experiment with the designated pinch hitter rather than engage in real baseball. But I happen to like watching some of the Rangers players (Michael Young, Ian Kinsler, Nelson Cruz, Jorge Cantu, Cliff Lee, Darren O’Day, Darren Oliver, and Jeff Francoer top the list), and I’m eager to see Nolan Ryan succeed — mainly because of his dedication to developing pitchers based on sound mechanics and conditioning rather than pitch counts and other inane recommendations by surgeons.

Tough call, but I’m leaning toward rooting for the Rangers.

Which team will you be rooting for, and why?

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Mets Trade Jeff Francoeur to Rangers

According to various sources, the Mets have traded Jeff Francoeur to the Texas Rangers for middle infielder Joaquin Arias.

Jeff Francoeur ended his Mets career as their cleanup hitter. There’s something wrong with that, isn’t there? Though, it is in line with the Mets starting their season with Mike Jacobs in that lineup spot.

So in the end, the Mets ultimately turned Lastings Milledge into Joaquin Arias. Well, at least Arias was once traded for Alex Rodriguez.

With Arias on the club, how the heck are the Mets going to find at-bats for Luis Hernandez?

In other news, the Mets announced that Lucas Duda and Jenrry Mejia have been promoted to the big club.

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Putz and Kendall Sign

jjputz-sadJ.J. Putz agreed to terms with the White Sox on a one-year, $3M contract plus incentives. Heck, at that price I would’ve liked to have seen him return to the Mets, who paid for his surgery and rehab. Oh well.

But hey, the Mets won’t miss the 7 players they sent to Seattle and Cleveland for the pleasure of 29 innings thrown by Putz and 161 at-bats by Jeremy Reed. And hey, there’s a good chance Sean Green returns to the Mets bullpen in 2010, so the deal wasn’t a complete loss. Meh.

In other news, Jason Kendall signed a two-year, $6M deal with the Kansas City Royals. I realize Kendall wasn’t the “sexy” choice among the free-agent backstops, but he wasn’t the worst either. The price and the two-year commitment seems steep for a 36-year-old catcher who makes Luis Castillo seem like a power hitter.

You could argue that the relatively expensive cost Kendall gives Bengie Molina leverage, but I believe just the opposite. Signing Kendall takes the Royals off the board in regard to the tiny and ever-shrinking demand for starting catchers. The only teams left who are definitely in the market for a veteran everyday receiver are the Giants (who publicly stated “that ship has sailed”), Astros, and Mets. The Rangers might be in play as well — despite having youngster Taylor Teagarden and Jarrod Saltalamacchia — but we haven’t heard any buzz about them going after Molina. So really it comes down to the Mets and the Astros, with Molina, Miguel Olivo, Rod Barajas, and Yorvit Torrealba all available — though, most believe that Torrealba will re-sign with the Rockies to platoon with Chris Iannetta.

Not to be ignored is the fact that Dioner Navarro — among others — may be non-tendered soon, swelling the pool of available catchers a bit more.

That said, you have to hope that the contract offer tendered by the Mets to Molina this past week was for one guaranteed year and an easily digestible salary. Anything else is bad business, since the supply exceeds the demand.

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Where They Are Now: Casey Fossum

Casey Fossum pitching for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees

Casey Fossum pitching for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees

Remember Casey Fossum? It was a while back, I know, but try. Here’s a reminder.

Anywho, as you may also remember, Fossum was DFA’d to make room for Ken Takahashi. We assumed he’d simply report back to Buffalo and return to orange and blue when needed.

Instead, Fossum elected free agency, and is now in pinstripes. The Yankee kind. The Yanks signed him and sent him to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to take the injured Ian Kennedy’s place on the roster.

Last night, Fossum started against the Norfolk Tides and, on a limited pitch count, tossed 3 2/3 “sharp” innings, helping the AAA Yankees to a 5-1 win.

Also, as mentioned earlier this morning, Jason Vargas picked up the win for the Mariners in a 15-inning affair last night. Vargas threw 2 1/3, striking out 4. And in other news, Darren O’Day — who is developing his own “Six Degrees of Separation” — threw another perfect inning in relief for the Rangers last night, striking out two. He’s now appeared in 6 games, pitched 4 1/3 scoreless innings, and struck out 4. Who says the American League has better hitters?

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Where They Are Now: Darren O’Day

He’d been gone only hours, but Darren O’Day already appeared in a game for the Texas Rangers, facing Kevin Millar in the 11th inning last night against the Blue Jays.

O’Day was so new they didn’t have a uniform for him, so he wore Kason Gabbard’s jersey. Yes, O’Day went into the game with the name “Gabbard” stitched across his back.

“I got off the plane in the eighth inning and had to go through customs and all that jazz,” O’Day said. “The traveling secretary was texting me back and forth. We originally planned to go to the hotel and he said ‘Go to the field, we might need you.’ I got here, got on a uniform and went out there.”

O’Day shook hands and introduced himself to his new teammates in the bullpen, immediately prior to warming up.

Unfortunately for Darren, Millar ripped a game-winning single off of him to deliver a victory for the Jays.

“Gabbard I thought was a left-handed pitcher and he came in throwing sinkerballs, side-armed right-handed, so I was a little confused at first,” Millar joked.

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O’Day Claimed by Rangers

Darren O’Day, a Rule 5 pick offered on waivers by the New York Mets a few days ago, has been claimed by the pitching-starved Texas Rangers.

The Rule 5 requirements now apply to the Rangers, meaning, if they choose not to keep O’Day on the 25-man roster, they must waive him and then offer him back to the Angels of Los Angeles / Anaheim / California / Disneyland.

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Michael Young to Mets?

Jon Heyman is reporting that the Rangers are quietly shopping Michael Young, and the Mets are one of the interested teams.

Well, it’s not so quiet anymore!

Heyman concludes that the Mets would first have to move Luis Castillo (duh). Obviously, if the Mets acquired Young, Castillo’s already untradeable status would turn to impossible-to-trade.

A year ago, Young was one of the best all-around middle infielders in MLB. However, he had a down year in 2008 — his average dropped over 30 points — and he just turned 32 years old. He’s a gritty competitor who regularly plays through injuries, but those bumps and bruises seem to have affected his play in ’08. His best years came from 2003-2007, and one must wonder if he’s about to hit that downward spiral that often affects great players as they approach their mid-30s — i.e., Robin Ventura, Roberto Alomar, Jim Rice, etc. Further, Young has had the benefit of playing in hitter-friendly Ballpark in Arlington. It doesn’t help, either, that his bunting skills are poor — which could be an issue if he batted in the #2 hole. And although he came up as a second baseman, he hasn’t played the position in seven years — the transition may not be as easy as you would think.

As much as I love Michael Young as a ballplayer, I fear he’d be a disappointment. Plus, he won’t come cheap.

Still, if the Mets can somehow pull off deals to shove off Castillo and bring in Young, and not give up half their farm system in the process, I’d welcome Young with open arms.

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Tigers Acquire Gerald Laird

Ken Rosenthal is reporting that the Texas Rangers have traded Gerald Laird to the Detroit Tigers for AA pitcher Guillermo Moscoso.

Per Rosenthal:

“The Detroit Tigers have filled one of their prime offseason needs, acquiring catcher Gerald Laird from the Rangers for Double-A right-hander Guillermo Moscoso and a second prospect, according to a major-league source. . . . The second prospect in the deal is a 17-year-old who spent last season in the Dominican Summer League, the source said.”

Not huge news, but if true this deal removes the Tigers from bidding on free agent catcher Jason Varitek. In addition, it may put the brakes on the Rangers trading Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

For those unfamiliar with Laird, he’s a strong receiver and a so-so hitter. A younger, righthanded-hitting version of Brian Schneider. There were some tepid rumors earlier in the offseason that the Mets were inquiring about Laird but such an acquisition didn’t fit with their desire to add more punch behind the plate.

Moscoso is an intriguing prospect — a 25-year-old Venezuelan originally signed by now-Mets scouting assistant Ramon Pena. He didn’t crack the Tigers’ top 30 prospects this time last year, but was #10 this winter according to Baseball America. His age, injury history (shoulder surgery in 2005, soreness in 2008), and underwhelming stuff (90-91 MPH fastball, so-so curve and change) make him a questionable return for a starting MLB catcher. Perhaps that mystery 17-year-old is another F-Mart?

Let’s wait to see the official word on this … something seems missing.

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