There are probably a half-dozen things I’d like to discuss as I start to cobble this site together and I’ve been debating where exactly I want to launch from. For my first real post, I’ll indulge in the Hot Stove* and some of the current roster.
Having only gotten back into baseball in the last few years, I’ve never really paid much attention to the off-season until this year. I’ve learned in this short period that you can never, ever believe anything you hear until someone has one of those contrived press conferences where they put on their new team’s jersey.
Cliff Lee is gone. The 2011 season will happen anyway.
I wanted Cliff Lee to come back (and I’ll talk more about that in another post), but I don’t think losing him cripples the Rangers by any means. Lost in the media shuffle of the post-season was how good Colby Lewis actually was. Like Matt Cain, Lewis put up very solid numbers in the regular season and kept his team in the game in just about every one of his starts. He also, like Cain, really turned it on in the playoffs.
His numbers, averaged over 4 starts, looked something like this:
6.2 innings, 4 hits, 1.71 ERA, 3.25 walks, 6 Ks. He is also the only Ranger pitcher to win a home playoff game and a World Series game (home or otherwise).
Colby is not an Ace pitcher like Cliff Lee, but I’d bet house money that he’d be fine starting Game 1 of any playoff series with CJ backing him up in Game 2.
Cliff Lee mania convinced everyone that Zack Greinke was Cliff Lee 2: The Sequel.
As of late last night, Zack Greinke is headed to Milwaukee, out of our grasp, and I couldn’t be happier. I never wanted him because to me he’s an average pitcher with one great season. He is a Cy Young award winner, and rightfully so, but he is not Cy Young. Nor is he Cliff Lee or King Felix or Tim Lincecum.
Taking away his ’09 campaign, you have a guy with a lifetime ERA of 4.23, which is about what he had in 2010. That doesn’t sound like your top of the rotation, big game pitcher to me. For a good look at the numbers, read Mike Hindman’s article about it on BBTiA.
With no true Ace pitchers left on the market, the Rangers should try to bolster the back-end of the rotation.
Matt Garza, to me, was always a better option than Greinke, regardless of where Cliff Lee was headed. Richard Durrett jumped on that this morning and I’m afraid that everyone else will start jumping on it too. I wonder if Jon Daniels and company made a mistake by not getting a deal done during the Winter Meetings, but it’s possible the Rays weren’t listening at the time.
If you like John Lackey, you should like Matt Garza. Colby/CJ/Garza is starting to make me feel better about the future. After that, trade for Ricky Nolasco and let Holland & Hunter fight for the 5th spot.
That, to me, is your best shot at a strong rotation heading into 2011.
Tommy Hunter can, indeed, be ‘Big Game’ if he can work on his conditioning.
Seems like, for the last two seasons, he’s started out very strong and then faded late. I’ve heard people say that he’s ‘eating his way out of baseball’ and that would be a shame, because I am a fan of a lot of his work. That being said, if he were packaged in a trade for another pitcher, like the ones I already mentioned, I wouldn’t completely lose my mind.
Michael Young isn’t going anywhere, so Adrian Beltre doesn’t make much sense.
Michael Young is staying a Ranger, despite his poor defensive numbers and some cracks in his offense, and that’s okay with me. So, unless MY would be willing to move to 1st/DH, where does Beltre play? And, if Young does move, what happens to Moreland? For better or worse, Young is our Derek Jeter. He’ll likely end his career in a Texas uniform and more than likely he’s going to stay at 3rd until at least 2012.
Beltre also worries me. He’s had two great seasons and those happened to be contract years, including last season when he was “reinventing” himself. I just don’t believe in him.
I like the OF the way it is.
Hamilton, Cruz, Murphy, and Borbon with Gentry in the wings? Pack it up. We’re done here.
Let Michael Kirkman show you what he can really do.
A young pitcher with a lot of upside. Models his game after Cliff Lee. Needs a chance to win games and, hopefully, he won’t be doing it for another team.
Vladimir Guerrero will be back in 2011 and probably in 2012.
They may not give him a real two-year deal, but I have a feeling he’ll stick around for a couple more seasons. Despite taking a three and a half month nap, he still put up gorgeous numbers when it was all said and done. Mark it down, Big Bad Vlad will be in Arlington on Opening Day.
Give Moreland a whole season.
Better hitter than Davis. Better fielder than Smoak.
They’ve said that it’s not going to happen, but Neftali Feliz deserves at least a couple of starts in 2011.
See what you’ve got. Ogando, O’Day, or even Franky Frank can close if he sticks.
I like the Torrealba deal.
He’s not Joe Mauer, but neither is anyone else. He came cheap and was one of the better catching options that was flying under the radar.
If Bengie Molina retires, bring him in as a consultant.
He can be Mike Maddux’s assistant and his whole job can be to yell at the pitchers in Spanish.
I think that’s all there will be for now. No doubt things will start to heat up again after Christmas, so I’ll come back to trades and free agents and the roster before too long.
And I highly recommend reading Baseball Time in Arlington, especially the Five Questions they feature on Sunday mornings. They always make me think.
*For those of you that are baseball stupid, the Hot Stove is the slang term for the off-season.