Tag: Tommy Hunter

Texas Rangers: How to Fix the Bullpen Without Trades

It’s that time of year again. With the draft firmly in the rear view mirror, the Texas Rangers now turn their attention to players that can help them win now via trades. Last year it was Cliff Lee and Bengie Molina who were acquired before the deadline and helped the Rangers reach the World Series for the first time in franchise history. Who will it be this year?

The general consensus is that they will look to acquire some bullpen help and have been linked to names like Heath Bell, Mike Adams and Joakim Soria. If they could acquire one of these three there is no doubt that it would greatly improve the pen—but what if they can’t?

Do they acquire another old, journeyman reliever to add to their growing stable of old, journeyman relievers?

Or what about a reliever with a good history who is just having an off year?

Or what about staying put?

Not the most popular choice, but staying put could be the best alternative to not landing the big names. Look at these credentials of players currently in the minor league system:

  • Cy Young winner
  • Former 17-game winner and opening day starter
  • .647 winning percentage
  • No. 2 prospect in Rangers system with 97 mph fastball

The Cy Young winner of course is Brandon Webb who signed with the Rangers in the offseason to help make up for the loss of Cliff Lee. He has not pitched since 2009 because of injuries and is more suited for the bullpen to help relieve stress on his arm. His velocity is down but Yoshinori Tateyama has proved you don’t need to hit 95 on the radar gun to be effective.

The 17-game winner is Scott Feldman who had microfracture surgery on his right knee after the end of the last season. He has the stuff to be a reliable bullpen guy and actually has the experience of being a closer early in his career. He is fresh off of a 5-inning, no-hit game at Triple-A Round Rock.

The .647 winning percentage is property of Tommy Hunter. The team’s No. 4 starter in the playoffs last year has been recovering from a groin strain that propelled Alexi Ogando in the starting rotation. Hunter has probably lost his starting job and is a proven arm that could be a long reliever for the stretch run.

The prospect is Tanner Scheppers. The oft-injured Scheppers has just been activated off of the DL and has the power arm that you want shutting down batters in the eighth inning. The Rangers’ organization can’t make up its mind if Scheppers will start or pitch in relief in the future, but he could be this year’s Alexi Ogando in the pen.

There’s also Darren O’Day who has been injured the majority of the season and Neil Ramirez who is pitching well at Triple-A.

If the Rangers have an opportunity to land a Bell, Soria or Adams they should jump on it. But if not, they have proven arms in their systems that can help them regain their playoff form once they become healthy.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Texas Rangers: Julio Borbon Costs Tommy Hunter Chance at Win Against S.F. Giants

A beautiful day for baseball in Surprise, Ariz., on Sunday, but a loss on the field 11-8 makes the day for Rangers fans feel cold.

The closest the Rangers ever came to the defending World Series Champions was 2-1 in the third inning. In the top of the fourth, the Giants wiped the spring summer grass with the Rangers.

Tommy Hunter gave up a five-run fourth, and the Giants never looked back.

Hunter’s frustration clearly showed in his post-game interview when said “Today was…shoot, I don’t know what it was, I’ve got to get better. That’s the bottom line.”

He does.

In the top of the fourth inning, Julio Borbon didn’t help Tommy Hunter’s cause much, by dropping a fairly easy fly ball.

The sun was the main cause for the error, but he still needs to make that catch, although Hunter was lit up by giving up four earned runs in 3 1/3 innings at that point.

In his interview, you can tell his effort and the dropped fly ball of Borbon’s in the top of the fourth, clearly had Hunter rattled emotionally.

After all, giving up seven runs in 3 2/3 innings isn’t going to impress anyone, regardless if only four of the seven runs were earned.

They could have won the game, or at least had a chance without the costly error. Rangers want wins. Stats will come and go, but as long as they get wins. They will be OK.

The AL West isn’t the strongest division in baseball, so getting wins will be important.

Hunter is trying to earn a spot in the rotation for the Rangers. He is really isn’t showing he can handle the work.

With a 8.31 ERA in three spring training games, his quote is correct: “I didn’t give us a chance to win. That is a starter’s main objective. I didn’t get it done today.”

Ron Washington said of Hunter, “As long as he’s pitching and getting his work in, that’s all that matters. This is Arizona: there are a lot of things that happen down here that don’t happen during the regular season. He needs to work on things and we’re certainly going to give him that opportunity. No decision has been made.”

Hardly a ringing endorsement of his talent, or for that fact, making the team.

“I know I can win in the big leagues. I need to get back to where I was last year,” Hunter said.

As for the outfield, going into this season, the powers that be in Texas want Borbon to have his spot in center field, but his play early into spring hasn’t been all that stellar. Sunday’s mishap didn’t help him much, either.

The Rangers want Hamilton to be in left field because, “Hamilton has a less of a chance of getting hurt in left,” according to former CEO Chuck Greenberg on “The Ben and Skin Show” of 103.3 ESPN Dallas/Ft.Worth last week.

The Rangers like Hunter. They also like the fact he was somewhat successful last season with a 13-4 record. Will that help him “earn” a spot for this season? Seems likely.

Borbon, on the other hand, is costing this team runs this season…something the Rangers can’t afford.

This season, the pitchers have to do what they did last season when Cliff Lee wasn’t on the team. They need to get a fast lead in the AL West.

Errors in the outfield will not help Borbon’s cause, nor help this team’s chances of winning games.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Texas Rangers’ Player Power Ranking: Gentry To Hamilton, Part 2 of 3

This is part two of a three part series where I am ranking the top 30 major league players on the Texas Rangers roster. In part one I covered players 30-21, which was mainly players on the fringe of the 25 man roster and younger players who will contribute at some point during the season. The players ranked 11-20 are not quite core players, but they are more so components of the Rangers. Every team has a few stars at the top of the roster and average players that fill out the bottom of the roster, but its the middle section of a team that puts a team over the top. The Rangers have a more talent than most in this area, let’s take a look. 

Begin Slideshow

World Series Game 3: The Texas Rangers Need More Than One Win to Take Control

Game three of the World Series is in the books and the Texas Rangers are finally on the board.

A Mitch Moreland three-run home run, a solo shot from ALCS MVP Josh Hamilton, and solid pitching from starter Colby Lewis helped the Rangers put a 4-2 win in the books in Arlington on Saturday night.

After two demoralizing losses in San Francisco, fans here in Texas wondered if the Rangers were capable of coming back and tying the series.

When the offense went dormant on Thursday night, a collective fan base dropped their heads and didn’t know if they were ever going to be able to pick them back up again. The team wasn’t hitting, they were making mistakes, and their bullpen was just short of awful.

On Saturday afternoon, as fans began to file into the stadium, they wanted to believe that their team wasn’t ready to quit. They wanted to believe that there was still a little magic left in the Rangers’ tank and they were hoping they would see that come out in game three.

When Moreland lined his three-run shot to right, the fans exploded. It was the first time in three games they were really able to cheer for anything at all. It was the first time they were able to really throw their hands up, yell, and scream.

It was also the first time their team had a lead since game one. They wanted this win, they needed this win, and they got it.

Lewis came in on Saturday night and did exactly what the team needed him to do. But not only that, the bullpen did their job as well. Darren O’Day came in to the game in the eighth inning, an inning that has plagued the Rangers through the first two games, and although it was scary, he got the job done.

Then, in the ninth, it was Neftali Feliz who shut the door on the Giants and made it look easy although it was his first World Series appearance in his career.

With one win under their belt, the Rangers and their fans can rest a little bit easier, knowing that a small chunk of the Giants’ lead is gone.

But with one win comes even more challenges and even more obstacles this team will have to overcome.

They will need to keep themselves grounded. They will need to keep themselves from getting too high on the performance they put in game three. They have a job to do and they still have ground to make up.

Scheduled to go to the mound on Sunday is right-hander Tommy Hunter, a guy who has struggled throughout the playoffs.

That has brought up a whole new set of questions, actually just one question and one that was asked by the media to manager Ron Washington during his post game press conference after game three.

“Ron, is there any thought to bringing Cliff Lee back on short rest to start game four?” Ron’s answer was a simple, “no.”

That question was asked again during the post game show on Fox Channel 4 here in Dallas. The answer to that is simple. Lee’s numbers when pitching on short rest are not good and his performance in game one was not enough to think he’d be any better in a ballpark that plays smaller than AT&T Park in San Francisco.

On one hand, I understand why the question came up and I understand those who think Lee should go on three days rest. However, if you lose game four, then you’re almost forced to come back with C.J. Wilson also on three days rest. You put yourself in a bad situation that way.

Going with Tommy Hunter will give him the confidence to go out there and do what he needs to do to get the job done. This Giants’ offense is a potent one without question, but they’re not unbeatable.

Hunter needs to trust his stuff, he needs to trust that he can get the job done, and he needs to trust the guys behind him. Throw first pitch strike, keep the ball away from the middle of the plate, and throw the right pitches at the right time.

If he can do that and if he can keep his confidence up for at least six innings, he can allow his bullpen to do the rest.

The Rangers got their first win, but they’re a long ways from climbing back in this series. This is a good Giants’ ball club and they’re not going to give up wins. They’ll continue to fight all the way through and not give you an inch.

You hate to use the old cliche but it’s one the Rangers need to use starting Sunday night. “One game at a time, one win at a time.”

Take care of tomorrow, get the win, then worry about what comes next. If they do that, they won’t have to play with their backs against the wall.

Get yourself back into this series, than go and take control of it.

The Texas Rangers have their destiny in their own hands and they know exactly how to handle things from here. As long as they do what they’re capable of doing and putting together the kind of effort we saw from them in the ALCS against the New York Yankees, this series won’t be just tied up, but the Rangers will have the lead going back to San Francisco.

The 2010 World Series isn’t over yet. It’s only just begun.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

ALCS Game 4: Texas Rangers Report Card After 10-3 Win Over Yankees

The Texas Rangers have embarrassed the New York Yankees in the Bronx over the last two days and are on the verge of a pennant.

The Yankees sent A.J. Burnett to the mound, hoping to even the ALCS at two games apiece but one pitch doomed him and his team.

The Rangers’ Tommy Hunter didn’t do a bad job but didn’t last long, leaving it to reliever Derek Holland to get the job done.

Texas scored a little early and a lot late, eventually putting the Yankees away and taking a 3-1 series lead. Here’s a report card breaking down the Rangers’ 10-3 win on Tuesday night.

Begin Slideshow

2010 MLB Playoffs: Tampa Bay Rays-Texas Rangers, Game 4 Will Be All About Bats

The earliest of Sunday’s three MLB Division Series matchups will be between the Texas Rangers and Tampa Bay Rays, after Tampa notched a comeback win in Game 3 of the ALDS. Trailing 2-1 entering the eighth inning, the Rays got big hits from (among others) Carl Crawford and Carlos Pena en route to a season-saving win.

Game 4 on Sunday will pit two disappointing young starters, Texas’s Tommy Hunter and Tampa Bay’s Wade Davis. Though each posted decent numbers in traditional statistical categories (Hunter went 13-4 with an ERA south of 4.00, while Davis finished at 12-10 and had a 4.07 ERA), neither man was especially impressive.

Davis had just 1.82 strikeouts per walk issued, a pedestrian figure, and gave up 24 home runs. Hunter surrendered 22 bombs in only 133 innings, and struck out fewer than five per nine innings. In fielder-independent ERA (FIP), each ranked among the 20 worst hurlers in baseball with 120 or more innings pitched according to FanGraphs.

The season may hang in the balance for each squad. Tampa’s season would end with a loss, but the Rangers (51-30 at home this season) can hardly afford a defeat that would send the ALDS back to Tampa Bay for a decisive fifth contest.

In an ideal world, each manager would send out his ace for such a crucial game, but both David Price and Cliff Lee are being held in reserve for a potential Game 5 start on long rather than short rest.

Therefore, Davis and Hunter will take the mound Sunday, and the game will likely be decided by the teams’ respective offenses.

That makes for a highly unpredictable outcome in Game 4. Neither team has an offensive attack that can be fairly labeled as consistent (witness the Rays falling victim to two perfect games in two years, and the Rangers’ 59 games with three or fewer runs scored), yet each has explosive potential with batters (Texas’s Nelson Cruz and Josh Hamilton, Tampa Bay’s Carl Crawford, and Evan Longoria) capable of hurting an opposing hurler in myriad ways.


Carlos Pena Ain’t Dead Yet

One key advantage for Tampa Bay is that first baseman Carlos Pena responded excellently to being benched in Game 2, notching two hits and three RBI on Saturday night. Pena had struck out three times and walked once in the opening contest of the Series, and manager Joe Maddon elected to start Desmond Jennings in Game 2, moving Ben Zobrist in from right field to first base and bumping Pena from the lineup.

Pena, who batted just .196/.325/.407 this season and struck out 158 times, could well have pouted over being relegated to the pine. Since the start of 2008, Pena’s 98 home runs are good enough for ninth in baseball. Instead, the notoriously easy-going left-handed swinger took the temporary demotion in stride, and had the key game-tying single for Tampa in the top of the eighth inning on Saturday. He then cracked a two-run home run in the ninth to put the game out of reach.

Pena is unlikely to return to the Rays next season, given the team’s well-publicized designs on payroll reduction and his $10.125 million salary for 2010. How much longer Pena remains a Ray, then, may hinge upon how well he hits in Sunday’s contest with Hunter, against whom he is 3-for-10 lifetime with two doubles and a home run.

The Impaler Cometh

Vladimir Guerrero signed with the Texas Rangers this winter in a generally unheralded move. Guerrero was coming off his worst big-league season, having failed to reach 20 home runs, bat at least .300, and slug at least .520 for the first time in more than a decade.

The 2010 season has marked a modest renaissance for the future Hall of Famer, once a cat-like outfielder but now relegated to designated hitter duty. Guerrero batted .300/.345/.496 for the season, swatting 29 home runs and driving in 115 runs for the Rangers.

Guerrero is just 35, but with a mutual option on the table for next season and big raises due to Hamilton, Cruz, and others, Texas may be forced to address other needs this winter. Cliff Lee would command a huge sum to stay in Texas, while the Rangers must also shore up their bench: Jeff Francoeur, Bengie Molina, and Cristian Guzman all are free agents at season’s end. Guerrero’s primary suitors if he left Texas would include non-contenders like the Baltimore Orioles and Chicago White Sox.

If this is the swan song for Guerrero’s playoff career, expect him to go out with a bang. The slugging Dominican is one of his generation’s underrated superstars, a .320/.383/.563 career hitter who could well reach 500 home runs. In his five previous trips to the postseason, however, Guerrero has slugged just .375 with two home runs, and his team has never reached the World Series.

Texas needs its cleanup-hitting slasher to come through in a big way sometime over the next two games if they hope to advance further into these playoffs, as the organization has never won a playoff Series of any stripe.

A Battle of Wits

By the end of Game 4, expect to see both skippers empty their benches and bullpens. Both Maddon and Texas manager Ron Washington have made frequent use of pitching changes and pinch-hitters during the ALDS, taking advantage of two of the league’s deepest benches.

For Maddon, this sort of chess match is a comfortable setting. No junior-circuit team deployed more pinch-hitters than the Rays this season, and overall, only the Yankees had the platoon advantage more often at the plate than did Tampa Bay.

Washington spent much of the regular season forgoing such micro-management: the Rangers used narrowly more than half as many pinch-hitters as Tampa Bay, and had the platoon advantage less often than all but one AL team, the Toronto Blue Jays. Intriguingly, though, Washington used his substitutes in more important situations than all but one other manager, with an average leverage of 2.12 in pinch-hit at bats: Tampa registered a league-low 1.19 leverage.

On the pitching side of the ledger, Maddon and Washington have much more convergent styles. The two men made more pitching changes than any other American League managers, and were less hesitant to go to relievers who had been used the previous day than any other skippers.

Again, Maddon somewhat over-managed at times, making more pitching changes without allowing a reliever to record at least three outs than any other skipper. He also made more moves while ahead and with runners on base than any other skipper. Washington, ever the chooser of spots, made a league-best 184 switches in high-leverage situations, and led the league in pitching changes during tie games. Though each will try his best to control Sunday’s clash, the execution of their players will decide this one.

Matt Trueblood is a student at Loyola University Chicago and B/R College Writing Intern. Follow him on Twitter.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Cliff Lee: Could the Texas Rangers Face a First-Round Exit Without Their Ace?

A few weeks ago, the Editors at the Bleacher Report asked me to write a piece on why getting Cliff Lee was going to make the Texas Rangers World Series participants.

Now, with Lee’s struggles and his recent back injury, I have been asked to write a contrasting piece on why Lee’s recent struggles are going to derail the Rangers’ World Series push.

In his last five starts for Texas, Lee is 0-3 with an 8.28 ERA, allowing 44 hits in 29 innings. He has walked only three and struck out 35, but allowed 10 home runs over this span.

Don’t worry, Nolan Ryan, your ace will be fine.

There was much talk last season, too, about Lee and his struggles midway through his tenure in Philadelphia. After a glowing 5-0 record in his first five starts after the 2009 trade from Cleveland, Lee was pummeled in his next three starts.

Those first five starts last year saw Lee throw 40 innings, allowing 24 hits and three earned runs while walking six and striking out 39. In his next three starts, he lasted 15 innings total, allowing 29 hits, 16 ERs, walking none and striking out 12.

Even though he struggled his last two regular season starts, too, Lee eventually figured everything out and was very Christy Mathewson-like in the 2009 postseason.

He will be fine again, but he must learn to read my writings and adjust to the league’s hitters.

I wrote a piece two weeks ago about Lee going to New York for next season. I mentioned his struggles, and said one reason might be the approach other teams might have towards Lee.

Lee is a control pitcher. He does not throw 95-plus and needs to locate his fastball, change, and curve ball in order to be successful. One of the big things talked about with Lee this season is that he does not walk batters. He has only 12 walks this season in 184 innings, a walk rate of 0.6 per nine innings.

That is too few walks. That’s right. Lee does not walk enough people. He throws too many strikes—about 72 percent of his pitches this season have been strikes. Knowing that he is always around the plate, teams are now looking to swing the bat against him early and often in the count.

Don’t take a strike, don’t get behind in the count, and don’t let him use that devastating change-up while ahead.

Now other baseball analysts have gotten into this fray.

Look at the above stats. In the two bad stretches when he was getting hit, Lee did not walk anybody and still got his strikeouts. But he was lit up like the Rockefeller Christmas tree. Sometimes hitters need to attack early, and they were against Lee.

There is a reason why guys like Catfish Hunter, Robin Roberts, and Bert Blyleven (all really good pitchers, but only two are Hall of Famers), gave up a lot of home runs.

They were always around the plate.

Lee is giving up a lot of home runs now with Texas, but only 15 total this season, not that much different from 2009, when he allowed 17.

Also, Lee has now begun to complain of a sore back. He has taken shots in the lower back to alleviate the pain, but Lee is not centering his struggles on the recent back pain. With a substantial lead (now eight games) in the American League West, it might be best for the Rangers to rest Lee and not throw him until he does feel 100 percent.

Even if Lee is not at his best entering the postseason, the Rangers will be okay. They have a potent offense led by MVP candidate Josh Hamilton, plus Vladimir Guerrero and Micheal Young, a stellar bullpen led by Rookie of the Year candidate Neftali Feliz, and other good, young starters in C.J. Wilson and Tommy Hunter.

And with the return of second baseman Ian Kinsler, the Rangers offense just got better.

Kinsler’s return to the lineup and the great bullpen can compensate for any lack of starting pitching the Rangers may develop.

Similar to last season, Lee will be good to go during the postseason, and even if he is not 100 percent, the Rangers have other weapons to take them forward.

Unless Hamilton’s chronic bad back, gimpy knee, or recently banged up rib gets more troublesome.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

C.J. Wilson and Fantasy Baseball’s Two-Start Pitchers For Week 17

Fantasy Baseball’s Pitching Line of the Week:

C.J. Wilson (SP-TEX) 8 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, W


C.J. Wilson chucked eight innings of four-hit baseball, striking out three batters and failed to surrender a walk in a 1-0 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Friday. Wilson retired 17 of the last 18 batters he faced before giving way to young Neftali Feliz, who saved his 27th game for the Rangers and helped Wilson improve to 9-5 on the season.


See Win Probability Game Graph of C.J.’s Win Courtesy of FanGraphs


Prior to the 1-0 victory over the Angels, Wilson was 8-5 with a 3.23 ERA and had accumulated a string of nine consecutive quality starts. 


Wilson, the pride of Fountain Valley High School, attended Santa Ana Junior College, where he was named MVP of Orange Empire Conference and California’s Junior College Player of the Year Award in 2000. The following year, he was drafted in the fifth round (121st overall) by the Texas Rangers out of Loyola Marymount University.


While cruising through the minor leagues in 2003, Wilson suffered an elbow injury which required “Tommy John” surgery. C.J. needed the entire 2004 season to recover and returned to AA action in 2005.


Wilson debuted for the Texas Rangers on June 10, 2005 at 24 years of age. He went 1-7 in 24 appearances, finished with a 6.94 ERA and a 1.67 K:BB ratio. 


From 2006-2009, C.J. primarily worked out of the bullpen. Following the Rangers trade of Eric Gagne in 2007, Wilson was asked to step into the closers role. He successfully converted his first 11 save opportunities for Texas. Wilson was once again named the Rangers closer in 2008 and converted in 24 of 28 attempts. Despite not being named the closer in 2009, Wilson still earned 14 saves. 


Wilson features a fastball, sinker, slider and change-up in his repertoire. Wilson is currently owned in 63 percent of Y! leagues. 


The “Double Dipper” is a starting pitcher who will get two starts in the same week. Each Sunday we will preview top three options in each league and highlight streaming options for players owned in less than 50% of Y! leagues.


The No Brainers in the NL:


Josh Johnson/FLA (@ SF, @ SD) – CY front runner. That’s enough.

Stephen Strasburg/WAS (vs. ATL, vs. PHI) – Tough match-ups, cap on IP, but take his K’s to the bank.

Chad Billingsley/LAD (@ SD, @ SF) – 2-0 in three starts against SD & SF this year.


The No Brainers in the AL:


Felix Hernandez/SEA (@ CHW, @ MIN) – 63:10 K:BB & 8 QS in last 8.

Francisco Liriano/MIN (@ KC, vs. SEA) – The “Mona Lisa” of match-ups..wait..she’s ugly?

CC Sabathia/NYY (@ CLE, @ TB) – Hasn’t lost since 5/23. 10 straight QS.


Warning: Streaming can be lethal. The following are owned in 50% or less of Y! leagues.


Jorge De La Rosa/COL (vs. PIT, vs. CHC) – Last start looked like the JDL of old

Brandon Morrow/TOR (vs. BAL, vs. CLE) – 10.01 K/9 will get him the nod

Jon Niese/NYM (vs. STL, vs. ARI) – Three ER or less in last five outings

Joel Pineiro/LAA (vs. BOS, vs. TEX) – The Russian Roulette of “streaming”

Bronson Arroyo/CIN (@ MIL, vs. ATK) – Six QS in last nine.


Don’t Touch ‘Em


Ryan Rowland-Smith, Brad Bergeson, Zach Duke, Wesley Wright


Week 17 One Start Stars Owned in 50% or Less


Tommy Hunter/TEX 49% Y! – Saturday @ LAA (TBD)  – 8-0 in 10 starts

Brett Cecil/TOR 30% Y! – Friday vs. CLE (Masterson) – Last three were QS. Daniel Hudson/CWS 5% Y! – Friday @ OAK (Mazzaro) – Tons of K potential


Who will win the pitching duel of the week: Josh Johnson or Matt Cain?

Who will be the best 2-Start Pitcher owned in 50 percent or less in week 17?

Leave a comment, or reply to us on Twitter @TheFantasyFix


Here are some more articles that will not self destruct in 10 seconds…



Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Texas Rangers Baseball: Adding Cliff Lee Doesn’t Make Them Contenders

To add Cliff Lee or not to add Cliff Lee, that is the question surrounding a lot of teams as the trade deadline is just a few weeks away.

For the Texas Rangers, however, the answer to this question has to be a resounding-no.

For one, the team is currently four and a half games up on the defending AL West champion Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and don’t look to be slowing down any time soon.

Second, unless the Angels make a blockbuster deal that makes them far and away better than they are right now, and unless the Rangers fall on their face, I don’t see this race going any other way than the Rangers’ way.

That being said, I’m wondering if we can kill the Cliff Lee to Texas rumors once and for all.

I’m not saying this team doesn’t need him because Lee definitely makes this pitching staff a lot more formidable than they have been all season.

However, does adding a guy like Lee make them contenders to get to the World Series, let alone the ALCS?

Now, before I got into my rant, bare in mind that this is only my opinion and you can agree or disagree with me all you want, and believe me I welcome a debate on the subject.

For my money, Lee is too expensive and the Rangers would have to give up too much for a guy that is a lock to go into free agency and not sign long term with Texas. So are the Rangers really ready to give up a few of their top hitting and pitching prospects to land a guy for two months?

ESPN Dallas’ Richard Durett talked to Lee when the Mariners made their stop in Texas back in early June. He asked Lee about the possibility of him signing a new deal in Texas and he told Durett, “I’d prefer cooler temperatures and a perfect climate, but any pitcher would tell you that.”

Let’s be honest, Lee is more than likely headed to free agency where there will be no shortage of teams jockeying for his signature on the dotted line.

So, if Lee really does intend to head to free agency after this season and has no intention of signing long term with whatever team he’s traded to, why would any team give up top prospects for two months of his service?

Put yourself in Rangers’ general manager Jon Daniels’ shoes. Think for a second that you have a chance to land one of the best starters in the game right now to your rotation. There’s no question this guy makes you better, but better doesn’t necessarily get you past potential playoff teams like New York, Boston, Minnesota, and Detroit among others.

My intention right now is not to dispel what Lee could do for a team like the Rangers down the stretch, my problem is giving up players that make this team better for years to come and not just for two months.

Let’s say, hypothetically, the Rangers did make a deal that brought Lee to Texas. He gives you another eight to 10 good starts down the stretch and the Rangers win the AL West.

Their first round of the playoffs comes against the New York Yankees and they get beat three games to one a best of five series. Now what?

Lee makes it clear to the Rangers that he’s not willing to sign long term and wants to test the free agent waters. He signs with another team prior to the 2011 season and now you’re out two to three top prospects for what?

I know it seems like I’m making the same point over and over again, but this is not the best move for the team going forward.

The Rangers need a player they can control for the foreseeable future. The Astros are apparently willing to pick up some of Roy Oswalt’s remaining contract, but any deal for the Houston right hander would need approval from the courts as the Rangers are currently in the middle of bankruptcy proceedings.

However, there’s one problem with landing Oswalt. Daniels has been quoted as saying that they are only able to make a deal for a player who’s contract is up at the end of the 2010 season.

So, with that information being known, a few other players the Rangers could look at come the trade deadline are Jeremy Guthrie, Jake Westbrook, and Ted Lilly.

Honestly, the way Lilly has pitched so far for the Cubs, he would be my first choice, and he’s not going to cost the Rangers nearly as much as Lee would.

Jamey Newberg of The Newberg Report has an interesting article that talks about this exact thing and he goes over some of the prospects, plus major league talent, it would take to possibly get a deal done.

Now, bare in mind that he puts together a lot of names but in the end, he does put it in perspective. One of the names that he mentions I don’t think would bother Ranger fans much at all, Rich Harden.

Harden hasn’t exactly been the pitcher that the Rangers were hoping he would be, though his numbers have declined in each of the past three seasons.

In 2008, Harden finished 5-1 through 12 starts with a 1.77 ERA for the Chicago Cubs. In the very next season, through 26 starts, Harden finished 9-9 with a somewhat respectable 4.09 ERA. But, this season, Harden has struggled to the tune of 3-3 record and a 5.86 ERA through 12 starts and is currently on the disabled list.

While Harden has been struggling, as has Scott Feldman who turned in a career performance in 2009 for the Rangers finishing 17-8 with a 4.08 ERA.

This season, Feldman has looked nothing like his 2009 self. He’s currently 5-7 with a 5.48 ERA and has given up 17 earned runs in his last four starts, including five earned runs each in starts against the Angels and Pirates.

But, even though Harden and Feldman are not the guys the Rangers thought they would have in 2010, they’ve been getting huge starts from not only C.J. Wilson (3.34 ERA) and Colby Lewis (3.35 ERA) but they’ve been pleasantly surprised by Tommy “Big Game” Hunter, who sports an unbeaten record (5-0) and an even more eye opening 1.98 ERA on the season.

With Wilson, Lewis, and Hunter holding the Rangers’ ship afloat so far, it wouldn’t hurt to land another starter to really make this team untouchable.

However, Dave Michaels of KVCE Radio here in Dallas thinks it’s their bullpen that needs to hold strong. “So far during this season they have won games that they were not suppose to win, and they’ve lost games they were suppose to win. Go figure, that’s baseball. As far as what they will need in the playoffs they have the arms right now but they need a bullpen that won’t fold under the pressure.”

That being said, I asked Michaels if he thought the Rangers could move Neftali Feliz from the bullpen to a starter and possibly look at making a deal for a guy like Heath Bell. He told me, “I don’t think [Feliz’s] arm can do that. He is better out of the bullpen and not as a starter. Spot starter maybe but a regular starter no way.”

So, in the end, this is a deal that is going to be broken down and debated in every which way but loose.

There will be fans that want to see this deal get done and have Lee added to the pitching rotation, than there are others who are not willing to bring a rent-a-player who will only be with the team for two months.

As it stands right now, the Mariners have yet to even put the left hander on the trade block, according to Andy Martin and Christian Red of the New York Daily News. A source told both Martin and Red, “It is the same thing with [Mariners’ general manager Jack Zduriencik] as it has been all along. He knows to contact teams when he’s ready to deal. He hasn’t done that yet, but that could change any minute.”

While the baseball world waits for that phone call to come from Seattle, the teams that are interested in acquiring him will make back up plans just in case the Mariners decided to ride out the year with the left hander.

Though the odds of that are slim at this point, but stranger things have happened.

As for the Rangers, they continue to lead the AL West by 3.5 games over the Angels. At this point, they’re not bad where they are and I don’t see them making any sort of a deal prior to the trade deadline due to the court proceedings.

That doesn’t mean they can’t make a waiver wire deal as teams have been known to wait until after the deadline to make their moves. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that the Rangers will be able to make a trade after the bankruptcy dealings are over though it’s unknown when that will be.

For now, as long as the Rangers keep playing the way they have to this point, they should be able to hold off the Angels.

However, if the Angels make the big move, it could make the race that much more interested as we head down the stretch.


You can follow Todd Kaufmann on Twitter (twitter.com/toddkaufmannbr) or find him on Facebook.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Copyright © 1996-2010 Kuzul. All rights reserved.
iDream theme by Templates Next | Powered by WordPress