The following questions are about 60/40 AL and Rangers Questions based on the 2007 season. Let’s see how much you remember about last year’s bargains and busts. I will specify if the answer is a Ranger or in one case, a former Ranger player.
As I looked through the year end stats, I noticed a lot of weird things and some things I expected.
#1 – ARod’s season was head and shoulders better than anyone. (.314/143/54/156/24) Therefore, this quiz will not use him as the answer to any question.
#2 – How in the heck did Carlos Pena put up those stellar numbers? (.282/99/46/121/1) He gets my vote as “least likely to repeat 2007”.
Here is the scale of your level of baseball knowledge:
18-20 – TR Sullivan material
14-17 – Tom Greive wannabe
10-13 – Favorite TV show is Baseball Tonight
6-9 – Knows nothing about the Rangers
3-5 – Needs to mix in a game
0-2 – Were you in a Coma last year?
1) What two teammates were in the top 3 in AL batting average in 2007?
2) The AL K’s leader is the only starter in the top 3 in K’s that will remain with the same team in 2008. Who is he?
3) Who led the Rangers in HR’s last year?
4) Only one Ranger hitter had more than 50 walks last year? Who was it?
5) Of the 5 Rangers pitchers with the most innings, who had the lowest ERA?
6) For starters with 100 or more IP, who led the AL in ERA in 2007?
7) The AL Saves leader had 5 more than anybody else. Who is he?
8) Of players with 20 or more SB’s, he had the best success rate, having one CS in 27 attempts?
9) I struck out a league leading 164 times in only 395 at bats (41.5% of the AB’s). I was also second in the AL in walks with 105. I led my team in HR’s with 26. Who is this patient but whiffable slugger?
10) Only one team had two players with 30 plus HR in 2007. Name the players.
11) I tied for 42nd in the AL with 18 homers, but I led my team in HR’s. Who am I?
12) I am a total spare, weighing 205 pounds. Of AL players with more than 150 at bats, I had the lowest BA at a pathetic .148. If .200 is the Mendoza line, maybe .150 will be named after me.
13) I had the most AB’s in the AL (430) without hitting an HR which is better than Jason Kendall the year before. At least I stole 27 bases and hit .293, so I wasn’t a total spare (like Kendall)
14) I had as many K’s as Brad Wilkerson, as many HR’s as Gerald Laird and a slugging percentage 13 points below “Salty”. What Ranger am I?
15) I was a great middle relief find in 2007 going 5-1 with a 1.47 ERA and a WHIP of 0.76. My claim to fame was throwing strikes. Among pitchers allowing less than 10 walks, I had the most innings pitched – 79? I also struck out 80 while only walking 9.
16) I am one wild and crazy guy. Despite winning 18 games, striking out 183 hitters and posting an ERA of 3.66, I led the league in both HBP’s (19) and Wild Pitches (17). Who is the owner of these Bobby Witt like stats?
17) I led the league in HR’s allowed in 2007
18) I was third in the AL in HR’s allowed, but I only needed 139 IP to give up 28 dingers. What former Ranger’s great is this?
19) Power outage up the middle? In 2007, only one player who played 90% or more of his games at a middle infield position hit more than 20 HR? Who is it?
20) Only 2 regular catchers (250 plus AB) hit over .300 in 2007. Everyone should know Jorge Posada hit .338. Who was the other?
It is clear that Tom Hicks is turning into Ross Perot Jr. – at least his pattern of ownership seems to be very similar.
If you recall, Perot lead the group that bought the Mavericks from Don Carter. Shortly after that, the Mavs spiraled downward until they were the laughingstock of the NBA. ESPN even flashed “Mavericks highlights – turn away!” on the screen during Sportscenter to alert fans to the horrible basketball that was about to be shown. Perot was all about real estate development and didn’t know anything about creating a winning basketball team. He (with Hicks as a partner) later developed the very successful Victory Plaza around the American Airlines Center after he sold the team.
Hicks now seems to be totally immersed in developing Glorypark between the ballpark and Jerryworld. Just as Perot always had more of a knack for real estate than the pick and roll, Hicks seems to be devoting more and more resources to development and less to winning. Our only hope is that there is a passionate baseball fan that can convince Hicks to sell the Rangers. This guy would have to overpay, because Hicks would not like the idea about “selling low” now that the Rangers are abysmal. The longer he waits, the worse the Rangers will get. They have in no way hit rock bottom, but that could be coming in the next year or two. I would suggest the time to sell would be immediately. In other words, the Rangers need to find their Mark Cuban. Say what you will about Cuban, but the Mavericks would not be where they are without him. I am not saying it should be Cuban, just someone like him. Surely there is a passionate baseball fan with hundreds of millions of dollars to invest.
Remember when Hicks bought the Rangers? Everyone was excited because the perception was that the previous ownership did not have the money to pursue high dollar free agents. Everyone thought Hicks would spend what was needed to bring a winner to Arlington. One of the first things he did was sign ARod to the largest contract in baseball history, paying him tens of millions of dollars more than anyone else would. On the ticket they extolled Hick’s greatness with a song about his “big 12 pounder” implying that Hick’s had the stroke to get whatever the Rangers wanted.
Unfortunately, in baseball, you have to be smart as well as rich. Proof of this is George Steinbrenner, who annually spends twice as much as virtually every team in baseball, but has not won a world championship in this millennium. When Hicks bought the Rangers, they had a strong minor league system which regularly churned out top position players, particularly Latin players. Hicks ignored these assets and like any other asset they depreciated until now they are in a very sorry state. Hicks inherited a quality GM in Doug Melvin, but later fired him to hire “the smartest GM in baseball” John Hart. After dabbling with Grady Fuson, Hicks hired the youngest GM in baseball history who has made mistakes of the highest magnitude in both hiring and trades.
Hicks bought the best soccer club in England and they promptly lost their first championship match under him. He commented about how the fans were so loyal and passionate as compared to the US teams he owned. Be careful what you ask for. I am sure those fans are feeling the same way Rangers fans did back when. They expect him to get them the players they need to be perennial champs. How long will it take for them to realize that this won’t happen? If his poor management skills rear their ugly head in Liverpool, those fans will be calling for Hicks’ head and he may not feel so comfortable traveling in the UK.
Mr. Hicks – please see the handwriting on the wall and sell now, before the Rangers hit rock bottom with your continued mistake-ridden Ross Perot Jr.-like leadership!
ARLINGTON, Texas — Rangers general manager Jon Daniels was given a one-year contract extension Tuesday despite a 26-43 start that left Texas with the worst record in the major leagues.
The 29-year-old Daniels, who became the youngest GM in major league history when he replaced John Hart in October 2005, now has a contract through 2009.
Going into Tuesday night’s game against the Chicago Cubs, the Rangers and rookie manager Ron Washington were 17½ games behind AL West leader the Los Angeles Angels.
“I have always been a believer in JD and his management team,” Rangers owner Tom Hicks said in a statement. “While we are disappointed with our record this season, I know he can take the Rangers to where we want to be, a team that is consistently a contender.”
What in the wide, wide world of sports is a-goin’ on around here?” – Taggart AKA Slim Pickens in Blazing Saddles
I need to work for Tom Hicks. If he rewards incompetent performance like this with additional years on a contract, just think what he must do for a competent, productive employee? I don’t understand what could possibly be the justification for such a move. All but one or two of Daniel’s moves has failed miserably. The team has the worst record in the majors. The (players) manager has lost control of the team and appears to be on his way out. The minor league system is devoid of significant talent with one or two exceptions.
Honestly Tom, George Costanza could have done as well or better than JD thus far.
The only justification behind this could be Hick’s grudging admission that 2007 is lost as well as 2008. In order for JD to make deals that benefit the team in 2009, he need to assure him that he would be around for 2009. Given his track record, I am not sure we need him around until then, but clearly Hicks has cast his lot.
Let the dealing begin. The fire sale will soon be underway. 2008 is in the tank as well. 2009 is the first year the Rangers will target for any possibility of competing for a division title, but we already knew that anyway. Will the firing of Wash be the next move? Or will Tom reward his “exemplary” performance too?
This is a troubling report from the Dallas Morning News. It tells me that Daniels is not going to pro-actively do the things needed to clean house. There is no doubt that the vultures will soon be circling, looking lustily at the Rangers bullpen.
“Daniels says he has no plans to shop Teixeira
GM Jon Daniels said his club would probably be a seller as the trade deadline approaches unless it makes a quick and drastic turnaround, but he downplayed the possibility of trading Mark Teixeira.
Daniels said he had not talked to any clubs about Teixeira recently. Daniels, however, also acknowledged that most clubs are tied up with preparations for the upcoming amateur draft. He said he did not have any plans to shop Teixeira, who is eligible for free agency after 2008. There have not been any substantive talks about signing Teixeira to a contract extension.
“Do I expect to get some calls? Probably,” Daniels said. “But I won’t be making any. Mark is not one of our issues. He’s been our most consistent player. He’s a star in this league.”
Clubs are starting to circle. Detroit and Atlanta had scouts at Tuesday’s game. Both could use some bullpen help. Philadelphia, which spent some time over the winter talking with the Rangers about a bullpen trade, is also searching for relievers. “
First of all – “probably be a seller”? Duh!
That small paragraph in the middle bothers me. He won’t be making any calls? That’s his job. Saying that Mark’s potential future departure is not one of their issues is like saying “I’m really happy with our starting rotation”. Tex’s impeding free agency in 2008 is THE BIGGEST ISSUE FACING THE TEAM beyond the obvious problems in the lost year of 2007. What also bothers me about this is the implication that the Rangers are still trying to “manage” 2007 rather than looking forward to 2009 and beyond. Losing our star player and getting only draft picks in return would be a colossal blunder, but Rangers management has been the king of the “charlie foxtrot” in years past, so why should we expect anything different now?
Hopefully, he will change his tune after the draft is complete. Understandably, that has to be the Rangers main focus for now. Then it should be “let’s make a deal”. Rather than wait for others to call, Ranger scouts should be all over potential trade partners’ top prospects, then the Rangers should pro-actively decide which ones they want and go after them. They should not sit back and wait for offers from teams that are ready to cut bait on prospects by offering them in trade.
Do the Rangers have the right people in place to evaluate talent? That is the question that underlies all of the current issues. This is critical in not just the draft, but the potential trades that will be forthcoming. If the Rangers fail to trade Tex, that also tells me that they don’t trust their talent evaluation people.
JD – After the draft is over, get on the phone! Don’t wait for them to call you.
The momentum is building on the trade Tex bandwagon. The national media is starting to write about it in addition to the local media and bloggers like me. This is the first time I have heard about troubles between Wash and Tex. I don’t think either are going to be with the Rangers long term. Here is a portion of Buster Olney’s story from ESPN.com:
Rangers likely to deal Teixeira
posted: Friday, June 1, 2007
Scouts are telling tales of tension between new Texas manager Ron Washington and first baseman Mark Teixeira, and saying that this is making it more likely that the Rangers will deal Teixeira, who is eligible for free agency after next season and — being a Scott Boras client — is unlikely to sign an extension.
Tried to get some response from the Rangers on these points, but there was none, and Rangers GM Jon Daniels tells Evan Grant he’s not going to respond to media speculation all summer. Fair enough.
Called executives with other teams, who said they had not yet been made aware that Teixeira was available in a trade. But if and when Daniels does begin the process — and that seems inevitable — there was unanimous agreement that he will have a very difficult challenge of trying to make a trade palatable for the Rangers and its fan base.
Buster is right on target about pressure being on Ranger management. If they strike out on this trade, they will be vilified for a long time. I don’t see discussions happening until the draft is complete. Then the phone lines will begin to heat up, but there probably won’t be a deal until the next homestand ends.
With today’s loss, the Rangers now have the worst record in the American League. Their pitching has been spotty, their offense inconsistent and their defense terrible. As Jim Reeves wrote this week, the whole team needs to be fired from the GM thru everyone on the 25 man roster. While it’s easy to say that, let’s take a more pragmatic view of what the Rangers need to do. Things are going to get a lot worse before they get better, so strap on your helmet and get ready. With apologies to Thomas Paine, the Ranger mantra should be something like this:
These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer ticket holder and the sunshine Ranger fan will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their team; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of Ranger Management. Losing, like ****, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph (World Series Championship).
In this fan’s eyes, here is what the Rangers should do with this sinking ship:
1) Admit 2007 is not their year. Rangers’ management fails to do this year after year. They continue to make moves as if the team is one or two pieces away from being a contender. Because they want the best attendance numbers they can get, they won’t make a “white flag” trade. I had a brief conversation with Doug Melvin back in the day and he basically said that Ranger management will not win a World Championship because they are unwilling to hit rock bottom and rebuild the team on a firm foundation. What’s so funny about this is that the Rangers have managed several terrible records over the past 8 years, but they have never really re-tooled the team. Look at what the Brewers are doing this year behind Doug. This is the year he has been planning for and so far they are rolling nothing but sevens. I hope this year is different but I am not counting on Ranger management to do what they need to do.
2) If you mange to get past #1, the second one is easy – You must trade Tex – NOW. In order to do this, the Rangers have to offer him a long term deal – how does $90 Million over 5 years sound? By making this offer they would get the fans off their back. Tex and the baseball Antichrist, Scott Boras would turn that down, saying that they want to test the free agent waters when he is eligible after the 2008 season. Who in the AL could use a power hitting switch hitter in their lineup for the next one and a half seasons? The Yankees or Angels would die to get Tex in their lineup. Other potential partners might be the Indians or Tigers, who are both loaded with young talent available for the right deal. In addition, all the older players who won’t be around for 3-4 years, but have value, should be traded for prospects. The Rangers have no need for Kenny Lofton or the Catman on their current roster. Cruz, Diaz, Vasquez, Kinsler and other young players should be playing every day to see what they can do.
3) This leads us to the next question. What should the Rangers demand for Tex? Isn’t this the most obvious answer? Young pitching, developed enough such that they will be major league ready in 1 to 2 years. The Rangers can’t sign free agent pitchers unless they drastically overpay for them, so they need all the pitching they can get. The Yankees have a ton of really good looking pitchers like Phillip Hughes. The Angels have a lot of great prospects as well with a load of both pitchers and position players.
4) The Draft – The Rangers have 5 picks in the first 60 selections. They need to use all of those picks on pitching both at the college and high school level. These players will be a minimum of 2-3 years away, but they are the second wave of pitchers this team will need in the future.
5) Invest more time energy and money in their minor league system and scouting. The days when the Rangers picked up the greatest young stars in Latin America are over. They need to hire the right people and sign the top quality players that they used to. In addition, they need to have better coaches in the minors than the majors. Their roving minor league pitching and hitting coaches should be two of the most important people in their organization.
6) Play the kids – How do we know if the players we currently have are keepers or guys who will never make it in the big leagues? The only way we can find out is to play them.
7) When the team is close to being a contender, then they can go out and get some free agents. Most of the free agents needed will be position players, but hitters should be salivating to come play in the homer friendly ballpark, as opposed to pitchers, where it could damage their contract hopes for years to come.
8) If Tom Hicks is unwilling to take on this task, he needs to sell the team to someone with the vision and foresight to make this happen. If Jon Daniels or Ron Washington aren’t up to the challenge, find someone who will teach and consul the players such that the best of them will be solid major league players.
I think this historical quote has a lot to say to the Rangers current predicament:
“My fellow citizens, let no one doubt that this is a difficult and dangerous effort on which we have set out. No one can foresee precisely what course it will take or what costs or casualties will be incurred. Many months of sacrifice and self-discipline lie ahead — months in which both our patience and our will be tested, months in which many threats and denunciations will keep us aware of our dangers. But the greatest danger of all would be to do nothing.” President John F. Kennedy – Address to the Nation during the Cuban Missile Crisis
Please post your comments on how you would fix the Rangers!
Hopefully, the Rangers won’t be forced to play any more games in Orlando in the future. Losing three to the D-Rays is not a sign of great things to come. That “thump” you just heard are the remaining Ranger fans jumping off the band wagon, leaving it almost unoccupied.
The best thing that can happen to the Rangers this year is ARod opting out of his contract, but that still won’t matter if management doesn’t invest that money wisely in 2008 and beyond. What’s really sad is that our minor league system seems equally devoid of talent.
No funeral – bang.