January 29, 2004
Added CARLOS ALMANZAR to the 40-man roster. Designated 3B/1B MIKE LAMB for assignment, deleting him from the 40-man roster.
An oddly timed move. Almanzar has a decent chance of making the Opening Day roster, and Lamb was already a candidate for removal. But since Almanzar already was signed to a minor-league deal with an invite to Spring Training, why the Rangers made this move now is unclear. Texas may try to trade Lamb for a C-level prospect, and he could sub or provide insurance for several teams. UPDATE: A Japanese team had offered Almanzar a contract, so Texas had to grant him roster status or risk losing him.
Posted by Lucas at 11:55 AM
January 21, 2004
Signed pitcher GLENDON RUSCH to a minor-league contract.
The 29-year-old Rusch will join a crowd of wannabes fighting for a spot in the Ranger rotation. Rusch has pitched poorly in five of his six Major League seasons and bottomed out (one hopes) with a 6.42 ERA last year for Milwaukee. Rusch was somewhat unlucky (stratospheric .381 average allowed on balls in play) and pitched better than his ERA would suggest, but that doesn't make him good or even adequate. With upwards of ten rotation candidates and several youngsters sure to hold down spots in the AAA rotation, Rusch probably faces his release in March unless he catches lightning in a bottle.
Posted by Lucas at 11:54 AM
January 16, 2004
16 JAN 2004: Signed reliever FRANCISCO CORDERO to a one-year contract for $2 million, thus avoiding arbitration. Announced that pitcher TRAVIS HUGHES and OF JASON JONES had cleared waivers and were outrighted to AAA. Released RP REYNALDO GARCIA, who was then claimed by Boston.
Cordero obtains a 122% raise over his 2003 salary of $900,000. GM John Hart despises arbitration and avoids it whenever possible. Cordero's salary seems pretty close to what he'd get in arbitration, so Hart basically bought the team some cost certainty. Cordero has a 2.55 ERA during 2002-2003 and should earn his new and improved salary. Jones wasn't totally overmatched as a 26-year-old rookie but didn't hit well enough to solidify his status as a fourth or even a fifth outfielder. He still has a chance to carve out such a career, but he needs to hurry. The 29-year-old Garcia pitched poorly in the Majors, and Texas aparrently wants to spread the AAA innings to other players. Texas already had removed him from the 40-man roster.
Posted by Lucas at 11:53 AM
January 15, 2004
Signed catcher ROD BARAJAS to a minor-league contract with an invitation to Spring Training.
Ugh. Barajas is Todd Greene Lite, a catcher with just a little pop (11 dingers in 509 at-bats) undermined by negligible ability to walk or hit for average. Barajas does have a solid defensive reputation. If Gerald Laird doesn't prive he's ready for prime time, Barajas might actually make the active roster and appear in games. Again, ugh.
Posted by Lucas at 11:52 AM
January 11, 2004
Signed starting pitcher KENNY ROGERS to a two-year contract for $6 million. Signed reliever JEFF NELSON to a one-year contract, terms undisclosed. Outrighted pitcher TRAVIS HUGHES and OF JASON JONES, removing them from the 40-man roster.
Bringing back Kenny Rogers isn't a bad idea in and of itself. I'd opined in an ESPN column that the Rangers needed an inning-eater because of the highly dubious collection of arms they had at the moment. But, sadly and predictably, the Rangers appear to have outbid themselves for Rogers' services. Rogers made only $2 million last year and didn't pitch well enough to deserve more. Would another team have granted two years as opposed to one and an option, and would another team have guaranteed $3 million in 2005 to a 41-year-old? Could Texas have foregone Rogers, Dellucci and Eric Young and used that combined money to keep John Thomson or sign Miguel Bautista? Maybe not, but in the end the Rangers appear to have used their scarce monetary resources inefficiently. Nelson sates the Rangers' desire for another righty in the pen. He won't post a sub-3.00 ERA but hasn't lost any velocity and ought to provide 50-or-so solid innings. Hughes was the easy choice for deletion from the roster: the 25-year-old has never pitched better than respectably above low-A and was hammered eleven AAA starts before sliding back to AA. I doubt he'll be claimed.
Posted by Lucas at 11:51 AM
January 05, 2004
Signed 2B/OF ERIC YOUNG to a one-year contract for $1,000,000. Outrighted relief pitcher REYNALDO GARCIA, removing him from the 40-man roster, to make room for Young.
Like the Dellucci signing, only more so. Eric Young bats well enough to make a respectable fourth outfielder and can back up Michael Young at second. He also should make a fine pinch-hitter and runner. Unfortunately, Buck Showalter already has intimated that Young, a career .285/.360/.393 batter, could compete for the starting job in left field. Young did pop a career-high 15 homers in 2003, but he had never hit more than eight previously, and he hasn't posted an OBP above .338 since 2000. In a perfect world, Young's signing would indicate a successful acquisition of a fine bench player for a moderate salary. In reality, his signing may force the now 26-year-old Kevin Mench to rot in AAA. For that matter, if Laynce Nix falters, the "play for the future" Rangers conceivably could sport an outfield of 36-year-old Young, 30-year-old Dellucci, and 37-year-old Brian Jordan.
Posted by Lucas at 11:50 AM