September 29, 2004
Agreed to a two-year contract extension with reliever RON MAHAY for two years and $1.7 million, plus a $150,000 signing bonus.
Only a few years ago, Texas was handing out $3 million annually to guys like Todd Van Poppel, Jay Powell, and Mark Petkovsek. Mahay had pitched well sporadically but bottmoed out in 2002 with an 8.59 ERA in limited action with the Cubs. Given a chance in the Rangers bedraggled pen in 2003, he responded with a 3.18 ERA and allowed opposing batters a tiny .612 OPS. Mahay has pitched just slightly worse this year compared to 2003 despite a lower ERA: a few more batters have reached base, a few more inherited runners have scored. While I think this new contract represents the maximum I'd want to pay him, it's reasonable, and if he suddenly forgets how to pitch his salary won't clog the payroll.
Posted by Lucas at 03:47 PM
September 24, 2004
Announced that the Milwaukee Brewers claimed pitcher SAM NARRON off waivers from Texas.
Narron joins former Rangers Doug Davis, Victor Santos, Danny Kolb and Scott Podsednik on former Ranger GM Doug Melvin's Brewers. See the Septermber 19th entry for my opinion on the Narron DFA.
Posted by Lucas at 03:47 PM
September 22, 2004
SEPTEMBER 22: Added pitcher TRAVIS HUGHES to the 40-man roster and recalled him from AAA Oklahoma. Designated pitcher RYAN SNARE for assignment.
The commentary for the previous transaction related to Sam Narron applies here. Texas wanted Hughes for bullpen support with the suspensions of Francisco and Almanzar (Brocail's will follow Almanzar), but even with them missing, the team has ten relievers in tow. So Texas risks losing Snare for a 26-year-old long reliever with 83 innings of AAA experience and who is certain not to pitch in a meaningful situation.
Hughes himself was DFA'ed after the 2003 season but remained with Texas. He pitched long relief in AA and AAA, and his peripherals in AAA were solid despite the 5.26 ERA. Texas may designate him again sometime after the season.
Posted by Lucas at 03:46 PM
September 19, 2004
SEPTEMBER 19: Added pitcher KAMERON LOE and outfielder CHAD ALLEN to the 40-man roster and recalled them from AAA Oklahoma. Placed pitcher JUAN DOMINGUEZ on the 60-day disabled list. Designated pitcher SAM NARRON for assignment.
Back on July 31, when Texas optioned Narron to AAA after one start, I wrote: "Will Sam Narron become a capable Major Leaguer? Probably not, but in any case, Texas has added him to the roster and burned one of his options for nothing." Now, Texas has waived him for nothing. Again, Narron probably won't evolve into a worthwhile pitcher on the big-league level, and perhaps no team will claim him. Narron showed good command in his first season in AAA but was hittable (10.9 per nine IP) and featured a dismal strikeout rate (2.7 per nine). His pitches were slow as molasses in his ML debut. However, Narron is only 23 and had never pitched above high-A until this season. Might he evolve into a worthwhile pitcher? He might.
Texas has used ML transaction rules smartly and to its advantage all season, even cobbling together a functional starting rotation out of table scraps. This time, they waived a pitcher with at least some promise for a fifth outfielder because Gary Matthews and (to a lesser extent) Kevin Mench are hobbled. Yes, Alfonso Soriano is hurt, but Eric Young is a second baseman by trade, so does the active roster require the presence of both Andy Fox and Manny Alexander? Why not just waive one of them? Why not waive Ken Huckaby? It's not (potentially) losing Narron that worries me, it's the foreboding of equally short-sighted transactions involving players of far greater potential.
Dominguez only has a sore knee and wouldn't ordinarily merit being marooned on the 60-day DL, but with only two weeks left in the season and roster spots at an apparent premium, Texas will mothball him until 2005. Loe is a 23-year-old with much more promise than Narron. The 6'8" Loe struck out 7.5 per nine IP between AA and AAA and kept the ball in the park. Texas will use him in long relief.
Posted by Lucas at 03:45 PM
September 13, 2004
SEPTEMBER 13: Activated pitcher JUAN DOMINGUEZ from the 60-day Disabled List. Placed 3B/DH HERBERT PERRY on the 60-day Disabled List. Recalled 1B ADRIAN GONZALEZ from AAA Oklahoma.
Was Perry hurt? Perry is always hurt, even if in the lineup. In 2002, Perry's performed an admirable rescue mission as the everyday third baseman (.276/.333/.480) after Hank Blalock proved not ready for prime time. The winter after his career season at age 32, GM John Hart threw two years and $3.5 million at him. That decision seemed quite obviously a reward for his 2002 season rather than an expectation of future performance, and unfortunately, Perry immediately became crippled with shoulder and knee injuries that limited him to all of 24 at-bats in 2003. This season, Perry began the year as the DH against lefties, but more injuries and solid play from Eric Young prevented him from fulfilling even that limited role. He won't be a Ranger in 2005, and his age and perpetual stream of injuries will leave him hard-pressed to make any squad. It's no fun to talk that way about a guy thirteen months younger than me, but there it is.
Dominguez takes a rotation slot from Chris Young, who will be shut down to rest his tiring arm. Gonzalez joins the team after Oklahoma's elimination from the PCL playoffs. His presence is surprisingly important. Texas doesn't have a decent lefty pinch-hitter; Andy Fox, of all people, pinch hit against Pedro Martinez nine games ago.
Posted by Lucas at 03:44 PM
September 10, 2004
Claimed reliever MICHAEL TEJERA off waivers from Florida. Designated reliever ROSMAN GARCIA for assignment.
Garcia is just over two years younger than Tejera, but Texas wanted the lefty who has achieved at least modest success in the Majors. Tejera pitched 140 innings with a 4.45 ERA as a 25-year-old rookie (albeit in pitcher-happy Florida) and a 4.67 ERA mostly as a reliever the following year. In 2004, Tejera has a 3.97 ERA and 39/88 BB/SO ratio mostly as a starter. Garcia has never pitched well in Texas and has a 4.65 ERA and a 36/49 BB/SO ratio for AAA Oklahoma.
Posted by Lucas at 03:44 PM
September 07, 2004
Activated pitcher JOAQUIN BENOIT from the 15-day Disabled List.
So Benoit hasn't thrown his last pitch as a Ranger, as I opined on August 24. But it's close.
Posted by Lucas at 03:43 PM
September 01, 2004
Activated pitcher JEFF NELSON, pitcher ERASMO RAMIREZ, and 3B/DH HERBERT PERRY from the 15-day Disabled List. Added catcher KEN HUCKABY and infielder ANDY FOX to the 40-man roster and recalled them from AAA Oklahoma. Transferred pitcher MICKEY CALLAWAY from the 15-day to the 60-day DL.
Nelson could have returned sooner, but Texas wanted to wait until September 1 so that no one would have to leave to make room for Nelson. Huckaby and Fox are reinforcements. I suppose Huckaby allows for multiple pinch-hit attempts in the catcher's slot and Fox perhpas could pinch-run for someone, but that's the extent of their value. Callaway hits the 60-day DL for the second time in one season. He won't need surgery for his irritated rotator cuff but he definitely wasn't going to pitch again this year. Texas now has eight players on the 60-day Disabled List.
Posted by Lucas at 03:42 PM