November 20, 2004
Four added to 40-man
Texas added outfielder JASON BOTTS, pitcher JOSH RUPE, and pitcher NICK MASSET to the 40-man roster. Texas also signed pitcher AGUSTIN MONTERO to a minor-league contract, then added him to the 40-man roster.
Botts, who turned 24 in July, struggled in AA in 2003 but turned on the jets last season, batting .296/.401/.573 and walking more than once every eight times to the plate. He likewise shredded pitchers in the recently completed Arizona Fall League. He'll probably start in AAA next April, but if Texas enters Spring Training without an answer at DH, Botts could enter the equation. Botts is not known as a defensive wizard.
Rupe came to Texas as part of the Carl Everett trade. Injuries limited his 2004 campaign to 73 innings split among low-A, high-A adnd AA. Rupe cooks with gas but control is a real problem.
Masset he has pitched well but not especially so and has only ten innings above high-A in his career. John Sickles rated 36 prospects in last year's Scouting Notebook and Masset was not among them. He struck out only 114 batters in 210 innings over the last two years.
I must be missing something very basic because I really don't understand why former Dodger prospect Agustin Montero requires a position on the 40-man roster. Quality aside, he was not on LA's 40-man roster, so I don't know why he needed more than a non-roster invitation. Quality not aside, Montero has accomplished nothing above AA and turned 27 in August. Why protect him? I doubt another team would claim him in the Rule 5 draft, but if one did, would it matter?
What about who didn't make the cut?
I'm flabbergasted that pitcher Erik Thompson didn't make the roster, and I'd be amazed if he survived the Rule 5 draft. Thompson has done nothing but pitch well over the last three years, all at levels in which the typical player is older than him. In 288 innings over three years, Thompson has a 2.93 ERA, 231 strikeouts and a miniscule 36 walks. While he isn't expected to strike out as many batters at higher levels, his command is tremendous. Thompson did miss the last seven weeks of the season with a sore shoulder. Perhaps his shoulder is worse than reported. If not, the thought process of Ranger management confounds me. Travis Hughes and Ruddy Yan merit roster spots but Thompson doesn't? Incomprehensible, and an ill tiding for the future.
Juan Senreiso's non-promotion seems more justifiable. Senreiso turned 23 in August and mostly split the season between low-A Clinton, high-A Stockton with a cup of coffee (and a bagel) at AA Frisco. Previously underwhelming statistically, he batted .313/.371/.468 for the year with 28 steals and an improved BB/K ratio. Unfortunately, Senreiso flopped in the Arizona Fall League, batting a dire .189/.274/.289 in a league where teams average 6.5 runs per game. The Rangers are probably betting that nobody will spend a Rule 5 pick on him with that performance, and they're probably right. If so, Senreiso should start 2005 in AA.
Texas also left 2002 1st-round pick Drew Meyer on the table. Meyer missed significant time due to injury and struggled in AA. Meyer has a career minor-league line of .273/.323/.381 and has slowly devolved to fringe prospect status.
UPDATE: The local papers have suggested that Thompson's injury is worse than it appeared and that Thompson may not be ready for Opening Day. Jamey Newberg had mentioned that Thompson was throwing on the side in August, so I'd assumed his rehab was progressing well. Nevertheless, I'd rather see his name on the 40 than Ruddy Yan.
Posted by Lucas at 08:21 AM
November 19, 2004
Half of planet invited to Spring Training
Texas signed pitchers ROSMAN GARCIA, JOHN WASDIN, LOU POTE, AGUSTIN MONTERO, SHANE BAZZELL, VLAD NUNEZ, and JOSE VERAS, shortstop MANNY ALEXANDER, infielder ESTEBAN GERMAN, outfielders CHAD ALLEN, JASON CONTI, and ANDRES TORRES, and 1B JASON HART to minor-league contracts.
Alexander, Allen, Conti and Wasdin enter their second year of duty as UPS couriers on the well-worn route between Arlington and Oklahoma City. Allen could stick as a fifth outfielder depending on how the rest of the offseason shakes out; the others (I sincerely hope) will not clutter the active roster except in the most dire of circumstances.
The prettiest name on the list belongs to Nunez, who pitched quite well for the 01-02 Marlins before cratering in 2003 and enduring the shuttle between Denver and Colorado Springs last year. Nunez has a respectable chance to pitch in Texas and a decent chance to pitch well. Certainly worth the flyer.
Pote pitched reasonably well for Anaheim in 01-02, hopped to Japan in 2003, and returned in 2004, mostly for AAA Sacramento. Another passable guy to have in Oklahoma in case trouble erupts.
Torres possesses speed and on-base skills but has never displayed them on the big stage. He's not a terrible guy to have around but probably sits behind Allen and Conti in the pecking order of potential emergency call-ups.
Former prospect Hart endured a miserable twelve months which witnessed his removal from the 40-man roster and surgery for a non-malignant brain tumore. Hart has no chance to make the team but is at least playing baseball again.
Posted by Lucas at 07:57 PM
Texas claimed infielder RUDDY YAN off waivers from the Chicago White Sox.
Yan was one of the players offered but declined in the Carl Everett trade of 2003 that delivered Frank Francisco, among others. Yan struggled as a 22-year-old in AA (.267/.315/.338) and has yet to hit for average above low-A and for power anywhere. He is blazingly fast, but like new teammate Ramon Nivar, he contradicts his best skill with his low OBP.
He's young and appears to have two options remaining, so he does have some time on his side, though the idea of him cluttering the 40-man roster is not appealing. As with Ryan Wing, his appearance begs the question of what makes him more valuable than the departed Ben Koslowski.
Posted by Lucas at 07:39 PM
Chris Young gets his
Texas signed pitcher Chris Young to a three-year, $1.5 million contract with a team option for a fourth year.
Three years for someone with 36 innings of MLB experience? Why? Well, the 6-10, 260-pound Young also played baseketball in college and allegedly had a guarantee of making the roster of the Sacramento Kings. Texas decided to lock Young up rather than risk his departure. Young had a lukewarm 4.71 ERA in seven late-season starts but showed moments of real promise and poise. He'll enter Spring Training as a favorite to make the rotation unless Texas signs two free-agent starters.
Posted by Lucas at 07:31 PM
November 18, 2004
Texas signs two Rays
Texas signed pitcher JASON STANDRIDGE and shortstop JACE BREWER to minor-league deals.
Standridge was Tampa Bay's first pick (31st overall) of the 1997 draft. He hasn't done much beyond the Sally League. Though he just turned 26 and has time to revive his career, his mediocre strikeout rates and occasional lapses in control bode ill. In brief tours of duty over four years, Standridge's performance at the major-league level has been uniformly awful -- 18 homers allowed in 68 innings and more walks than strikeouts. This year's struggles resulted in his removal from the 40-man roster in June. He probably will join the rotation in AAA, and his best shot with the Rangers would be as a long reliever. John Wasdin-like faux-competence in 2005 would be a step up for him, but again, he's just 26.
Brewer, a 5th-round pick in 2000, batted .252/.290/.386 in AA as a 25-year old in 2004. He plays mostly at short with some outfield, first and third thrown in. I'd guess he'll be a supersub for AA Frisco.
Posted by Lucas at 10:20 AM
November 12, 2004
Doug Brocail signed a one-year, $1 million contract for 2005.
A reasonable signing, though nothing over which to celebrate. Brocail looked dead at least year's All-Star break. Why was Texas holding on to a 37-year-old with a 7.45 ERA? Inexplicably, Brocail caught fire in the second half, allowing only a .224 average and no homers in 33 innings. He also pitched some high-leverage innings when Carlos Almanzar began to falter.
Brocail turns 38 in May, and three months of brilliance do not guarantee future results. Still, he's more likely to pitch well than Rosman Garcia or Travis Hughes, and if he doesn't, his salary doesn't sting too much.
Brocail clearly loves to pitch. Arm troubles limited him to a couple of minor-league innings in 2001 and none in 2002 and 2003. That he could suffer through three years of essentially no game action and then pitch effectively at age 37 is a testament to his dedication.
Posted by Lucas at 09:25 AM
Showalter wins Manager of the Year award
The award traditionally goes to whoever manages the team that came out of nowhere, regardless of the manager's actual role in surpassing expectations, but in this case Showalter deserves it.
I worry about the future of this team. Showalter's increased role in the personnel decisions bodes ill, and he has never aged gracefully within an organization. That said, he did a fine job between the lines, and his handling of the bullpen and patchwork rotation was brilliant.
Posted by Lucas at 09:17 AM
November 05, 2004
Site under construction, loading old columns and transactions.
It looks terrible in IE (switch to Firefox!), but I'm working on it.
Posted by Lucas at 12:02 PM
November 02, 2004
Status of Players on 40-man Roster
SIGNED FOR 2005:
Francisco Cordero, Ron Mahay, Chan Ho Park, Kenny Rogers, Hank Blalock, Mark Teixeira, Michael Young
Carlos Almanzar, Joaquin Benoit, Rod Barajas, Gary Matthews, Alfonso Soriano,
R.A. Dickey, Juan Dominguez, Ryan Drese, Frank Francisco, Travis Hughes, Kameron Loe, Edwin Moreno, Erasmo Ramirez, Nick Regilio, Ricardo Rodriguez, Brian Shouse, Chris Young, Ryan Wing, Gerald Laird, Jason Bourgeois, Adrian Gonzalez, Kevin Mench, Ramon Nivar, Laynce Nix
Doug Brocail, Jeff Nelson, Jay Powell, Jeff Zimmerman, Manny Alexander, Andy Fox, Brad Fullmer, Herbert Perry, Eric Young, David Dellucci
(List Updated Nov 19)
Posted by Lucas at 10:12 AM