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April 30, 2008

Botts DFA'ed, Shelton and Boggs Up, Blalock DL'ed

Texas designated 1B/OF/DH JASON BOTTS for assignment, purchased the contract of 1B CHRIS SHELTON, placed 3B HANK BLALOCK on the 15-day DL, and recalled OF BRANDON BOGGS from AAA Oklahoma.

In terms of wins and losses in 2008 , it makes little difference whether Ben Broussard, Jason Botts, or Chris Shelton starts at first. Broussard was certain to be subadequate , Shelton had a stellar April 2005 and modest success at other times, and Jason Botts had yet to capitalize on the potential shown in his tremendous AAA performances. None is/was likely to be an above-average 1B in 2008. All that said, some semblance of a plan regarding these guys might have helped. This chain of events sure seems haphazard:

Nov 18, 2007 – Texas inquires about Broussard, per Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.

Dec 5 – Shelton acquired for Freddy Guzman.

Dec 13 – Broussard acquired for Tug Hulett. Broussard is arbitration-eligible.

Jan 5, 2008 – Broussard gets $3.85 million in a pre-arb agreement.

Jan 14 – Shelton DFA’ed to make room for Kaz Fukumori. He clears and is assigned to AAA.

Mar 4 – Ron Washington declares Broussard an everyday player. Enthusiasm is not a plan!

Mar 25 – Botts makes the active roster without unanimity and despite no apparent role. I suggest he’ll be encased in carbonite at the end of the bench.

Mar 31 – Broussard starts against lefty Eric Bedard on Opening Day, batting 9th. No Rangers 1B had ever batted 9th on the first day of the season. Through April 29th, Broussard has batted 9th in 16 of his 21 starts.

Apr 10 – Botts makes his first start in the team’s ninth game. He has one plate appearance in the first eight games.

Apr 19 – Botts makes his third start. Texas has faced four lefties; Broussard faced the first two and Botts the next two. On the 21st, Ron Washington acknowledges that Botts will play more often after a meeting with Jon Daniels.

Apr 29 – Botts is designated for assignment after nine starts and 38 plate appearances. Shelton added to 40-man roster, active roster, and starting lineup.

Also: good for Boggs.

Posted by Lucas at 12:19 AM

April 25, 2008

Two Minus Three Equals Negative Fun!

Texas pitchers have issued the most walks (114) and fewest strikeouts (109) in the American League. Thus, they’re headed for the dubious distinction of completing a season with more walks than strikeouts. That won’t happen, but it’s fun to think about (in a self-destructive way).

The Rangers are on pace for 767 strikeouts and 803 walks, a difference of -36. Until the mid-1950s, negative differences weren’t uncommon. No pitching staff has tallied fewer strikeouts than walks since the 1956 Philadelphia Athletics (-67).

In the last fifteen years, Milwaukee has the worst difference, +95, in the 144-game 1995 season. The worst full season belongs to the epically bad ’96 Tigers staff, which had 784 walks and 957 strikeouts, a difference of +173. Detroit allowed 6.8 runs per game, 1,015 for the season.

Regarding the 803 walk pace: It would be the third most in MLB history behind the notorious 1915 Athletics and the 1949 Yankees. The worst total in the last fifteen years (784) belongs to the aforementioned ’96 Tigers.

Regarding the 767 strikeout pace: The only team with fewer strikeouts in the last fifteen years is the 2003 Tigers with 764. They won 43 games.

And there’s more! Texas is also on pace to allow 1,690 hits. That’s well below the record of 1,993 by the 1930 Phillies, during an era when teams routinely hit .290. But, excluding Colorado, it would be the third-most since 1940, after the ’97 Athletics (1,734) and ’96 Tigers (1,699). Considering the offensive context, allowing 1,690 hits in 2008 might be worse. Incidentally, the 3rd and 4th worst post-1940 hit totals belong to the ’00 and ’01 Rangers.

Posted by Lucas at 06:11 PM

April 21, 2008

The Rundown Museum Proudly Displays...

Francisco Goya, Boston Devouring The Rangers, oil mural transferred to canvas, circa 1823.

Posted by Lucas at 02:50 PM

April 19, 2008

More Strike Calls

Regarding the irritation of Manny Ramirez and Milton Bradley at Jerry Meals's strike zone on Friday, Bradley at least has an argument. Here's the called strike in question:

The outer box is 2.9 inches (the width of the ball) around the rule-book strike zone. It gives the full benefit of the doubt to the umpire.

As for Manny...

...no telling what what going through his head.

Posted by Lucas at 02:16 PM

April 18, 2008

Close, But No Cigar

Benoit's final pitch to Marco Scutaro on Wednesday was Ball Four. Barely.

Posted by Lucas at 05:45 PM

April 11, 2008

Blog Down For A Bit

Work travel + home computer troubles = dull blog. Hope to have something during the weekend.

Posted by Lucas at 11:00 PM

April 04, 2008

Cruz Clears

Outfielder NELSON CRUZ cleared waivers and was outrighted to AAA Oklahoma.

When 30 teams collectively say you’re not worthy of even a bench spot in the Majors, you might finally decide your batting won’t suffice. I thought Cruz would gain that insight when optioned last summer, but no such luck. It may not matter now. Cruz could win the rate-stat Triple Crown in the PCL.

Posted by Lucas at 08:02 AM