Friday, May 31, 2013

Rangers Pepper 5/31: Oh Randy, Clubhouse Venom, Super Joe Reboot

by Dustin Copening
#RangersThoughts” on Twitter can be seen by following me @dfwfanconnect, but those thoughts evolve everyfew days from 140 characters into what I have dubbed as  “Rangers Pepper”. Here’s a fun video that’s totally SFW and informative on the finer art of Pepper to whet your appetite:

Galloway Says What?!?!? - I call myself a P1 because my loyalties have always stayed with “The Little Ticket”. I was incredibly blessed to work for the great Norm Hitzges and Mike Sirois last summer as one of their two interns for the “Norm Hitzges Show”. Some may choose to downgrade my status though once they learn that I do station hop throughout the day. I’ll elaborate on the reason why in a later more self-serving piece, but for now let’s get to the meat.

Yesterday I read this Star Telegram piece by Randy Galloway and then tuned in on ESPN Dallas at just the precise moment that Mr. Galloway was attempting to justify his article over the air waves. What followed did little to quell my concern over three issues with his work that I continue to take issue with.

Galloway starts the article by using the Chris Davis trade as the jumping point for why the Rangers should trade Profar. If you haven’t noticed, Davis currently looks like the beast the Rangers organization thought he might become and then some. This 2012 highlight reel will be dwarfed by his 2013 work, as he’s projected to hit 57 HR, 150 RBI with a 1.195 OPS.

According to Galloway, Davis is the only hope to derail Miguel Cabrera’s run at a second consecutive Triple Crown. While he may be right about that, he mistakenly touts that Davis’s “strikeouts are way down” as a sign that he’s the next Miggy. Actually Davis is striking out at a much lower 21.6% rate when compared to his career average of 31%, but his 144 K pace would still place him in the top 30 for all of baseball based on last year’s numbers. Oh, and Cabrera’s K rate is currently sitting at 13.9%.

A perplexing Galloway assumption is that the Davis trade is “the worst MLB trade of this decade“, when in reality it still has work to do to come close to the 2005 Daniels trade of Chris Young, Adrian Gonzalez, and Terrmel Sledge to the Padres for Adam Eaton, Akinori Otsuka, and Billy Killian. There’s also that little trade of Mark Teixeira for three future All-Stars that netted the Atlanta Braves a total number of zero playoff appearances and the blockbuster return of Casey Kotchman and Stephen Marek in a trade with the LAA Angels one year later. Remember that one Randy?

My final issue with Galloway’s knee jerking is trying to tie together the situation in which Jurikson Profar currently presents the Rangers front office with the one that led them to trade Davis in 2011.  

Dealing Profar now would embody the “Go For It Now” mentality that Galloway seems to be begging Jon Daniels to take. The rookie is performing at the major league level, and there’s no clear spot for him in the Rangers lineup once Ian Kinsler is healthy. On the other hand, Chris Davis was floundering in Texas.

He whiffed at every chance to grab hold of the starting job at first base until Texas realized he would likely never succeed in their organization. Mitch Moreland’s breathing down the neck of Davis with his solid performance in OKC was the breaking point.

So they got what they could for him and Tommy Hunter, who was likewise being pushed out of a rotation spot and is now succeeding like never before as a setup man. That’s not “Go For It Now”. That’s “Cut Your Losses”, and hope who you get back does better than the guy who was dragging you down.

I realize that Galloway’s schtick is to titillate and enrage the reader/listener, but I’m just not used to his work being this sloppy. Come on Randy!

Battlelines May Be Forming - On March 4th, Ron Washington made a few cryptic comments (listen from the 10:05 to 11:15 mark) while making an appearance on the now defunct RAGE on 105.3 The Fan. A few of the shows on The Fan began pointing to the tongue and cheek remarks made by Wash (him having limited influence in the organization and the organization’s moderate spending over the offseason) as signs that there was a break between the clubhouse and the front office.

This was also on the heels of the beginning of the Nolan Ryan drama that proceeded to consume the headlines for the better part of the spring, so the idea gained a bit more traction in my baseball brain than it normally would. Over the last three months I haven’t given those comments much more than a moment or two of thought. That was until Joe Nathan spoke up about not feeling the need for any extra rest.

The first I heard of this was reading a brief T.R. Sullivan writeup on Nathan’s comments yesterday afternoon. While I was struck by Nathan saying he doesn’t “need to be coddled”, I was a bit confused to hear Gavin Dawson and Chris Arnold using Nathan’s comments as more fodder for the idea that there is a widening gap between the front office and clubhouse. That was until I heard and later read Nathan’s peevish comment about the front office determining he needed rest. A comment that was curiously omitted from Sullivan’s piece.

I’m not ready to declare that there’s an all out war about to break out between JD and the players/managers, but I do see a little more smoke on the horizon than I once saw before. It’s starting to deserve added attention.

Hello Joe, What Do You Know - The normal spare-to-fair roster move made by a major league club goes under the radar on most days, and for good reason. The ceiling for most waiver claims and signings is what Ross Wolf has provided a little more than a year after joining the Rangers on April 27th, 2012.

There are a few moments when a player with immense talent hits a wall with a club that forces a parting of ways to take place (Chris Davis anyone?). The Twins lost Joe Benson (CF) to the Rangers on May 25th while making from on their 40-man roster for pitcher P.J. Walters. Benson was the Twins 2010 Minor League Player of the Year after hitting 27 HR, 31 2B, and 9 3B in 123 games, but injuries (knee and wrist) derailed his career’s promising start.

The Twins decided to waive Benson after he began 2013 by posting a .192/.256/.285 line in AAA, but since being sent to AA Frisco by the Rangers, Benson has gone 5-15, with 1 3B, 3 HR, and 5 RBI. The change of scenery might just be what Benson needed to regain the 5-tool form he was once touted for.

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