26 unsigned Free Agents on Babe Ruth's Birthday

Babe Ruth, who never had trouble getting a job, would have been 113 years old today. Most players usually have jobs on Babe Ruth’s Birthday and this year Juan Gonzalez is actually employed. But the following are not:

ROTATIONColon

1. Bartolo Colon - Apparently those medical reports are pretty bad.

2. Freddy Garcia - He won just one game last year but 17 in 2006.

3. Kyle Lohse - He started out looking for five years and $45 million. Wonder if he’ll even get a Major League contract.

4. Livan Hernandez - He was supposed to go to the New York Mets until they landed Johan Santana.

5. Jeff Weaver - He is 29-38 with a 5.24 ERA over the past three years.

6. Russ Ortiz - The Diamondbacks are still paying him but he is 7-22 with a 6.94 ERA since signing that four-year, $33 million contract three years ago.

7. David Wells - His agent says he still wants to pitch.

8. Roger Clemens – He seems a bit distracted right now.

9. Steve Trachsel – This guy won 15 games in 2006.

10. Kris Benson – Plus you get Anna too.

RELIEVERS

11. Brendan Donnelly – Not a good time to be on the Mitchell Report.

12. Armando Benitez – The Rangers looked at him and said no.

13. Shawn Chacon – This one is a little surprising considering he was 5-4 with a 3.94 ERA with the Pirates last year.

14. Byung-Hyun Kim – One of several Scott Boras clients still out there. Boras once tried to pass off Ron Villone as the greatest spot starter in Major League history.

15. Bob Wickman – He did have 20 saves last year.

POSITION PLAYERS

16. C Damien Miller – He was the Diamondbacks catcher in 2001 when they won the World Series.Klesko

17. 1b Ryan Klesko – A .401 slugging percentage is not a good thing if you are a first baseman.

18. 2B Todd Walker – This guy always seem to be able to hit a little bit but nobody wants to give a glove.

19. SS Royce Clayton – Here’s to a distant memory.

20. 3B Corie Koskie – Or Jeff Cirillo, Tony Batista, Mark Bellhorn, Eric Hinske.

21. OF Shannon Stewart – Thought this guy could still play a little bit.

22. OF Corey Patterson – He had no desire to come to Texas.

23. OF Trot Nixon - Still think he could help a National League team as a bench player.

24. OF Kevin Mench – You just knew the Rangers couldn’t resist inquiring.

25. Shawn Green – Remember him?

26. Sammy Sosa – You’d like to think he deserves better than this but nobody is guaranteed a job forever.

14 Comments

Well, I was going to post a follow up to my Kinsler question, but since we have a new thread I’ll do it here. I asked if the Rangers were going to commit to Kinsler (and vice versa) by offering a contract to tie him up long term.

I am convinced that the Rangers are in no hurry to sign Kinsler to a 3 or 4 year deal. In fact, today, I don’t think they will at all.

The Rangers are watching the development of German Duran very closely. I believe that the plan consists of watching Duran this season at OKC, and giving him a shot this fall when rosters expand. If he can play a serviceable 2B in 2009, I think he could get the nod over Kinsler, who’ll be eligible for abitration in 2009.

If Kinsler gets hurt again this season, we may see Duran earlier. He might not go back to OKC (say bye to Ramon Vasquez).

I don’t mind being wrong on this – in fact there is a stronger likelihood that it won’t play out this way. I would very much like to see Kinsler rake this season, and force the Rangers’ hand. That is what would be best for the team. Having Young, Kinsler and Duran all needing a spot would be a good problem to have (at least better than the problems we have had in the recent past).

Bring on Spring (Training).

Does Duran have the arm and/or the bat to play either corner infield spot?

I’d love to see Kinsler get the extension. I think he’s still improving and shows great promise.

At the very least, maybe Duran earns Vasquez’s spot.

There is only a few guys on this list that still do intrigue me at all. Shannon Stewart is at the very top of that list because I still think we need another outfielder that has a good right handed bat. We are loaded on the lefty side. Unless everyone is sold on either Nelson Cruz or Jason Botts which I don’t think the Rangers are with other moves they have already made this off-season. The only others who might intrigue me a little bit would be Livian Hernandez or Kyle Lohse. One because neither are coming off of an injury and two they pitch a lot of innings. I guess Livian has a little bit better of a track record overall but Lohse is Younger and has pitched in the American League before. Most of the other guys on the free agent list that Mr. T.R. Sullivan has down on the list are guys who I don’t think would help the Rangers because they are not versital enough execpt for maybe a return by Kevin Mench as a non-roster invitee to camp. But for the most part I am genuinely excited to see how the Rangers season will shake out this season. I like how they finished the season and I hope they take a couple steps forward this season.

As to what Briant77 and rangerfan411 said about Ian Kinsler. I do hope the Rangers sign Ian to a long term contract and I would also like to see a younger guy like Duran get the utility job rather than Vasquez or Edguardo Alfonso. I forgot to add this to my last post. There is another Free agent I forgot about. Let’s sign Damien Miller and trade Gerald Laird. At this point in Miller’s career he would be more willing to be a back up catcher and should be a great presence for all of our younger catchers coming up in the system to look up to for advice. Miller has been a good solid catcher that has caught some of the games best pitchers with the D-backs and the Cubs. Let’s get some value for Laird before he doesn’t have any value.

I agree with the moving of Laird, but I think his stock is really at its lowest possible value currently. It seems like the team is going wait until the All-Star break to try to deal him. If he return to average form (offensively speaking), his stock will increase dramatically from where it currently is.

I’ve got no problem with this strategy. I don’t think he’ll be valued any less at the trade deadline.

If the Rangers weren’t so stacked with potential 5th starters/spot starters/long relief arms I would take a gander at Shawn Chacon. His track record is kinda similar to Joaquin Benoit, he’s been both a regular starter and reliever at times. He has been decent at both but recently he’s been better in relief. In 2007 he had a 5.59 ERA in 4 starts and a 3.52 ERA over 76.2 innings in 60 relief appearances. Had very pronounced lefty-righty splits though, as LH batters had a .317/.438/.492 line off him while RH batters were limited to .236/.313/.369 splits. For his career he actually has a better ERA as a starter than reliever.

Benoit, by comparison, wasn’t as good as Chacon against righties but he absolutely killed lefties in 2007, as they hit .172/.221/.269 off him. Benoit has a career 6.06 ERA in 55 starts (274.2 innings) and a 3.48 ERA in 155 relief appearances (271.2 innings, 262 K’s).

TR, Sammy Sosa is done. He had a good year last year, came back and set a great record, but it’s time for him to ride off into the sunset now, not pretend he’s Jose Canseco. I know people like the guy, but sheesh, you’d think he’d realize when it was time to hang it up.

Briant: I agree with what you said. The Rangers obviously feel comfortable trying to lowball Kinsler right now, because they know German Duran is coming. But Kinsler is a much better player than Duran, he has more tools: most of all, he has speed, which is something Duran really doesn’t have, and second he has the potential for great defense. I know he made a lot of errors during the middle of the year last season, but his defense was always raved about in the minors, and once he got it together, the errors did stop. I’m convinced that Ian has the potential to be an all-star at second base – and I’m betting it won’t be long until he cashes that in. If the Rangers really do want to sign him on the cheap, I’ve got a feeling they’d best meet his price now – I don’t think he’s going to get any cheaper to sign as his career goes on.

IMO – No one on this list is worth a roster spot. We can take all the non – roster invite flyers we want but none of these folks have the chance to significantly improve the team.

Shrek had a good run here with the fans and he is a good PR resource but the outfield is crowded now and its gonna be tough for him here. If he could cure his streakiness at the plate he could catch on somewhere.

Kinsler is going to be a premiere 2B for a while. If the knock on him is defense, I wonder how much of his error problem was due to the departure of Steve Smith and RW’s style coming in.

I agree with Lonestar. Sign Kinsler for what he wants now and that contract will look like a bargain 3 years from now.

Check out the Newberg Report on the Baseball America report on the Rangers. Their projected lineup for 2011 has Kinsler at DH…

Mench is coming whether you like it or not? You better believe it. Give the “idiot” some credit. It will be a “feel good” story as Mench attempts to overcome his streakiness. Mench could admit that he has slumps once and a while, has become a christian and with Jesus’s help he will fight it everyday. He won’t get to high on his highs, or too low on his lows. He will take it one day at a time for the league minimum. His t-shirt sales alone will pay his salary. Bet on it.

TR, Babe had a problem getting that ever elusive Managerial job. Of course the Texas Rangers were known as the Washington Senators then. If Ron Washington could be a manager then the Babe sure as heck could have been. Found out something today from an insider, who said this. Hillman didn’t get the job here, because J.D. was scared that he was too similar to Buck Showalter. If Hillman starts out quickly and rebuilds that team then J.D. should be canned. Which i already believe anyway. But the jest of it is J.D. is the one who pushed for Washington over Hillman for control and money issues alone. I always thought you should hire the best manager period. When is Hargrove getting here? Around the all-star break? I can’t wait.

Dwid, here’s a question: would you rather see Kevin Mench make the team out of spring training (he hit jusr .212 against RHP last year) or would you rather see Nelson Cruz and Jason Botts get one last shot at it? If Mench is signed, and if he somehow makes the team, it will go against the rebuilding movement in every way.

TR,

Your comment No. 17 “A .401 slugging percentage is not a good thing if you are a first baseman.”

I have to think you are correct- but- is there an accepted value of slugging percentage that separates the slugger from the non-slugger?

Over the last five years in the AL there have been several first basemen that have started at least 100 games with slugging averages less than 0.401.

Namely: Casey, Overbay and Sexson (2007); Lee and Phillips (2006); Millar and Erstad (2005); Erstad, Olerud and Mientkiewicz (2004); Konerko, Hatteberg, Olerud (2003).

The AL (all players) yearly average for slugging percentage are as follows:

YEAR 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007

LEAGUE AVG 0.427 0.433 0.424 0.437 0.422

Is it fair to say anyone having a slugging percentage above the league average in a given year is a “slugger”? I don’t think so. However where is that level?

One other comment. I know that slugging percentage is total bases divided by at bats. I know Rickey and Roth came up with that definition a long time ago as reported on the Baseball Almanac website. It seems to me that since it is SLUGGING that singles should not be included either in TB or AB.

As an example of how a high slugging percentage is effected by singles consider Polanco. In 2007 he had a slugging percentage of 0.458. If it is recalculated excluding his 152 singles (out of 200 hits) the value is 0.269. Another example is Pena he had a slugging percentage of 0.627 in 2007 excluding the singles drops his slugging percentage to 0.574 still a very good level.

If you recalculate Babe Ruth’s CAREER slugging percentage (0.690) without singles it is 0.621. Ruth is the all-time leader in career slugging percentage.

The AL average slugging percentage in 2007 recalculated without singles is only 0.295.

Hey lonestar, i never said that i wanted Mench here. I was just stating the obvious. Mench is popular, sells tickets and T-shirts. That is what it is about here. I personally would rather see Cruz in RF everyday, but they seemed to have given his position to Bradley. That is what irks me about our “team” just less than 18 months ago, CRUZ was the player, the key, the one we had to have, now he is out the door? That is what it looks like. Washington and JD aren’t re-building with youth, just look at the acquistions, Broussard, Bradley, Jennings, Guardado. Only Hamilton works for rebuilding, he is 26 and can play if he can stay clean. It seems to me that Washington and Daniels are trying to compete this year, for what? Angels, Tigers, Indians, Red Sox, Yankees will win out. If i were king, Teagarden, Davis, and Duran, along with Mendoza, Murray and Hurley as starting pitchers make this team as starters, Kinsler could go to SS and Young and Cat would be traded. Any move that delays us winning in 3 to 5 years wouldn’t be made. Every year we do this, over value the team, fail to play and develop players, every year. Now they are talking about Kinsler leaving because basically he won’t give up his free agency rights. He has 4 years left under the Rangers control and they are already making plans for him to leave. What a joke. I am sure Kinsler would sign a 4 year deal for more money, we all would, but why would he want to give up his free-agency rights? They want him to, but if he is smart he will just not do it. Will you hate me when Kinsler walks or is traded? Will his defense be bad mouthed as Duran walks into his position. Will Kinsler be given away for a bag of beans? You guys know that i am right. How many more of our players are going to have to leave before we stand together and say enough is enough. Pay the guy while you can afford him.

Sorry dwid, but I was also going on several posts you’ve made in the past, lamenting how we should bring back Mench. It’s true you didn’t say that this time though, and your point on him is correct – the Rangers are talking to him because he’s an old fan favorite, and that’s the only reason.

To your other points:

Cruz’s abysmal performance last season is what took him out of favor with the organization. He’s had three different chances to impress people on the big club here: late ’06, early ’07, and late ’07. And in each of those chances, he has done nothing but stink the place up. The same goes for Jason Botts, although he hasn’t had as many extended chances as Cruz. I would like to see them both get one last shot this year, but this time around, they need to earn it in spring training. Both of them have impressed in winter ball, but the question is, can they carry that sucess into the spring, and into the season, once they start to face MLB pitchers every at-bat? It’s going to be interesting to see if they can, and if they cannot, JD is going to need some veteran players he can once again “flip” at the trade deadline for players to replace Cruz and Botts as our top hitting prospects. That’s why Bradley, Jennings and Guardado are here, not becuase they’re taking jobs away from young players who deserve them (well, with the exception of Guardado, anyway) but to force the young players to earn their jobs, and provide some insurance if those young players fail yet again.

And as to Ian Kinsler: I agree with you, I have a bad feeling about his situation myself. I’ve already said, this looks like another saga of the “Tom Hicks cycle”: accquire ‘em, develop ‘em, and trade ‘em when they ask for more money. Rinse and repeat as desired.

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