Friday Happy Hour at the Elysian Fields Bar & Grill

Welcome to the Elysian Fields Bar & Grill, where we ring in the New Year and toast the 240th anniversary of professional baseball in America.

Bar.JPG* Rangers assistant general manager Thad Levine on the free agent market: “We’re keeping an eye on the market and staying in touch with agents but even the agents don’t know where this is going. They all still have their expectations but the way this is going, somebody is going to have to recalibrate their expectations. If they do, they could end up being a fit for us.”

* Rangers catcher Max Ramirez is leading the Venezuelan Winter League with 15 home runs and is second with 53 RBI. He’s also second with a .618 slugging percentage.

* Astros manager Cecil Cooper on his first full season as a Major League manager: “I have to learn to be a little more patient and not get as frustrated when things don’t go the way I think they should go. When you have some success at the Major League level, you think that everybody should be like that. It’s a little bit more difficult when you’ve been a regular player and you’ve had success. You expect everybody else to do the same.”

* Mike Maddux appeared in 472 Major League games. He started 48 and appeared in 424 as a reliever. That’s the most relief appearances ever by a Rangers pitching coach. Art Fowler had 272 relief appearances and Tom House had 268. Maddux is third in overall Major League games pitched by a Rangers pitching coach. Claude Osteen pitched in 541 games and Orel Hershiser pitched in 510.

* Nolan Ryan struck out 203 batters for the Rangers in 1991. It was his third straight season with at least 200 strikeouts. The Rangers haven’t had a pitcher strike out 200 batters in a season since then. Every other American League team has had at least one pitcher with 200 strikeouts in one of the last 17 seasons. It’s happened 51 times overall. But not once by a Rangers pitcher.

* Derrick Turnbow’s entrance music is “Fuel” by Metallica. He was also the first Major League pitcher in history to get four saves in the first four games of the season. Did that for the Brewers in 2006.

340x.jpg* Just for the heck of it: Richard Hidalgo.

* Free agent pitcher Derek Lowe is the only Major Leaguer with ten-plus years of experience and has never been on the disabled list. Michael Young has seven years and 134 days of experience.

* Angels manager Mike Scioscia on Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu: “Wak is terrific. The time when he was in our organization. Actually I know him from going way back when he was playing, but he’s got a very creative baseball mind. He understands the things that are important in not only building a team but what’s important in winning games, and he’s great with people, so he’s — he’s going to be great.”

* The Rangers went 13-13 on Friday in each of the last two seasons but they still have a 475-461 record on Fridays overall. It’s the only day of the week they have a winning record in club history. But they are 32-19 on Tuesday over the past two seasons, winning 15 of their last 20.

* Ever heard of Stanton Walker? He was a scorekeeper at a Minor League game in 1902 in Morristown Ohio. He was sharpening his pencil with a knife when a hard foul ball came straight back. It hit Walker in his hand and drove the knife into his heart.

* The publisher of the Chicago Tribune wasn’t happy that the Chicago team played Troy (N.Y.) on Sept. 26, 1881. The game was played during President Garfield’s funeral. The outraged publisher said, “I am never again going to let an item of baseball news appear in my newspaper.”


Considering all the good things about Derek Lowe I’m surprised he’s still on the market.


Lofton for Ramirez is going to turn out to be a great deal. I was at the game last year when Ramirez was catching and got bowled over at the plate, collected himself and then gunned out the runner at third for a double play. Being a former catcher, i instantly fell in love with this guy who also can knock the crap out of the ball. Which leads me to this. Why even entertain trading this guy? If i am going to deal a “catcher” then Saltalamacchia is the guy i trade. A switch hitting catcher, who i believe, once is traded will end up playing first base for that team. His catching skills are that bad. I for one don’t believe that you learn how to catch at the major league level. You can either do it or you can’t. My vote is that he can’t. So when you look at our roster and i know he is young, but he really doesn’t fit on this team. Teagarden has already played better defense and hit better than Saltalamacchia has in his stay. So deal Salty for a pitcher if you can get one. Ramirez is a stud and can spell Teagarden at catcher, play some first base and also DH. He fits better and i believe has a better upside. I hope Wakamatsu does do well. Which leads to this and i like Washington. But what if he gets off to his typical slow start and gets fired? Who becomes the manager?

I believe Lowe would do well here and has not been hurt. Isn’t he a sinkerball pitcher? God i wish we could get someone like Aaron Sele when he won all those games two years in a row for us. We need that one free agent starter to come in and win some games and solidify the staff. Maybe we get Sheets. I remember something along the line of we need two starting pitchers and two relievers and hope to get them in free agency or trades. Well it is now two months to Spring Training and well nothing. Same old same old Rangers. It is too expensive for us. What a joke. I don’t believe wasting money or spending into infinity and beyond guarantees a title. But i also don’t believe that pinching pennies ever did that either. Their has to be a happy medium. If i were king and i truly was committed to the youth in 2009 and beyond then i don’t need a 33 year old infielder that is playing out of position, especially one making that kind of money. Especially when i have a 20 year old shortstop phenom ready to burst into the building with the 2010 theme music. So deal Young and Catalanotto, this knocks off what $20 million off the books? Then use that money and get a couple of starting pitchers. So in essence the Rangers have invested the money, they just have it invested in the wrong players. Don’t get me wrong i like Young, i just believe he makes too much money for getting 200 hits. His value isn’t going to get any higher so deal him now for some prospects, get the best deal that you can. Let him go to the west coast and star for a team out there and get his title.

I like that strong winter out of Max. Even if another catcher isn’t dealth, he’s probably going to tear AAA up to a degree that he forces his way into the line up somehow.

If Smoak comes as quickly as I think he will they’re going to have another logjam on their hands with the 1b/DH situation pretty quickly. Too bad Davis’ range is sub par for third. Gotta love that depth, though. Good trade chips.

How much should we be buying into the Manny Ramirez rumors? MLB network just reported that the Rangers have growing interests in bringing him on board. I know we’ve looked into him in the past and couldn’t make the deal work for one reason or another. Is he the answer we’re looking for to swing this division in our favor? Or is it more analysts simply trying to create a story in a slow market??

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