Monday Morning Manager…what we know about the Rangers

Today is the Feast of Saint Aldobrandesca. She was an Italian Christian saint, widow, hermit, ascetic, hospital nurse and miracle worker. While ministering to the sick, she performed several miraculous cures.

Maybe the Rangers should adopt her as her as their patron saint.

Monday_Morning.jpgSo it’s been 18 games for the Rangers. That’s one-ninth of a season. Multiply that by nine and the Rangers are on pace for 72 wins, 27 of them from Colby Lewis. Plus 63 home runs and 153 RBI from Nelson Cruz and a club-record 126 walks from Elvis Andrus.

Rich Harden’s 162 walks sets another record.

We know that won’t happen, right? So what do we know? Well…

* Matt Treanor is the Rangers best option at catcher. Taylor Teagarden is probably headed to Triple A when the Rangers feel Jarrod Saltalamacchia is ready. Saltalamacchia is not ready because he still feels something in his back and shoulders. Depending on who you believe, it’s something he can work through or something that’s keeping him from throwing the ball well. Or he’ll never be able to throw well.

* Somebody said something in Spring Training about Kevin Richardson but he was waved off as an idiot.

* Ian Kinsler should be back this week. The Rangers will have to decide whether to keep Joaquin Arias, who is hitting .341, or Andres Blanco, who is hitting .222 but can play shortstop if needed. The manager clearly loves Blanco but Arias would have to clear waivers. Actually, so would Blanco.

* Once upon a time the Rangers got Nelson Cruz through waivers.

* Elvis Andrus is not only the Rangers best defensive player but also leading them in on-base percentage. Somewhere agent Scott Boras is smiling and counting the days.

* Matt Harrison has had two good starts and one bad start. Already speculation that Derek Holland should take his spot in rotation. Only on the Rangers.

* Holland is not going to take Harden’s spot. At least not yet. Unless somebody decides Harden needs to go on the disabled list. But he’s not hurt. At least not yet.

daniels.jpg* Pitching coach Mike Maddux believes Frank Francisco is working his way out of it.

* For this bullpen to be good, Chris Ray has to be good. Otherwise Neftali Feliz might be cooked by the All-Star game. Along with Doug Mathis and Dustin Nippert if the rotation isn’t better.

* Julio Borbon is 7-for-21 in the No. 9 spot. Vladimir Guerrero really likes the Ballpark in Arlington.

* Guess no more mailbag questions about Justin Smoak and Chris Davis.

* Rangers sale? The club is either going to be sold to Chuck Greenberg or Jim Crane, headed for bankruptcy, taken over by Major League Baseball or seized by Monarch Alternative Capital. All other scenarios have been discounted, so to speak.

* As the Sundance Kid told Butch Cassidy on the ledge overlooking the canyon, “They could surrender to us, but I wouldn’t count on it.”

Where is Saint Aldobrandesca when you need her?

1. Do you see a need for Derek Holland in the Rangers rotation and in what spot?

2. What’s your take on Rich Harden?

3. Are you concerned about Scott Feldman?

4.  Are you frustrated by what’s going on with the Rangers sale?

5. What is your biggest concern with the Rangers and how do you address it?



— 1. No – it’s April 26th and Rangers management is panic stricken as if it’s September 26th

— 2. Let him work it out. I read a post on the internet that said (I’m para-phrasing) – if the Rangers take Rich Harden out of the rotation at this point then fans should never ever complain again about free agent pitchers avoiding the Rangers. Harden, who most acknowledge has ace quality stuff, turned down offers from other clubs (with more pitcher friendly environs) to sign with the Rangers. If the Rangers panic/lose patience (which seems to be the club motto) why would a free agent pitcher sign here when they wouldn’t be allowed to work out their problems because of management’s short leash and lack of confidence in their own decision making process for signing players? I absolutely agree.

— 3. No, see first line of answer #2 – let him work it out. The Rangers aren’t playing the AL East where the competition is petty stiff – geez, they are only 3 games out of first.

— 4. I’m frustrated that Mr. Hicks has proved to be an underhanded, unreliable, unehtical businessman. He knew the MLB rules, from what I’ve read – he tried to circumvent them – that is just plain wrong. And if anyone read the articles in the Startlegram and the Dallas Boring News – then you saw that his family foundation and personal wealth are in good shape – so the money to pay off the creditors could be available from Mr. Hicks, he just doesn’t want to pay back the legal obligations he signed for – I think that says everything you need to know about the integrity of the current owner. I say – MLB take over the team, make sure that the new ownership group takes whatever small portion of ownership Mr. Hicks had out of the equation and get this transaction complete.

— 5. Panic. I had no idea they handed pennants out in April – is that something new? I should know better – this team has always managed by crisis (real or invented) not by smart patient baseball thinking. I’ve written this elsewhere: The more things change for the Texas Rangers….the more they remain the same.

— Actually the Rangers should have St. Jude – the patron saint of hopeless causes as their benefactor

1. Do you see a need for Derek Holland in the Rangers rotation and in what spot?
– No I do not. I think that the pitching has been the highlight for the Rangers so far this season and there is no need to change the rotation yet. He needs to keep pitching well in AAA ball and really build his confidence.

2. What’s your take on Rich Harden?
– To many pitches, too many walks. He needs to prove in the next few starts that he can turn it around or the Rangers are in trouble. He was supposed to replace Milwood, who went deep into most of his games last season, and Harden hasn’t even come close to going deep into a game yet. So far, he is a dissapointment.

3. Are you concerned about Scott Feldman?
– No, everyone has a bad game. I think Scott will be fine. We can’t as Ranger fans jump ship everytime a pitcher has a bad game. You know, even Nolan Ryan had a few of them.

4. Are you frustrated by what’s going on with the Rangers sale?
– Yes. I thought that the sale would be done by now and I think that Hicks probably is in a bigger financial pickle than he let the fans know about. It needs to get done. I believe that the pending sale is a distraction to the team.

5. What is your biggest concern with the Rangers and how do you address it?
– Hitting. A few Rangers are hitting well (Cruz, Andrus, Vlad) but not all of them are. This team has always been known as an offensive powerhouse, and it would be a shame if that went by the wayside on a year that the pitching looks better than it has in a long time. I believe that the Rangers will turn it around, and I am looking foward to seeing Kinsler back this week. and for the record, I would keep Aries and let Blanco go. Thanks.

1. No, he should just keep getting innings in at AAA.

2. He just needs top be more efficient. Probably should have a simplified game plan kind of like ST where you focus on certain pitches and locations. the K’s are great but it takes lots of pitches to strike guys out. He seems to get in the mode of trying to get hitters to chase all the time, stay in the zone and they’ll have to start swinging.

3. Not yet, looks like he is trying to be a bit too fine is all.

4. Definitely, the best option for everyone concerned is for the sale to complete. This creditor standing in the way should realize that bankruptcy will leave them with even less. Has MLB franchise ever been siezed by creditors?

5. Just looks to me like there is not a consistent game plan. Its like RW is managing to keep his job not managing to win the game or make the right move at the right time.

1) Not yet but I think he will be here soon if Harden doesn’t turn it around soon. Moving Harrison to the bullpen now for Holland would be a bad move, too.
2) I thought we were signing a dominant starter in Harden, not a 90MPH throwing (at best) pitcher who has a hard time throwing strikes. I really dont know why they signed him in the first place when we had Holland, Hunter (before he got injured) and McCarthy already here and ready to be in the rotation. They never seem to have good luck with free agent starters. But like you said TR, I am expecting Harden to go on the DL soon with a “tired arm” because you can’t use “sucking” as a reason to go on the DL.
3) Not concerned about Feldman, I think he will be fine. He was probably feeling the effects of being sick on Saturday but he’ll never say that because he is a professional. He’ll just need to keep making adjustments because the hitters will adjust to him.
4) Very much so, Hicks has proven himself to be a horse’s hind end during the sale process. I understand him wanting to take the highest offer, but a deal is a deal. Besides, Nolan Ryan said he’d resign if Crane bought the team, and I think that would be the last straw with the fan base if Ryan were to leave that way (not that Hicks would care about that.)
5) Right now my two biggest concerns are the offense and the bullpen. The offense is looking better, but Josh Hamilton confounds me-I wonder if he will ever be a consistent, productive hitter again. Getting Kinsler back will be a boost to the offense too, hopefully. And I hope we don’t fry Feliz before late fall, too. They may have to do closer by committee too, especially if they can find another hard throwing lefty for the bullpen.

1. Immediately? No, but if Harden continues to abuse the bullpen on a regular basis…..
2. Great stuff, horrible command. I no longer look forward to his spot to come up in the rotation and if he has another outing that he can?t get through the 5th that will make 4/5. I know how great he can be, but those results are unacceptable regardless of potential/track record.
3. Not as much as I am about Harden. Let?s see how his next 3 go. I bet he turns it around in short order.
4. Yes. Extremely. If this drags on to the point that it affects the team?s ability to spend freely on draft picks, it?s going to 2 drafts in a row hampered by Hicks financial shenanigans. Losing Matt Purke was bad enough, but when you?re building from your farm system up, relying on a constant influx of talent from the minors, the fallout from two busted drafts in a row is going to be felt down the road eventually. If we miss out on signing draft pick again because MLB is controlling the team?s finances I?m going to angry. Flat out mad.
5. I?m worried that at some point Nippert, Oliver and/or Mathis may have to go on the DL to get some rest. Oliver?s career high is 63 games and he?s on a pace to eclipse that by 18 games for a total of 81. 39 years old probably isn?t the best age to be increasing a pitchers work load by over 20%. I?m worried about Saltalamacchia?s ability to get/stay healthy.

1. Not yet

2. He’s gone when Tommy Hunter is ready to come back…or atleast make him a middle reliever (he’s good for about 3 innings)

3. I’m not concerned about Feldman at all. He’s pitching while he’s sick. Just wait untill his next start. You’ll see he’s fine.

4. Yes. This should have been done already.

5. Scott Boras is Elvis’s agent. I don’t know how to address that.

1. Holland is a starter.

2. He’s the same guy he was in Chaicago last year.

3. Too early to be worried about Feldman. Ask me again in 3 weeks.

4. I don’t even want to talk about the sale of the team.

5. My biggest concern is that too many key players on this team appear to be physically brittle – Hamilton, Kinsler, Harden, McCarthy (again, sigh…), Salty…

6. Why does Washington want to bat Kinsler in front of Cruz instead of behind him to give him some protection in the batting order? Seems that teams have been working around Cruz lately so they can face someone batting .150 or less.

I agree with most everything the first poster said. Makes good sense. the biggest point I would make is it looked to me like Feldman’s arm angle was different than last year.

On the part of of the first poster about Hicks, he is operating like his underhanded neighbors, JJ and W., Nuff said!Q

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