The Rangers may have struck a deal with the Boston Red Sox that will have them sending 25-year-old catcher Max Ramirez to the Sox in exchange for aging 3rd baseman Mike Lowell. Lowell helped the Red Sox win 2 World Series championships, but he’s old and having hip and thumb problems. The one thing that could derail this trade at this point is Lowell not passing his physical.
While we could use Lowell’s bat in our lineup, I question how often it would even be in the lineup. Would they use him as a platoon DH/3B? I’m not really sure. Worse yet, this deal could work out really great for the Red Sox. They might just be using Max Ramirez as trade bait to complete a deal with the Blue Jays for Roy Halladay. The Blue Jays need a starting pitcher and a young catcher, and that’s basically what they’ve been looking for in a deal. The Sox would probably send Ramirez and Clay Bucholtz in exchange for Halladay. By not retaining a 3rd catcher, they’d be putting themselves in a good position to win the Joe Mauer sweepstakes next year.
The Rangers have inked right handed pitcher Rich Harden to a 1 year deal worth about $8 million. Harden was 9-9 with a very respectable 4.06 ERA in 26 games with the Cubs last season. To make room in the starting rotation, the rumor is that the Rangers will be trading Kevin Millwood to the Orioles for reliever Chris Ray.
Aroldis Chapman will be one of the most talked-about free agents of the offseason, and he hasn’t even played in a major league game. The southpaw Cuban defector with a high-90’s fastball, currently residing in Europe while clearing up paperwork that will bring him to the United States and unite him with the millions of dollars some club will pay him, will probably get bids from at least 5 major league teams: the Yankees (of course), the Red Sox, the Orioles, the Angels, and the Rangers. It seems to me the Rangers and the Orioles have their hat in just about every free agent bidding war, but they never come remotely close to signing an A-list star when the competition is tight.
The early reports are that the Orioles actually have the inside track on Chapman. The Orioles have had a strong relationship with Cuban players and have even played 2 exhibitions against the Cuban national team. Of course, in the real world money talks, and the Orioles have made strong indications that they won’t getting into a bidding war with the Red Sox and Yankees, both of whom are willing to spend tens of millions of dollars more on top free agents. Chapman might like the atmosphere in Baltimore, but his agent has said he’ll sign with the team that “wants him the most”, which is pretty much the same thing as saying “show me the money”.
We all know the Rangers aren’t going to win the Chapman sweepstakes, because there are bigger teams with more money to burn who are interested in him. Right now we can only hope that the Angels don’t grab him. That, or we can hope Tom Hicks sells the team to a billionaire oil man with pockets so deep he doesn’t care how much money he loses on a silly little baseball club. Hey, a man can dream, can’t he?
It looks like fans were so impressed with Josh Hamilton’s performance at last year’s Home Run Derby they couldn’t help but vote him onto the All Star team again this year, despite the fact that he’s been pretty terrible in the few games he’s actually played in this season. Hamilton is batting just .240 with 6 home runs and 24 RBIs in 125 at bats this year. He comes off the DL today and will be in the lineup against the Angels tonight.
The 14th overall pick in the 1st round of the 2009 MLB Draft went to the Texas Rangers, and they selected Matt Purke, a left-handed pitcher from Klein High School in Texas. Purke is 6′3″ and weighs 170, so expect the trainers to get on him about building himself up and putting more muscle on his legs and core. Purke’s delivery reminds me of Randy Johnson’s. He might not have the size advantage that Johnson has, but his smaller frame also gives him greater control over his body and more consistency when he pitches. Here’s a video of him pitching in an exhibition at Wrigley Field last summer:
Ranger slugger Josh Hamilton might be on the DL until the end of July according to reports on Tuesday morning. He has a torn abdominal muscle, which is probably not something we’d want him to play through. I’ve heard power hitters prefer to have a strong core. This injury stems from that awesome catch he made on May 17 where he crashed into the wall. In hindsight, it would have been better if he’d just pulled up and played the ball off the wall, rather than himself. Look for Marlon Byrd and Andruw Jones to fill in at center field.
Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton will not go on the DL as expected at the end of this week. His strained rib cage muscle will probably keep him out of the lineup until early next week, but that’s still about a week earlier than he’d be able to play if he were on the DL. It also means that all you fantasy team owners out there can’t free up a roster spot and you’ll just have to survive with an inactive player on your bench for a few more days. It’s alright guys, I’m right there with you.
The Rangers were outhit by the Oakland Athletics by double and they didn’t have an extra-base hit in the ballgame, but the 5 runs they managed to get across the plate were enough for a 5-4 victory on Tuesday night. The Rangers are now back to .500 at 10-10 and are starting to look like possible contenders in the AL West. Last night being a rare exception, the Rangers are going to have to slug their way to victory for most of the season, but they might just have the bats to pull it off.
The bad news is that Josh Hamilton is injured right now and could go on the DL. They need that powerful bat in the middle of the lineup or everything starts to fall apart (see last night’s game as an example, even though it ended in a Rangers victory). What they could really use right now is the resurgence of Andruw Jones, who appears to have fixed the swing problems that caused him to hit under .200 last season and had many questioning if his once-Hall of Fame trajectory career was all but over. Jones is hitting .345 in limited play with the Rangers this season.
The Rangers rallied for 3 runs in the 8th and 9th innings to edge out the Kansas City Royals by a score of 6 to 5 today. The winning run came on a Michael Young walk-off solo homer in the 9th. Ian Kinsler also had a home run for the Rangers. Vincente Padilla looked awful in 5 innings of work, giving up 5 earned runs. His ERA on the season remains above 9.00.