Archive for November, 2006

Texas Rangers Update – Winds of Change

November 26, 2006

I’m really happy to see Frank Catalanatto returning to the Rangers.  I can’t be too upset about his leaving in retrospect because we picked up Michael Young in the trade and the team would be nothing without him, but I liked Catalanatto and welcome his return.  I believe that he’ll excel by working with hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo (although in all fairness I believe that about everyone because Jaramillo is so good).

I’m quite distraught about having lost Gary Matthews Jr. to a division rival.  The real question is whether last season was his high water mark or the first year of the best phase of his career.  Referencing earlier comments about Rudy Jaramillo, I believe that he would have continued to be a strong offensive force in Texas, and would have been the long term answer to our center field problems.  Matthews departure weakens us in a significant defensive position and greatly strengthens an opponent who has finished higher than us in the division standings for the last four years.  Granted that Matthews can’t pitch and that is still our greatest weakness, I don’t see how this is positive.  I don’t buy the speculation that the Rangers have their eye on free agent center fielders in next years’ class.  They won’t be any cheaper than Matthews would have been and this team has never paid well for that position even though they continually stress its importance.  As usual, actions speak louder than words.

I’m also disturbed by the loss of Mark DeRossa.  He added a blue collar work ethic that the team really needed and finding a suitable utility infielder with his attitude should be a priority.

The tale of the upcoming season will be, as always, just how well the starting pitching staff does.  The sad truth is that if we can find four starters with an ERA under 4 who will pitch six innings per start consistently, we’ll have the best starting staff that we’ve ever had and a significant upgrade over what we’re trotting out now.  I had reservations about trading Chris Young to San Diego at the time, but I supported the move tentatively because we needed to shake things up.  He sure would look good on our mound now, and Adrian Gonzalez would look really good at third base.  Oh well, looks like I was just as wrong as Jon Daniels.