Evan Grant has a lengthy piece on the Ryan Drese release, and the Rangers' struggles since then. Grant points out that the team has gone 24-37 since Drese was put on waivers, and while he doesn't say that that was the cause of the slide, he does point to it as a trigger event, that started a cascade of problems in the rotation and within the team.
Some choice excerpts...
Maybe the answer isn't so much in what he did for the Rangers but what the move represented. We offer these theories:
* The move sent the wrong message. From the moment it was announced, there was confusion in the clubhouse. Many players had their own particular questions about the move.
Why give up on a 29-year-old pitcher who won 14 games and pitched 200 innings the year before and was less than three months into a new, two-year contract? What move was next?
Those questions concerned commitment to players and winning.
Players waited for a trade to help the starting rotation, just as they waited last season and throughout the winter.
One never came.
Combine the Drese move with the inactivity that followed, and the atmosphere is ripe for players to question management's commitment. That can become an ugly, unproductive situation.
* * *
In addition, the Rangers were excited about Edison Volquez and Wilfredo Rodriguez. But before they could get either player to the majors, they both suffered injuries, leaving the Rangers with no fallback possibilities if their recast rotation struggled.
Grant also says that Tom Hicks hoped Diamond and Danks would pitch in the majors this season, a scenario which any reasonable observer could have determined was unrealistic. Diamond and Danks were both in A ball to end last season, and Danks struggled late...it seemed pretty clear, last August, that they were going to be a year or two away.
This pipe dream, though, certainly helps explain why we kept reading this spring that the organization wanted Diamond and Danks to start the season at AA -- something that would have been pushing them too far, too fast, and that they clearly wouldn't have been ready for.
One also has to wonder why Tom Hicks was hoping this. If he decided on his own Diamond and Danks should be ready this year, then it is an indication that he's clueless when it comes to the way farm systems work.
However, if he thought that because of what people within his organization were telling him, it would seem to be a sign that either the people in charge of the Rangers aren't very good at player evaluation (big news flash there), or else people within the organization were puffing the readiness of Diamond and Danks in order to protect their own turf or further their own goals...either way, that's not a good thing...
Meanwhile, per T.R. Sullivan in the S-T, those of us hoping to get an extended look at Jason Botts, Gerald Laird, or Adrian Gonzalez this season are likely S.O.L. Apparently, those guys will be called up, but only after the Redhawks are eliminated from the playoffs. So it could very well be that we won't see any of those guys until mid-September. Ian Kinsler, meanwhile, it sounds like we might not see at all, as Sullivan reports that the organization hasn't made a decision on calling him up.
That's certainly reassuring news for the Rangers fans out there who have been hoping to see more Phil Nevin, Rod Barajas, and Richard Hidalgo.
Sullivan also says that the AFL contingent will likely include Kevin Mahar, Drew Meyer, Mike Nickeas, Nick Masset, and Kelvin Jimenez. No word on who the 6th spot would go to, but Mark Roberts seems like the guy who would make the most sense...
Finally, per Sullivan, the Rangers are apparently contemplating calling up either Justin Thompson or Scott Feldman to join the pen.