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A couple of worrisome items in the S-T today from Buck...

First, Buck has this to say about Phil Nevin:

"It's tough," Showalter said, "but also, it's a guy that's going to be a part of our club next year. ... He's going to present us with a lot of options."

Hopefully, that is Showalter being nice...because at this point, I've got little interest in seeing Phil Nevin on the 2006 25 man roster.

Then we have this, on Richard Hidalgo...

Richard Hidalgo received an anti-inflammatory injection in his left wrist Friday. Buck Showalter said he hopes Hidalgo, who has been on the DL since Aug. 6, will show significant improvement in the next several days.

Given where we are and the players the Rangers should be looking at, there's no reason for Richard Hidalgo to get another AB for the Rangers.

In addition, Jim Reeves' Postcards from the Ledge includes several Rangers notes:

A decision not to trade prospects for Colorado right-hander Shawn Chacon at the July 31 trading deadline is backfiring badly on the Rangers.

Chacon is a pitcher the Rangers have had an interest in as far back as last season, and there were ongoing talks with the Rockies leading up to the deadline.

But the Rangers ultimately elected not to give up a package of Triple A prospect Josh Rupe and either shortstop Joaquin Arias or second baseman Ian Kinsler.

Chacon, who went to the Yankees for a couple of Double A pitching prospects instead, is making the Rangers regret that decision.

Chacon is 3-1 with a 1.80 ERA since joining the Yankees. How would those numbers look in the Rangers' rotation?

Scouts say the two minor league pitchers the Yankees gave up are good, but not great, prospects. No John Danks, Thomas Diamond, or Edison Volquez, in other words.

The Rockies initially asked for right-hander Juan Dominguez in the deal before lowering their demand to Rupe, along with one of the young middle infielders.

"We did talk [to the Rockies] about [Chacon]," general manager John Hart said. "They focused on some similar look-alikes [to the Yankees' prospects]. Ultimately, our decision-making process was the fact that they wanted young players that we didn't want to give up."

That's my problem with the Rangers in a nutshell these days. They can't solve all of their pitching problems with young prospects. They have to make the occasional judicious trade or signing. At some point, Hart has to run some risk and pull the trigger on a deal.

This one likely didn't get hung up on Rupe so much as having to give up one of the young middle infielders. With Alfonso Soriano's future as a Ranger in a constant state of flux, the Rangers are concerned about giving up either Arias or Kinsler.

Hindsight says they should have kept one -- Arias probably has the highest upside -- and let the other go.

How much of the recent dissatisfaction in the clubhouse might have been averted if they'd just made a single deal to bring in some pitching help at the deadline?

Instead, they'll probably get to watch Chacon pitching in the postseason for the Yankees.

Bad idea

Worst suggestion I've heard lately was that Rangers owner Tom Hicks should privately meet with key players to ask them their feelings about manager Buck Showalter.

Don't do it, Tom. Don't even think about it.

The last thing these 25- and 26-year-olds need is more empowerment. Allowing end-arounds by the players to whine about the manager is never a good idea.

No, what Hicks should do instead is march into the clubhouse with general manager John Hart and send Showalter and his coaches out to the dugout.

Let Hart address the players about the "direction of the club," one of their chief concerns and for good reason. Let him explain why deals weren't made at the deadline. Answer questions and, if possible, allay concerns.

And then Hicks should tell them he'll be waiting in Showalter's office and that those who want out can drop by one by one and tell the owner that to his face so that he can accommodate them.

I seriously doubt the line would be very long.

For the defense

There's an American League team that does a detailed ranking of defenses around the league, including its own, and one of the primary elements in the rankings is determining range. The Rangers' All-Star infield is rated one of the worst in the league in those rankings.

Such elements as specific pitchers and positioning of defense are among the things taken into consideration, and the only Rangers' infielder rated above average is first baseman Mark Teixeira. Third baseman Hank Blalock, shortstop Michael Young and second baseman Alfonso Soriano are all ranked below average in those rankings.

This news might surprise you, but it won't some of the Rangers' pitchers who have privately moaned about the team's defense for much of the season.

The latest rash of errors, however, isn't about physical ability or range. The Rangers are very likely going through the same malaise that hits every team when it realizes there's nothing to play for the rest of the season save pride.

It's hard to maintain the intense focus needed to play major league quality defense when your heart's just been broken.

My thoughts:

1) Sorry, Jim, but you're dead wrong on Chacon. Rupe, plus either Kinsler or Arias, for Chacon would have been a bad idea. And wanting the Rangers' to keep Arias instead of Kinsler because of Arias's upside -- despite the fact that Kinsler has been a better performer, is major league ready, and is more likely (I think) to be a solid major league player -- would just further compound the problem. Chacon has had six nice starts for the Yanks, but he's not a long-term solution, and is a prime candidate to be non-tendered after the season anyway. The Rangers needed to be sellers, not buyers, on 7/31.

Passing on Chacon was the right move, given the price.

  1. I've got nothing, really, on Hicks meeting with the players.
  2. On the fielding numbers, I'm not surprised. Well, I'm a little surprised with Blalock, who has graded out well on the stats I've seen, but Young and Soriano both grade out poorly -- particularly Soriano -- no matter what the methodology.