So, 80-82, and a third place finish.
Among players who were with the Rangers all year, Mark Teixeira had the highest OPS, at 886. Carlos Lee had a 892 OPS, and GMJ had a 866 OPS.
The next highest on the team was Michael Young, at 814. Despite the blame put on the pitching staff, a lot of the Rangers' problems this year stemmed from an offense that wasn't all that great.
Gerald Laird and Ian Kinsler each ended the season with an OPS over 800, albeit barely. Ditto Hank Blalock and slugging...he ended the year with a very disappointing .401 slugging percentage.
The S-T has a Q&A with Jon Daniels this morning. A lot of good stuff in there...he acknowledges that there were times when he probably wasn't forceful enough in pushing his opinion, for example. The most interesting exchange, though, is this:
You've said before that on judging trades and signings, you focus on the decision-making process more than the outcome in whether you did the right thing.
You're going to ask things that didn't go as well as we needed them to. My staff and I certainly shoulder some of the burden in those cases. Like I said, I evaluate trades in two ways. I view the process, the decision-making process, because that's what you can control, and then you review the outcome. There are some deals that the outcome, at least to date, doesn't appear favorable. I'm certainly cognizant of that.
Are there any where you think the process wasn't right?
Yeah, yeah ...
You don't want to say which? Is the Soriano trade one?
No. I felt the factors that led us to make that deal were sound. The outcome is a different story, clearly, but...there aren't many, but there are a couple.
I have to wonder...which ones is he talking about? The Eaton trade and the second Castro trade are the ones that jump to mind...
Evan Grant touches on the uncertainty of Buck's future, after what more and more is seeming like Buck's last game as Ranger manager. Grant says in the same piece that Hank Blalock will be undergoing shoulder surgery today.
Grant also talks about the need to get a rotation in place for 2007. With Kevin Millwood and Robinson Tejeda pretty much in place, the Rangers appear to want to get three more veterans to join them. Vicente Padilla would seem to be a top choice -- Grant says Padilla could get 3 years, $25 million, which I'd probably bite the bullet and offer him if I had to -- with Grant also mentioning Jeff Suppan and Ted Lilly as possibilities.
Kat O'Brien talks about the reality of changes coming, with nine free agents on the team and the possibility of Buck Showalter departing.
O'Brien said it was a particularly tough day for Gary Matthews Jr., Rod Barajas, and Mark DeRosa, since this may be their final game as Rangers. O'Brien says that Barajas would only return to Texas as a backup, with Gerald Laird the starter in 2007, and Barajas says that he's not willing to accept a reserve role.
Around the league today, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Sun-Times and Philadelphia Daily News list the Angels, Cubs and Phillies, respectively, as possible suitors for Carlos Lee. The Philadelphia Inquirer says Hank Blalock will be available this offseason, as part of a discussion on the Phillies filling their hole at third base.