The big baseball story right now is, of course, the Kirby Puckett situation. He is reportedly in critical condition right now, and that's all that anyone has released to the press. Hopefully we'll get some good news on him later on today...
A column from Randy Galloway this morning on John Danks, and it has several interesting items in there, but in particular on Danks:
"This kid could give us some headaches if he keeps up today what we've been seeing," said one Rangers voice Sunday morning.
Danks then went out in the afternoon and worked two impressive, mature innings against the Brewers.
Danks is not one of the 7 contenders for the #5 spot in the rotation, and hopefully, it stays that way...he struggled last season after being promoted to Frisco, and has had late season fades the past couple of years, which should be expected given his age and the level of competition he's facing.
But it is definitely interesting to see that he's causing some folks to dream a little...
Galloway goes on to talk about the aborted Beckett/Blalock/Danks deal...
Old baseball adage:
The trade you don't make is usually the best trade.
"Give it awhile and I'll tell you if I believe in that old adage," said Daniels, smiling. "The same goes for this question: Is it better to sign free agents or make trades? I can't answer either of those yet."
Regardless, Danks is fast-tracking this spring, and Blalock's second-half slump last season has become a distant memory. Hank is back in high favor around here.
Hopefully, Galloway is right...particularly on the second part, since a big season from Blalock would be huge in getting the Rangers into contention this season. It would be nice if, in a year or two, we are talking about how we dodged a bullet because the Marlins wanted Hanley Ramirez...
Finally, a nitpick on something in Galloway's column...he mentions Danny Kolb as a "total organizational screwup," someone that "the Milwaukee Brewers have gotten very valuable mound mileage out of."
The Brewers got half of a great season out of Kolb, a decent season where Kolb put up awful peripherals, then used him to fleece the Braves in a trade. The reason he's back in Milwaukee right now is because he was horrible in Atlanta and the Braves dumped him.
Incidentally, I saw a mention of Kolb the other day, where someone was talking about last year was a learning experience, something that young pitchers have to go through to grow and improve...
Danny Kolb is three months younger than Kevin Millwood. He's not a young pitcher anymore.
Tim Cowlishaw, meanwhile, has a piece on Vicente Padilla, and the roll of the dice the Rangers have made on him. A comment he makes that I disagree with, though:
But the fact that Padilla and Adam Eaton, acquired from San Diego in the Chris Young deal, are in their contract years also makes them attractive. This is their chance to perform and earn big contracts, as new Ranger Kevin Millwood did a year ago in winning the league ERA title at Cleveland.
I don't buy this "contract year" theory, the notion that a guy is somehow going to play better because he's a free agent after the season. In rare cases, with a guy who doesn't normally play hard or keep himself in shape, maybe it is applicable (think Erick Dampier), but for the most part, I don't think it really matters. And I think those who are hoping for Eaton and Padilla to kick their performance up a notch because they are in contract years are liable to be disappointed...
Evan Grant laments that the Rangers relievers have gotten off to a bad start this spring, and focuses in particular on John Wasdin, who has gotten knocked around in his first two outings. Wasdin isn't a particularly good pitcher, so him struggling at this point shouldn't be that shocking...the question is really going to be, is he going to struggle enough for the Rangers to go ahead and send him to AAA, even with his guaranteed deal.
Jan Hubbard checks in with Chris Young at Padres' camp, and while Young says he's moved on and "lost track" of what the Rangers are doing, Hubbard suggests that isn't entirely the case:
Perhaps the biggest reason Young chooses to ignore the Rangers is because of the whispers from the front office when he left. Young's feelings were bruised when he was informed of the trade by a reporter rather than the team.
General manager Jon Daniels said the information to reporters came from outside the Rangers' organization, and he contacted Young as soon as he found out that Young had been called for a comment.
"I wanted him to hear it from me," Daniels said. "But sometimes reporters get information and contact the player not having any idea that the player hasn't been told. No one did anything wrong. It was just one of those things that happened."
Daniels called Young twice to apologize.
But Young was also troubled by anonymous quotes saying one of the reasons he was traded was because there were questions of his stamina during a long season in the Texas heat.
"I think that going into the season if you would have told them the season I was going to have, they would have been more than happy to take it," Young said. "By the end of the season they are making things like my stamina an issue. I've got no hard feelings about it, but I think they made it to be a bigger deal than it should have been."
Mark Teixeira says he's not going to lobby Roger Clemens to come to Texas while they are teammates at the WBC. Understandable...I think Clemens' mind is already pretty well made up, in any case...