Nice outing by Robinson Tejeda last night, who is making the most of his late season shot at the rotation, and looking like he may deserve a rotation spot in 2007...
Some very troubling stuff out there today, regarding Buck and the Rangers...first, we have this from the New York Daily News's Bill Madden:
Sounds like Rangers owner Tom Hicks might be having some misgivings about Buck Showalter's suffocating, hands-on-everything managerial style, although he still seems more inclined to fire some of the players. If Hicks does keep Showalter, it figures to be a vastly different Ranger team next year, with Mark Teixeira and Hank Blalock likely to be dealt and Gary Matthews Jr. and Carlos Lee likely to leave as free agents.
And then we have this, from Dan Berardino in the Florida Sun-Sentinel:
Rangers players leapt to the defense of All-Star shortstop Michael Young after team owner Tom Hicks questioned his leadership and the overall toughness of the team during a radio interview last week. No one will be shocked to see corner infielders Mark Teixeira and Hank Blalock -- who have butted heads with manager Buck Showalter -- placed on the trading block this winter.
I'm no longer as dogmatic about Blalock being traded as I once was...I'm beginning to think it may be the best thing for his career, although I don't think it would be as easy to replace him as some believe, mainly because I'm still not convinced that Mark DeRosa, playing every day, wouldn't revert to being a 725 OPS guy.
But trading Mark Teixeira would be a disaster, definitely from a p.r. standpoint, and likely from a value standpoint, since the team isn't likely to be able to get equivalent value for him.
And I have to wonder if Hicks isn't priming the pump to get rid of Teixeira by publicly talking about the lack of mental toughness and leadership...particularly when, the next day, when he went to clarify his comments, he spoke only of Michael Young, and said nary a word about Teixeira, the team's best player.
Deciding to dump Teixeira to pacify and keep Buck would rank among the worst decisions Hicks has made since buying the Rangers. And he's made a lot of bad decisions.
And while I'm not generally a big Jennifer Floyd Engel fan, I do find it interesting that she suggests that Buck could be the one telling Hicks that the players lack "mental toughness." That wouldn't surprise me, really...it allows Buck to find, as he has every year, a ready scapegoat for the team's disappointing performance, and allows Hicks to think that the problem isn't with the manager's abrasive style, but with the players who can't handle the pressure despite all the millions Hicks is paying them.
I believe it was Kevin Sherrington or Tim Cowlishaw who, last year, said that this organization, particularly Buck, seemed to be a lot more enamored with players in other organizations than its own players. I have to wonder if this isn't another example of that...
Jim Reeves chastizes Tom Hicks for his Hitzges interview today, for airing his complaints on the radio rather than directly with the players, and for saying that he expects John Danks to be in the rotation to start 2007, when neither the g.m. nor the manager think Danks is ready.
In other news, Evan Grant says that A.J. Preller has gone to Japan, to check out Daisuke Matsuzaka.
Kat O'Brien has some notes on Adam Eaton's interest in returning to Texas, and he sounds to me like he's trying to avoid burning any bridges in case he ends up having to come back...