Posted on: December 21, 2011 12:35 pm
Edited on: December 21, 2011 6:13 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional? No trades, no Rule-5 Draft, no minor or major league free agency ... once you are a professional baseball player, you stay in that organization. This series shows how all 30 teams would look. We give you: Homegrown teams. To view the schedule/past entries of this feature, click here.
The Rangers are in an interesting position in the franchise's history -- no longer a middle-of-the-road team, the Rangers have turned themselves into one of the game's biggest players. The team has reached the last two World Series with a mixture of homegrown players (Ian Kinsler, C.J. Wilson, Alexi Ogando), savvy trades (sending Mark Teixeira to Atlanta for a haul that included Elvis Andrus and Neftali Feliz, plus the deal with the Reds getting Josh Hamilton) and big-ticket free-agents (Adrian Beltre). It's tough to argue with the results, as the Rangers have positioned themselves into becoming one of the top teams in baseball and don't appear to be going anywhere anytime soon.
1. Ian Kinsler, SS
2. Craig Gentry, CF
3. Mark Teixeira, 3B
4. Carlos Pena, 1B
5. Travis Hafner, DH
6. Edwin Encarnacion, 2B
7. Laynce Nix, RF
8. John Mayberry, LF
9. Taylor Teagarden, C
1. C.J. Wilson
2. John Danks
3. Derek Holland
4. Colby Lewis
5. Ryan Dempster
Closer - Joaquin Benoit
Set up - Darren Oliver, Nick Masset, Scott Feldman, Jesse Chavez, Yoshinori Tateyama
Long - Tommy Hunter
Notable Bench Players
Ivan Rodriguez will be in discussion for the Hall of Fame when his career ends, but he's now a backup catcher and could be a good one. You have a pair of first baseen in Justin Smoak and Mitch Moreland who aren't going to strike fear into too many pitchers, as well as two outfielders probably better defensively or as pinch runners in Jason Bourgeois and Scott Podsednik.
The rotation is deep -- in addition to the five listed, you could also throw in R.A. Dickey, Aaron Harang and Edinson Volquez. And while there's no real shut-down closer, there are some very good bullpen arms, and the list above doesn't include Blake Beavan, Josh Lueke and Danny Herrera.
Besides Kinsler and Teixeira, the lineup is suspect. And the defense is worse. The outfield is kind of a hodgepodge, while the infield is a disaster with only Carlos Pena playing in his usual position. While Teixeira hasn't played third base since his rookie year in 2003, Kinsler has never played shortstop, nor has Encarnacion ever played second base -- but there just wasn't a whole lot of options. The outfield doesn't have the likes of Hamilton or Nelson Cruz to help out, either.
Comparison to real 2011
Would this team wind up in World Series? Not bloody likely. The pitching is fine and even maybe an slight upgrade to the team that won the American League pennant again in 2011, but that lineup is demonstratively worse. The Rangers were third in baseball in runs and second in OPS, and without Hamilton, Cruz, Mike Napoli, Michael Young and Beltre, this squad isn't going to do anything close to that. Teixeira is a good player -- and Pena could put up big homer numbers in that ballpark -- but those losses from the real squad are just too much to overcome. This team is maybe a .500 squad, at best, and that's only because of the depth in the pitching staff.
Next: St. Louis Cardinals
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Tags: Aaron Harang, Adrian Beltre, AL West, ALexi Ogando, Blake Beavan, C.J. Wilson, Carlos Pena, Colby Lewis, Craig Gentry, Daniel Ray Herrara, Darren Oliver, Derek Holland, Doug Davis, Edinson Volquez, Edwin Encarnacion, Elvis Andrus, Homegrown, Ian Kinsler, Ivan Rodriguez, Jason Bourgeois, Jesse Chavez, Joakim Benoit, John Danks, John Mayberry, Josh Hamilton, Josh Leuke, Justin Smoak, Laynce Nix, Mark Teixeira, Mitch Moreland, NEftali Feliz, Nick Masset, R.A. Dickey, Rangers, Ryan Dempster, Scott Feldman, Scott Podsednik, Taylor Teagarden, Tommy Hunter, Travis Hafner, Yoshinori Tateyama
Posted on: November 27, 2011 7:40 pm
Edited on: November 27, 2011 8:12 pm
By Matt Snyder
The Seattle Mariners have traded relief pitcher Josh Lueke and a player to be named later, along with cash considerations, to the Tampa Bay Rays for catcher John Jaso, the Rays announced Sunday night.
Jaso, 28, hit .224/.298/.354 with 15 doubles and five homers for the Rays in 273 plate appearances for the Rays last season. He hits left-handed, while Mariners incumbent catcher Miguel Olivo swings from the right side, so some semblence of a platoon is possible.
“John gives us a left-handed hitting catcher with some big league time who is still young,” Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik said (Mariners Musings). “His left-handed bat will be a nice complement to our right-handed hitting group. He’s a tough kid with post-season experience and should be a nice fit with us.”
The Rays could be ready to go with prospect Robinson Chirinos behind the plate, assuming they don't make any other acquisitions behind the plate. Another option would be Jose Lobaton.
Lueke, 26, is a 6-foot-5 right-hander. He appeared in 25 games last season, putting up a 6.06 ERA and 1.44 WHIP in 32 2/3 innings. He did strike out 29 hitters and had a big strikeout rate in the minors, so it's possible that's where the Rays see upside. Lueke has a criminal past, as he pleaded no contest to charges of false imprisonment and violence against a woman back in 2008. Rays executive vice president Andrew Friedman said in a statement that the club did thorough research on Lueke.
"We're satisfied he's going to be the kind of person and teammate that we look for and we expect him to contribute positively to our group," Friedman said (Marc Tompkin).
Expect the player to be named later to be a marginal prospect, nothing more.
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