Tag:Julio Borbon
Posted on: June 27, 2011 2:14 pm
Edited on: June 27, 2011 2:27 pm

Rangers interested in Mets' K-Rod, Beltran

Carlos Beltran

By C. Trent Rosecrans

The Rangers have been on record as looking for bullpen help, and the Mets could be a possible trade partner, SI.com's Jon Heyman tweets.

Heyman notes the Rangers have expressed interest in both Mets outfielder Carlos Beltran and closer Francisco Rodriguez.

Last week Rodriguez noted he'd be fine moving into a setup role for a team that'll be in the playoff hunt, and the first-place Rangers (in a pretty weak division) certainly qualify in that regard.

More interesting is Beltran, who hasn't played center field this season. Last year he started 58 games in center, only to be replaced this season by Angel Pagan. Josh Hamilton has started nine games in center this season and 29 a year ago.

While Hamilton and Nelson Cruz have spent time on the disabled list, the other Rangers outfielders have gotten opportunities, but nobody's taken ahold of it. David Murphy is hitting .233/.310/.317 with four home runs in 226 plate appearances, while his OPS has dropped 179 points from last season. He's played mostly left this season but also center and right. 

The Rangers used three different starters in center field in this past weekend's series against the Mets. Hamilton started there Friday; Craig Gentry started Saturday; and former Met Endy Chavez started Sunday. Add to that, the player who has started the most games in center for the Rangers is Julio Borbon.

Besides Hamilton, of the other three, Chavez is the only one that has a homer (two) this season. All have respectable splits, but none has a long-term track record, much less one that compares to Beltran's.

Beltran is in the final year of his seven-year, $119 million deal with the Mets. He's making $18.5 million this season and has a full no-trade clause.

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Posted on: June 6, 2011 5:58 pm
Edited on: June 6, 2011 6:24 pm

Rangers interested in Coffey, could deal Borbon

CoffeyBy Evan Brunell

In Ken Rosenthal's latest column for Fox Sports, he writes about the trade market as it relates to the Rangers, saying the team could deal Julio Borbon, Taylor Teagarden or Chris Davis.

Texas has been hunting for relievers, and Nationals righty Todd Coffey (pictured) has grabbed its attention. In his first year with the club, he punched out 23 batters in 22 1/3 innings, walked a manageable eight and allowed just one home run. Given Coffey's run of being with the Reds, Brewers and now the Nationals, he's not a well-known name but has quietly emerged as one of the game's best middle relievers.

The Rangers have also been heavily linked to the Padres' Heath Bell, although that appears to be more of a function of people thinking he would be a good fit. Bell would allow the Rangers to move Neftali Feliz into the rotation, but for now Feliz is the closer and that's not changing. And why would Texas pay a premium for Bell when they can turn to what will be a robust free-agent market that could include Bell?

That aside, Rosenthal names Chris Davis as a potential fit for the Padres, a fit that doesn't quite make sense. Yes, San Diego could use Davis's punch, but the Pads will not block Anthony Rizzo at first base. The 21-year-old is tearing Triple-A apart and is already pressuring incumbent Brad Hawpe to hit the majors. Nor would Davis be a fit at third, as Chase Headley has that position on lockdown. GM Jed Hoyer could ask Davis to learn left or even move Headley back to that spot, but it's tough to see that coming about.

The Rangers have their own outfield conundrum. Rosenthal thinks the Nationals could be interested in center fielder Julio Borbon and could possibly send Coffey and another piece to Texas for the speedster. Borbon has attempted to claim the center field job in Texas for the last two seasons, but he still hasn't run away with the job and just earned a demotion to Triple-A. Meanwhile, Texas also has Cuban defector Leonys Martin, who signed a big deal and is currently laying waste to pitchers in Double-A. Martin could earn a promotion to Triple-A shortly and fully supplant Borbon as the team's center fielder of the future by the end of the season.

If Coffey isn't viable, Rosenthal wonders if the Giants could trade for catcher Taylor Teagarden -- another player who has struggled to produce in Texas and has fallen out of favor -- and offer up one of their right-handed relievers as bait.

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Posted on: May 14, 2011 1:47 pm
Edited on: May 14, 2011 1:51 pm

Rangers promote Chavez; Cruz hopes return on way

By Evan Brunell

BorbonThe Rangers placed outfielder Julio Borbon on the disabled list Saturday, marking the third starting outfielder for Texas to go on the DL.

Endy Chavez (pictured) was yanked from Friday's Triple-A game upon Borbon's strained left hamstring in Friday's game and is in the lineup at leadoff, playing center field. The Rangers plan to deploy him against right-handers and Craig Gentry against lefties, as the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram writes via Twitter.

Texas's outfield is in tatters, as none of the projected starting outfielders are in the lineup. Josh Hamilton is still a ways away in his recovery from a broken arm and took swings during batting practice Friday. He could be cleared for a minor-league rehab assignment shortly and be back by the end of the month. Meanwhile, projected starting right fielder Nelson Cruz will be running this weekend to test his strained right quad as he guns for a return from the 15-day disabled list.

"We are going to run Cruz heavy this weekend and if everything goes well, we will see where to go," manager Ron Washington told the Star-Telegram. "We've got to get him on the bases, start, stop, go, all that stuff. Once he passes that test we will see where to go."

Cruz will be eliglble to return next Thursday and is hoping to embark on a rehab stint Monday. With Borbon's injury, the Rangers must be really hoping Cruz comes through with flying colors, although they won't press the issue.

Endy Chavez, for his part, has not played since 2009 with the Mariners. He is not known for his bat but possesses good speed and strong defense, with his claim to fame being a robbing of Scott Rolen's home run in Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS, doubling Jim Edmonds off first to boot. The Cardinals would go on to win the World Series after then-closer Adam Wainwright froze Carlos Beltran for the final strike and out of the game on a curveball.

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Posted on: April 4, 2011 3:37 pm

Defense costing teams early

Aubrey Huff

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Sunday afternoon the sight of Aubrey Huff diving in right field was a joking matter. The night before he made a diving catch and then before batting practice his teammates put a faux-chalk outline of his dive in the Dodger Stadium grass.

A couple of hours later, it wasn't so funny.

In the first inning on Sunday, Huff dove on a Jamey Carroll liner which ended up a triple and helped the Dodgers score three in the inning. In the seventh inning, Huff also lost a ball over his head by Marcus Thames, good for another triple and driving in the go-ahead run.

One scout told CBSSports.com senior writer Danny Knobler that the Giants defense is "going to be an issue."

The Giants made their decision leaving camp that their defense would be secondary to scoring runs, as the team kept rookie first baseman Brandon Belt on the roster -- and it's not Belt that's the problem, he's a good defender. It's that in order to keep Huff and Belt in the lineup, Huff went to right field. And as right fielder's go, he's showing he's a first baseman.

I don't actually fault Huff, he's going out there and giving it his best and doing what the team asks him to do -- ultimately, it's just a flawed strategy putting Huff in the outfield. When Cody Ross is ready to come off the disabled list -- which is still at least two weeks away -- the Giants will be better at that spot, but they'll also have a decision between Belt and Huff -- or benching Pat Burrell and keeping Huff in the outfield. That said, the Giants will still have Miguel Tejada at shortstop.

But it's not just the Giants that are struggling defensively.

RangersThe Giants' World Series opponents last fall started off their season with a fielding error on the first batter of the season when Julio Borbon ran into Nelson Cruz.

The Cardinals seemed to be one team unconcerned about defense this offseason and could be concerned as the season goes along. The team added 35-year-old Lance Berkman, who hadn't played in the outfield since since 2007, to play every day in right field and got rid of one of baseball's best defensive shortstops, Brendan Ryan, and replaced him with an average second baseman in Ryan Theriot.

Theriot is the only National League player with two errors through Sunday's game, while in the American League one notoriously bad fielder (Toronto's Edwin Encarnacion) and one remarkably good fielder (Oakland's Daric Barton) have three errors each. 

There have been 68 errors this season through 46 games (following Sunday's games). That's only one more error than there was through 46 games last season (and 15 more than there was through 46 games in 2009).

That said, we all know errors aren't the best way to measure defense, there are plenty of examples of bad defense that didn't include an error in the boxscore.

On Sunday, the Cubs' defense let down closer Carlos Marmol. With one out and runners at second and third, Pedro Alvarez hit a dribbler to shortstop Starlin Castro who unloaded a bad throw to first, allowing two runs to score and the Pirates to get the win.

Milwaukee's Casey McGehee has had two costly decisions in the team's sweep at the hands of the Reds. In the ninth inning of Thursday's opener, McGehee failed to tag Brandon Phillips going to third, setting up the Reds' walk-off victory. On Sunday, McGehee went home and failed to get an out on a Drew Stubbs chopper, which led to a game-turned three-run homer by Phillips in the fourth. And that's two entire instances of the Brewers' bad defense without mentioning Yuniesky Betancourt, who the team had to take to get Zack Greinke, but didn't have to make their everyday shortstop. According to John Dewan's +/- system, no defensive player in baseball has cost their team more runs over the last three seasons than Betancourt's -66.

David Pinto over at Baseball Musings noted BABIP (batting average on balls in play) over the first weekend was .300, while it was .291 last season. That stat tells you a ball in the field was more likely to be fielded a year ago than it was this weekend.

Now, we're just 47 games into the 2011 season, so it's way too early to make any real conclusions about errors and defense as a whole, but it is something to watch. 

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Posted on: March 20, 2011 3:41 pm

Borbon's struggles could open door for Murphy

By Evan Brunell

BorbonA former first round pick, Julio Borbon has received ample opportunities to lock down the Rangers' center field job this spring, as well as collecting 468 plate appearances in 2010.

However, Borbon (pictured) has yet to show any measure of consistency on defense and offense. Last season, Borbon hit .276/.309/.340 and was relegated to the bench for the postseason. His offense was so checkered that outside of two months (April at .917 and September at .677), his OPS was under .600, which is absolutely brutal.

However, Borbon still has the talent to develop into a dynamic leadoff hitter, and Texas went into spring training with the idea that he would claim the center field job and allow the club to push Josh Hamilton to left.

While Borbon has largely delivered on the offensive ledger for spring training with a .348./375/.435 line in 46 at-bats and four stolen bases, he's also tacked on five errors and has looked lost in center.

That could open the door for David Murphy, long the No. 4 outfielder who plays often enough to get a ton of at-bats. The same could happen again this season should Borbon start the year in Triple-A or assume a platoon role. Platooning would likely push Josh Hamilton back to center and slot Murphy into left, although Murphy is hoping to prove his worth in center, where he has rarely played.

"When I have gotten an opportunity to play there in the big leagues, I haven’t played well," Murphy told ESPN Dallas. "That’s just kind of taken my chances away to play there regularly. But obviously, they’re trying to see if I can play out there and I would like to. I need to improve out there. I need to get re-acclimated to the feeling of playing out there and play well when I get a chance."

There's no questioning Murphy's bat, as he's racked up a career .282/.342/.460 line in 1,552 plate appearances and reaching 467 PA last season. Defensively, however, if Murphy can't play center, it will restrict his ability to force his way in the lineup should Borbon receive everyday playing time.

"When you’re in center field, you have to cover ground," Murphy said. "One false step can mean a few feet in range that you might not catch a ball. I think that’s the big thing that I need to work on."

Meanwhile, the Rangers are focused on determining just what Borbon can provide the club.

"He's been up and down," manager Ron Washington told the Dallas News. "He's been doing a lot of good things, mixed with some things that need to be corrected. The down has only been on the defensive side.

"He's made some pretty good defensive plays. He just has to be more consistent. We feel like he can play good defense. We hope he straightens it out pretty soon."

Borbon was unable to corral a ball that turned into a triple off the wall in center field that a speedy center fielder should have tracked, although Washington declined to say whether the catch should have been made or not.

If Borbon doesn't make the roster, Hamilton would almost certainly return to center even if Murphy shows improvement in left field. That would presumably give Endy Chavez a great opportunity to make the club as backup outfielder with no other clear solution on the roster as Craig Gentry -- the only other feasible solution -- has been hobbled by injury.

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Posted on: February 17, 2011 7:57 pm
Edited on: February 17, 2011 8:09 pm

Hunter to battle for rotation spot; Borbon is CF

HunterOn Thursday, skipper Ron Washington put starting pitcher Tommy Hunter on notice while erasing any doubts about who the team's center fielder will be.

With Josh Hamilton shifting over to left field, the expectation was that Julio Borbon would win the CF job but that David Murphy would have a chance to steal it away.

Not so, as Washington told the Dallas Morning News that Borbon is the starting center fielder. That leaves Murphy to function in the fourth outfielder role that he has done so for the last four years. With injuries and the DH spot available to Murphy, he's been able to amass at least 454 plate appearances over the last three seasons, so playing time will not be too hard to come by.

However, Washington refused to hand anyone a rotation spot beyond C.J. Wilson and Colby Lewis. That means three spots are wide open, with Neftali Feliz and Alexi Ogando being given a shot to win a spot in the rotation after pitching out of the bullpen last season. They'll have to battle Eric Hurley, Brandon Webb, Matt Harrison, Scott Feldman, Derek Holland and... Tommy Hunter.

Yep, Tommy Hunter, even though the right-hander posted a 3.73 ERA in 128 innings. However, his poor strikeout rate of 4.8 batters per nine and luck on batting average on balls in play along with a high stranded-runners percentage mean his xFIP was a high 4.70.

However, when asked if Hunter's absence from a guaranteed spot meant he needed to improve, Washington said it was about something else.

"It's more of a don't take anything for granted type of thing," he said. "There is an opportunity for him. There is as much opportunity for him as their is for anyone else. But baseball is a competitive sport and he's got to seize the opportunity."

It's a smart move to make. Hunter may have impressed, but he also pitched sparingly in the postseason and the team appears to be aware that he pitched over his head. While Hunter has to be considered a heavy favorite for the rotation along with Feldman and Holland, forcing him to compete in spring training can only lead to good things.

Washington also added that as long as Brandon Webb is healthy, he'll grab a rotation spot.

-- Evan Brunell

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com