Tag:Chris Davis
Posted on: March 9, 2011 10:34 am
Edited on: March 9, 2011 10:48 am
 

Pepper: Davis finding his way



By Matt Snyder


Chris Davis may finally be ready.

In a straw poll of Rangers management, the Star-Telegram found Davis was easily the most impressive player thus far in camp. He's flashing power, hitting for a high average and playing solid defense. This follows a good season of winter ball, so it could be a harbinger of things to come in Texas.

We know the power he possesses. He hit 17 home runs in 295 at-bats in 2008 and then 21 in 391 in 2009. Of course, the problem is that his OBP deteriorated to a dreadful .284 in 2009 and his contact rate was embarrassing. He struck out 238 times in those two seasons -- which is a strikeout once in less than every three at-bats.

Most everything got worse last season. Davis hit only one home run in 120 at-bats. He struck out 40 times. He hit .192/.279/.571, good for a 54 OPS-plus.

The funny thing is, Davis has always destroyed minor-league pitching (.939 OPS) and is still only 24.

In terms of how the current Rangers roster is constructed, however, Davis may actually be blocked. Assuming Adrian Beltre is healthy and Michael Young doesn't get traded, there really isn't a spot. You've got Mitch Moreland at first base, Beltre at third, Young in the backup DH/1B/3B role and Mike Napoli also a DH who can fill in at first.

Maybe Davis gives the Rangers further incentive to offload Young? That might even mean eating a good portion of his remaining contract, but a powerful Chris Davis makes it easier to justify. That's just speculation, but it's entirely possible.

SOME TOMMY JOHN STATS: In an article about how the Reds are expecting Edinson Volquez to return to form this season, we're given a stat that 96 percent of the pitchers who undergo "Tommy John" surgery return to the same level of competition they were before the procedure. It makes sense. As long as the rehab and throwing programs are done properly, the newly inserted ligament should actually be stronger than the natural one was before the injury. This article notes that prior to injury, the ulnar-collateral ligament has likely been slowly deteriorated over time, so when the surgery happens, it's like a brand new ligament. There's a lot more interesting stuff in there, and it's a highly recommended click-through. (SI.com )

ON THE OTHER HAND:
Also in SI.com , Tom Verducci talked to a "leader in the field of pitching biomechanics," who said that Nationals phenom Stephen Strasburg has a problematic delivery. Specifically, the contention is that Strasburg lands his front foot too early in his pitching motion, which puts in undue amount of torque on both his elbow and shoulder. When you considering how hard he throws, that's an excessive amount of pressure on those two body parts. There is also a moment in his delivery, according to the article, where Strasburg's elbow raises higher than his hand -- which switches the order of how the kinetics of a pitching motion are supposed to happen. This, again, puts a ton of pressure on his elbow. Hey, don't shoot the messenger, Nationals fans. I'm just passing along the info.

ONLY IN THE SPRING: Spring is a slow news time. You've got injuries and positional battles, sure, but otherwise it's mostly meaningless at-bats and killing time looking ahead to the regular season. Thus, Chipper Jones garnered some fan fare for bringing back and old-school look a few weeks ago when he pulled the bottoms of his pants up to knee-high. Of course, this only worked for Chipper with low-top shoes and he wasn't comfortable. So he returned to high-tops and, with those, had to bring the pants back down to ankle-length. (Atlanta-Journal Constitution )

ONLY IN THE SPRING, PART II: The Rays had a longest drive contest. Yes, with golf clubs. The four finalists were Johnny Damon, Cesar Ramos, Andy Sonnanstine and B.J. Upton. Who ya got? Go check it out, as there is video. (TampaBay.com )

SAY WHAT? Try to figure out this quote: "I don't ignore them because I've got to answer them. But I ignore them." That comes courtesy of Cardinals manager Tony La Russa, who is frustrated that the MLB Network questioned his team's outfield defense -- even though he apparently ignores them, or doesn't. Whatever. Any defensive metric you see says the outfield defense for the Cardinals will be pretty atrocious. Matt Holliday is fine in left field, though not spectacular. According to Fangraphs.com's ultimate zone rating, only two center fielders were worse than Colby Rasmus last year, who is certainly better suited for a corner spot. In right, they've got Lance Berkman, who was moved to first base in Houston due to becoming too slow for the outfield. He's 35 and hasn't been completely healthy for a full season 2008. To all this, La Russa would likely give the same response he did to MLB Network, "What do people know about our outfield defense?" (St. Louis Post-Dispatch )

TALKIN' BASEBALL: Willie, Mickey and the Duke. Those words were immortalized in Talkin' Baseball , a song written in 1981 by Terry Cashman. With the recent passing of the Duke, Cashman looks back on writing the song. (MLB.com )

STILL COOL CARLOS: While one Carlos on the Cubs sparred with a teammate over an error this spring, Carlos Zambrano has been a saint in Cubs camp. Tuesday, a defensive miscue allowed the leadoff man on base, but Zambrano never batted an eye. Of course, he won't say he's a changed man -- even though he said earlier in camp he was "cured" -- "Nah, I'm the same, bro," he told reporters. (Chicago Sun-Times ) Really, it's not just the spring, though. Zambrano has been a different man since re-entering the rotation last August 9. He went 8-0 with 1.41 ERA and 60 strikeouts in 11 starts and hasn't had an issue with teammates or management. The guy we're seeing this spring isn't just being good because it's spring. It's a carry over. Of course, with Zambrano, things could turn at any moment.

MEETING THE CHAMP: The White Sox met with Muhammad Ali and his Athletes for Hope foundation Tuesday. He was given a No. 40 jersey with the "Champ" on back, instead of Ali. (Chicago Tribune )

TAKE A BOTTLE, DRINK IT DOWN, PASS IT AROUND: One of the best pastimes of baseball -- for fans, that is -- is having a frothy cold one at the ballpark. Big League Stew breaks down the top 10 beers available at major-league ballparks. If you prefer a simple domestic macrobrew, well, there's something for you in every stadium.

BRADLEY HEARING WEDNESDAY: There will be a private hearing with Milton Bradley, his wife and the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office to attempt to resolve their differences without taking any charges to criminal court. Bradley was arrested for alleged domestic violence and threats against his wife last month. (Seattle Times )

 

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Posted on: March 4, 2011 7:21 pm
Edited on: March 4, 2011 9:00 pm
 

3 up, 3 down: Jon Daniels' best, worst moves

DanielsBy Evan Brunell

The Rangers have handed GM Jon Daniels a four-year extension, rewarding the 33-year-old for steering the club to its first-ever AL pennant in 2010. For all of Daniels' talents, however, he's made quite a few missteps along the way. Here's a look back at Daniels' three best and worst moves as Rangers GM...

3 UP

1. The Teix Heist

The reason the Rangers made the World Series is thanks to the trade that sent Mark Teixeira to the Atlanta Braves. Consummated at the trade deadline of 2007, this deal represented the first time Daniels was trading away a major piece of a team and he needed to hit a home run.

He did. By dealing Teix and left-handed reliever Ron Mahay, Daniels hauled in catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, shortstop Elvis Andrus, pitchers Neftali Feliz, Matt Harrison and Beau Jones. The fact Salty stalled in Texas is concerning, but many viewed the backstop at the time as one of the elite young catchers in the game. Andrus would go on to blossom as Texas' starting shortstop while Feliz won the AL Rookie of the Year Award with 40 saves last season and is currently shifting to the rotation. Harrison is a young lefty who is battling for a rotation spot himself, while Jones is the one non-entity.

This deal will continue to pay dividends over time, as Andrus and Feliz will be in town for years to come while Harrison is valuable depth. Saltalamacchia's career is not yet over as he is slated to start in Boston, and the jury is out on Daniels' return for Salty in three minor leaguers.

2. Game Over

Daniels made another significant trade the day of the 2007 trade deadline when he dealt "Game Over" Eric Gagne and cash to the Red Sox for Kason Gabbard, David Murphy and Engel Beltre.

Gagne was impressive in his first season as an ex-Dodger and after missing the bulk of the 2006 season. He wasn't the lockdown closer of old, but looked as if he could be a quality part of the bullpen. Except as Red Sox fans know, he completely imploded and while he walked away with a World Series trade, he will forever be known as Gag-me in Boston. (For some reason, there are over 11,000 views of a video I took recording Gagne's Red Sox debut.) His saving grace in Boston was as a Type-B free agent, and the Red Sox would later trade the player they drafted with the compensatory pick to Cleveland as part of the Victor Martinez deal.

Meanwhile, David Murphy is one of the more valuable fourth outfielders in the game and would be a starter for many other teams. Beltre has his makeup questions but is developing nicely as Texas' center fielder of the future. Gabbard flamed out, but at the time was a possible back-of-the-rotation starter.

3. Draft Bonanza

A major reason why Daniels has stayed viable as GM of the Rangers is his drafting history. Of course, major credit goes to the people working under him that are in charge of the draft, but Daniels deserves credit for putting these people in those roles as well as having a hand in the drafting and development of these players.

His first draft pick, Kasey Kiker, has yet to develop significantly but is just 22 and does hold some promise. However, his following two have had major league time already: power-hitting Chris Davis who has unfortunately failed time and time again to lock down a starting spot in Texas and Danny Herrera, who is a member of the Reds bullpen currently and was used to get Josh Hamilton. Michael Main was used to get Bengie Molina, while Blake Beavan and Justin Smoak were packaged for Cliff Lee

Tommy Hunter was a viable member of the rotation last season and could have a nice career as a back-of-the-rotation pitcher, while Julio Borbon is prepared to start in center field. Tanner Scheppers ranked No. 77 on CBSSports.com's Top 100 Prospects and  may have ranked higher if he was clearly going to be a starter. The club also came away with an impressive haul in the 2010 draft.

Honorable Mention: One would expect the deal bringing in Josh Hamilton to be one of Daniels' better deals, but it's hard to justify that as one of his best deals simply by virtue of giving up Edinson Volquez. There's no denying Hamilton's talent -- after all, he won the AL MVP award -- but Volquez has turned out pretty well for himself. There's a similar case to be made for the trade that imported Carlos Lee and Nelson Cruz from Milwaukee in exchange for Laynce Nix, Kevin Mench, Francisco Cordero and Juan Cordero, so the honorable mention goes to signing Colby Lewis to a two-year deal prior to the 2010 season. Lewis was an utter failure stateside before heading to Japan and discovering his talent. Daniels didn't hesitate to bring in Lewis, and all he did was become the Rangers' best right-handed starter in the team's run to the AL pennant.

3 DOWN

1. The Young and Heartless

In March of 2007, Daniels signed shortstop Michael Young to a five-year, $80 million extension, a contract that was strange at the time and now has snowballed. Two seasons later, Daniels bumped Young to third base in a contentious move to free up short for Elvis Andrus. Young's bat has continued to be solid, but he remained a defensive liability at third and in a much-publicized spat, is now headed to DH and first base after demanding a trade. However, thanks to Young's contract, it will be difficult to move him.

Daniels certainly shouldn't have signed Young to this deal, but that's not why this ranks as one of his three worst moves as GM. While there's a lot of "he-said, he-said" going on by both sides, the fact remains that Young is not very keen on speaking to Daniels and feels "misled." Whether or not you believe Daniels or Young (or think the true answer is somewhere in-between), Daniels should have done a far better job managing the crisis as this has become a nightmare, both in terms of Young's trade value and in public relations. Heck, it even made a three-year-old kid very upset.

2. A-Gone

It's hard to fault Jon Daniels for trading away Adrian Gonzalez as he needed pitching and had Mark Teixeira at first. But goodness, couldn't he have done better? In his second significant trade of his GM career -- the first was also pretty bad -- Daniels shipped away someone who would become one of the best first-basemen in the game in short order in Gonzalez to the Padres along with Chris Young, who fashioned a nice run for himself in the rotation for San Diego. Terrmel Sledge was a throw-in to get Adam Eaton, Akinori Otsuka and Billy Killian in return.

Eaton was a disaster, making just 13 starts and moving onto the Phillies where he was even worse, while Otsuka became the Rangers' closer but fell to injury in 2007 at age 35 and has not returned to the majors since. Killian is now in independent baseball.

Hey, every GM has trades they regret. It's part of life. But this is one regrettable trade that makes one really cringe looking back on it.

3. A-Rod to Soriano to Nothing

OK, so Daniels wasn't responsible for the initial trade of Alex Rodriguez, but he certainly was responsible for turning Rodriguez's return in Alfonso Soriano into something. Unfortunately, his first major trade was a flop when he shipped Soriano to the Washington Nationals for Brad Wilkerson, Armando Galarraga and Terrmel Sledge. Sledge would be shipped in another terrible deal a month later in the Adrian Gonzalez deal, while Wilkerson couldn't arrest the decline he began in his final season for the Nats in '06. He did not top 350 at-bats in the two seasons he was a Ranger.

While Galarraga was and still is nothing to write home about, he chewed up almost 500 innings for the Tigers after the Rangers essentially gave him away, predominantly as a starter the last three seasons -- and of course, as the architect of the 28-out perfect game. He is now a Diamondback and expected to serve in the back of the rotation. These types of pitchers are far from sexy and you can't blame Daniels for tossing Galarraga in the deal, but it only serves to make this deal look even worse given he got absolutely nothing of value for Soriano, which in turn meant the team got nothing for A-Rod.

In Daniels' defense, he was handicapped by Soriano entering the final year of his deal, but Daniels should have looked for prospects in any deal, not an outfielder on the decline, a pitcher he would give away a couple years later and a bit piece that would go on to become part of Daniels' worst trade to date.

Dishonorable Mention: Not to pile on Daniels, who has turned into a very fine GM, but just like he has plenty of candidates for honorable mention, he has candidates for this category as well. Signing Kevin Millwood to a five-year, $60 million deal was head-scratching at the time and he stumbled badly on December 23, 2006 when he dealt away John Danks, Nick Masset and Jacob Rasner to the White Sox for Brandon McCarthy and David Paisano. Danks and McCarthy were two highly-regarded prospects at the time, but Danks is the one that blossomed, while Masset would go on to bust out himself as an important part of the Reds bullpen.

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Posted on: December 7, 2010 7:08 pm
 

Cubs, Rangers discussing Chris Davis trade

Davis The Rangers are working on a deal to trade first baseman Chris Davis and reliever Darren O'Day to the Cubs, as AOL Fanhouse's Ed Price reports.

No word on who would go back to Texas, but it's got to be a good return for the Rangers to move a potential power-hitting first baseman -- strikeout issues notwithstanding -- and a quality reliever in a market that is desperate for bullpen arms.

The Rangers do need a catcher and starting pitching, but there isn't an obvious fit from Chicago that jumps out. One possibility is closer Carlos Marmol, with the Rangers moving Neftali Feliz to the rotation. However, the Rangers were thought to have been waiting on the decision with Feliz until the Cliff Lee saga was worked out. Another option is catcher Geovany Soto but as one of the best young catchers in the game, coughing him up for Davis and O'Day wouldn't make sense.

From Chicago's end, taking a flyer on Chris Davis as first baseman is a fantastic idea, and O'Day would shore up the setup corps. Davis hit just .192/.279/.292 for Texas in 136 plate appearances, striking out 40 times.  He's already flashed his power potential in the bigs, however, combining for 38 home runs over 736 plate appearances from 2008-09. All that's holding him back are the strikeouts.

-- Evan Brunell

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Posted on: October 1, 2010 6:22 pm
 

Hamilton's back in the field

Josh Hamilton Josh Hamilton is not just back in the Rangers' lineup tonight, he's back in the field.

It was assumed Hamilton would serve as the Rangers' designated hitter tonight, but instead he's batting third and playing center field.

According to Anthony Andro of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram , Hamilton will play six innings. He is also wearing a protective vest that he will sport for the rest of the season.

Chris Davis and Jorge Cantu are unavailable for the Rangers tonight, as botha  stomach bug and head cold are going around the clubhouse, Andro writes.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: September 22, 2010 10:15 pm
 

Hamilton would move to 1B

Josh Hamilton
The Rangers haven't officially talked about moving Josh Hamilton out of the outfield, but you can bet it's going to be a topic of conversation this winter after injuries suffered in the field have kept the MVP candidate from his primary job: hitting the ball.

Hamilton, out with a rib injury sustained running into a wall, said Wednesday he'd be fine with a switch.

"I'm open to playing anywhere," Hamilton, who also has knee problems, told the Dallas Morning News. "I think I'm a pretty good outfielder and I just always thought I'd play the outfield as long as I could, and if one day somebody wanted to move me to first or DH, then I'd do that."

Vladimir Guerrero, who has a mutual option for next year, is ably plugging the DH role, but the Rangers have room at first base. Boy, do they have room. They have gotten a .211 average and a league-worst 55 RBI out of the position this year and are heading into the postseason trying to figure out playing time between Mitch Moreland, Chris Davis and Jorge Cantu (batting .206 since being traded to Texas).

Hamilton hasn't played first base since high school, and he's a good outfielder -- decent range and a great arm. The Rangers might take a defensive hit by moving him. But that's nothing compared with the hit they take when baseball's leading hitter is on the bench when they need him. The Rangers' primary concern has to be making sure Hamilton makes it to the plate as many times as possible.

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: July 29, 2010 5:22 pm
Edited on: July 29, 2010 11:18 pm
 

Report: Rangers add key piece in Cantu

Jorge Cantu
Looks like the Rangers are getting their right-handed bat.

According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the Marlins on Thursday agreed to send third baseman Jorge Cantu to Texas for right-handers Evan Reed and Omar Poveda. The deal had been rumored to be on the brink for a couple of days. Joel Sherman of the New York Post says via Twitter that the Marlins will pay $600,000 of the $2.18 million left on Cantu's contract. The Rockies and Giants had also been rumored to be pursuing him.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram is saying the deal is not quite done, and as of this writing, Cantu is still playing in the Marlins' game against the Giants in San Francisco. It's customary for a player who is even close to being traded to be held out or removed from a game to guard against injury.

(UPDATE: Cantu was removed from the game in the eighth inning.)

Texas has a healthy 7 1/2-game lead in the American League West, but the Rangers feel like they might finally have a real championship contender on their hands and are trying to bolster any weak spots. Their biggest weak spot is at first base, where the departure of Justin Smoak in the Cliff Lee deal left them with the seriously underperforming Chris Davis (.188, four RBI and no homers in 31 games). They've been trying to find a right-handed hitter to platoon with him.

Cantu has been primarily a third baseman in Florida but has played 238 career games at first and should have little problem adjusting. He also has played 218 games at second, and the Rangers have a need there right now until Ian Kinsler returns from the disabled list (groin strain).

Cantu is batting .259/.308/.408 with 10 homers and 54 RBI -- not overwhelming numbers but a definite upgrade from Davis. And it's quite an accomplishment by Texas GM Jon Daniels to get the Marlins, not exactly known for throwing money around, to cover part of Cantu's salary.

The prospects, Reed and Poveda, are both Double-A level pitchers, and Poveda, a starter, is on the disabled list after Tommy John ligament replacement surgery. Reed, a late-inning reliever, is 1-1 with a 1.76 ERA in 30 games for Double-A Frisco.

-- David Andriesen

UPDATE: So much for the idea of a left-right Davis-Cantu platoon at first. After Thursday night's game, the Rangers sent Davis to Triple-A to make room for Cantu on the roster.

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Posted on: July 27, 2010 9:51 pm
 

Lowell hits 3 HR in rehab start

OK, now are there any takers for Mike Lowell?

Boston's odd man out is at Triple-A Pawtucket, rehabbing a hip strain and trying to prove he can make a difference for anybody with a place for him. He batted .357 in his first three games for the PawSox and then really decided to put on a show Monday, hitting three home runs. It tied a Pawtucket record.

Scouts for multiple teams have been reported to be in Pawtucket looking at the 36-year-old third baseman. The Tigers and Rangers have been linked to Lowell in rumors. Texas would be a great fit for Lowell, who could platoon with struggling Chris Davis and give the Rangers an additional veteran presence, but the Rangers have reportedly turned their primary attention to Jorge Cantu.

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: July 16, 2010 6:50 pm
Edited on: July 16, 2010 7:38 pm
 

Wigginton, Tejada could be on the move


Several teams are calling the Orioles about Ty Wigginton, the Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec writes , including the Phillies and Rangers.

Zrbiec writes the Orioles and Phillies have been discussing a Wigginton trade for weeks, but that Philadelphia is also interested in Miguel Tejada. Either Wigginton or Tejada could play third if Placido Polanco is playing second for Chase Utley.

The Rangers have a scout at Camden Yards for Friday's game and could use Wigginton as a first-base platoon with Chris Davis.

The Yankees are also said to have interest in Wigginton.

Wigginton and Tejada are both free agents after the season, with Tejada being paid $6 million this year and Wigginton in the second year of a two-year, $6 million deal.

The fact both are rental players, means the Orioles won't get too much in return, with Zrebiec speculating Baltimore could "do well to get two mid-level prospects" for their lone All-Star.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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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