Tag:Nelson Cruz
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: January 22, 2011 1:58 pm
Edited on: January 22, 2011 1:58 pm
 

Cruz changing running style to avoid injury

CruzNelson Cruz is so determined to avoid hamstring issues that he's changing the way he runs.

"We've been doing 30 or 40 sprints a day and it seems like it's working because I don't feel anything," Cruz told the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram. After three separate disabled list stints for hamstring issues in 2010, Cruz is trying a more upright stance with Kyle O'Day, reliever Darren's brother.

"With so much sprinting, you'd have to feel something. I've been doing it for three days."

Running more upright helps take away the strain of hamstring usage, but it may also sacrifice some speed. However, for someone who makes his living on home runs and not stolen bases, the Rangers will gladly take the exchange.

Cruz bashed 22 home runs and stole 17 bags in 2010 across 445 plate appearances a year after 33 blasts and 20 stolen bases. He may not sniff 20 stolen bases again, but if Cruz can stay off the disabled list, the 30-year-old should certainly crack the 30-homer barrier again.

-- Evan Brunell

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Category: MLB
Posted on: November 12, 2010 12:46 pm
 

Rangers could be big spenders

Cliff Lee The Rangers don't appear to be scared to spend a little money this offseason, as FoxSports.com reports ownership has approved a plan to ink both Cliff Lee and catcher Victor Martinez.

The team is prepared to increase its payroll beyond $90 million, up from $55 million on opening day of 2010.

The Rangers have $32.85 million committed to five players next season and seven eligible for arbitration. Among those, three are likely to get big raises -- likely MVP Josh Hamilton, left-hander C.J. Wilson and right fielder Nelson Cruz.

The Rangers have more money because of new ownership, a run to the World Series increasing attendance and a new 20-year television contract that begins in 2015.

While the Yankees have been overt in their recruitment of Lee, the Rangers say they're no less interested in signing the market's best starter, they're just going to do it a little more under the radar.

"I don't think there's much to say other than there isn't anything that has happened or will happen that has come as a surprise," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels told MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan .

Daniels said the team is not ignoring Lee and has spoken to all of the agents for the team's free agents.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: October 20, 2010 6:23 pm
Edited on: October 21, 2010 10:31 am
 

Rangers OF Cruz leaves game

Nelson Cruz
Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz, the team's top hitter this postseason, was forced to leave Game 5 after the fourth inning Wednesday with tightness in his left hamstring. He was replaced by David Murphy.

Cruz has had hamstring issues three separate times this season and gone on the disabled list twice, most recently in August. That was due to the left hamstring. The Rangers are calling it day-to-day, so it's nothing as serious as the hamstring strain that knocked Mark Teixeira out for the season in Tuesday night's game.

Cruz, batting .378, had hits in all 10 of the Rangers' postseason games, including a double Wednesday. He and Elvis Andrus became the ninth and 10th players in history to collect hits in each of their first 10 career postseason games.

-- David Andriesen

UPDATE: Cruz tells reporters he'll be ready for Game 6 (via the Fort Worth Star-Telegram ).

"I feel good right now," said Cruz. "It's just tight. [Ron Washington] said he didn't want to take any chances, so he shut me down."

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: October 19, 2010 8:43 pm
Edited on: October 20, 2010 1:29 am
 

Replay used selectively for Yankees

fan interferrence If you're going to have replay, why not use it?

It looked as if the ball Robinson Cano hit was going out, but the fan in the Derek Jeter jersey had his hands over the wall and hit Nelson Cruz's glove. That's tough to see with the naked eye. Jim Reynolds was the umpire on the right field line and he was adamant the ball was out. It just seems egotistical not to look at it. If you're so sure you're right, the video will back you.

The instant replay can be used for fan interference, why not look at it in that case?

I'm don't think it would have been overturned, but what would it hurt to have looked? If the goal is to get it right, it wasn't even close -- you've got to look at that. In Game 3 of the Reds-Phillies series, a similar play -- one that wasn't even nearly as close -- was reviewed on a Chase Utley home run. The umpires saw it quickly, and upheld the call in about a minute. At least the replay would show the Yankee fan in the Jeter jersey was a lout.

Reynolds got it wrong again on Lance Berkman's apparent homer. The umpires did look at it and overturned the call. They got one right, at least. But both should have been reviewed.

UPDATE: The Star-Ledger 's Brendan Prunty spoke to one of the fans who reached over (clearly in the picture) the wall to get the ball.

"It was definitely over the wall," said 20-year old Jared Macchirole, a Penn State student from Queens. "It hit the cement before I got to it."

Of course, Macchirole is seen going clear over the wall to judge the ball that was "definitely over the wall" so his judgement may not be so keen.

Macchirole said the ball hit his brother Jay, sitting to his right, before it hit him.

After the play, TBS replays showed Jared Macchirole making obscene gestures at Cruz and yelling at him, which Macchirole (who is not turning out to be the state's best witness) denies.

"I saw him pointing at us," Macchirole said. "But I couldn't hear what he was saying. Everyone was celebrating."

UPDATE: The two claim to the New York Daily News that they didn't touch Nelson's giove at all. Although someone did, since replays clearly showed Nelson glove being smooshed. Of course, Macchriole reportedly denied making obscene gestures toward Cruz, which can be seen on many screengrabs across the internet.

"We didn't touch his glove," Jay Macchirole told the Daily News . "A lot of people were just going for the ball. He didn't touch his glove."

UPDATE: Texas manager Ron Washington didn't ask for a replay review, Reynolds said.

"From the angle I had, I was very confident that I got the call write," he told reporters (via the Fort Worth Star-Telegram ).

Crew chief Gerry Davis said after seeing the replay that he believed the crew got the call right.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: September 11, 2010 2:09 am
 

Chamberlain flounders in return to 8th

Joba Chamberlain Joba Chamberlain had a chance to reclaim his role as the Yankees' setup man, and once again he blew it.

For the first time since July 10, Chamberlain was used in the eighth inning of a close ballgame. On his first pitch in a pressure situation in two months, he hung a slider the Rangers' Nelson Cruz deposited in the left-field stands for a game-tying homer. Five innings later, Cruz ended the game with a homer on Chad Gaudin's first pitch of the inning.

Since giving up a grand slam to Jose Lopez in Seattle two months ago, Chamberlain had pitched well, with a 2.78 ERA and holding opponents to a .218 batting average, walking six and striking out 22 in 22 2/3 innings.

Friday night, he allowed just a walk after the Cruz homer, but at that time, the damage was done.

If this was a dress rehearsal for the potential postseason matchup between these two teams, Chamberlain was auditioning for a his part and he flubbed his lines.

In a related note, the two teams ended up tying an American League record by using 19 different pitchers in the game. Earlier in the day, the Twins and Indians tied the record with fewest pitchers used in a game (two).

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: August 16, 2010 3:31 pm
Edited on: August 16, 2010 3:35 pm
 

Cruz on DL for 3rd time this season


Nelson Cruz For the third time this season, Nelson Cruz is headed to the disabled list -- and for a strained left hamstring for the second time.

An MRI on Sunday revealed no tear, but inflammation in and around the muscle.

His first trip the DL was in April with a strained right hamstring.

When he's not on the DL, Cruz is having a great season, hitting .320/.381/.587 with 16 homers and 64 home runs. Between Cruz and Josh Hamilton, the Rangers have two of the most exciting outfielders in the game, yet both have had injury troubles that hurt their value.

The move is retroactive to Sunday, so he's eligible to return on Aug. 30.

The Rangers activated Joaquin Arias from the disabled list.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.


Category: MLB
Posted on: June 28, 2010 3:28 pm
Edited on: June 28, 2010 4:58 pm
 

Mauer winning baseball's popularity contest

Joe Mauer In the final American League All-Star Game voting updates before Sunday's announcement of teams, Justin Morneau and Carl Crawford are hanging on for their spots in the homecoming court, while Joe Mauer continues to be the prettiest girl in the school, but is still like totally down-to-earth and cool, you know?

The chess club still has until Thursday to find a way to hack intuit he online voting system and make Yuniesky Betancourt the queen, but then when the Royals shortstop shows up to the dance, he'll take off his glasses, shake out his hair and everyone will discover the beautiful swan he was underneath a career 82 OPS+.

Anyway, Mark Teixeira is making a run at Morneau at first base, with Miguel Cabrera tight on his heels. Robinson Cano seems to have second locked up, as do Evan Longoria and Derek Jeter at third base and shortstop, respectively. Mauer is pounding Jorge Posada at catcher and Vladimir Guerrero has a comfortable lead at DH over Hideki Matsui. Really.

Ichiro Suzuki, Josh Hamilton and Crawford are the top three vote-getters in the outfield, as Crawford jumped in front of the Rangers Nelson Cruz in voting, despite his sore shoulder, for the final outfield spot.

Complete -- or at least a semi-complete -- leaderboard for the July 13 game in Anaheim is up at MLB.com .

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.




 
 
 
 
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