Tag:Rangers
Posted on: December 1, 2011 4:41 pm
Edited on: December 1, 2011 9:57 pm
 

Geivett to interview for Astros GM job

Rockies executive Bill Geivett will interview in the next few days for the Astros' vacant general manager position, and one baseball executive said it's believed he has a "real legitimate shot" at getting the job.

Others familiar with the Astros search weren't so sure, cautioning that the team is still early in the process and is in the process of seeking permission to talk to many candidates.

Rays general manager Andrew Friedman is the Astros' preferred candidate, but one source familiar with the search said it remains "doubtful" that Friedman would make the move. Rangers assistant GM Thad Levine was also considered a strong candidate, but he pulled out of the running on Wednesday.

Just as happened with the Orioles GM job last month, some people in baseball are questioning how desirable the Astros position is, particularly given the awkward timing of the process.

Because Jim Crane wasn't approved as the team's new owner until mid-November, the Astros didn't fire Ed Wade until this week, and now they're in the strange position of searching for a GM in the days leading up to next week's winter meetings (with a certainty that the search will stretch past the meetings). That makes it tough for candidates to leave prior jobs, and will make it next to impossible for whoever gets the Astros job to assemble a staff of assistants.

Geivett is interested in the job, has the Rockies' blessing -- even though it would be tough for them to lose him -- and is by all accounts a qualified candidate. The one question, one person familiar with the search said, was whether Geivett is aggressive enough for Crane's liking.

The 48-year-old Geivett is a former minor-league player who has been with the Rockies for 11 years, running the minor-league and scouting operations and most recently serving as assistant GM. His success in running both scouting and player development should be a benefit with the Astros, who will need to acquire and develop plenty of new talent.

"He's done everything," said one veteran scout who knows Geivett well. "He's ready."

And, at least for now, he's interested.

Other potential candidates may not be, and there were even rumblings Thursday that the Astros' treatment of ex-club president Tal Smith (fired by phone Sunday) had helped turn some people off.

Levine won't say why he didn't want the job, and didn't even mention the Astros by name in his statement Wednesday. He focused instead on how much he wanted to stay with the Rangers, where he is part of a management team that has had great success and also gets along extremely well.

Levine will remain in his current job with the Rangers, after some talk earlier that he would shift to overseeing the farm system. The Rangers have had an opening since Scott Servais left to work for new GM Jerry Dipoto with the Angels. Now, it's possible that job could go to ex-Astros GM Tim Purpura.

Posted on: November 15, 2011 1:16 am
Edited on: November 15, 2011 1:18 am
 

Angels among 8-9 teams interested in C.J. Wilson

MILWAUKEE -- The most popular pitcher at the general managers' meetings is in Japan.

Not from Japan. In Japan, on vacation.

C.J. Wilson is headed home Friday, on his 31st birthday. He won't have a new contract and a 2012 team by then, but based on the early interest, he'll have plenty of choices and a chance to make plenty of money.

In fact, early indications are that Wilson could well command a six-year contract.

Agent Bob Garber, who shuttled from meeting to meeting on Monday, wouldn't comment on that, but did say that there are 8-9 teams interested in Wilson, and that he hopes to narrow the group to the four or five most interested teams before more serious negotiations begin.

Garber had dinner Monday with new Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto, who did little to hide his interest in stealing Wilson away from the rival Rangers.

"Obviously, we have interest," Dipoto said. "I hope C.J. feels the same way. We'll find out."

The Angels would seem to be set at the top of their rotation, with Jered Weaver, Dan Haren and Ervin Santana. But as Dipoto said, "I don't know that you can ever have enough pitching."

Wilson grew up in Southern California, but Garber said his ultimate decision on where to sign will "really have nothing to do with location."

Wilson hasn't at all ruled out a return to the Rangers, and Garber said the idea of chasing a third straight trip to the World Series has appeal. The Rangers haven't ruled out re-signing Wilson, either, but with the level of interest elsewhere, it seems unlikely that he'll remain in Texas.

Wilson has had two strong seasons as a starter, going past 200 innings each year and finishing with a combined 31-15 record. He had a poor October this year, going 0-3 with a 5.79 ERA in six starts, but that doesn't seem to have hurt his market appeal.

The Washington Post reported Monday that the Nationals have interest in Wilson, as well as in Roy Oswalt, another Garber client. Garber spent some time with Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo Monday evening.



Posted on: November 10, 2011 5:39 pm
Edited on: November 10, 2011 6:40 pm
 

Cespedes could top Chapman's $30 million contract

Aroldis Chapman's big contract surprised some people as much as his 105 mph fastball.

Get prepared to be surprised again.

Cuban outfielder Yoennis Cespedes, currently working out for teams in the Dominican Republic, will likely match or even top the six-year, $30.5 million contract that the Reds gave Chapman two winters ago, two veteran scouts who follow the international market predicted Thursday.

"I'd take him over Chapman," one of the scouts said.

Cespedes defected from Cuba over the summer. He has yet to be declared a free agent, but that's expected to happen soon. Scouts familiar with the market say it's hard to pick a favorite to sign him, but the Yankees and Marlins are both known to have strong interest, and the Red Sox, Rangers, Cubs and possibly even the Pirates and A's could be heavily involved, as well.

Cespedes was one of the stars of the Cuban national team, and scouts drooled over him when he played in the 2009 World Baseball Classic.

They still do now.

"He's a five-tool guy, built like an NFL running back," one scout said. "He has tremendous raw power, with all the tools to be a 30-30 guy in the big leagues. His mother pitched on the Cuban national softball team, so he has athleticism in the family."

Asked for a comparable player who has played in the big leagues, the scout first suggested Bo Jackson, then back away, but only slightly. If you want to judge for yourself, there's a YouTube video that has already made the rounds.

The question, as with all international players, is how quickly Cespedes can adjust to American culture and to American baseball. He's already 26 years old (five years older than Chapman was when he signed), so it's not as if he is some young prospect.

Chapman, even with the 105 mph fastball, has yet to live up to expectations.

Then again, if Cespedes is a 30-30 guy in the big leagues, he's worth Chapman money and even more.

And he'll probably get it.



Posted on: October 29, 2011 6:47 pm
 

Best game ever? How about best month ever?

The Yankees don't think it was such a great month. The Phillies are sure it wasn't a great month.

Oh, and the Red Sox? No, the last 31 days weren't exactly pleasant for them.

But it sure was great for the rest of us, the best month of baseball most of us have seen, or will see, in our lifetimes.

If it gets better than this, I won't complain. But I'm not planning on it.

We had the best single regular-season night ever, on the final night of the regular season, and maybe the best game ever, on the next-to-last night of the World Series.

We had so many great games that the best individual offensive performance in World Series history barely makes the list. So many that Chris Carpenter's three-hit 1-0 shutout in a winner-take-all Game 5 wasn't even his most important performance of the month.

This is the third year now that I've written a postseason recap, and it's the first time that the best game of the month wasn't the first game I saw. Nothing against Tigers-Twins (Game 163 in 2009) or Roy Halladay's no-hitter (Division Series 2010), but it's a better month when the drama builds.

This month, we saw Albert Pujols and Miguel Cabrera, Chris Carpenter, Nelson Cruz and David Freese. We saw squirrels. We saw Na-po-li. We saw history.

We saw Game 6.

What a month.

Here's a look back:

Best game: Some people are insisting that Game 6 of the World Series can't be called great, because there were physical errors early and possible managerial errors late. Sorry, but that's ridiculous. So it wasn't the best-played game ever. Fine. It had thrills, it had drama, it had plenty to second-guess, it had great performances and gritty performances. You go ahead and say it wasn't perfect. I'm going to say it was the best game I've ever seen.

Best moment: The flashbulbs going off when Albert Pujols batted in the seventh inning of Game 7 were great. Yes, it could have been his final Cardinals at-bat. But the best moment of the postseason -- Pujols' best moment -- was when he called time out to allow the Miller Park crowd to honor Prince Fielder, who very, very likely was stepping to the plate for his final Brewers at-bat.

Best chant: In the end, maybe this wasn't the Year of the Napoli, after all. But it sure was the month of the "Na!-Po!-Li!" at Rangers Ballpark. Mike Napoli became such an instant hero that I saw a Rangers fan who had altered his year-old Cliff Lee jersey, adding "Na-po" above the "Lee."

Best crowd: It was incredibly loud all month in Texas. It was louder than ever in St. Louis for the final outs of Game 7. But everyone who was at Miller Park this month came back raving about the atmosphere and the Brewers' fans (and everyone who was at Chase Field said there was barely any atmosphere for the Diamondbacks' two home games).

Best player: Tough call. Freese was a revelation, and not just in the World Series. Cabrera was outstanding. So was Ryan Braun. But Pujols was the guy I'll remember most, from his great defensive play against the Phillies to his historic three-homer game against the Rangers.

Best movie review: Moneyball took a beating every time Cardinals manager Tony La Russa took to the podium. La Russa went to see the movie the night Game 6 was rained out, and the next night he said that it "strains the credibility a little bit." La Russa, like others, complained about the portrayal of scouts, and about the lack of mentions of Miguel Tejada, Eric Chavez, Mark Mulder, Barry Zito and Tim Hudson. "That club was carried by those guys that were signed, developed the old-fashioned way," La Russa said. "That part wasn't enjoyable, because it's a nice story but it is not accurate enough."

Most disappointing team: The Red Sox. The Phillies didn't make it out of the first round. Neither did the Yankees, who then apologized to their fans for their "failure." But Boston's collapse was so bad that it led to the departure of the manager and general manager who broke the curse. The Red Sox will recover, but they'll never be the same.

Best prediction: It's well established by now that I can't pick winners. But when the postseason began, I jokingly wrote that every series would go the distance. Turned out I was almost right, as 38 of a possible 41 games were required. Three of the four Division Series went the distance (and none were sweeps). Both League Championship Series went six games. And the World Series went seven, for the first time in nine years. Oh, and I even picked the World Series winner, Cardinals in 7, even if I did it because Rangers officials demanded that I pick against them.

Five who helped themselves: 1. Pujols. I'm not saying it makes a difference in his final free-agent price, but a great postseason reminded all of us how good he really is.

2. John Mozeliak. You think Cardinals fans will finally admit that it was a good idea to trade Colby Rasmus to help this team win now?

3. Mike Napoli. The Angels traded this guy for Vernon Wells. The Blue Jays then traded this guy for Frank Francisco. The Rangers will not be trading him.

4. Ryan Braun. MVP voting includes only the regular season, and not the postseason. But anyone who chose Braun over Matt Kemp in the National League race had to be happy to see him hit .405 with a 1.182 OPS in October.

5. David Freese. He was the best story of the month, the hometown kid who quit baseball after high school, and came back to become the World Series MVP. Now everyone knows him.

Five who hurt themselves: 1. C.J. Wilson. He's still going to get overpaid on the free-agent market, but imagine how much he might have gotten if he'd had a good October, instead of a lousy one.

2. CC Sabathia. He's still going to get a great new contract, too, but imagine how much he might have gotten if his postseason ERA was 1.23, instead of 6.23 (and if his waist size didn't expand just as fast).

3. Cliff Lee. The team he left went to the World Series without him. And the team he couldn't beat in Game 2, after his teammates gave him a 4-0 lead, went on to win the World Series.

4. Alex Rodriguez. Two years ago, he had a nice October and shed the label of postseason choker. This year, he went 2-for-18 against the Tigers and appeared on the back page of the New York Post as one of the Three Stooges (along with Nick Swisher and Mark Teixeira).

5. Tony La Russa (for about 48 hours). I'm guessing Cardinals fans will now totally forgive him for the phone/noise/bullpen mess from Game 5. He's now the guy who has won two World Series in St. Louis, to go with the one he won in Oakland. Still one of the very best managers in the game -- in the history of the game, that is.


Posted on: October 29, 2011 2:42 am
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Posted on: October 29, 2011 2:37 am
 

Rangers bullpen won ALCS, lost World Series

ST. LOUIS -- The innings added up. The innings caught up to them.

We don't know for sure if that's the answer for what happened to the Rangers bullpen, but it seems like a reasonable guess.

We do know the results.

In six American League Championship Series games against the Tigers, the Ranger relievers were basically unhittable, with a 1.32 ERA.

In seven World Series games against the Cardinals, the Ranger relievers were basically unwatchable, with a 7.43 ERA.

"The bullpen won the ALCS," general manager Jon Daniels said. "Then they struggled here."

The bullpen pitched too much in the first two rounds, because the starters didn't pitch enough. To be fair, the Cardinals had the same problem . . . and maybe that's why their bullpen leaked a little at the end, as well.

You could see it happening. I wrote about it when the Rangers lost Game 3. Mike Adams admitted then that fatigue could be setting in, especially with ALCS difference-maker Alexi Ogando (who would end up allowing 14 baserunners in just 2 2/3 World Series innings).

When it was over, Adams said he wasn't sure.

"You never know," he said. "I'm not sure you can say that's why we weren't as effective.

"The bullpen had a good run. We just didn't pitch as well [in the World Series] as we did in the last series."

You've got to think the workload had something to do with it. But it's not like they could have done much to lighten that load, short of risking an ALCS loss by forcing more innings from their rotation.

"You're aware of it," Daniels said. "But at that point, there's not much you can do about it."

He had tried. He was as active as any GM in seeking bullpen help in midseason trades, adding Adams, Koji Uehara and Mike Gonzalez. But Adams seemed to run out of gas, Uehara was a complete bust in the postseason (three appearances, three home runs), and Gonzalez was only mildly effective.

And the bullpen that beat the Tigers never made it to the World Series.

The bullpen that won the ALCS basically lost the World Series.


Posted on: October 28, 2011 4:51 pm
 

In Game 7, home team has edge (or not)

ST. LOUIS -- You've no doubt heard by now that no road team has won a World Series Game 7 in 32 years.

The Cardinals won at home in 1982, the Royals did it in 1985, the Mets in 1986, the Twins in both 1987 and 1991, the Marlins in 1997, the Diamondbacks in 2001 and the Angels in 2002.

It's tough to win the decisive game on the road . . . except when it isn't.

There were three decisive Game 5's in the Division Series this month. Two of the three were won by the road team (Cardinals over Phillies, Tigers over Yankees).

The Rangers won a decisive Game 5 last year at Tampa Bay.

The Cardinals won Game 7 of the 2006 National League Championship Series on the road.

In fact, over the last 10 years, there have been 18 decisive games in the postseason (Game 5 in the Division Series, Game 7 in the LCS or World Series), and the visiting team has won 11 of them.

After Game 5 three weeks ago at Yankee Stadium, Tigers manager Jim Leyland made the argument that it can actually be an advantage to be on the road, because there's more pressure on the home team (certainly true in the cases of the Yankees and Phillies), and because there are more distractions at home.

Oh, and about those eight straight road-team wins in Game 7 of the World Series?

Go back through eight more Game 7's, and it basically evens out. From 1965-79, the road team won seven out of eight Game 7's.


Posted on: October 28, 2011 4:07 pm
Edited on: October 28, 2011 7:50 pm
 

Cruz, Napoli in Rangers' Game 7 lineup

ST. LOUIS -- Mike Napoli is hurting. Nelson Cruz is hurting.

But it's Game 7.

It's Game 7 of the World Series, and both Napoli (left ankle) and Cruz (right groin) are in the Rangers' lineup for Friday night's game at Busch Stadium. Both were regarded as questionable after getting hurt in Thursday's incredible Game 6.

Napoli, in line for World Series MVP honors if the Rangers win, hurt his ankle when he went into second base awkwardly in the fourth inning Thursday. He stayed in the game, but said afterwards that the ankle was "pretty sore."

"He showed the type of warrior he is," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "If you hadn't seen him hurt the ankle, you wouldn't have even known it was hurt."

Cruz left the game after batting in the top of the 11th inning. The Rangers believe he got hurt banging into the wall trying to catch David Freese's game-tying triple in the ninth inning.

Cruz was in more doubt Friday, but the Rangers decided after batting practice that he was good enough to go. The Rangers didn't seriously consider removing him from the World Series roster, in part because they thought that at the very least he could give them a pinch-hit at-bat.

While Napoli and Cruz are in the lineup, Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday is out. Holliday severely injured his right pinky when he was picked off third base in the sixth inning. The Cardinals replaced him on the roster with Adron Chambers, and Allen Craig replaced him in the Cardinals lineup for Game 7.

Cardinals manager Tony La Russa made another lineup change, dropping Rafael Furcal out of the leadoff spot for the first time this postseason, and putting Ryan Theriot atop the order.

Furcal sparked the Cardinals for a while, and his first-inning triple was the biggest hit in their 1-0 Game 5 Division Series win over the Phillies. But in his last 11 games, Furcal has hit just .128 (6-for-47) with a .196 on-base percentage.

Full lineups for both teams are in Matt Snyder's excellent Game 7 preview, available here.


 
 
 
 
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