Reading tea leaves. 94 comments


Rangers radio broadcaster Matt Hicks was trying to find a little silver lining in the Rangers 2-6-2 start after ten spring games.

He prefaced it by saying spring records don’t matter one bit. And he’s right.

Still, he pointed out that the Rangers have had big early leads in almost every game, reasoning it’s times in games when the mostly major league hitters are facing mostly major league pitchers. In fact, the Rangers Uniforms led 7-0 yesterday after two innings, and lost 10-7 to the Mariners Uniforms.

His point being that the major league team can hold its own. Its only after the A-team leaves the field that the Rangers have been losing games.

While attempting to find a positive, he unwittingly unearthed a glaring weakness. Get beyond the major league level and the talent gets very thin in this organization.

If he is trying to imply that this team, by virtue of having early leads, will be competitive this year, he is also pointing out that there is a lot of bleakness on the horizon.

The Rangers system doesn’t have the talent to compete with any other system. The team on the field this year better perform. Because there are no reinforcements.

Maybe spring stats do carry a bit of weight.

  • GoRangers23

    Was it last year that we were behind, at the beginning of almost every game, then they came back to win a lot of them in the end? That scenario didn’t work well in the regular season at all. Maybe this means that the team we will have on the field this year will be better than what we had last year. I really hope it will be! Especially if the players who are after them are going to be hard to watch. It would really be nice if somehow we won a lot more games than expected.

    • calntom

      The Rangers will start by throwing a smackdown on the Stros at home later this month. Get out the broom

      • GoRangers23

        😄. That would be awesome! I hope you’re right! I wonder how many people think we have absolutely no chance?

        • elkaba

          LOL, I remain cautiously pessimistic. 🙂

          • GoRangers23

            Ha!

      • dearmidol

        It’s pretty difficult for teams to repeat.

        • WhoKnowscs

          Yep. I’m thinking that Verlander won’t be the answer this time.

    • WhoKnowscs

      That was 2016. Then in 2017 we found out that wasn’t a successful winning formula.

    • GoRangers23

      To clarify, I was talking about the Spring Training games, before the season started. It looked in Spring Training like we had a great team because we ended up winning, but our regular team, who started the games, weren’t getting it done.

  • CoMentor_Rounding3rd

    I like what we see from some of the players this spring but I think we all know this is a bottom-5 rotation.

    Just crossing my fingers that the bats keep the season exciting.

    • Gregor_S

      That’s what I don’t get about JD’s strategy, or non-strategy, this offseason. The offense isn’t on par with the top teams but it should be competitive if only they had some pitching. And it’s not as though they have great pitching prospects in the minors that they’re waiting for. The only Rangers ranked in the top 100 are Calhoun and Taveras, who are both outfielders. So why not just sign one of the top free agent starters like Arrieta?

      • elkaba

        That’s my biggest beef, too. If there was a clear strategy, a direction, a long term plan, something, anything we could hang our hats and hopes on (other than a construction site) then I could be all kinds of patient. I think fans can endure, even enjoy a losing season or several if it’s in service of a greater goal. But this? This just feels like another attempt to go cheap, cut corners and throw a bunch of pasta past its sell by date against the wall to see what sticks.

        • FlappingGums

          Yep!!

        • calntom

          If the plan is to sell at the break, whatever bears fruit, they can’t come out and say that now.

          • elkaba

            Good point, and that’s true enough, but then the question remains what’s the overall strategy? Many teams don’t necessarily make a secret of the fact they’re trying to get younger or stock the farm at every opportunity, but we get nothing but the same worn out pledge every season that “fans will be surprised how good this team is,” “we’re definitely going to compete for a post season place,” etc. At this point, it kind of confounds belief.

          • calntom

            When is the new stadium opening? 2020? This season and next could be focused on having some pitching in 2020. Going to take a lot of deals to get there.

        • JacobMcCandles

          Why this should’ve started before

      • GoRangers23

        Exactly!!

      • FlappingGums

        Good question!

      • von_todwin

        I would think making the plunge for one of the mid-level guys like Cobb or Lynn, but Arrieta would be a ton to spend on someone who *may* make us competitive. Plus, the reason teams have been so reluctant is that he’s showing warning signs of decline, so I wouldn’t consider him a practical bet to build the future around. I think too many pieces on the team are too close to leaving to risk much on hoping to compete. Gotta restock and sell off whichever of the rentals manage to have good years.

        • Gregor_S

          I agree there are some red flags with regard to Arrieta, especially since the Cubs decided to pass on him and signed Darvish, who has concerns of his own, instead. Cobb or Lynn would be a safer choice, but there would also probably be less upside. A long-term deal with pretty much any pitcher comes with uncertainties. Sometimes it pays off — the Nationals took big risks with Scherzer and Strasburg but it’s worked out for them. JD would probably say they and the Cubs decided to be “all-in” and the Rangers have decided not to be.

          But the fact that Beltre may be gone next year, and possibly Elvis (though I think they’ll agree on an extension with him) could be an argument to try to contend this year. Who knows what the team will look like next year? They’re probably going to have a do a long-term deal with a free agent pitcher eventually if they want to acquire an ace, since they don’t have the prospects within the organization. Why not do it now and try to make this season interesting? (One possibility is that they think they can lure Kershaw away from the Dodgers next year, but I think the Dodgers will never let them happen. He’s the face of their franchise and the fans would crucify them.)

        • JacobMcCandles

          Spot on

      • JacobMcCandles

        Arrieta doesn’t even make this team .500 IMO…..waste of cash

        • Gregor_S

          With a little luck they’d have a shot at the wild card. They might get one starter out of Moore-Fister-Minor-Bush-Colon-Lincecum. That would give them four with Hamels, Perez, and Arrieta. Still one short (two if they go with a 6-man but I think that’s just a way to pick the best or least bad among Moore-Fister-etc and will be abandoned after a month or so). But most teams don’t have a decent #5.

          • JacobMcCandles

            Yeah but Perez is mediocre himself. Lincecum is in the BP….If I had to wager Moore or Bush

          • Gregor_S

            Probably Moore. Not optimistic Bush will develop a decent changeup which he needs. Not that I’m that optimistic about Moore.

            And I keep forgetting how bad Perez is. I keep thinking he may return to his 2013 form when he was 10-6 with a 3.62 ERA but that was before TJ and he hasn’t been the same since.

            So yeah, the rotation is a disaster. Can’t really argue otherwise.

      • CoMentor_Rounding3rd

        Because the offense isnt that good.
        It was somewhere around the middle of the pack in most categories last year.

        We should be in full rebuild mode but there isnt much for JD to sell since he stuck to win-now mode for 8 years.

        • Gregor_S

          I think this year’s lineup should be better than last year’s, assuming Beltre plays more than 94 games, Odor returns to somewhere close to pre-2017 form, and (though this may not happen) Calhoun is in LF and takes the lineup spot of Napoli, who last year batted .193 with 163 strikeouts. I think Calhoun, with his apparent ability to hit for power and average and not strike out, could provide a major boost to the lineup.

          The problem is that they still wouldn’t be as good as the Astros, or the Angels, who’ve improved a lot more than the Rangers. Seattle added Dee Gordon and even Oakland has some promising rookie hitters. But if the Rangers could assemble a decent rotation I think that with a bit of luck they’d have a shot at the wild card, which I don’t think they have now.

    • dearmidol

      To me the biggest story will be if Odor does in fact develop some plate discipline.

      • CoMentor_Rounding3rd

        That will be a big one. My biggest would be how Willie Calhoun looks and if the team can trade for any major prospects.

        • Gregor_S

          The word in the media seems to be they’ll probably send Calhoun down to work on his defense and go with a platoon of Rua and Robinson in LF. Calhoun proved himself offensively in AAA last year and is 23 (which means he’s no longer a baby baseball-wise), and he can work on his defense in the remaining weeks of ST, so I will be disappointed if they do that. But I think they’ll do it to postpone his arbitration eligibility by a year. Admittedly they didn’t do that with Mazara but they were trying to contend that year and thought he could help them. Now they say they’re not “all in” this year and seem to be targeting 2019 or 2020 to become a contender so they wouldn’t want Calhoun to potentially hit them up for an arb award right after that. Whichever union lawyer negotiated the collective bargaining agreement that left that loophole should have been replaced long ago.

          • JacobMcCandles

            Hope not…if they go with Calhoun they can carry that other dude we got who is the best defensive CF we have

  • GoRangers23
    • FlappingGums

      Thank you, Go!!

  • GoRangers23
  • FlappingGums

    Go, are you feeling better? (I hope so.)

    • GoRangers23

      Yes, a little. I’m still in bed though, but I’m thinking about getting out of it…..just thinking.

      • FlappingGums

        Maybe tomorrow will be a better day to get up. Try not to rush it so you dont go backwards in healing.

        • GoRangers23

          Thanks Flap. 🙂

        • GoRangers23

          It says that there is a webcast on TexasRangers.com, on the pic I posted that told about the game. I wonder if you could get that to work for you?

          • FlappingGums

            It didn’t but I’ll try again.

          • GoRangers23

            Is that the same thing I told you about before? I wasn’t sure.

          • FlappingGums

            I don’t think it’s the same.

  • GoRangers23
    • FlappingGums

      Great pics! Thank you!

      • GoRangers23

        You’re welcome!

  • GoRangers23

    Flap, the score is 1-1 in the bottom of the fourth.

    • FlappingGums

      Thank you! 🙂

      • GoRangers23

        Adrian got a double and is now on third base, 1 out.

        • FlappingGums

          Great!!!

          • GoRangers23

            Sadly, he didn’t make it home. 🙁. And Kela just walked his first batter.

        • Gregor_S

          After sitting out until today he went out and hit a single and a double before they took him out. Which is consistent with how he hit last year when he came back after being hurt for two months. But I’m a little worried. He usually doesn’t hit in ST.

          • GoRangers23

            That is true, he doesn’t usually hit well in Spring Training at all. Maybe practicing with his kids this off season helped him? I hope he got enough rest.

      • GoRangers23

        Flap, here is a screenshot of the page on Texasrangers.com. I think you can click on the word “Listen”, and can hear the game today…..maybe? I noticed that there are about 8 more pictures there, that change, so you have to wait until it gets to the right picture, unless there is a way to move the pictures. I can just swipe them to the right on my iPad. Eric Nadel and Jared Sandler are announcing the game today. They are pretty entertaining sometimes. Lo

        https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/df05075e20373c428fc6113ef13a93030ab7d5fafef9b98504f3f36b4ab9dabf.jpg

        • FlappingGums

          I got a pic but no sound. This will work. Thank you!

          • GoRangers23

            Aw poo! I was hoping it would work. I’m sorry.

          • FlappingGums

            It’s working out okay. 🙂

          • GoRangers23

            What can you see?

  • GoRangers23

    2-1 Giants

  • GoRangers23

    Rougie’s girlfriend is expecting his first baby in April, they just said.

    • FlappingGums

      That’s interesting. I wonder if she is there with him.

    • JacobMcCandles

      He is married to a guy? Lola

      • GoRangers23

        When a couple is expecting a baby, it is both her baby and his baby. That’s how it works.

        • dearmidol

          No pictures, please.

          • GoRangers23

            Ha!

        • JacobMcCandles

          Thanks for clarifying….good grief

          • GoRangers23

            Lol

  • GoRangers23

    Flap, I believe I heard Nadel say that tomorrow’s game would be on the radio.

    • FlappingGums

      Thanks for that info. Any clue as to when one of the games will be on TV?

      • GoRangers23

        No clue at all. Sorry.

        • FlappingGums

          No problem!

  • GoRangers23

    3-1 Giants. At this point, I’m just listening to Nadel. 🙂

  • GoRangers23

    Just when I give up, the Rangers tie the game 3-3.

    • GoRangers23

      Going into the eighth.

  • GoRangers23

    Wow! We won one! 😄

    • FlappingGums

      Super!!

  • GoRangers23

    Rangers 5-4

  • JacobMcCandles

    Oddly enough look at AL standings for ST…Cleve,Skanks,Stros….lo

  • FlappingGums

    I got to watch today’s game online today. There were quite a few names of guys on the ST team that I hadn’t heard before. I guess they’re mostly from AAA.

    • dearmidol

      Yep, as I always say, it’s guys wearing your favorite team’s uniform.

      • FlappingGums

        That’s exactly what I saw!! 😀

  • JacobMcCandles

    Scares last day anniversary of life was a week ago…reminds me that no one really cares, we are all alone in the end. I of course am wired differently and live in the land of misfits or opposites. I really want to like the new Rounder target Banny…guess I just want him in my foxhole and not in my dugout.

    • dearmidol

      I miss Scary.

      • FlappingGums

        So do I.

        • GoRangers23

          Me too!

    • calntom

      Miss the Big Scare Dog

      • JacobMcCandles

        Me too Cal

  • CoMentor_Rounding3rd

    I wonder what the Rangers plan to do if Kevin Jepsen looks like he should make the roster… Invent an injury for Barnette or Diekman I guess?

    • dearmidol

      There’s always the 10-day DL.

    • Rowdy Yates

      After what I saw of Diekman and Barnette in person today I suggest immediate 10 DL.

    • WhoKnowscs

      But remember, Dyson looked great last year in the WBC about 2 weeks before opening day. And we say how that turned out.

  • Rowdy Yates

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/aa78ba8b109c1625b51fc303406b75530cc2b2d754c7a2a8a43149d1fdb5b098.jpg Until the 7th inning I thought Beltre’s double was going to be the sole highlight of the game.

    • dearmidol

      Great shot.

  • possumrld

    I agree with your assessment in part, Kev. But a small glimmer of hope is some of our young guys, and some veterans who looked awful last seaosn, are having an excellent spring this year. Overall, to me, the Rangers look much better to me than they did all last spring.
    We will just have to wait and see if the young guys can continue their good spring performances. And if they do, can they carry it into the regular seaosn?