Texas Rangers: Don Welke
The Post's report said that Don Welke, a senior special assistant to president of baseball operations/general manager Jon Daniels, was at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Fla., specifically to watch the Yankees' enigmatic right-hander against St. Louis on Monday. Chamberlain threw a scoreless inning.
Chamberlain has started and come out of the bullpen during his inconsistent six-year MLB career. He has also battled injury problems, including Tommy John surgery in 2011 and famously severely injuring his right leg while bouncing on a trampoline last March.
A baseball official with knowledge of the Rangers' thinking told Andrew Marchand of ESPNNewYork.com that the Rangers have had "mild interest" in Chamberlain and still think that he's got a good arm.
As a starter, the 27-year-old owns a 12-7 record with a 4.18 ERA. In 221 2/3 innings, he struck out 206 and walked 101. Chamberlain has enjoyed more success as a reliever, where in 172 career appearances in various roles he has a 3.18 ERA while striking out 202 batters in 181 innings.
Chamberlain was a heralded prospect when he was coming up in the Yankees organization and was pegged for stardom. He hasn't fulfilled those expectations but still teases with flashes of the talent that gives hope he can still enjoy consistent success in the major leagues.
The Yankees lost Rafael Soriano and his 42 saves to free agency during the offseason but expect full seasons from Mariano Rivera, who is returning from knee surgery, and David Aardsma, who played in just one game in 2012 because of injury.
“We are never satisfied with where we are because we always want to be better. We always want our players to feel that way. That’s a big part of our emphasis,” Welke said during a conversation on Rangers Magazine (ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM).
|Don Welke discusses when he first scouted Rangers All-Star pitcher Matt Harrison for the Mark Teixeira trade.
Welke plays a significant role for Daniels in scouting amateur talent for the June draft as well as this time of year when it comes to scouting possible trade pieces.
“We talk about different possibilities, different players. Try to be thorough in all regards ... regarding scouting pro: major league, minor league. I will be out seeing some guys that we might pinpoint as possibilities,” Welke said. “The trade type thing to me is we’ve got to have the player they want. We had Edinson Volquez, [the Cincinnati Reds] wanted him bad. We wanted Josh [Hamilton] bad of course, but we had the player they wanted. We had Justin Smoak, and [the Seattle Mariners] wanted him, so we got Cliff Lee. Those trade things are interesting the way they shake down, and we just try to be thorough.”
It is interesting. The Lee deal was made knowing that he would be a free agent after that 2010 season, but the Rangers would get draft picks when he didn’t sign and they would have reliever Mark Lowe beyond that season. Last year, the Rangers made trades for relievers Mike Adams and Koji Uehara knowing they would have them beyond 2011.
Welke also discussed when he first scouted All-Star Matt Harrison for the Mark Teixeira trade, what led him to recommend the Rangers sign Martin Perez, honoring area scouts, his theory on free agents, the definition of “special,” Josh Hamilton’s talent, his involvement in the June draft, and the shared qualities of Gillick and Daniels. Listen to the podcast for part one of this two-part interview with Welke.
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Yu Darvish's second day at the Surprise Recreation Campus was certainly well-documented. Between 50 to 60 media members were watching Darvish throw off flat ground and run sprints on the half-football field Wednesday morning.
Darvish will be back up on the hill Thursday with the rest of the Rangers' pitchers. Most of the pitchers in camp will go through a five-minute bullpen session and then throw to live hitters for five minutes. The only healthy pitchers who aren't scheduled to take part are Scott Feldman and Colby Lewis, who are on a slightly different program because they are listed to pitch in the first spring game. So they threw Wednesday and will throw again Friday.
Darvish's parents were walking around the back fields Wednesday as well, watching their son work out. They are eager to see him on the mound Thursday just like everyone else.
Just before Darvish began his conditioning drills, Don Welke, senior special assistant to the GM and one of the club's top scouts, chatted briefly with him.
"I told him to have fun," Welke said. "He just needs to relax and go about being himself and he'll be fine. He looked good out there and in shape."
- Tom Grieve Minor League Player of the Year: SS Jurickson Profar
- Nolan Ryan Minor League Pitcher of the Year: LHP Robbie Ross
- Rangers Minor League Reliever of the Year: Justin Miller
- Defender of the Year: OF Ryan Strausborger
All four players will be honored at the 2012 Texas Rangers Dr Pepper Awards Show on Thursday at the Arlington Convention Center. You can listen to our Hot Stove Show on 103.3 FM ESPN from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. as well on Thursday as we talk to many Rangers players about the upcoming season.
Other honorees include:
- Michael Young: 2011 Rangers Player of the Year, 2011 Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award
- C.J. Wilson: 2011 Rangers Pitcher of the Year
- Craig Gentry: 2011 Rangers Rookie of the Year
- David Murphy: 2011 Harold McKinney Good Guy Award
- Darren Oliver: 2011 Jim Sundberg Community Achievement Award
- Frank Howard: 2012 Mark Holtz Texas Rangers Alumni Award
- Clayton Kershaw: 2011 Texas Professional Baseball Player of the Year
- Adrian Beltre: 2011 Rawlings Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Awards
- Bobby Jones: 2011 Bobby Jones Player Development Man of the Year Award
- Don Welke: 2011 Don Welke Scout of the Year Award
The show is a theater-style seating event. The doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the show begins at 7:30. Tickets are still available for $75 (reserved) or $50 (general admission) and can be purchased at texasrangers.com or by calling 972-726-4377.
The Bobby Jones Player Development Man of the Year Award and the Don Welke Scout of the Year Award will be presented for the first time at the 2012 Dr Pepper Texas Awards Show next Thursday (Jan. 12) at the Arlington Convention Center. The awards will then be given out each year.
Some brief background items on Jones and Welke from the club's release:
Jones enters his 25th season as a manager or coach in the Rangers organization in 2012. He was selected as the Pacific Coast League’s Manager of the Year in 2011, when he guided Triple-A Round Rock to an 87-57 record and a first place division finish. Jones has won over 1500 games and guided teams to 12 postseason berths in a managerial career that began with the Class A Charlotte Rangers in 1988. His connection to the franchise dates back to 1967, when he was drafted by the Washington Senators. He later played with the Rangers and owns the club record with 42 career pinch hits.
Welke, the Rangers Senior Special Assistant to the General Manager, Scouting, is a veteran of 47 years as a professional scout with the Reds, Royals, Blue Jays, Orioles, Dodgers, Phillies, and Rangers. He originally joined the Rangers organization in 2005 and returned to the Texas in 2007 after a year with Philadelphia. He has been involved in the scouting and acquisition of countless All-Stars over the years, helping to assemble World Championship clubs in Toronto in 1992 and 1993 as well as the back-to-back A.L. Champion Rangers teams in 2010 and 2011.
BTW, here's an ESPNDallas.com story on Welke from last season. He's been in the game a long time and is a vital part of the front office.
For those of you wanting to attend the Dr Pepper Awards Show, you can still do so. Visit the club's website here or call 972-RANGERS. Tickets are $75 for reserved and $50 for general admission. BTW, here's a list of the Rangers receiving awards (many of them are the BBWAA local chapter awards):
Michael Young: 2011 Rangers Player of the Year, 2011 Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award
C.J. Wilson: 2011 Rangers Pitcher of the Year
Craig Gentry: 2011 Rangers Rookie of the Year
David Murphy: 2011 Harold McKinney Good Guy Award
Darren Oliver: 2011 Jim Sundberg Community Achievement Award
Frank Howard: 2012 Mark Holtz Texas Rangers Alumni Award
Clayton Kershaw: 2011 Texas Professional Baseball Player of the Year
Adrian Beltre: 2011 Rawlings Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Awards
The Dr Pepper Awards Show will be a theater-style seating event. Doors to the Arlington Convention Center will open at 6:30 p.m. and fans attending will be able to get a sneak peak of FanFest. Refreshments will also be served and are including in the ticket price. The Awards Show is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m.
He has the title of Senior Special Assistant to the GM, scouting and is an important voice in the baseball operations room when decisions are made. Welke, 68, says he feels 28 and he fits in with a young staff.
Click here to read Richard Durrett's story about Welke and the role he's played as a member of the staff and bringing certain players to Texas.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Rangers GM Jon Daniels joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to tackle the tough questions after his team failed to advance to the playoffs.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss having Nelson Cruz back in the lineup and how the Rangers are feeling heading into their wild-card play-in game against the Rays.
Play Podcast ESPN Insider and senior MLB analyst Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the wild-card race and the Rangers' chances of making the playoffs.
Play Podcast Chuck Cooperstein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why he feels Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish isn't an ace.
Play Podcast Elvis Andrus joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Rangers' stretch run and the morale level in their clubhouse.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss the latest Rangers news, including the team's struggles, Ron Washington's job security and a rumored trade with the Braves.
Play Podcast Ron Washington joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss the Rangers' dismal September, who's to blame for their September struggles and his status as the team's manager.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss how some people are calling for the Rangers to fire manager Ron Washington.