Texas Rangers: Philadelphia Phillies
|Rangers manager Ron Washington joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett for his weekly visit to discuss last night's walk-off win, how a team or player can break out of a slump and what he wants the front office to do before the trade deadline.
No deals are looming for the Rangers, although multiple reports said Tuesday that Michael Young will only leave Philadelphia for Texas.
ESPN's Jayson Stark tweeted early Tuesday afternoon that despite the talk of a Young reunion with the Rangers, no deal is close. "Not sure if I'd classify it as likely," Stark tweeted.
Washington said Tuesday that he understands if Daniels is hesitant to make a deal for a bat with the Rangers coming out of the All-Star break with a 3-8 record and falling six games behind Oakland in the AL West.
"I understand it's tough to make a decision like that," Washington said. "But if we get it going and we can change his mind, then we can get that impact bat.
"It's going to be up to us. After the way those guys came out last night, after what we've been through, we will sustain."
"I can't say there's a relationship there or a good relationship there. Well, no there's no relationship there, but that's fine with me," Young said, talking publicly for the first time since waiving his no-trade clause last week and accepting a trade to Philadelphia. "My relationship is with the guys in uniform and what they've meant to me."
Young did thank the fans for cheering him on for 12 years. He said when he and his wife, Cristina, left their Los Angeles apartment to go to Texas early in his career, they never thought they'd end up staying.
"We love it here in large part because of the people we get to be around," Young said. "Just a massive ‘thank you’ to the fans here from me and my family for everything they’ve given us. It was my pleasure and my honor to go out there and play ball for them on a daily basis.”
As for management, Young said he hadn't spoken with them since the trade, though Nolan Ryan and Jon Daniels plan on reaching out to Young.
His frosty rapport with the staff stems in large part to what happened two years ago when Adrian Beltre signed a free-agent contract. Young and management struggled to communicate clearly and Young's name came up in trade discussions that offseason. Daniels even admitted at the winter meetings last week he'd learned some lessons from that and declined to talk about Young's status with the club to the media, other than to say that it was a "possibility" that Young's role could be reduced.
"No doubt I plan to give him a shout," Daniels said Monday. "It's true we don't have much of a relationship anymore. We did until two winters ago, and as I've said before, I regret that. We addressed that last offseason and had a professional relationship this year. None of that played into our decision (to trade him)."
Daniels said Young asked the club earlier this offseason to deal directly with his agent.
"I wanted to give it a few days, given everything involved (before talking to Young)," Daniels said. "This was a baseball trade. He's meant a lot to the organization and community and I wish him and his family well."
Read more here.
Michael Young has accepted a trade to the Philadelphia Phillies, who will ship right-handed reliever Josh Lindblom and minor league righty Lisalberto Bonilla to the Rangers to complete the deal, according to a source.
The deal gives Young an opportunity to play more and it gives the Rangers another bullpen candidate.
Young had a no-trade clause and needed to waive it to get the deal done.
A source said Thursday that the Rangers were going to have to pay at least half of Young's $16 million 2013 salary to complete the deal. Young will receive $1.2 million in "benefits" in exchange for waiving his no-trade clause, a source confirmed to ESPN.com's Jayson Stark.
The trade means the 36-year-old Young won't be wearing a Rangers jersey for the first time in his 12-year career. But it also means he's going to a place where he'll get more playing time. It was clear Young's role in Texas was diminishing and he was going to be on the bench more in 2013 if he stayed.
He struggled in 2012, hitting .277, his lowest mark since 2002, which was his first full season in the majors. He had eight homers and a .682 OPS, both the lowest of his career. Young's WAR (wins above replacement) was near the bottom of every-day players in the big leagues this past season as he was the club's primary designated hitter and also parts of 86 games at first, second, third or shortstop.
"Because Michael Young has spoiled everyone getting 200 hits every year and hitting .300 every year, by his standards, his year was a little off," Rangers manager Ron Washington said of Young on Wednesday. "You take his standard of what he put together last year and put on a player where the expectations aren't so high, it's not a bad year. By Michael Young's standards maybe you guys see it as a bad year."
Young leaves Texas with his name littered throughout the club's record books.
He's the franchise's all-time hits leader with 2,230, breaking Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez's mark in June 2010. He also tops the club's career numbers in games played (1,823), at-bats (7,399), runs (1,085), singles (1,583), doubles (415), triples (55), total bases (3,286), multihit games (651), strikeouts (1,152) and sacrifice flies (70).
He has a career .301 batting average and 984 RBIs; both are third-most in Rangers history. He has six seasons of at least 200 hits, including five straight from 2003 to 2007.
Read the whole story here.
A source said the Rangers would be paying at least half of Young's $16 million salary if the deal is done. Texas could receive some bullpen help or prospects if a deal is completed.
But no deal can happen without Young's approval. He's played his entire career in Texas and has 10-5 rights (10 years in the majors, at least five with the same team), meaning he must sign off on any deal. It's unknown whether he'll do that.
For the rest of the story, click here.
|ESPN MLB insider Jim Bowden on potential trade partners for the Rangers, how Mike Olt can help the team this year and more.
* Cliff Lee is fun to talk about, but that remains a big-time longshot for a gaggle of reasons. ESPN.com's Jim Bowden told ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM's Ben & Skin that no deal with the Phillies for Lee will happen without Mike Olt. And we've seen how reluctant the Rangers are to move Olt. But beyond that, Lee is owed $25 million per season for the next three years and has a $27.5 million option for 2016 that includes a $12.5 million buyout (that option could vest depending on the innings pitched in the final years of the deal). The Rangers would want the Phillies to eat a large chunk of that. But if you're Philadelphia, part of the point of dealing Lee would be to shed some of that money. It just seems to make more sense for the Phillies to wait and reassess things at the offseason or beyond.
* Will things change as the clock ticks? You never know. Sometimes prices can drop and maybe that paves the way for something that wasn't a possibility the past few days, whether that's Garza or a deal that's been discussed or a deal that hasn't been talked about.
* The club still wants a reliever and is checking around on that. The names most commonly heard the past week: Jonathan Broxton and Rafael Betancourt. Broxton has rebounded from an injury and shown that he can get big outs late. Reports out of Kansas City indicate they like Justin Grimm. Is that too high a price to pay for what would be a setup man if that, in fact, is something that's being discussed? Betancourt is signed through next year, something we know the Rangers like. Last year, they traded for two relievers and a big reason they were willing to part with some prospects in those deals was because Koji Uehara and Mike Adams were under contract for 2012, not just rentals.
Stay tuned. The clock continues to tick.
Maybe there is still one big starting pitching fish that is now swimming in the trade deadline pond. ESPN.com's Buster Olney reports that the Philadelphia Phillies have put Cliff Lee in play in trade talks today. Olney notes that the Rangers are clearly the most logical place for Lee to go and that Mike Olt could be a centerpiece to the deal.
|ESPN MLB analyst Rick Sutcliffe praises Rangers president Nolan Ryan and manager Ron Washington for how they've handled star Josh Hamilton's slump.
Lee is older now and his stats this year aren't as good, but he's the type of pitcher you want with the ball when it matters in the postseason. He has a 3.95 ERA and a 1-6 record, Lee is allowing about a hit an inning and opponents are hitting .342 against Lee with the bases loaded. So he's not the same dominant pitcher he was in 2010. But he still has 8.5 strikeouts per nine innings, 1.8 walks per nine innings and a 46.7 percent ground ball rate in the 118 1/3 innings he's pitched this season.
But the key stat might be his postseason numbers: 7-3, 2.52 ERA in 11 starts (82 innings). That includes three complete games. He has 89 strikeouts and 10 walks in the playoffs.
It will cost a nice package of prospects, but they would have Lee under contract for three seasons after this one as the front man of their rotation. To make a deal work, the Phillies would need to pay part of Lee's remaining deal (and it's a big deal, so it would need to be a pretty big chunk of change). That contract:
2012: $21.5 million
2013: $25 million
2014: $25 million
2015: $25 million
2016: $12.5 million buyout or $27.5 million option (the option vests at 200 innings pitched in 2015 or 400 innings pitched in 2014 and 2015 combined)
Lee will be 38 years old in August of that final season of the deal in 2016. But he would give them a top-flight pitcher for Game 1 of the playoffs and immediately make the rotation deeper and better. The question is at what cost -- both in prospects and money -- and that's what the Rangers must sort through over the next day.
Would you trade a package of prospects that included Olt to the Phillies for Lee? They haven't wanted to part with Olt to this point. Is Lee worth dealing him? What if it meant Olt and Martin Perez (and you can bet the Phillies are asking for that)? Is that too much (that might depend on how much money the Phillies are paying of Lee's deal)?
Give us your proposed deal and why.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Cole Hamels hears the chatter and knows that it's possible he could be headed out of Philadelphia and shipped to a contender. The Texas Rangers have scouted some of Hamels' starts and they certainly have the pieces in the farm system to be in the mix for the 28-year-old lefty, if they choose.
Hamels, though, isn't worried about any specific teams. He knows if he gets dealt, it will be to a winning organization.
Hamels, who is 10-4 with a 3.20 ERA on a Phillies team that has not lived up to expectations so far this season, said he hears about teams that might be interested and admits that in a clubhouse where the team isn't winning, that stuff is talked about. Does he hope he gets dealt to a contender by the July 31 deadline?
"I don't really hope for anything but just going out and playing well," Hamels said. "It's really hard to think outside in this sort of realm because everybody is focused on playing baseball well and trying to help this baseball team get over a hump or start something. It's something you have to wait and see."
Hamels said he honestly hasn't given much thought to where he could end up if he's traded.
"I know it's not fair to where I am and what I'm doing now," Hamels said. "Living in the past, living in the future is not going to help out what I'm doing in the present. I think I've been able to succeed by focusing on the present."
ARLINGTON, Texas -- When you have success, the fans will come.
Sunday's attendance of 46,637 marked the 16th sellout of the season at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington and moved the total attendance to over one million fans -- 1,010,249.
It's the fastest the Rangers have reached the mark in club history -- 23 home dates. The previous mark was in 1994, when the Rangers reached one million fans in 27 dates.
Fourteen of the last 16 Rangers home dates have been sellouts, including the last five games. That's the second-longest streak in club history.
The Rangers, who are 12 games over .500, are one of just four clubs to reach at least one million fans this season.
The Los Angeles Dodgers' attendance of 33,306 on Sunday pushed them to over a million fans on the season (1,005,891). Philadelphia (1,078,496) and the New York Yankees (1,023,740) have also reached one million in total attendance.
Update: The St. Louis moved over one million in attendance with Sunday's crowd. The Cardinals have amassed 1,010,311 fans at home this season.
|Rangers lefty C.J. Wilson talks about Texas' second-straight trip to the World Series, preparing to face Albert Pujols, his upcoming free agency and more.
You don't have to explain the magnitude to Rangers manager Ron Washington.
"Well, it's extremely difficult. Everything has to more or less fall into place. But, more than anything else, you have to weather the storms. There were quite a bit of storms," Washington said. "The schedule -- you had to weather the schedule. You had to stay healthy. And we lost quite a few of our pieces at some point during the course of the year. But, the depth we had held us together. And that was the key right there. And our young kids that took on the workload of going out there every five days with no experience and proving that they can battle through a Major League-tested season. All of that came into play. It wasn't easy."
The Rangers didn't clinch the AL West as quickly or as easily as in 2010. They had a chance to take an eight-game lead on the Los Angeles Angels in July, but lost two of three and the race tightened. Again in August the lead nearly ballooned to eight, but a walk-off homer in the series finale cut it back to six. The Angels again made a charge, but Texas never surrendered the division lead.
A 19-6 September, including a 14-2 final push sealed the division race one series before a potential showdown in Anaheim.
"When you got a group of guys that's committed to each other and committed to a purpose, usually good things happen," Washington said. "I have to give a lot of credit to our pitching staff. You have to give a lot of credit to the guys that showed up every day and strapped it on and grind. I have to give a lot of credit to the organization for getting us pieces when we need it and just trusting us with all that talent that they gave to us.
"More than anything else, the players deserve a heck of a lot of credit because it took a lot behind the scenes to get to this point. And more than anything else, we defended our American League championship."
And now the only goal left for this once-moribund Rangers franchise that plunked down in Arlington in 1972 is a world championship.
It took until 1996 for a first division crown and a playoff win.
Then 14 more years for a playoff series celebration, coming in last season's five-game ALDS triumph over Tampa Bay.
The Rangers got greedy and followed it up with a first AL pennant and World Series appearance.
And now, after dispatching the Rays in four and the Tigers in six, here they are again.
On to St. Louis.
On being involved in trade rumors for multiple teams:
"On one hand, it's kind of cool because everybody wants you. Every team out there is good. ... It's kind of really nice to be wanted. On the other hand, it's not so nice because you have to deal with the same exact question: Where do you think you're going to go? Have you heard anything? Blah, blah, blah."
Where does he think he'll wind up:
"If I had to guess, to be honest with you, I couldn't pick one city. I'd probably say it'd be Texas, Philly or St. Louis. Those are the top three that I've heard. ... I'd set up under [Philadelphia closer Ryan] Madson and [closer Neftali] Feliz in Texas, and in St. Louis I'd probably close. I don't know. Just have to wait and see and see what happens."
Which would he rather do? Set-up or be the closer?
"I would like to go to a team that has a chance to win it all. I feel like if they're going to get me, that we're going to win it all. Just with my attitude, my pitching style and what I bring to a team ... I think we'll win it all. [I'm OK with setting up] for this year. Next year, I want to close."
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The Texas Rangers haven't lost since July 3 and it almost feels as if the pitching staff hasn't given up a run since then, either.
Alexi Ogando continued his rebound with another masterful start -- a four-hit shutout over eight innings -- that manager Ron Washington said should quiet critics who think the former reliever has hit his max. It should also begin to hush skeptics who believe the low numbers the Rangers' rotation is throwing down is more fluke than substance.
"Obviously, we know everything starts and ends with pitching," Michael Young said after the 7-0 victory Tuesday night against the Los Angeles Angels in front of more than 43,000 fans at Angels Stadium. "Our pitching staff has been doing an incredible job for the last couple of weeks. You look at our three young guys in the rotation, they're all 95 (mph) plus, but now they're getting to a point where they're starting to command their stuff."
Here's some facts that go beyond this 12-game win streak, the second-longest in club history:
*Tuesday's shutout was the 13th of the season, the most by Texas since 1981 (13) and tied for fifth-most in franchise history. It also ties the vaunted Philadelphia Phillies' staff with Cliff Lee for most in the majors this season.
*The win was the 10th road shutout, second-most in club history (14 in 1981).
*It was the fourth shutout in the last six games. In those six games, Rangers starters are 6-0 with a 0.38 ERA -- that's two earned runs in 48 innings.
*The Rangers rotation includes two 10-game winners in Ogando and C.J. Wilson, a nine-game winner in Colby Lewis and a pair of eight-game winners in Holland and Matt Harrison.
*During the winning streak, Texas has a 1.92 ERA -- 23 earned runs in 108 innings).
As for the streak, it continues to grow more impressive with each victory. It is now the second-longest in team history and is two wins away from tying the club record set in 1991. The Rangers also had an 11-game streak last season. No team has had a longer streak this season and the last team to with a win streak of 12 or more games was the Boston Red Sox in June 2006.
"It's impressive," Ian Kinsler said. "We're playing good baseball right now, we're playing lucky baseball and a lot of things are going our way. Last year we were able to rattle off a bunch of wins a little earlier [in the season] and this year we're going to try to keep it as long as possible."
In the eighth inning, that opportunity presented itself. With one out and runners at first and third, center fielder Craig Gentry was asked to execute a squeeze bunt. Reliever David Herndon fired a pitch inside that Gentry was barely able to get his bat on. But the ball wound up in play, scoring Adrian Beltre from third for the insurance run the Rangers needed.
"More of self defense. It would have squared me up in the chest," Gentry said of the bunt, in which the ball hit his right index finger. "I don't know if my eyes were closed either."
Texas didn't end up needing the extra run, thanks to Matt Harrison and Neftali Feliz taking care of things the next two innings, but it was still good for the Rangers to produce in the late innings.
"It's tight," Chavez said prior to Game 1 of the Phillies-Rangers series. "I just need a few days, I'm going day-by-day and I will let them know."
Manager Ron Washington said he doesn't expect to put Chavez on the DL because the injury is not considered serious. When Chavez was called up from Triple-A Round Rock because of the injury to Julio Borbon (15-day DL left hamstring inflammation), he got off to a slow start.
Chavez went 0-9 but has since found a groove. He's picked up seven hits in his last 14 at bats on this current seven-game road trip. During that stretch, Chavez scored five times and drew three walks.
After he was called up, he was pulled from a game at Round Rock, the travel, excitement and getting to face big league pitching again took it's toll. After he started to relax, he picked up three hits on Monday in a victory over the Chicago White Sox and since then he's been a difficult out from the leadoff spot.
"The first two games I was pretty tired," Chavez said. "Everything is now normal and I can get some rest."
ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick reports today that the Phillies called the Rangers about Michael Young, but that talks are no longer active. Part of the story:
The Philadelphia Phillies recently contacted the Texas Rangers to express an interest in infielder Michael Young, three Major League Baseball sources confirmed to ESPN.com. But the trade talks failed to yield much common ground, and discussions between the clubs are no longer active.
One source said the discussions were "brief'' and amounted essentially to "tire kicking'' on the part of the Phillies.
Sources wouldn't reveal which names were discussed in talks between the Phillies and Rangers, but one likely candidate is pitcher Joe Blanton, who will make $17 million over the next two seasons and has been relegated to the fifth starter's spot behind Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels in Philadelphia. It's also uncertain what the acquisition of Young would mean to incumbent Phillies third baseman Placido Polanco. Unless talks between the clubs are revived soon, that point is probably moot.
Anyway, just passing it along. The club continues to get calls and talk to folks, but the challenge is finding a team that will take on a large portion of the $48 million remaining on Young's salary and give the Rangers what they feel is fair value for Young in terms of players. (That's why I think a trade for Young is unlikely).
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.