Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

March 4, 4:00 PM ET
Chat with Richard Durrett

Richard Durrett
  (4:05 PM)

Hello, everyone. Let's talk some baseball. I just got back from a golf luncheon, so I'm just now listening to the game. And how great is it to hear Rangers baseball again on the radio?

Peterson (Carrollton, TX)

Do you think that too many people (media, fans, etc.) are giving too much credit to Nolan and not enough to JD for the turnaround we saw last year and the seemingly bright future of the team? I will admit that I think the pitching staff's improved mentality and the hiring of Mike Maddox appeared to be Nolan moves, but it seems to me that alot of what happened last year and the status of the minor league system was set in motion well before Nolan got here.

Richard Durrett
  (4:07 PM)

I think the reality is that all of them should get credit. The plan was in place starting, in earnest, of May 2007. That's when the Rangers knew they had those five top picks and Mark Teixeira to dangle out there. That was before Nolan Ryan's arrival. But he had his stamp on the plan and helped bring Mike Maddux here. So why don't we give everyone credit? JD included.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

Which do you think is the weakest position for the Texas Rangers?

Richard Durrett
  (4:08 PM)

That's a tough one. I still need to see more from these young catchers. One or both need to step up. I think the infield is solid. We'll see what Julio Borbon has defensively in center.

Patrick (Austin, TX)

Is Nolan Ryan going to fire Jon Daniels if the team does not win 92 games this season?

Richard Durrett
  (4:09 PM)

No. I don't think so. I really don't think that's what Nolan was doing by predicting 92 wins. He just really believes this team is capable. If you look at his quotes, he acknowledges that some fans will disagree with him. But he belives this team can get better by five wins. BTW, he thought they could improve by eight wins from 2008 to 2009 and that's exactly what they did.

Kyle Olmsted (Irving)

Why are we so quick to underestimate the Mariners and the Angels? We are acting like we are entitled to win the division.

Richard Durrett
  (4:10 PM)

I don't know of anyone acting that way. Manager Ron Washington has repeatedly said that the Angels are the champs until someone knocks them off. And they return a solid unit. The Mariners got much better in the offseason. Really, the entire AL West is better. It's going to be very tough. No one is entitled.

Patrick (Canyon,Texas)

What are you predicting for the rangers this year? Al West Champs? ALCS Divison Champs? World Series Champions?

Richard Durrett
  (4:11 PM)

Patrick, I've said all along that I'll wait until the end of spring training to give my prediction. But I do think this team can win the division. Nolan said he thought they were talented enough if they stay healthy. I agree.

Paul (austin, tx)

How are the young pitchers going to handle being on the radar a bit more than last year?

Richard Durrett
  (4:12 PM)

That's one thing that should determine how well this team does. I think they'll do fine. Gaining experience is big and Derek Holland, Tommy Hunter, Neftali Feliz and others got that experience last year.

Adam (Los Angeles)

How's the weather in Surprise? Is there anything to do once the day ends? Thinking about making the drive out for a weekend...

Richard Durrett
  (4:13 PM)

Sadly, Adam, I'm not out there at the moment. I was there for the first 8 days of spring training and I go back for two weeks late next week. But I hear it's great as usual. The games usually end about 4 or 5 local time out there and nothing much goes on in the evenings.

Adam (Los Angeles)

Who is the best pure athlete on the Rangers roster? For instance, 1 on 1 tourney on the basketball court...who wins?

Richard Durrett
  (4:14 PM)

Wow. Tough one. If we're looking at guards, I'll take Elvis Andrus. But there are plenty of good athletes on this team.

Neal (Cedar Hill, Texas)

How has the Owenership process been going? Will Greenberg and Nolan have the team by Opening Day?

Richard Durrett
  (4:15 PM)

It's still going forward. It's just slow. It's hard to say if they'll be owners by Opening Day, but that remains the hope of the group.

Michelle (Bedford)

When you get back out to Surprise, will you please check out Jurickson Profar and give us your impressions? Also, there hasn't been much written about Colby Lewis yet. How does he look? Any comments from management or the coaching staff about him yet?

Richard Durrett
  (4:16 PM)

I will check on that. Colby Lewis is throwing today and seems to be doing fine. But I'll be sure to see what Profar looks like and report back.

Richard Durrett
  (4:17 PM)

Vladimir Guerrero just hit an RBI double.

Adam (Los Angeles)

If the Rangers miss the playoffs, how likely do you think it is that Nolan makes a change at manager? I know they allegedly have a good relationship, but we have to keep in mind that Nolan didn't choose Ron.

Richard Durrett
  (4:17 PM)

It's tough to say right now. I think it depends on how the team plays. They could play well and still not make the playoffs in this tough AL West. It's too early to tell.

Mario (Fort worth)

Do you think that the Rangers will try to trade for mike Lowell if he proves that he is healthy? I think if he shows that he is healthy he can spell out Chris Davis against lefties and in case Michael young goes down again? (I hope he doesn't though )

Richard Durrett
  (4:19 PM)

If that's still an option late in the spring, I think they'll explore it. The money has to be right, of course. But he could certainly give them that bat they need at first.

Derrik (Nacogdoches,Texas)

Is there a timetable on will Hamilton will be back and ready for action i'm starting to get worried i thought this was just a minor thing?

Richard Durrett
  (4:20 PM)

No timetable that I know of. The club still says this is minor and that they are being extra cautious. If it lasts a few weeks, I'd grow concerned. But I'm not too worried at this point...yet.

Dave (Raleigh NC)

Rich, I know there are a lot of questions surrounding the Rangers' catching situation. What has your take been the first couple weeks on Teagarden's hitting? I still think he can be a solid big league hitter. The past couple years it's almost like he's had the Gabe Kapler Syndrome - too stiff and robotic at the plate. Is he loosening up?

Richard Durrett
  (4:21 PM)

I saw him in the cages a week or so ago and I thought he looked good. He just seems a little more confident to me. But hitting in the cages and playing in games are two different things. Let's see how he does once he gets some game action.

Dave (Novato)

Hello Richard, who do you think will get that reserve IF job that K Greene was supposed to have?

Richard Durrett
  (4:22 PM)

I still think Arias has a shot, but the club must be smart about checking on all external options. And I think they will.

Mel (Colorado Springs)

Hi Richard, what kind of season do you think Nelson Cruz will have? I heard he might try to run more.

Richard Durrett
  (4:22 PM)

I think Cruz has a solid season. And I do think he'll run more. He was the club's leading home run hitter from last season and gained a lot of confidence in 2009. That should carry over to 2010.

Carson (Plano)

Michael Young is my favorite player on the Rangers, and it makes me sad that he doesn't get much national recognition. What do you think his chances are of getting 3000 hits? Making the hall of fame?

Richard Durrett
  (4:23 PM)

The guy does get a little forgotten nationally and I don't get it. To make the Hall of Fame takes a great body of work. Young is still in the middle of that body of work. But he's put up some impressively consistent numbers. I think he's got a chance, but he's got to keep producing. And a playoff showing or two sure wouldn't hurt. I do think the guy is great and more people should take notice.

Phoenix (Lanai City)

Hi Richard, what kind of role will David Murphy play this year? 4th OF, DH, 1B?

Richard Durrett
  (4:24 PM)

He won't play much DH. That job is Vlad Guerrero's. He could see some time at first base, but really I think he's the fourth outfielder. And he's a good one. Washington will get him in the lineup when he can and he'll go in when injuries occur and guys need rest. And you know injuries will occur. They always do.

Derrick (Garden City)

Hey Richard, how does Vlad look so far? Do you think he could hit .300 with 25 HRs this year?

Richard Durrett
  (4:26 PM)

He's a good hitter, so it's possible. It comes down to whether he can stay healthy. He just hit an RBI double in today's game. And he does look slimmer to me. The question is: Will he stay healthy enough to put up the numbers you listed?

Chico (Rhode Island)

Hey Rich, how does the catching situation look for the Rangers? Will it be mostly Salty or will it be more 50-50 with Teagarden?

Richard Durrett
  (4:27 PM)

Seems that 50-50 is a possibility. But the great thing is the two can compete at spring training. If one takes charge, then fine. If they are both even, let them both split time. I think in this Texas heat, a 50-50 split isn't bad.

Zane (College Station)

I thought estaban german played extremely well last year when we needed him to fill in. He played with a lot of energy and hustle. I know he's not a "natural shortstop," but i think he might be our best option at utility infielder. What do you think?

Richard Durrett
  (4:28 PM)

He's on the list. But the fact that he's not a natural shortstop means he has to show he can play the position. The most important thing in a utilty infielder is the ability to play shortstop. The Rangers have made that clear.

Aaron (Irving TX)

Big fan of yous Richard!, Who do you see winning the number 5 starting job this year?

Richard Durrett
  (4:29 PM)

Thanks, Aaron. You're one of the few. :) I said Derek Holland at the beginning of camp, but he's a week behind. I don't think that will hurt him, but we'll see. Neftali Feliz is the wild card, but I still think he'll start the season in the pen. That gives Brandon McCarthy and Matt Harrison some good shots too. And what about CJ Wilson? He'll also get a chance. In other words, I don't know. But I still say Holland.

Nick (Irving)

I feel Holland needs more work and should get at least a start at AAA to work on his stuff and build his confiedence up. I wish CJ or Feliz would at least get a chance to start in the Rotaton when the season starts. Are they too valuable to the bullpen to get a legit shot at making the rotation? It seems like the Rangers are only giving them a "shot" in spring training is to make them happy. Or make them feel like they got a "legit" shot at making it! I dont feel like its likely eithe of them is anywhere but the bullpen, but I just dont think thats right!

Richard Durrett
  (4:30 PM)

I just think Wilson and Feliz are too valuable in the bullpen. But I really would like to see what they could do as starters. It's a tough call.

Sanjay (AZ)

What one "under the radar" player do you think has the greatest chance to make an impact on the team as the season starts?

Richard Durrett
  (4:30 PM)

This may not count, but Ian Kinsler. Something tells me the guy is really going to bounce back this year. It's just a feeling.

Randy (Malakoff, Texas)

What has happened to Hank Blalock?

Richard Durrett
  (4:31 PM)

He's still around, looking for a job. I hope he finds one.

Steve (Dallas, TX)

Richard. I have not heard much about Rich Harden. He has kinda flown under the radar in the offseason pickups. Is he fully healthy?

Richard Durrett
  (4:32 PM)

He is fully healthy. And he's got a good attitude. He feels like his offseason work has helped him. He gave up one unearned run today and threw 29 pitches (18 strikes). I heard Eric Nadel say Harden was over 90 only once, but his location was good.

Trey (Fort Worth)

Once the new ownership is in place what will that do for the team financially?

Richard Durrett
  (4:33 PM)

Nothing much until the trade deadline. There's really nothing they can do until then. But if the Rangers need some money to help make a big deal at the deadline, it will be there.

David (Dallas)

Chris Davis surprises us all and leads the Rangers w HRs this year... T or F?

Richard Durrett
  (4:33 PM)

I'm going to say false. But I think he'll show that he can handle the 1B job.

Bryan H (Lubbock)

Will Ian Kinsler be able to bounce back to 2008 form this season? He needs to remember that the team doesn't need him to hit home runs as much as they need him to get on base.

Richard Durrett
  (4:34 PM)

As I just said, I think so. I just feel like he's got a good approach and will play better. I like him in the fifth or sixth slot, too.

Cody (Fort Worth)

Is Adam from Los Angeles a brother in law he is getting a lot of love today? J/K

Richard Durrett
  (4:34 PM)

No. But he's asking some good questions.

Bryan H (Lubbock)

Will Justin Smoak get a chance in the big leagues this year?

Richard Durrett
  (4:35 PM)

One way or the other, you would think so, even if that's just a September callup.

David (Dallas)

I heard John Hollinger has diversified, and stated that the Rangers point differential last year indicates that they will finish dead last in the division.Can you punch him in the face?

Richard Durrett
  (4:35 PM)

Sure. If I can find him. :)

Bryan H (Lubbock)

Who can step in at DH if Vlad has injury issues this season?

Richard Durrett
  (4:35 PM)

David Murphy. Or Washington can rotate it and get guys of their feet.

Cody (Fort Worth)

I heard Clint Hurdle's interview on the Ben and Skin show on ESPN radio a week ago and he seems very impressive and managerial. If the rangers get off to a slow start with a tough schedule playing yankees boston and mariners in first month do you see rangers changing managers mid season?

Richard Durrett
  (4:37 PM)

Not necessarily. But Hurdle is impressive. I really don't think he's here to make Ron Washington feel like he's got his replacement looking over his shoulder. I certainly don't think they'll be some change that quickly.

Bryan H (Lubbock)

Where will be the biggest improvement from rookie to sophomore year for Elvis?

Richard Durrett
  (4:37 PM)

The routine plays. It's a focus for him this spring and he knows, especially on throws to first on routine balls, that he has to be better.

Whit (Frt Worth)

Richard will you come to our tailgates in the M Lot this summer? We are the only people that tailgate and we want to make it a tradition.

Richard Durrett
  (4:38 PM)

Sure. I'm always up for free food at a tailgate.

jackson (ft worth)

it looks like hardens velocity today is down a lot at around 86. i assume because it's early in spring training and it takes a while to get your strength back, that being said, is there any reason to be alarmed

Richard Durrett
  (4:38 PM)

I don't think so. It's early in spring and guys work the arm strength up. If it's that way in three weeks, maybe there's some more worry. But not now.

Gene (Dallas)

Do you think Vlad is going to be more valuable as a hitter to the Rangers, or more valuable because he no longer gets to hit against us? What do you think his overall production will look like?

Richard Durrett
  (4:39 PM)

Both. Don't discount the idea that beating the Angels just got a little easier without Guerrero bashing the ball all over the place against the Rangers. He's a good hitter that will help the middle of this lineup.

Eddie G. (Fort Worth)

Who you picking in Atlanta this weekend?

Richard Durrett
  (4:40 PM)

Jimmie Johnson. How's that for going out on a limb? Who are you taking?

C.L. (Texas)

How is Chris Davis looking so far this spring? Is he healthy?

Richard Durrett
  (4:40 PM)

He's healthy and has a good head on his shoulders. He talked about his tough 2009 season with me and that he's got his mechanics and mind in order. We'll see. I think he'll play much better this season.

Mitch (Tulsa,OK)

Over under 90 wins?

Richard Durrett
  (4:41 PM)

Was thinking about that today. And I had 90 as the number. Maybe even 89. I haven't decided yet.

Cody (Fort Worth)

Whit I will come

Richard Durrett
  (4:41 PM)

Nice.

Bryan H (Lubbock)

Will Rudy Jaramillo's departure be evident this year?

Richard Durrett
  (4:42 PM)

Rudy did a good job while he was here. The numbers show that. I do think you'll see an offense improve this season, only because there's plenty of room for improvement. Sometimes a different voice can help. I'll bet you this: Rudy Jaramillo will help the Cubs offense get better.

Steve (Blacksburg, VA)

Richard: Get me a job with ESPN Dallas! I'm graduating from VaTech in May.

Richard Durrett
  (4:42 PM)

I'll work on it.

Richard Durrett
  (4:43 PM)

Thanks, everybody. Let's do this again next week.