Ah yes, the slowest sports day of the year. At least there's plenty of Rangers news out there.
Evan Grant's latest edition of the DMN Rangers newsletter came out last night, with the usual load of excellent information. Grant believes that the Rangers may hold on to both Eric Gagne and Aki Otsuka, with aspirations of resigning Gagne after season's end.
The idea of bringing Gagne back both excites and worries me; he's one of the best relievers in baseball when healthy, but his lengthy injury history, combined with the fact he'll almost certainly demand a multi-year commitment at around $10 million per year, scares the heck out of me. Regardless of where he ends up signing, Gagne is the very definition of a major high risk/high reward player. Nightmare scenario for Texas? They resign him at 3 years, $30 million, then he pulls a Jeff Zimmerman.
Grant also touches on the Otsuka for Tony Gwynn Jr. trade rumor, which I covered extensively earlier this week. Evan doesn't think it'll happen, but Bill Hall's injury seemed to have killed the potential deal anyway, so that's not a real difficult call to make. Additionally, Grant discusses the the erroneous Doug Davis/John Koronka comparisons, defends pitching coach Mark Connor, and much more.
The one major thing I'd like to focus on from Grant's newsletter is the topic of the Rangers' 2007 first round draft pick, Blake Beavan. As you may know by now, Beavan is holding out for a signing bonus of what appears to be slightly above $1.5 million, or a difference of about $100,000 from MLB's slot number of $1.4 million. Indeed, it's beginning to appear that Beavan will take things right down to the wire, that being the August 15th deadline.
There's also this notable quote from Grant:
Beavan has already ticked off some of his potential future teammates by demeaning their pitching skills on draft day ("I could do as bad as them," he said). His refusal to sign for slot money and get his career started is beginning to frustrate the Rangers a bit.
To add even more fuel to the fire, Beavan's older brother, Stephen, e-mailed local Metroplex sports talk radio station KTCK 1310 AM The Ticket on Monday with an angry letter, ripping the Ticket for their criticisms of Beavan's behavior and claiming they had lost "50-60 listeners" in the process. "The Orphanage" show, filling in for Norm Hitzges, read the e-mail out loud on the air.
For the record, Stephen accused the Ticket in the e-mail of calling Beavan "cocky" and "arrogant," among other things. But can you really disagree with those remarks? While he was pitching for Irving HS, Beavan went through a period where he would form the letter "K" with his hands after each strikeout. At least he matured past that pathetic little display of superiority, but GM Jon Daniels had to publicly apologize for Beavan's post-draft remarks on the Ticket, saying that he hoped Beavan would be humbled along his path to the major leagues.
The Orphanage's Danny Balis noted that it showed a lack of accountability on the end of Beavan's support network of family and friends, in that they were defending Beavan after his less than professional conduct thus far. And you know what? He's dead on correct. Judging by this e-mail from Beavan's older brother, everybody surrounding Blake seems to be more interested in coddling him along and jumping on his gravy train than trying to set him straight.
Somebody needs to step up and tell this kid to chill out and have some humility, because even though the Rangers thought highly enough of his baseball talent to use their first draft pick on him, the fact remains he hasn't done a damn thing in a Texas uniform yet. And with the way things are going right now, he might never do anything.
Look, I want to see Beavan succeed as much as every other die-hard Texas fan out there. I hope he turns into a star pitcher for the Rangers, and helps lead us to some meaningful October baseball. But all the talent in the world can't make up for a 10 cent head, and at the moment, that appears to be what young Blake has on his shoulders. Here's to hoping he signs with Texas soon, begins to mature as a young man, and becomes what the Rangers are hoping he can become.
MLB.com's Tom Singer has an AL West first half recap (giving the Rangers a grade of C-), while T.R. Sullivan has a first half Rangers recap of his own, as well as an article looking ahead to the second half of the season.
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Jennifer Floyd Engel thinks the Rangers should rebuild by trading everybody that won't be playing a major role on the club in 2009, including Aki Otsuka. I'm not sure she's aware that Otsuka's under club control through 2009, but whatever. In any event, I doubt Michael Young is too enthused about her plan.
And finally, the DMN's Richard Durrett has a piece on Mark Teixeira, who went 0 for 2 with two walks in his rehab start tonight with Double-A Frisco. Tell me, do you see any thinly veiled hidden messages within his remarks?
"Everybody wants to win," said Teixeira, a two-time Gold Glove first baseman. "I don't know any competitor who doesn't want to win. It gets old. Our fans deserve better, and there are a lot of guys in the clubhouse who want better. We've put our heart and soul into this organization, and it's a tough pill to swallow to be at the bottom of the league every year."
"We're a big-market team that's playing like a small-market team," Teixeira said. "Unless you hit with some young players and pitchers, it's tough to play that way.
"I know the business better than anybody. I go to the union meetings, and I keep up with what's going on in the off-season. I know this is a business. But when the Yankees go out and get all-stars every year and the Red Sox go out and get all-stars every year, it shows you they want to compete and win."
"No doubt about it; I want to dogpile on Michael Young and Hank Blalock at The Ballpark," he said. "I'm hoping it will happen this year or next year, but the window is closing."
Teixeira kind of beats around the bush, but it's pretty easy to read between the lines and decipher what he was actually saying here: "Tom Hicks is a crummy, cheap owner, I'm sick of losing, and I want out." That may be the truth, but Tex really seems to be burning some bridges through his comments to the media, and I think stuff like this only increases the odds he's traded in the next three weeks.
Well, it was nice having you here Mark. There's some lovely parting gifts on the table next to the front door on your way out.