Let the record show that on Monday, May 24th, 2010, former Mets general manager Steve Phillips declared on WFAN 660 AM that he would trade Stephen Strasburg straight up for Roy Oswalt. Yeah, just try and wrap your head around that one:
● Call it a subtle plea, an inquiry, whatever, but I feel obligated to put it out in the open: why is Texas effectively squandering a roster spot right now on Joaquin Arias? At present, the Rangers have something of a pressing need for an effective outfielder vs. left-handed pitchers (Brandon Boggs, anyone?) and would no doubt derive benefit from a viable right-handed-hitting first baseman who could alleviate some of the pressure building on Justin Smoak -- and yet, Texas is carrying both Arias (who has started one game since April 29th) and Andres Blanco (who has started two games since that same date) simultaneously. I'm not even going to pretend to understand the rationale behind this.
It occurs to me that if you're going to dump millions upon millions of dollars into your product with the intent of competing for a post-season spot, one of the key roster-constructing tenets you would want to follow would entail maximizing efficiency by means of putting together the most talented/synergistic cast possible and putting every roster spot to the most productive use; it seems pretty clear that this isn't happening right now, though, and it's exacerbated by Ron Washington's unwillingness to employ Max Ramirez at first base. The bottom line is that there's simply no justification for carrying two players with similarly mediocre skill sets when neither one is seeing the field more than five times per month and there are more helpful options within arm's length.
● With baseball's amateur draft situated just two weeks away on the calendar, and the assortment of Rangers-employed scouts soon to converge upon the Rangers' draft war room, it seems an appropriate time to direct some attention towards the first mock draft published by ESPN.com's Keith Law, in which he projects that the Rangers will select Texas right-hander Brandon Workman with pick No. 14(a) and Canadian prep catcher Kellin Deglan with pick No. 22 -- the latter being the country's top high school player and arguably the highest-upside prep catcher in the entire draft class.
Of Workman, Law writes: "Workman will sit at 92-94 [mph] and has excellent movement on the pitch, usually good tailing life but occasionally hard run to his glove side. He throws a spike curveball at 76-79 mph with sharp downward break and some two-plane action; spikes are very tough to command and Workman's, like most, is often out of the zone, so it's likely that at some point he'll have to switch to a traditional curve." The combination of signability, proximity and growing prominence -- Law identifies Workman as the draft's 18th-best prospect and fifth-best college pitcher -- would appear to render him as feasible a pick at No. 14(a) as any other mid-first-round talent in the draft.
● And speaking of signability, that attribute may have greater attractiveness to Texas in the draft than many of us would prefer, as Hicks Sports Group's livid creditors fired their retaliatory salvo in court at 1:30 p.m. CDT this afternoon; the belief on their side appears to be that yesterday's voluntary bankruptcy filing undid any and all progress that had been made in closing the gap between their demands ($300 million) and what Hicks Sports Group was offering ($280 million), with one source dramatically declaring, "This is now war."