Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Dallas Cowboys: Dez Bryant Won't Need to Carry Anything for Roy Williams in 2011

It all started with Dallas Cowboys' wide receiver Dez Bryant refusing to carry the shoulder pads of fellow wideout, Roy Williams. The two players got off on the wrong foot right off the bat.

A year later, the Dallas Cowboys have told Williams, a former Longhorn, his services are no longer needed. Bryant was probably all too willing to carry Williams' bags out to his car for him as soon as he heard the news.
Owner Jerry Jones has not only released what could quite possibly be the worst trade for this franchise in quite some time, but he's now handed the keys to the wide receiving corps to a guy who can't seem to keep his name out of the news. And not a good way, either.
There was no surprise that the Cowboys made the move they did although from what was said over the radio air waves earlier in the week, it sounded as if Dallas was going to take a $12 million cap hit if they did end up releasing Williams.
But, thanks to a certain rule that allowed the team to make the move retroactive to June 1st, that $12 million cap hit turned in to a $5 million pay day for the team.

Bryant will not be trusted as the number one option for quarterback, Tony Romo, regardless of what anyone else wants to say about no-name turned star wide receiver, Miles Austin.
All the problems the Cowboys have had with Dez Bryant and all the times they've had to do some public relations work to cover for yet another stupid decision, it seems as if Jones is ready to let the young athlete show his potential on the field.
They are now apparently ready to allow Bryant to show fans he can put the off the field drama behind him and become the star Jerry Jones believes he can be. He did draft the young wide receiver out of Oklahoma State for a reason, right?
Bryant and Williams weren't exactly the best of friends. In fact, I'm not even sure you could say they were acquaintances. And now with the team deciding to move on without the veteran wide receiver, Bryant is now laughing all the way to the perverbial bank.

Now Bryant is saying to himself, "see, I knew he wasn't worthy of me carrying his pads."
Was this the smartest move for the Cowboys to make? Was Williams that bad that they just didn't believe he belonged with this team for the 2011 season?
That question could have mroe answers than one and it could be a debate that could be completely one sided. There is one thing we know for sure.
It's certainly not the first time Roy Williams has been dismissed.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

2011 Fresno State Bulldogs: Young, Talented, But Are They Ready to Win?

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2010 Results: 8-5, Lost Humanitarian Bowl vs Northern Illinois

Head Coach: Pat Hill (15th season, 108-71 overall)

Home Venue: Bulldog Stadium (41,031), Fresno, CA

The Fresno State Bulldogs are coming off yet another lackluster season and a more than disappointing, not to mention lopsided, 40-17 loss in the Humanitarian Bowl to Northern Illinois.

Head coach Pat Hill enters his 15th season with what could be his most talented roster in quite some time. Not only that, but he has a young quarterback, Derek Carr, who has received the most hype as a Bulldog quarterback since his brother David wore the Bulldog red exactly 10 years ago.

With the future in the hands of the young quarterback, a young corps of receivers, and a running back named "Mighty Mouse," Fresno State is primed for a big run in the Western Athletic Conference. It was certainly made a little easier when the Boise State Broncos departed for the Mountain West.
Can the Bulldogs finally break through and hoist the conference championship trophy all by themselves for the first time in Hill's tenure or will two other conference opponents prove to be too much for Fresno State to overcome?


Derek Carr is arguably the most highly touted prospect the Bulldogs have had, at least at quarterback. He not only has the ability to stand in the pocket and deliver accurate passes to just about every corner of the field, but he also has the speed to get outside and beat you with his feet.

Next to Carr the Bulldogs will have a running back who's due to a breakout season regardless of his 1,000 yard season in 2010. Robbie Rouse, nicknamed "Mighty Mouse" by his teammates, may not be able to fill the shoes of departed star running back, Ryan Mathews, but he has the ability to become his own man and make his own mark in Bulldog folklore.

At the wide receiver position, Hill will need to fill in the hole left by the departed Jamel Hamler who surprisingly declared for the 2011 NFL Draft. The wide receivers will be led by senior Rashad Evans along with a corps of wide outs like Jalen Saunders, Davon Dunn, Isaiah Burse and highly touted sophomore, Victor Dean.

Offense wasn't the problem for the 2010 Fresno State Bulldogs, a team who averaged 30 points and almost 400 yards of total offense (371.3) per game.


When it comes to the defensive side of the ball, you need not look any further than returning senior defensive tackle, Logan Harrell, who's already been named to the Outland Trophy and the Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watch Lists for the 2011 season.

Harrell will need to step up if he's going to replace departing star in defensive lineman, Chris Carter. His speed and presence on the defensive line could definitely be felt this upcoming season.

In 2010, the Fresno State defensive unit was giving up almost as many points (29.2) as their offense was scoring (30.0) not to mention an abysmal turnover margin (-11) making it difficult for the Bulldogs to hold anyone after an offensive score.

Hill has tried to address those issues and could have some talented players on the defensive side of the ball bringing in young linebackers Ofa Fifita and Patrick Su'a and they will have senior safety Zak Hill back after he missed the entire 2010 season with a knee injury.

Though they won't have a ton of experience overall, this Bulldog team could be much improved over last season.


In true Pat Hill fashion, the 2011 Fresno State Bulldogs will run the gauntlet with a tough schedule right off the bat.

The first two weeks of the season will see this team take on the Cal Golden Bears and then one of the best college football teams in the country, the Nebraska Cornhuskers, both of which will come on the road.

Four of the next five weeks will be back in front of the home fans at Bulldog Stadium but that doesn't mean the schedule gets any easier. Fresno State will have to deal with the Ole Miss Rebels, former WAC foe Boise State, an upstart Idaho Vandals squad in Moscow, Idaho, and a Nevada Wolfpack team trying to make sure they leave the conference with the championship firmly in hand.

Their only break may come in the third week of the season against North Dakota.

A young but talented offense will be tested right off the bat with some of the best talent from around the country.

Though the first part of their schedule looks tougher than what they'll finish with, don't forget this team has to travel to face the Hawaii Warriors in a game that's becoming a very bitter rivalry between these two teams. The Bulldogs will also have to take on a San Diego State team that is one of the more underrated teams in the country with quarterback Ryan Lindley and rising star Ronnie Hillman.


After an 8-5 finish to the 2010 season and an embarrassing loss in their bowl game, youth will take over the team and try to prove they are better than the last few seasons.

With young Derek Carr at the helm and arguably one of the more talented offenses in the conference, the Bulldogs may surprise some people this season.

But since they are young and without a lot of experience under their belt, the outlook for the 2011 Fresno State Bulldogs isn't much better than what they finished with. Their non-conference schedule is brutal and they'll be lucky to come out of the first six weeks of the season with a 3-3 record.

It will be a learning season, a season to grow and mature, but not one that will end with a bowl birth.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Dallas Cowboys: Dez Bryant Gets Himself Into More Hot Water

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One has to wonder what it's going to take for the Dallas Cowboys and owner Jerry Jones to throw up their hands and admit, maybe we shouldn't have drafted this guy after all.

Dez Bryant, the Cowboys first round draft pick back in 2010, has made a habit of getting himself into trouble during the offseason.
A run in with police at North Park Mall in Dallas and owing a jewelry store more than $100,000 for bling he never paid for. Oh yeah, and then there was former Cowboy Deion Sanders telling the media he wanted nothing more to do with Bryant, a guy he used to mentor.
Now comes this.
According to Richie Whitt of the Dallas Observer, Dez Bryant was apparently supposed to show up at NJ Expo Center in Edison, New Jersey to sign autographs for the Collectors Showcase of America show that was to take place there.
According to Whitt, Bryant was given three round trip airline tickets plus hotel for himself, his advisor David Wells, as well as another friend. He was also supposed to receive $10,000 for two hours of signing autographs, a limo for the three of them to Atlantic City and two more hotel rooms there as well as a suite.
For all that you would think Bryant would have gladly showed up especially with former NFL players like Terry Bradshaw, Bo Jackson, Ray Lewis, Frank Gifford and Joe Greene in attendance not to mention former Dallas Cowboys Tony Dorsett and Jay Novacek were also in attendance.
But, in true Dez Bryant style, he decided he was going to no-show.
"There's a professional code that most players adopt," Marco Rol, the president of the Collectors Showcase of America, told Whitt. "They feel a responsibility to their fans, not to mention they're paid handsomely to show up. What Dez did happens probably only one out of 100 times.You get cancellations and re-schedulings in our business, but it's very rare to get the total no-show like that one."
Bryant apparently wasn't the only current Dallas Cowboy to be a no-show in Edison. Jay Ratliff also did show up to the event but he did apparently call Rol to let him know before hand that he would not be there and offered to sign additional items just to make up for his absence.
What excuse could he have possibly used to no-show to the event who was willing to give so much to him and his "advisors?" Bryant apparently said his father had a heart attack.
But according to a source Whitt spoke to, the Cowboys' wide receiver and the friend of advisor David Wells apparently complained about details already discussed with them almost a month earlier.
"He's asking me how long he had to sign, how many fans will be there, complaining about the money, things like that," a liaison for the collector's show said. "Next thing I know his father is sick and dying and he's not coming to Jersey because he has to go to Houston. David came up, but that's like a jockey showing up with no horse."
The question now might be, is Dez Bryant becoming too much of a hassle and too much of a public relations nightmare for the Dallas Cowboys to put up with?
His problems all started so innocently with refusing to carry the shoulder pads of veteran wide receiver, Roy Williams. Since then, it's been all downhill for the former Oklahoma State Cowboy.
If things continue down this same path, Deion Sanders won't be the only one cutting ties with Dez Bryant.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Tragedy Strikes the Texas Rangers

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When the Texas Rangers and the Oakland Athletics took the field on Thursday night, the last thought that would ever cross any of their minds is how things would play out and the events which would change one player, one family, and the Rangers' family forever.

After a foul ball down the left field line, Rangers' left fielder Josh Hamilton grabbed it and did what just about every baseball player has been known to do. He tossed it into the stands.

What happened next is something no one ever would have predicted.

A fan, reaching out for the ball, lost his balance and fell head first between the left field seats and the out of town scoreboard.

According to reports, Shannon Stone, a firefighter from the Brownwood Fire Department, was coherent and spoke to paramedics and authorities who rushed to his aid. His concern wasn't for his own well being but for his young son who was with him at the game.

The Rangers and A's returned their focus to the game as Texas poured on the offense and young left hander Derek Holland had arguably his best performance of the season.

But the story went from an impressive Rangers win to the tragic death of Stone who reportedly went into cardiac arrest on the way to a trauma 1 center in Fort Worth, Texas. He was pronounced dead at 8:26pm central time.

A father brings his young son to a baseball game, his son's first game according to a lot of reports I've seen, and it will be the last game this young child will ever be able to attend with his father.

Your thoughts and prayers go out to the Stone family as well as to the Brownwood Fire Department who lost one of their own on Thursday night.

But then you think about Josh Hamilton who was "distraught" according to Nolan Ryan when he made an official statement to the media after the game last night.

What is going to happen to Hamilton from here on out. When he grabs a foul ball, will he think about where or even if he tosses it to the fans? Will this tragedy be in the back of his mind when he goes up to bat or even when he heads out to his spot in left field?

There are no answers to any of the questions anyone wants to throw out there. There's no reason to ask the "what if" questions because they aren't going to do any good to anyone right now. What happened on Thursday night was a tragedy and by no means is anyone at fault.

I feel for the family who lost a husband, a son, a brother, a friend. I feel for those who were around Shannon Stone when his fall occurred and I feel for those who had to hold his young son back while he was screaming for his father.

The Rangers handled things correctly last night. They made an official statement and they closed the clubhouse to the media so the only statement made was the one that came from Nolan Ryan himself.

There's no telling the mind frame of the players when they begin to arrive at the ballpark on Friday afternoon to get ready for the second of a four game set against the A's.

The clubhouse will undoubtedly be a little more quiet and a little more somber than usual. Players won't have the same smiles they might have had every time they came to the park. It's going to feel different and there isn't one player, regardless of whether it's Texas or it's Oakland, who will be able to look at left field without the same visual replaying in their minds like a VCR that won't stop rewinding.

Parents will hold their children that much tighter and parents arriving to the ballpark on Friday night will keep an even closer eye on their children, themselves, and their surroundings.

This isn't supposed to happen. Not at a baseball game. Not at a place that brings families together and allows a father to bring his son to his very first baseball game.

Unfortunately it did happen and it's a tragedy that will remembered for a long time to come.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Texas Rangers: Is the Signing Bonus Too High For Nomar Mozara?

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Over the weekend, the Texas Rangers, along with the rest of baseball, had their chance to sign some of the best Latin America talent money could buy.

So, Nolan Ryan and company decided they were going to spend almost $9 million on two different players and both no older than 16 years of age.

Ronald Guzman, a 6-foot-4 195 pound outfielder, was signed for $3.5 million but the one thing that has some people scratching their head is the part of his scouting report that says "below average arm and speed." I know $3.5 million isn't much at all in the grand scheme of things as far as baseball is concerned, but for a guy listed as "below average" it seems a little steep.

While some are curious about the signing of Guzman, there are even more who are talking about another 16-year old outfielder.

At 6-foot-5 and 185 pounds, 16-year old Nomar Mozara received a signing bonus of more than $5 million topping the Oakland Athletics who signed Michael Ynoa for $4.25 million back in 2008.

His scouting report, however, is much different from that of Guzman's. He's being called one of the best Latin American hitters since Wily Mo Pena and...Miguel Cabrera? That's high praise for a 16-year old who's yet to prove anything in the states.

You might remember Cabrera being signed by the Florida Marlins for $1.8 million back in 1999.

Shan Shariff, one half of 'New School' on 105.3 FM The Fan in Dallas, Texas called Mozara's signing "irresponsible" and is of the opinion that the Rangers should not be giving a 16-year old kid $5 million.

While I understand Shariff's opinion I will respectfully disagree with his assessment for one simple reason. Had the Rangers not signed this young athlete, who has a ton of potential, there would have been another team who snatched him up for almost the same cost.

Why is that a bad thing? Because Mozara, because the Rangers have this kind of luck, or lack thereof, would have become a huge star and the media in Dallas and Fort Worth would be calling Texas' front office "irresponsible" for not signing him in the first place.

How could they have missed out on a prospect being called the next "Miguel Cabrera?"

It's easy to knock the Rangers for signing a teenager for what he might be able to do instead of holding your opinion until he either makes it or he washes out.

I'm in favor of this team and it's front office doing exactly what they did. I believe they do their due diligence on the players they sign. If this were a group led by former owner Tom Hicks then I'd probably be questioning the decision as well.

But with Nolan Ryan leading the charge, I know he has a group of scouts and advisers who know the kind of players this franchise needs going forward.

Heck, there were those who blasted the Tampa Bay Rays for signing one Josh Hamilton out of high school. Say what you want about his past, he became the star the Rays had envisioned from the moment they signed him.

So before we pass judgement on the signing of Mozara or Guzman, let's wait and see how these two players shape out before we call anyone "irresponsible."

It's better than having to eat those words later.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Texas Rangers: Could Mike Cameron Be a Good Addition?

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When it comes to the Texas Rangers and the changes that need to be made in order to turn this team into a contender in the American League, the outfield isn't one of the places most people will talk about.

But when it comes to possibly bringing a veteran in, someone who already has American League experience, and a guy who's a proven hitter, I'm whole heartedly on board.

Josh Hamilton, Nelson Cruz, David Murphy, Craig Gentry, and Endy Chavez currently make up the outfield depth chart for the team and you can add Mitch Moreland to the list as he also has experience at both corner spots.

Mike Cameron Outfielder Mike Cameron #23 of the Boston Red Sox fouls off a pitch against the Pittsburgh Pirates during a Grapefruit League Spring Training Game at McKechnie Field on March 13, 2011 in Bradenton, Florida.
J. Meric/Getty Images

But outside of Hamilton and Cruz, the Rangers don't have a solid veteran hitter in the lineup who can not only do damage offensively but has the speed to get to any ball in the gap.

You can look at his numbers and be scared off from signing the 38-year old veteran but there's more to Cameron than his 94 at bats this season. Being with the Boston Red Sox and among all the talent that roster has, Cameron knew he wasn't going to get the chance to play every day.

Now that he's a free agent, Cameron is looking for a team he can land with who will give him a chance to prove he still has some life left in his legs.

He's not going to be the same kind of a player he was in his early days but he's still someone pitchers will think twice about with their pitch selection.

If you want to look at numbers, how about .266, Cameron's career batting average at Rangers Ballpark.

But Cameron's play has more to do with who he is as a ballplayer than any of his numbers will tell anyone who follows the game. He's a lot like Josh Hamilton. Cameron goes 110% and gives everything he has to the team he plays for.

They need a veteran presence in the outfield and someone manager Ron Washington can bring off the bench to provide a late inning pitch hitter or defensive replacement.

He's going to be a cheap option to sign and a guy they won't have to give up anything to bring on board. While the Rangers may not need another name on the outfield depth chart, Mike Cameron is certainly an option general manager Jon Daniels and CEO Nolan Ryan will think long and hard about.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Texas Rangers Notes: Are Kerry Wood and Matt Garza Untouchable?

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With the first day of July upon us, there are just a few weeks left before the most exciting time in Major League Baseball.

The trade deadline.

It's the day where all of us baseball fans monitor Twitter and every other piece of social media we can get our hands on to keep track of what our teams are going to do and what trades they will make.
Kerry Wood Kerry Wood #34 of the Chicago Cubs pitches against the San Francisco Giants at Wrigley Field on May 13, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Cubs defeated the Giants 11-4.
Jonathan Daniels/Getty Images

For the Texas Rangers, the one name who continues to come up is San Diego Padres' closer Heath Bell and set up man Mike Adams.

If you listened to Thursday's podcast, Dan McLellan of CBS Sports talked about what it would take for any team to be able to make a deal the Padres would agree to.

A player in Triple-A who has a chance to crack the 40-man roster and a player who can hit for average and has "big league pop." Not only that but a minor league pitcher or two who are in the development stages in the minor leagues but are only a year or two away from being Major League pitchers.

The Rangers could possibly entice San Diego with a package of players that starts with the likes of David Murphy or Craig Gentry and then go through their minor league pitchers to see who might be a fit. Without having to give up someone like Tanner Scheppers.

If that's too expensive for the Rangers' blood, they will have to move on to other players who might be available. We've talked about guys like Pittsburgh Pirates' closer Joel Hanrahan, Oakland A's reliever Grant Balfour.

Another name I've brought up in the past is Chicago Cubs' reliever Kerry Wood as well as starter, Matt Garza.

Before Ranger fans get excited about either of these players, Clark Addison of says not so fast.

"No way he gets moved," Addison said. "He signed a deal at about a quarter of what he could have made on the open market so he can return to the Cubs where he will likely reap a lifetime of personal services revenue. He's not just another athlete in Chicago, he is special. Being a Cub fan favorite affords a guy lots of opportunity after retirement from playing."

Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun Times echoed those thoughts in his column on Friday morning after Kerry Wood met with the media and talked about the trade rumors swirling around.

"I know the [trade] talks are going to come," Wood said. "I’ve already been hearing it. So we can address it now. I doubt it. We’re committed here. We’ve got a [charity bowling] event in September. I don’t see it happening."

"Obviously, Sarah and I will talk about it, and we have a little bit," Kerry went on to say. "But it would have to be ideal for both, something that is definitely going to help the organization down the road and something that’s going to fit for us, which right now is here. So it would be tough."

So while Wood himself isn't ruling out a deal is possible, the way he worded his response would make anyone think he wouldn't be willing to waive his full no-trade clause unless it was the absolute right situation and gave him a chance at a World Series championship.
Matt Garza Matt Garza #17 of the Chicago Cubs pitches against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on June 11, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Len Redkoles/Getty Images

As for young right hander Matt Garza, Addison says while it might be more likely a deal could be struck at the deadline, he still doesn't think it's likely.

"The comment I kept hearing from [Jim] Hendry and [Tom] Ricketts when he became a Cub is that he would be under club control for several more years," Addison said. "I think Garza is viewed as something to build around." 

Don't take this as there is absolutely no chance that the Rangers could make a serious play for one of both of these players. But with Wood holding a no trade clause, and Garza still having another four to five good years in front of him, maybe we should call this for what it is.

Check out Clark Addison at and follow him on Twitter: @ClarkAddison

Where Does Scott Kazmir Fit With the Texas Rangers?

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When the Los Angeles Angels released Scott Kazmir after his struggles continued in the minor leagues, it didn't take long for other teams to become interested in the free agent pitcher.

One of those teams who have met with Kazmir are the Texas Rangers.

Scott Kazmir Scott Kazmir #19 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim throws a pitch against the Los Angeles Dodgers on June 12, 2010 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California.
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Rangers' general manager Jon Daniels confirmed with Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News that the team had met with Kazmir and his agent.

“We’ve talked with him, doing our due diligence,” Daniels told Grant. “Not sure if anything’s going to come of it, but we try to look at every opportunity to see if someone can help us.”

The question on the minds of a lot of Ranger fans is, what do you do with him if in fact the Rangers decide to sign him?

With the struggles he's gone though this season I don't believe you can afford to put him in the rotation. You can send him to Triple-A Round Rock and let him work out of the bullpen. If he shows he can be a serviceable reliever, you bring him up to Arlington and he automatically makes this bullpen stronger.

However, doing that would mean the Rangers would need to make a roster move in order to give Kazmir a spot on the big league roster. The one guy who sticks out the most in my eyes is either Dave Bush or Michael Kirkman, neither is doing this bullpen any favors.

You can release one of those two players and fill the roster spot with Kazmir if in fact they decide to sign him. Remember, Daniels isn't saying they are absolutely interested in bringing him on. They are kicking the tires and doing what teams do, "their due diligence."

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Texas Rangers Ready to Showcase Chris Davis in the Outfield?

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The Texas Rangers could be ready to bring Chris Davis back to the big leagues but it's not to play first or even third base.

No according to reports, Davis is going to see playing time in the outfield at one of the corner spots and will move Josh Hamilton from a corner outfield position to center field. Something that could make just about every Ranger fan cringe after all the times Josh has run head long into the outfield walls.

Chris Davis Infielder Chris Davis #19 of the Texas Rangers fields a ground ball out against the Cleveland Indians during the MLB spring training game at Surprise Stadium on March 19, 2010 in Surprise, Arizona.  The Indians defeated the Rangers 12-2.
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

This is nothing more than the Rangers showcasing Chris Davis for a possible trade at or before the trade deadline at the end of July. Davis has seen time in the outfield with Triple-A Round Rock but if Major League teams are going to be interested in making a trade with Texas, they are going to watch him over the next few weeks to see how he handles the change in position.

The knock on Davis, however, isn't his defense but it's when he grabs a bat and steps to the plate. He has a ton of holes in his swing and hasn't had near the same success offensively that he's shown in the minor leagues.

That being said, Davis is still very much a hot trade commodity and the Rangers know it. If he wasn't they would have no reason to bring him up and stick him in the outfield. They know the problems he's had at the plate and they the risk they're taking in having him in the lineup on an every day basis.

But the Rangers need to show that Davis is a serviceable big league player because they themselves need to include him in a trade that would land them a big time reliever for the bullpen or starter for the rotation.

We have talked about a few names the Rangers could be looking at but what we don't know is which deal Davis would be included in.

The San Diego Padres aren't going to do a one-for-one deal with Heath Bell or Mike Adams. They may not even be interested in Davis seeing as they already have young infielders Anthony Rizzo, Jesus Guzman and Kyle Blanks able to man the first base position.

So if it's not Bell or Adams, where will Davis end up and what will he bring in return.

One deal I've talked about before on my podcast involves the Baltimore Orioles and right hander, Jeremy Guthrie.

This is a guy who could use a fresh start especially since he's spent his entire career with an Orioles' team that has no chance in winning their division let alone getting deep into the playoffs.

They are in need of an infielder like Chris Davis and could do send Guthrie to Texas without the Rangers having to give up a second player in the deal.

Also, the Chicago Cubs are about ready to waive the white flag on their season and could be willing to part with reliever Kerry Wood, again. The Cubs aren't going to sell high on Wood and may send him to the American League on a one-for-one swap.

  Starting Pitcher Matt Garza #17 Of The Chicago Cubs Delivers
Brian Kersey/Getty Images

But there's one name who the Rangers could, and should, look at and he's another pitcher with the Chicago Cubs. Matt Garza was a guy who was brought to the windy city thanks to the aforementioned Kerry Wood and it seems as if the Cubs could very well be open to dealing him in the right trade.

Garza is a guy who really became a young star with the Tampa Bay Rays and it was one of the biggest reasons the Cubs landed him in free agency after the 2010 season.

He won a combined 34 games over three seasons with the Rays and never finished with an ERA worse than 3.95 during his time there.

This season hasn't been nearly as good to him but he has experience in the American League and he's only 27-years old, soon to be 28 in November, so you're getting a young pitcher who still has a lot of good years ahead of him.

There are more than a few names the Rangers will look at over the next month but their ability to make a deal hinges on how Chris Davis performs over the next month. If he struggles and his batting average takes a tumble, so will his trade value.

The Rangers are taking a definite risk but one they could really cash in on if it pays off.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Texas Rangers: Heath Bell or Mike Adams?

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The San Diego Padres are already waiving the white flag.

Well, at least if you listen to's Jon Heyman. His column this morning talks about the Padres already engaging in talks about closer Heath Bell and set up man Mike Adams.

"San Diego has even shown a willingness to at least engage in trade talk even about a star young reliever such as Mike Adams," said Heyman. "Padres people may ultimately decide to keep Adams, but they appear to be taking a very realistic approach to their team and season."

It's common knowledge the Texas Rangers are a team who will be looking for bullpen help at the trade deadline and they have already met with Padres' brass at Petco Park in late May.

While they won't be the only ones looking for a guy like Adams or Bell, most of the teams looking for pitching help are going to be focusing their attention on the Padres' set up man instead of the closer.

 Mike Adams #37 Of The San Diego Padres Delivers
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

One of the more obvious reasons might be the fact Adams will be under team control through the 2012 season and may not cost nearly as much to sign the right hander long term.

As of right now, Bell is making $8.5 million in what will most certainly be his final season in a San Diego Padres' uniform before he hits free agency. Once that happens, Bell is going to land a deal between three and four years and in the neighborhood of $10-$12 million per season.

The Rangers may not want to invest that much money, not to mention that many years, for a guy who is already 34 years old. You're looking at an investment that you hope stays healthy for a full three seasons at an age where most pitchers are starting to wind down their career.

Adams is the best option for Texas to go after but what they need to be concerned about, where both him and Bell are concerned, are the players the Padres will ask in return.

Not only will Adams be under a team's control through the 2012 season but his $2.5 million price tag and an ERA that hasn't been above 2.00 since the 2008 season makes him an attractive reliever in any bullpen.

If the Padres are really serious about selling off Mike Adams, it's going to cause a bidding war either in the days leading up to the deadline or just hours before it expires.

If I'm the Rangers, I get the asking price and figure out if it's something I can afford to give. If not, no matter how good Mike Adams is, I move to on other names who can help fix a struggling bullpen as well as a starter for the rotation.

There's no doubt Adams gives the Rangers' bullpen a much different look and a guy manager Ron Washington can hand the ball to knowing it'll be taken care of.

Heath Bell or Mike Adams? That is the question.

Texas Rangers Notes: A Look at Who Could Be Dealt at the Deadline

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Imagine an office somewhere within Ranger's Ballpark. Inside sits general manager Jon Daniels, CEO Nolan Ryan, and the rest of the Texas Rangers' management staff.

They stare at a white board with several names on it. The silence in the room is deafening, each one with a different expression on their face and each trying to come up with a way to acquire one or more of these names.

You can just see the "war room" playing out just like that.

  David Murphy #7 Of The Texas Rangers Hits
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 There are plenty of names the Rangers will look at in order to better their situation because they know they can't stand on what they have right now. They just aren't strong enough to sustain the stretch run to the playoffs.

The offense, at least at this point, is fine the way it is. You have speed on the base paths and power in the middle of the lineup. Your run production isn't lacking, at least not every night, so there's no reason to change that dynamic.

Where the problems lie for this team is in their pitching. From the rotation to the bullpen, Daniels knows there are changes that need to be made. More so in the bullpen than in the rotation.

I think the bullpen will definitely be a focus, first focus,” Daniels told Jim Bowden and Casey Stern on MLB Network Radio. “You’re always open to anything. But that’s probably where we’ve spent the most of our time.”

The Rangers have plenty of trade chips to deal away, guys who aren't going to make a huge impact to the team down the stretch and guys they can afford to deal.

We've talked about the names I've wanted to bring in to help the Rangers' bullpen, but how about the guys they could deal away for those players? Who could the Rangers give up and not miss (a la Justin Smoak)?

C Taylor Teagarden - .190 (4/21) 7 K's

Taylor Teagarden hasn't been quite the player the Rangers had hoped he might become. After hitting .319 (15/47) in his first season with the Rangers back in 2008, Teagarden has struggled in each of his last three seasons with the team, hitting no better than .217 which came back in 2009.

But while he struggles in the big leagues, he has torched Triple-A pitching. Through 24 games (86 AB's) with Round Rock, Teagarden is hitting .326 with 9 HR and 18 RBI.

The San Francisco Giants are looking for catching especially after the season ending injury sustained by Buster Posey. They've tried the duo of Chris Stewart and Eli Whiteside but neither are cutting it, no pun intended, at the plate.

Teagarden is a name that has come up but I don't know that the Giants would give up anymore more than a mid-level prospect at this point. Teagarden's value just isn't high at all right now.

OF David Murphy - .233 (47/202) 4 HR 15 RBI 32 K's

David Murphy has, at times, come in to the Rangers lineup and given the offense the boost it's needed. He's come up with a big hit here or there. Unfortunately, it's not going to keep him out of the trade discussions at the deadline.

Murphy is a guy who is going to get interest from teams looking for an experienced veteran in their lineup and a guy who could play the outfield on an every day basis. Something he's not going to get with the Rangers. Especially with Josh Hamilton, Nelson Cruz, Mitch Moreland, Endy Chavez, and Craig Gentry all able to play the same positions.'s T.R. Sullivan wrote back in late May how Murphy could be used by other teams in need of an outfielder.

OF Craig Gentry - .270 (17/63) 0 HR 6 RBI 9/9 SB

Craig Gentry has burst on to the scene with the Rangers in 2011 showing off his tremendous speed not only on the base paths but also in the outfield as well.

While he's not a guy who's going to hit 20-25 home runs every season, he is a guy who can get on base and make things happen. He's shown that in Texas this season going 9-for-9 in stolen base attempts.

He's not a guy the Rangers are going to want to deal in any trade scenario because of the potential he's shown. But there are teams who are going to ask for the soon-to-be 28-year old outfielder.

1B/3B/OF Chris Davis - .269 (14/52) 3 HR 4 RBI 18 K's

Chris Davis is a guy who's getting a lot of talk as the trade deadline gets closer, especially from Ranger fans who fully expect him to be dealt.

The way he's playing at Triple-A Round Rock right now, he's doing everything to help his value as well as help out the Rangers play him up to teams in need of a power hitter who can play the corner infield spots as well as the outfield.

Davis has 19 home runs and 52 RBI this season for the Express. Unfortunately, that same production hasn't come out when he's been called up to the big leagues. But his minor league numbers have never translated to the big leagues. He doesn't face the kind of pitching in the AL West that he kills in the minor leagues.

But despite all that, he is going to get a lot of interest from teams who are looking for an every day player who can play both the infield and outfield.

The Rangers may use him in their biggest deal at the deadline.

SS Jurickson Profar - .269 (60/223) 7 HR 31 RBI

Jurickson Profar is a young prospect currently with the Hickory Crawdads, the Rangers Single-A affiliate in the South Atlantic League.

He is one of the top prospects in the Rangers' farm system and a guy who is going to get a lot of interest, especially from a team on the west coast. The San Diego Padres.

Padres' closer Heath Bell is getting a lot of interest from around baseball and especially from the Texas Rangers. Profar is going to be a guy the Padres are going to ask about and may even go as far as to require having him in the deal from Texas.

While I'm not one for "giving away the farm" for one player, the problem with Profar is being blocked by the position players in the big leagues right now.

Elvis Andrus currently occupies the short stop position and will probably be in a Rangers' uniform for at least the next four to five years if not longer. Ian Kinsler is at second base but there's a lot less guarantee with his future than Andrus' so the question becomes, can Profar make the transition from short to second if he makes it to the big leagues in two to three years?

He is going to be an interesting name to watch over the next few weeks.

Former Arizona State WR Kerry Taylor Throws Dennis Erickson Under the Bus

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If Arizona State Sun Devils' head coach Dennis Erickson would ever run for President of the United States, or any office for that matter, I don't know that Kerry Taylor would vote for him.

The former ASU wide receiver decided he was going to toss his former coach under the bus, run over him, back up, and run over him again just for good measure.

After doing an interview with a local television station, Taylor took to Twitter just to make absolutely sure his voice, and his displeasure, was heard by all who would listen.

Kerry Taylor Wide receiver Kerry Taylor #5 of the Arizona State Sun Devils runs with the ball after a reception past Henry Mitchell #11 of the Louisiana Monroe Warhawks during the college football game at Sun Devil Stadium on September 19, 2008 in Tempe, Arizona.
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

"Just did an interview about the problems of ASU football and why Dennis Erickson is NOT the right man for the job," Taylor tweeted. "I want ASU to win Pac12 Championships, all us ASU fans do. But in order for that to happen we need a new Head Coach. That's all I'm saying."
Tim Ring, the reporter who did the interview with Taylor, took to his own twitter account to let his viewers know when the interview would be played on the station.
"A lot of people are asking about the Kerry Taylor interview," he tweeted. "This will NOT air on Ch 3 tonight. Coach Erickson will get time to respond. The interview will be properly vetted with both sides getting a fair chance to have their say. The piece tentatively will air NEXT Sunday."
I don't know a lot of college football players who would be that open about their former head coach. But can you blame Taylor for what he said? Players who commit to certain universities do so with the hope and possible expectation that this program can win conference championships.
Erickson' first season as the head man at Arizona State ended with a 10-3 record, respectable for a first year head coach in a tough PAC-10, now PAC-12, conference.
Since then, however, the Sun Devils are a combined 15-21 and have missed the post season.
With the 2011 season coming up, ASU has a great chance to take home the PAC-12 South title especially with USC on bowl restrictions. This might be the one big chance Erickson has to prove Taylor wrong.
While I'm not going to say a former player can't have his own opinion, I will say it's not something the current players need to be worried about when practices start back up. They are going to be asked about it and there are going to be reporters who will try to get another player to agree with Taylor's comments.
When it's all said and done, the Sun Devils need to get past the problems a former player has with his former coach and worry about what happens on the field this coming season. That not only goes for the players but also for Erickson himself.
These quotes will follow him throughout this season, especially if the team begins to struggle. The only way he'll be able to shake off the thoughts of the former wide receiver, as well as the surrounding media, is to win games and prove they are a strong team in the PAC-12 conference.
Otherwise, Erickson might be shown the door before the 2011 season comes to a close.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Texas Rangers Notes: Why Jeremy Guthrie Could Add Pop to the Rotation

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For the last few days a lot of the trade talk has centered around relievers like Heath Bell, Francisco Rodriguez, and a few others.

While the bullpen is definitely something general manager Jon Daniels and CEO Nolan Ryan will need to address, they also need to do something about the starting rotation. They need to bring in a starter, or two, who will allow them to move struggling Alexi Ogando back to the bullpen and possibly into the seventh or eighth inning role.

Baltimore Orioles Pitcher Jeremy Guthrie Delivers
Photo courtesy: Associated Press

Jeremy Guthrie, a 32-year old right hander with the Baltimore Orioles, is a guy the Rangers could bring in and plug in as the number two starter behind ace, C.J. Wilson.

Guthrie is currently 3-9 with a 3.93 ERA but don't forget this is for an Orioles team that is hitting .260 as a team and really doesn't have much of a chance to win their own division. Especially when that division already boasts the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, and Tampa Bay Rays.

In four of the last five seasons, Guthrie has finished with an ERA under 4.00 including a career low 3.63 back in 2008 and has posted three consecutive 10-win seasons.

He's a solid starter and all of his experience has been in the AL East, a division most would call the best in baseball.

His fastball velocity will range any where from the high 80's to mid 90's and he's able to paint the corners with it. His slider will stay around the mid 80's but he has been known to ramp it into the low 90's as well. Those are the two pitches he's thrown the most over his career but he will mix in a curve and changeup as well but, according to, he won't use those two pitches near as often.

Over his career, Guthrie has thrown his fastball and slider 83.6% of the time with the other 16.4% centered around the curve and changeup.

Guthrie has always gotten off to fast starts to every season. He has a career 3.29 ERA in the month of May but for the rest of the season he'll hover around the 4.30 to 4.70 mark.

He's a guy who won't cost the Rangers their top prospects but the Orioles will look to acquire the likes of Craig Gentry and possibly a few other minor leaguers maybe of the mid-level variety.

Bringing in Guthrie allows the team to make some changes to their rotation in order to strengthen their bullpen. They can roll with Derek Holland, Matt Harrison and possibly Colby Lewis at the back end of the rotation, at least for now.

But with Wilson and Guthrie leading the staff, this team and it's rotation, automatically becomes the best in the AL West and allows them a little breathing room between themselves and the rest of the division.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Texas Rangers New Daily Podcast is Up!

For those of you who follow my blog, I'll be doing a daily podcast on everything Texas Rangers. So tune in, react, give suggestions, feedback, debate and whatever else you can think of.