Ryan Ritchey (Featured Baseball Columnist): Follow @baseballaddictsFollow @mlbreports
The 2012 season didn’t end as planned for the Texas Rangers. They had a five game lead over the Oakland Athletics in the American League West with nine games remaining and lost the division. It was crushing for the team and the fans.
Losing the division put them in a one game playoff with the Baltimore Orioles. Coming off the shock of losing the division, the Rangers lost to the Orioles 5-1 at home.
Will this season be the same for the Rangers, or will there be a different result? Here are three reasons why it could be the same and three why it could be different…
Yu Darvish Dominates Diamondbacks with 14 K’s:
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Saturday, January.19th, 2013
By Nicholas Rossoletti (MLB Reports Trade Correspondent): Follow @NRoss56
It is easy to equate a big market team’s success with merely a willingness to overspend on free agents and use their superior earning power to dominate the sport. While the Rangers certainly are not afraid of spending all that money that playing the Dallas/Fort Worth area provides, it would be inaccurate to equate the team’s recent string of success with only their ability to outspend a fair portion of their competitors. As we enter the 2013 season, the Rangers have built a very strong base – while managing to not tie themselves to any back-breaking, future altering contracts. That is a testament to the organization’s belief in its system – and its refusal to spend on player just because they are able to. With that being said, let’s take a look at the Rangers 2013 payroll as of now and see where Texas will be spending its money next season.
Rangers 2011 ALCS Clincher:
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Monday January 14th, 2013
By Brooke Robinson (Rangers Correspondent): Follow @bka_9
Looking back on the end of the 2012 season, and how the AL West lead was given up in a matter of days to Oakland, it’s clear the Texas front office wanted change in the clubhouse for 2013. It seems as though GM Jon Daniels’ motto for the offseason is “out with the old, in with the new….er”. Daniels is eager to bring a World Series victory to Arlington and has pieced together a team of new players with old postseason successes. There is also a chance that the Rangers will also bring up some of their promising prospects that they protected throughout the offseason trade frenzy. This makes for some very interesting lineup possibilities for the upcoming season, especially with the major roles needing to be filled by former Ranger departures such as 1B/C Mike Napoli, U Michael Young, OF Josh Hamilton, and P Ryan Dempster.
Ian Kinsler Highlights for 2012:
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Tuesday December 18, 2012
Kyle Holland (MLB Reports Intern): Follow @TheKHolland13.
2012 was a year to remember for Los Angeles fans. Even though neither team made a playoff appearance, both showed they will be a contender in years to come. The Angels signed Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson before the season started. The club possibly had the best player in the league with Mike Trout. The Dodgers already had Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, and 2011 Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw. In late August ,the Dodgers traded for slugger Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, and Josh Beckett.
The 2012-13 offseason has been in no way different for Los Angeles. The Angels and Dodgers have clearly made the most impact so far heading into the 2013 campaign.
First let’s look at the Dodgers. They started their spending spree with a bang when they signed Hyun-Jin Ryu. The Dodgers won the right to sign him from his Korean League team (Hanwha Eagles), initially on November 9 for a $25,737,737.33 bid. He ended up signing for 6 Years/$36 Million on December 9. He has been reported to have a 90 MPH fastball that can top out at 95. He has a very impressive changeup-that has been said to be a very effective putout pitch. He also has a slider and a decent curveball. He pitched in the 2009 World Baseball Classic but has yet to announce if he’s pitching in the 2013 WBC. This is doubtful due to the fact the Dodgers probably want to preserve his arm during Spring Training and save the innings for the regular season.
The Dodgers have also made another huge acquisition in ace Zack Greinke. The guy started last year in Milwaukee as a member of the Brewers, before being traded halfway through the year to the Angels. He finished 2012 with a 15-5 Record, and a 3.48 ERA in 121.1 Innings Pitched. Greinke decided to sign with the cross town rivals for 6 years/$147 Million, the largest contract ever for a Right-handed pitcher. With Kershaw, Greinke and Ryu, the Dodgers may arguably have the best starting rotation in the National League.
Now that we know what the Dodgers have to offer in 2013, a plus lineup and a stellar pitching rotation. Across the city, the Angels have a situation that is not much different.
2012 was one of their best years in recent memory whether they made the postseason or not. The way they see it is the Billy Beane way: No one cares if you don’t win the last game of the season. So what do they do? They sign more absurd people so they can get the job done. The club went 81-57 with Trout in the lineup and only what could of have been if Pujols hadn’t started out so slow.
After signing the top Free Agent last year in Albert Pujols, they took the same approach again signing Josh Hamilton. It was almost identical in the events leading up to both signings. They didn’t even seem to be a contender in the Hamilton sweepstakes and yet they ended up landing the slugger. The contract awaiting the Outfielder in LA, is for 5 years/$125 Million. This is also key because they were able to weaken the Rangers. LA is basically the one team Texas did not want Hamilton to sign with and he did. Talk about frustration in the Rangers organization from pillar to post.
This Hamilton signing gives the Angels probably the best outfield in all of baseball. Mike Trout in Center just makes it fantastic alone. He probably should have won a Gold Glove and probably would have sewn up the MVP had he played in the 1st month. Hamilton will be in left and he has range and a cannon for an arm . Trumbo will round off the outfield in right. These are all fantastic outfielders, with the ability to make solid contact with the ball and hit it over the fence on a regular basis.
So exactly who wins the battle of LA right now? Judging by player ability and experience combined, I’d say the Dodgers. The better overall team? Probably the Angels. The Dodgers hitting will win them games, but defense wins championships. The Angels have power, defense, and pitching in C.J.Wilson, Jared Weaver, and Jerome Williams. The Dodgers have a stellar lineup and an absurd rotation, but the defense behind the staff lacks compared to the Angels.
Only time will be able to tell between these two teams. Games between them will certainly be highly awaited by every baseball fan in LA. You better be ready to dish out large amounts of cash if you’re looking attend any of these games between the two clubs for the foreseeable future… Or at least cue up the CD of Rage Against the Machine’s: “Battle of Los Angeles.”
(*The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com*)
Welcome to our newest Baseball Intern: Kyle Holland:
Kyle is a life long baseball fan outside of Boston. He is a sophomore in high school has played baseball since he was 5. Although growing up in one of the best baseball towns in the major leagues, he has been a Giants fan since 2009. He credits his aunt with the Giants being his favorite team as she lives in San Francisco. Some of his favorite players include Buster Posey, Stephen Drew, Trevor Bauer, Stephen Strasburg, and minor leaguer Danny Hultzen. You can find Kyle on Twitter Follow @TheKHolland13.
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Thursday, October 4th, 2012
Alex Mednick (Baseball Analyst and Writer):
With the last games of the 2012 regular season being officially completed yesterday I get the same feeling I do every season…it’s a sickening pain in my stomach, that makes me want to hibernate and not wake up until April comes around. For baseball lovers, we are all very familiar with this feeling. We find solace in the fact that with the exception of the month of November, we can still follow baseball transactions all year-long. Furthermore, we cannot get too upset; baseball isn’t really over. In fact, some might argue that it is just beginning!
The boys of summer play all those games in the summer heat for one reason. The grueling 162 game schedule sees many ups and many downs, and all of these challenges are met with a firm resolve: to do whatever it takes to get to the postseason. October is the time when the weather turns cold, and ball players become unshaven warriors duking it out to be the victorious few who have the honor to take a championship ring home this offseason. Read the rest of this entry
Tuesday May 1, 2012
Ryan Ritchey: Are the Texas Rangers the best team in baseball? In my eyes they are. They are the most balanced team I have seen in this short period of the season. Going out and getting Yu Darvish was a huge part of the winter for the Rangers. Darvish a Japanese phenom, has come over the United States and gone 4-0 in 5 starts. He has changed his windup 4 times since the first pitch on opening day. Starting with his hands going over his head, to now just pitching from the stretch the whole game.
Darvish isn’t the only stud pitcher on this team. Derek Holland can also throw over 200 innings for this Rangers team. With a team focused around pitching, they sure do get the job done. Add Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan watching every pitch from the first row the pitchers have to succeed. Rangers starters have combined for a 13-4 record, with Darvish and Colby Lewis going 7-0. The Rangers starting pitching is in my opinion what is going to get them a World Series championship this season. Read the rest of this entry
Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)- My brother Clint picked the greatest time to live in Dallas, Texas for half of a year in 2010. He moved to the Lonestar State to witness the Rangers make it all the way to the World Series that year. I was jealous of him for every minute he spent at The Ball Park in Arlington. I had a chance to talk with him recently about that stretch of games that he was in attendance a lot for. Also, I picked his brain to help my own when I wrote my baseball book last year.
DB: “Clint, I have made it a point to say that parking at The Ball Park In Arlington is the fairest system of all if you want to walk a little extra, however that might not work for some people, what are your thoughts on parking there?
CB: I don’t think most people want to walk in the 100 degree weather so parking close to the park is”EXPENSIVE! Show up early for a decent spot and pay the extra $$ to get in early -it’s not that you are “close” to the ball park, it is GETTING OUT AFTER -best to park close to the stadium and then make your way back to I 30. If you go too far into Arlington it will take you up to an hour to crawl out after the game. Some guys I know parked across I 30 and walked in-long walk both ways. Best bet: CAR SERVICE. For $75-100 each way from Downtown Dallas and back you can ride in a luxury vehicle, save the $25-40 on parking, and drink at the game without having to worry about driving home and you’ll be dropped off right in front of the ball park. During the ALCS Championship I would drive into Arlington and get as close as I could to the ball park. Good luck finding a spot but bless the Americans as they OWN their land so a guy let me park on his lawn for $20 while everywhere else was $75-100.
DB: “Where did you like to sit a the park?”
CB: “Best Seats: LEXUS CLUB -only level in the park where they serve hard alcohol… have a margarita there -AMAZING The Lexus Club also has the best vantage point in park for the game. The design of the stadium allows for every seat to be a great seat. Also, sit on the 1st base side as it gets bloody hot in Texas so stay out of the sun.
DB: “What about the food?”
CB: The best singular food is THE NACHOS (FULLY LOADED) in the main concourse -Texans don’t mess around when it come to TEX MEX! These are UNREAL. There are seats available in an American Classic “All you can EAT SEATS”… I never sat there but I hear it is a great deal…You can bring your own food into this park. I once sat beside a guy who used a beverage cooler to keep his 12 hot dogs warm…he killed all 12! I was pretty jealous. I took a picture of him when he was on #9.
DB: “What would you describe the park ambiance as?”
CB: It is a FAMILY PARK first and foremost-don’t call a guy a bad name (referring about a cat) for trying to bunt for a base hit. I had to learn that lesson the hard way. At Yankee Stadium ALL of the fans would have cheered me. Every time a Ranger Pitcher gets a Strike Out the Chic Fil A Cow has a picture that says “EAT MORE CHICKEN” and the “K” lights up. Funny.
DB: “In our conversations that year, you often referred to the ANTLERS/CLAWS phenomenon, can you explain this for people who may not know this?”
CB: “THE CLAW: if a player hits for POWER and reaches second or puts one-off the wall once they reach base they will lift an arm with an open hand over their head in a Monster “CLAW” motion and the players started this first and then the fans caught… One game I saw Kinsler reach first on what was supposed to be a Sac Bunt and Vlad made the kid do both the CLAW and the ANTLERS (see next). THE ANTLERS: Same deal as the CLAW but it is done when a player shows SPEED. Vlad Guerrero has long been my favorite player and I can tell you from experience that HE thinks he has ANTLERS. I told my fiance that “…I hope we get to see Vlad try to stretch out a double today…” well, we did, but it was better, he went for third and got gunned out by 6 feet. He then got up and threw his helmet in classic Vlad fashion. I was jumped out of my seat cheering and laughing sporting my Vlad Guerrero Jersey. Nobody “got” why I was so excited but I knew…
DB: What about nostalgia at the park, how do they treat the historical players of their team?
CB: “Awesome “old school” design of the park. The Front Offices sit over Center Field.Nolan Ryan goes to every game and sits behind home plate. The guy is a stud. Often you will see his good buddy George W. Bush sitting beside him. Texans love GW almost as much as Nolan Ryan. They also have big banners for any player that had significant value to the team at any point in Franchise History
DB: What can you expect for the total fan experience?”
CB: Well, you are in Texas so be prepared for it to get REALLY loud when the team is scoring or something happens like a strike ***smirk*** -Texans LOVE their teams. Great fans. All of the real estate behind Center Field is dedicated to kids… there is some really cool stuff for your little guys to do like batting cages and games so bring them with you. During the 7th inning stretch the sing “America The Beautiful” and “Deep in the Heart of Texas”. As with the National Anthem EVERYONE sings so you are best to learn the words if you don’t know them.
During the ALCS vs the Yanks in 2010 Vlads Mom cooked a goat stew for the Carribean players on the Rangers… They shared it with the Carribean players on the Yanks. Says a lot about that team’s culture , so this is a testament to Ronnie Washington…The”Kinsler/Vlad story was hilarious! They showed it on ESPN later. Also, the whole team has to “make” Michael Young do the “CLAW” because the guy is so humble.
***Thank you to our Ball Park In Arlington expert- Clint Booth for participating in today’s article. Plus thank you for being my brother, who with my other 2 brothers and family, have always had my back on these journeys, both emotionally and financially!***
- Clint Booth with his fiancée Dana Patraschuck in 2010
***Thank you to our Baseball Writer- Douglas “Chuck” Booth for preparing today’s feature on MLB reports. To learn more about “The Fastest 30 Ballgames” and Chuck Booth, you can follow Chuck on Twitter (@ChuckBooth3024) and you can also follow Chuck’s website for his Guinness Book of World Record Bid to see all 30 MLB Park in 23 days click here or on the 30 MLB Parks in 23 days GWR tracker at the Reports click here. To Purchase or read about “The Fastest 30 Ballgames Book, ” please click here ***
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