It’s now been half a month, and The Story remains The Story, left to twist in the wind while the otherwise welcome monotony of spring training does little to throw anyone off its scent.
We can comfortably assume that the folks in baseball operations with the Rangers, however – and this includes Nolan Ryan – aren’t as distracted as the media and fan base by the front office drama (if that’s what you call a narrative defined by inertia), instead immersed in baseball as they work around the clock to get the team ready for March 31.
If they’re distracted at all, really, it’s probably only during those isolated moments when asked to comment about the distraction. And even those opportunities for the media are dwindling, noticeably so when a national writer like Jeff Passan is left to weigh in with his thousand words without a single quote from anyone in the organization.
As for me, I wasn’t distracted one bit by the saga last week, but not because I was immersed in anything baseball-related. I’ve just gone through the longest stretch of non-off-season baseball-less-ness I’ve had since probably the ’90s.
No newspapers. No TV. No radio. A little Twitter, but that’s it.
No Cactus or Grapefruit (well, grapefruit) or WBC.
And I returned to learn that the needle hadn’t moved at all on The Story.
With a little catch-up reading, I learned that Kyle McClellan won’t be ready for Opening Day, and neither will Zack Greinke. That no story about Kyle Lohse or Rick Porcello gets written without a Rangers mention, but there’s comfort in knowing the Rangers are super-protective of assets like that first-round pick (and its assigned bonus pool value) and like Leury Garcia and like Tanner Scheppers and like Luke Jackson and so the odds of a brutal Joey Galloway trade – or one along the lines of Mike Olt for Joba Chamberlain, which one “AL scout” told Nick Cafardo (Boston Globe) “could get done . . . if Texas would give up Olt,” which reminds me that I could get a big league GM job next week if a big league organization would offer one to me – are infinitesimally small.
That Pudge Rodriguez is in camp with the Rangers this week, and by the end of his stay his love of Jorge Alfaro will approach mine. That one of the bright spots this month has been the work of those vying for spots in the center field pecking order, which could include Leonys Martin and Craig Gentry in Arlington, Engel Beltre and Jim Adduci in Round Rock, and Julio Borbon in a different big league uniform.
That Robbie Ross and Nick Tepesch remain in the fifth starter competition, and that Michael Kirkman may be joining it, and that Kirkman’s outstanding spring, since he (like Borbon) is out of options, makes it easier to allow for the possibility that he or Ross could start, as does the early work of Nate Robertson (!!) and Joe Ortiz.
That Chris McGuiness has struggled in Indians camp but that Cleveland manager Terry Francona (who was with the Red Sox when McGuiness was a Boston farmhand) hopes his bosses can get the first baseman through Rule 5 waivers and work out a trade with Texas in order to keep him in the minor leagues.
That, according to Jon Heyman (CBS Sports), the Rangers have “twice tried to lock up All-Star shortstop Elvis Andrus to a long-term contract and are expected to make one more run at it this year,” and “that if the Rangers can’t secure him to a multiyear deal they will likely trade him in ‘10 to 12 months,’” and that all that should be viewed in light of the fact that Andrus is a Scott Boras guy, and so is Heyman.
That Evan Grant (Dallas Morning News) expects Texas would ask St. Louis to part with righthander Shelby Miller, a second frontline pitching prospect, and perhaps Rockwall catcher Steve Bean in exchange for Andrus, and that none of this is happening until next winter at the earliest, so don’t let it ruin your day.
That Jurickson Profar has joined Team Netherlands and will start at second base tonight.
That Don Welke was spotted in places that led writers to believe he was scouting Chamberlain and Boston relief pitchers and Japanese righthander Masahiro Tanaka, and maybe you shouldn’t forget the story about how Welke found out who Braves farmhand Neftali Feliz was.
That Baltimore added another former Ranger to the organization, this time Nelson Norman as Director of Baseball Operations for the Dominican Republic, and that’s all kinds of awesome.
That Max Ramirez is hitting .389/.463/.639 in Royals camp, with 14 RBI in 36 at-bats, while Guillermo Moscoso’s camp struggles led Kansas City to release him.
And that Joey Gallo’s Sunday was awesome, not only because he hit a pitch a thousand feet in front of nine thousand hometown fans in Las Vegas, but also because in his two earlier plate appearances he drew hard-fought walks off of big leaguer Carlos Villanueva.
But that doesn’t really count, because I didn’t have to read about it. I was back home, and saw it live.
Joey Gallo’s Sunday kickstarted baseball for me again, quietly and then unmistakably, a progression that I vote for the front office flap to follow, so that distractions can be shed once and for all as we head into what’s now fewer than two weeks of sleeps.