I'm posting this morning's TROT COFFEY report on the website, though typically these go to the mailing list only. If you want to jump on the list, click "SUBSCRIBE" at the top of this page.
(* Trade Rumor Offerings To Chew On For Fun, Even Yuks)
Not to be confused with veteran reliever Todd Coffey, the TROT COFFEY is a mailing list-only Newberg Report update on various trade and free agent rumblings unearthed, if not hatched, by the media or player agents:
· When Nick Tepesch was taken out of Saturday night’s game in the second inning with a wrist injury, the look-ahead was a little bleak, with the pen needed for seven-plus that night and the Rangers’ number eight starter, Justin Grimm, set to go the next afternoon against a Seattle offense that had knocked him around a bit 10 days earlier, before the team would board a plane for Anaheim.
And then Derek Lowe, Joe Ortiz, Tanner Scheppers, Jason Frasor, and Michael Kirkman came a meaningless solo homer on Sunday’s next-to-last at-bat short of 10.1 scoreless innings, and the club didn’t need to go to Joe Nathan and Robbie Ross at all those two days.
Meanwhile, the Angels needed 115 pitches from its bullpen in a 13-inning affair on Sunday, including 33 from Ernesto Frieri and 36 from Jerome Williams, and what looked potentially grim early Saturday evening, at least from a bullpen standpoint, now favors Texas, tonight at least, as Derek Holland faces Joe Blanton in the first of three between the teams.
Can’t predict ball.
· It’s not that important that Texas, winners of three straight, caught Oakland, losers of three straight, but if you remove Houston games from the two teams’ results to date, the Rangers are 10-5 with a +23 run differential, while the A’s are 6-7 with a (-6) run differential. Not all that important, either, at least not this early, but Oakland’s strong start has been largely fattened up in six meetings with the Astros.
· I pulled the Angels’ radio broadcast up in the 12th inning yesterday. Peter Bourjos struck out and Mike Trout flew out to center, and Jim Leyland intentionally walked Albert Pujols for the second time in the game to get to Josh Hamilton. Yes, Detroit deliberately put the winning run on base in the bottom of an extra inning.
As Hamilton stepped to the plate, the Angels’ radio man said, with an unmistakable sense of resignation in his voice: “He’s gonna make ’em pay . . . . One of these days."
Four-seam Phil Coke fastball, 93 mph, called strike one.
Four-seam fastball, 93 mph, fouled off for strike two.
Four-seam fastball, 92 mph, swinging strike three.
· In his final month as a Ranger, Hamilton hit .245/.330/.543.
In his miserable June and July, that two-month stretch that he joked to reporters he took off, he hit .202/.288/.399.
In the first three weeks of his five-year, eighth-of-a-billion-dollar contract with the Angels, Hamilton is hitting .176/.247/.324.
· Price or Stanton? My answer fluctuates. Today it’s Stanton. Yesterday it was Price.
· Actually, yesterday it was “Both.”
· I’d like to think there might be a way, once it becomes somewhat clear that Jurickson Profar is in the discussion, that both the Rays and Marlins were hungry enough for the 20-year-old (who has played shortstop in 12 of 13 Round Rock starts) that Texas could play one off the other and reclaim a tick of leverage, but don’t count on it. Players like Xander Bogaerts, Taijuan Walker, Zack Wheeler, and Jorge Soler could be in play, and if St. Louis is open to breaking up its Oscar Taveras-Shelby Miller-Carlos Martinez-Michael Wacha-Trevor Rosenthal-Kolten Wong tier, then the Rangers are basically a lead contestant, but certainly not without serious competition.
· While not headliners in any deal, I still think Leonys Martin would be a target for Miami, and that a swap of Mitch Moreland and James Loney could figure into talks with Tampa Bay.
· And before you assume that Texas would never trade any of the 2012 Fab Five (Lewis Brinson, Joey Gallo, Nick Williams, Collin Wiles, Jamie Jarmon) this quickly, the first three in particular are going to draw attention, all three will be eligible to be moved as of June 12, and if you look back six years at the last Fab Five, you’ll notice that Blake Beavan (Cliff Lee), Michael Main (Bengie Molina), and Tommy Hunter (Koji Uehara) all helped flags fly forever, and now Julio Borbon is gone, too, leaving Neil Ramirez – another candidate to be traded if his resurgence continues – as the only 2007 first-rounder still with the club.
That’s not a criticism. Far from it.
· On Moreland, you can safely assume that Texas doesn’t want to be the team before the team with which he figures it out (see Chris Davis), but after Yu Darvish and Elvis Andrus you have to believe everybody’s up for some level of discussion.
· Buster Olney (ESPN) offers this “educated guess” on which teams line up as frontrunners for the two big fish:
Price: Cubs, Red Sox, Cardinals, Rangers
Stanton: Rangers, Mariners, Tigers, Cardinals
· While Profar is probably a necessity for Price or Stanton, J.J. Cooper (Baseball America) notes that “[i]f [the] Rangers decided they need to make trade to fill in for pitching injuries, they have plenty of non-Profar trade chips to deal.”
· You already know plenty about righthanders Luke Jackson and C.J. Edwards, but keep an eye on Myrtle Beach lefthander Victor Payano, because you can bet there are folks paid to do that sort of thing that already are.
· And there are some relievers in Frisco off to extraordinary starts, starting with Wilmer Font, who allowed his first hit of the season yesterday (one hit and five walks in eight scoreless innings overall, 11 strikeouts), and Roman Mendez (7.1 scoreless frames, four hits, one walk, eight strikeouts), who are probably the best prospects in the bunch, but Jake Brigham, Randy Henry, Jimmy Reyes, Ben Rowen, and Ryan Rodebaugh are getting the job done, too.
· While Tepesch is expected to make his next start on Thursday, whether Rick Porcello makes his next start for Detroit may be less certain. After Porcello put together a standout spring (21 strikeouts in 24 innings, scattering 18 hits and three walks), Detroit was reportedly shopping him – allegedly asking Texas for Tepesch and Leury Garcia – but after getting chased Saturday night by the Angels in the first inning (nine runs on nine hits and a walk), the Twins-Jays-A’s-Angels are now hitting .383 against the righthander, striking out three times in 13 frames, and his ERA sits at 11.08.
· Josh Lindblom (rostered right-handed starter), Brad Mills (non-roster left-handed starter), Cory Burns (rostered right-handed reliever), and Neal Cotts (non-roster left-handed reliever) are pitching really well at Round Rock.
· Righthander Wilfredo Boscan, whom Texas traded to San Diego for Burns (who will still have two options after this year), has a 5.84 ERA and opponents’ batting average of .309 for AA San Antonio.
· Back in March, when the Angels traded Vernon Wells to the Yankees, a reporter asked what he said to Mike Scioscia before leaving the Angels’ spring training complex. Wells: “I told him, ‘I’m just going to try to Napoli you guys when I play you.’”
· Early on, Wells is hitting .317/.394/.619 as a Yankee.
· The Cubs were awarded Julio Borbon on Friday after the Astros and Mets passed on the waived outfielder. Baltimore reportedly placed a claim as well, and I’m sure there were others. According to T.R. Sullivan (MLB.com), the Orioles “could have had him for a low-level pitching prospect but declined.” Roch Kubatko (MASN Sports) noted that Baltimore “didn’t want to part with the minor leaguers who interested the Rangers and [Borbon] wasn’t viewed as an upgrade over someone like Chris Dickerson, also a left-handed hitting outfielder.”
· Chicago designated former Rangers infielder Alberto Gonzalez for assignment to make room for Borbon.
· The Rangers put in a claim on White Sox lefthander Charlie Leesman, whom Chicago had tried sneaking through release waivers as he rehabs from knee surgery. Leesman has the procedural right to decline the assignment if he wants. This is the same process by which Texas stole Pedro Strop from the Rockies in 2008.
Leesman, 26, went 12-10, 2.47 for AAA Charlotte last year, holding the International League to a .255 batting average (103 strikeouts and 52 walks in 135 innings). He reportedly has relatively ordinary stuff (with the exception of a change that flashes plus) but has proved to be an extreme groundball pitcher in his five years as a pro.
If Leesman accepts the assignment – I think his decision is due today or tomorrow – he will go onto the Rangers’ 40-man roster, which sits now at 39 players. His first option was exhausted in 2012.
· Within days of each other, Texas traded lefthander Jeff Beliveau to Tampa Bay for cash considerations and acquired catcher Robinson Chirinos from the Rays for a player to be named later, but the trades are said to be unrelated. Both Beliveau and Chirinos (whom Texas tried to acquire from the Cubs a couple years ago before the Rays got him from Chicago in the Matt Garza deal) had been designated for assignment.
· Lefthander Kevin Matthews and outfielder Zach Cone, the two players Texas took with the compensatory first-round picks received in 2011 for the loss of Cliff Lee to free agency, are reportedly both out for the year. Matthews has a bone spur in his shoulder and Cone tore his left Achilles tendon.
· Ken Rosenthal (Fox Sports) speculates that Philadelphia could shop Lee in July (or August) if the club feels it isn’t in contention. The 34-year-old is due $25 million this year, $25 million next year, and $25 million in 2015, and there’s a $12.5 million buyout to avoid a $27.5 million club option in 2016 – and that option vests if the veteran finishes the 2015 season healthy and pitched either 200 innings that season or a combined 400 frames in 2014-15.
· Don Welke reminded us at yesterday’s Baseball Prospectus event at Rangers Ballpark that Adrian Beltre nearly died after the 2000 season when his appendix burst and his treatment in the Dominican Republic didn’t go as planned, and that Beltre, after a second surgery that next spring training, played exhibition games with a colostomy bag under his uniform.
· Welke, who was with the Dodgers when Beltre was breaking in as the club’s everyday third baseman at age 20, said that he had elite makeup then and gets better in that department all the time – and that he’s the leader of this Rangers team.
· Jon Daniels spoke at the event as well, and had a lot of interesting things to say. The one that resonated most with me was that his takeaway from the 2010 Giants and 2011 Cardinals teams that beat Texas in the World Series was not so much that they won with pitching – but that they both had franchise catchers who hit in the middle of the lineup, controlled the running game, handled their pitching staffs, and led their teams.
I crave that type of player almost as much as adding another frontline starting pitcher, too.
· Toronto claimed corner infielder Mauro Gomez off waivers from Boston, who added Brandon Snyder on a minor league deal. San Diego signed first baseman Brandon Allen to a minor league deal. The Angels signed corner bat Brad Hawpe to a minor league deal.
· I noticed righthander Omar Poveda landed this spring with the Braves, speaking of which, Detroit claimed righthander Evan Reed off waivers from Miami. Texas had traded Poveda and Reed to the Marlins for Jorge Cantu at the 2010 trade deadline.
· Corner bat Conor Jackson retired.
· Oakland released infielder Tommy Mendonca.
· The HSV Stealers of the German Baseball-Bundesliga signed righthander Kyle Ocampo. Righthander Shawn Blackwell joined the El Paso Diablos of the independent American Association, and first baseman Andrew Clark signed with the Evansville Otters of the independent Frontier League.
· Vladimir Guerrero is a Long Island Duck.
· Holland-Blanton, Ogando-Vargas, Darvish-Hanson.
7.5, 5.5, 3.5, or 1.5.
And let’s remember, when looking at Rangers pitchers’ base on balls totals in this series, to back out the intentional walks.