Turmoil in Texas (cont.)
Posted: Wednesday June 13, 2007 11:55AM; Updated: Wednesday June 13, 2007 1:07PM
The one surprise is that Washington hasn't been beloved in the clubhouse. He was brought in with the tag as a players' manager after being loved and respected as the longtime A's third-base coach (though oddly enough, he wasn't a serious candidate for manager when Oakland had an opening this winter). He also had the advantage of following the controlling Buck Showalter, who was not well-liked by a lot of Rangers players, from Michael Young to Mark Teixeira to Alex Rodriguez before that.
But so far, Washington isn't winning his players over any more than he's winning games. Parts of his run-in with Teixeira have become public, which has disappointed Daniels, who said it was an "isolated incident" and hasn't been part of the clubhouse discussion for three weeks. Daniels declined to say what went on, but another person with knowledge of the situation said the true story hasn't really been told and that what really happened was that Teixeira either missed or ignored a "take" sign put on by Washington late in a game, and that rather than ignore the one mistake by a star and risk having the rest of the clubhouse think there's a double standard, Washington called in Teixeira to tell him that wasn't acceptable.
Word is, everything about Texas' start isn't acceptable to Hicks.
Texas trade winds
The Rangers are seen as a club that will hold a fire sale of great interest if they don't make a quick turnaround, and players expected to come up in trade talks include Teixeira, Eric Gagne, Kenny Lofton, Wilkerson and Otsuka. Gagne has a 12-team no-trade list but isn't expected to object to being moved to a contender (although he'd surely prefer to close, wherever he goes, understandable in that he has an astonishing 96.5 save percentage for his career).
The switch-hitting, smooth-fielding star Teixeira will be the main attraction, but Daniels points out that, as a player who isn't a free agent until after 2008, there isn't an urgent reason to deal him. "He's incredibly important to the club and the franchise," Daniels says. "I'm not picking up the phone [to initiate Teixeira trade talks]. Clubs would have to call us."
And they will, starting with Baltimore (Teixeira's hometown team) but not ending there. The Red Sox, Yankees, Dodgers, Angels and perhaps even the Giants could be among the teams interested.
Around the Majors
The Phillies recently joined the ranks of those looking for a starting pitcher after getting bad news on Freddy Garcia's shoulder (although, they still haven't said exactly what that bad news is).
If the Tigers don't pick up Pudge Rodriguez's $13 million option, the Mets would be first in line, as Paul Lo Duca's contract is up after this season. However, baseball people figure it's a lock that Detroit will pick up that option.
Heading into the series with the Dodgers, as reported by Newsday's David Lennon, Mets manager Willie Randolph told his troops in a meeting that they just needed to relax. They may have taken his advice a little too seriously; they actually look moribund. Left-fielder Moises Alou won't be back for awhile, several weeks at least. He was sent to Port St. Lucie to continue rehabbing his injured quad muscle.
There are a couple theories as to why Carlos Delgado has been awful this year, leading with possible lingering pain from his wrist surgery and creeping age. However, insiders say his main problem is his approach -- that he's been trying to pull too many balls.
With all the Cardinals' hitting troubles, maybe it's time to give ex-pitcher Rick Ankiel a shot. At Triple-A Louisville he has 14 home runs, 45 RBIs and a .568 slugging percentage.
Marlins left-fielder Josh Willingham is a lot better than you think. If he didn't have to play his home games in a football stadium he might be an All-Star. Willingham is hitting .309 on the road in his career, with an outstanding .943 OPS (.397 on-base percentage, .546 slugging).
Don't look now but Dmitri Young, who was supposed to be a stopgap for the injured Nick Johnson, is second in the NL with a .342 batting average (including .398 at RFK Stadium, which is fairly unfriendly to hitters). No one figured that Young had this sort of season in him, least of all me, who noted how fat he looked in April.
If there's a back-end bullpen duo that's as good as the Angels' Scot Shields and Francisco Rodriguez, it's the Dodgers' Jonathan Broxton and Takashi Saito.
One of the more impressive things about Justin Verlander's no-hitter against the Brewers on Tuesday night was that 101-mph heater that was the penultimate pitch of the game. If I had to pick one player to start a newly-formed team with, Verlander would make my top four, right after Johan Santana, A-Rod and Jose Reyes.