Inbox: Will Jaramillo return to Texas?
Beat reporter T.R. Sullivan answers Rangers fans' questions
Will hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo be back or is it time to get a new hitting coach?
-- Melissa W. Plano, Texas
The Rangers have asked Jaramillo to return as hitting coach. He is unsigned for next year, though, and a contract still has to be worked out. If a new contract hasn't been finished by Oct. 31, Jaramillo is free to speak with other clubs. The Chicago Cubs have fired hitting coach Von Joshua and Jaramillo would be high on their list. The Rays have also dismissed their hitting coach. The Astros are another team that could have interest in Jaramillo.Which free agent right-handed batters out there would be of interest to the Rangers?
-- Paul F. Fort Worth
Jermaine Dye is a name that jumps out if the White Sox decline a $12 million option for next season. He turns 36 in January and hit .250 with 27 home runs and 81 RBI. He hit .292 with a .508 slugging percentage against lefties. Also might be interesting to give Troy Glaus a chance. He is 33 and coming off shoulder surgery but could be a right-handed complement at first base/designated hitter.Justin Smoak looked good for Team USA in the World Cup. What kind of competition is he facing over there? Is it comparable to Triple-A?
-- Jake L. Houston
The talent runs the gamut. Some of it is Triple-A or better. Cuba, Japan and Korea all play at a high level. Croatia, Sweden and the Czech Republic are at the other end of the spectrum. But the United States should have learned by now not to sneer at any other country. A gold medal and MVP trophy from the World Cup is a significant achievement for Smoak and a good omen for the Rangers.The Rangers' outfield seems crowded for 2010. Assuming Byrd is back, who do you see as the starters and the backups?
-- Roger S. New South Wales, Australia
You could go Julio Borbon in left, Byrd in center, Josh Hamilton in right, David Murphy as the designated hitter and Nelson Cruz getting sufficient playing time in reserve. Really five outfielders for four spots is not a bad situation given everybody's versatility. Of course if you sign another right-handed-hitting outfielder like Dye then it starts to get crowded. There still seems a good possibility that the Rangers could trade an outfielder for other needs.
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-- John B. Waco, Texas
Great may be overstating it a little bit. The Rangers did like him but he did seem to wear out his welcome. He is a very good player and not a bad person but just too high-maintenance and high-stress.You suggested that Ivan Rodriguez could stay with the Rangers next year while either Taylor Teagarden or Jarrod Saltalamacchia goes to Triple-A. Why not keep all three, with Pudge filling the role Andruw Jones filled this year? Saltalamacchia could back up first and it's not like Jones played a lot of outfield.
-- Bobby Y. Hugo, Okla.
That's tough to do with a four-man bench. Teams used to carry three catchers but the increased need for pitching has eliminated that. The right-handed hitter that replaces Jones needs to be able to do more of a power hitter and run producer.Would the Rangers ever consider holding Julio Borbon back so he could qualify for Rookie of the Year in 2010?
-- Ben P. Claremont, Calif.
No. Borbon has passed the threshold (130 at-bats) for being a Rookie of the Year candidate but Neftali Feliz finished under the 50-inning limit for pitchers. Put him down as one of the early candidates.I would like to know the chances of the Rangers making a run at John Lackey when he becomes a free agent. He is AL West tested and I would like to see us steal one away from the Angels.
-- Matt S. Houston
Lackey is going to be beyond the Rangers' price range in terms of salary and length of contract, especially if he has a good postseason.Lackey has been in the big leagues for 71/2 years and turns 31 later this month. He has a career record of 102-71 with a 3.81 ERA, .263 opponents batting average and a .590 winning percentage in 1,501 innings. Kevin Millwood turned 30 after he had been in the big leagues for 71/2 years. At that point he was 98-64 with a 3.89 ERA, .247 opponents batting average and a .605 winning percentage in 1,367 1/3 innings. How is Joaquin Benoit's rehab going? Will he rejoin the team anytime soon?
-- Meghan B. Arlington
Benoit, who missed the season with a torn rotator cuff, can be a free agent. He will be in somebody's camp next year on a Minor League contract.Will the Rangers keep Omar Vizquel as a utility infielder?
-- Luis S. Dallas
The Rangers loved having Vizquel and he wants to play again in 2010. But he'll probably look for a better situation as far as playing time.What did the Rangers get, if anything, for Ryan Ludwick?
-- Gilley C. Springtown, Texas
He was traded to the Indians on July 18, 2003, for pitcher Ricardo Rodriguez and outfielder Shane Spencer. Rodriguez was later traded for Vicente Padilla. There were other chances to reacquire Ludwick since then through waiver claims before he finally broke through with the Cardinals.I've been a Ranger/Senator fan since 1970! And I always follow the waiver wire/transaction. But I must have missed out on what happen to Scott Heard!
-- Jon H. Washington D.C.
He retired six years ago after the 2003 season. You did hear about the Alex Rodriguez trade, though, didn't you? That was on the waiver wire/transaction too.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.