Inbox: Can Young reach 3,000 hits?
Beat reporter T.R. Sullivan answers Rangers fans' questions
Does Michael Young have a realistic shot at 3,000 career hits?
-- Maggie W., Burleson, Texas
Yes. Young, who turned 33 last October, has 1,662 career hits. Hall of Famer Paul Molitor, comparable as a hitter to Young, had 1,561 hits in eight full seasons after turning 33. Craig Biggio had 1,380 hits in eight seasons after turning 33. But there are also many players who had numbers similar to Young at this point in his career and ultimately fell well short of 3,000 hits. So much depends on Young staying healthy because physical issues have kept him from getting 200 hits in each of the past two seasons.What Ian Kinsler do you think we will see this coming year -- the .300 hitter we know he can be, or the .250 hitter we saw last year?
-- Christopher B., Arlington
The Rangers believe that if Kinsler can get back to hitting to the opposite field more in 2010 and get away from trying to pull everything, it will smooth out his swing. That will lead to more line drives and less popups, more patience and more walks at the plate and a higher on-base percentage. He still scored 101 runs and drove in 86 in 144 games last year, which is pretty good for a second baseman/leadoff hitter.Even though the Rangers got one of the Angels' best players in Vladimir Guerrero and the Angels lost another great player in Chone Figgins, why are the Rangers still the underdog?
-- David G., San Antonio, Texas
Because the Angels have won five division titles in the past six years. Agreed, Figgins is a terrific player, maybe the most underrated player in the game. But the Angels' top five starters -- Jered Weaver, Scott Kazmir, Joe Saunders, Ervin Santana and Joel Pineiro -- have combined for 302 wins. The Rangers' five winningest starters -- Rich Harden, Scott Feldman, Brandon McCarthy, Matt Harrison and Colby Lewis -- have 118 wins between them. The Rangers certainly have a shot, but the Angels are still very good.I love Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, but what's the chance that the scoreboard gets an update soon?
-- Alex M., Carrollton, Texas
That appears to be one of Chuck Greenberg's top priorities as managing general partner once his group is approved by Major League Baseball. A new scoreboard could be in place as early as 2011.Where is Kasey Kiker looking to pitch this year and in what capacity?
-- Matt D., Richfield, Minn.
Kiker, the Rangers' No. 1 Draft pick in 2006 who had a solid year at Double-A Frisco in '09, will likely be at Triple-A Oklahoma City and is still expected to be used as a starter. Kiker is going to big league camp for the first time this spring and in many past years, he would have been a guy to watch. That's no longer the case with the Rangers' much improved pitching depth, but a good year in Oklahoma City will certainly have him on the Major League doorstep.When the Rangers traded Kevin Millwood, Baltimore selected left-handed reliever Ben Snyder in the Rule 5 Draft and shipped him to Texas. It seems like there's quite a lot of competition for bullpen spots. So how likely do you think it is that he sticks with Rangers?
-- Aaron R., Dallas
On the surface, highly unlikely. The Rangers have C.J. Wilson and Darren Oliver as their main left-handed relievers. If Wilson moves into the rotation, that might open up a spot for Snyder, although the Rangers could still use Derek Holland and/or Matt Harrison in relief. Injuries could also open up a spot for Snyder. Remember though, the Rangers could also work out a trade that would allow them to keep Snyder and send him to the Minors.
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The Rangers would be crazy to replace Oklahoma City as their Triple-A affiliate. Tons of Okies make annual pilgrimages each year to Arlington for baseball because of the affiliation. It would seem dumb from a business perspective to trash a longstanding affiliation. I can't understand why having a Triple-A team in Texas would be any more advantageous than what's going on at the present.
-- Bill K., Oklahoma City, Okla.
I'm sorry, what was the question?To ask more about the question earlier in relation to the Rangers switching Minor League affiliates -- does that mean Oklahoma City will be left without a team?
-- Kenny M., Chandler, Okla.
No, Oklahoma City will still have a franchise that will be used by a Major League team, most likely the Astros. The actual franchise can't be taken away unless somebody buys the team and moves it elsewhere. The Rangers bought the old Double-A Shreveport franchise and moved it to Frisco. Nolan Ryan's franchises in Round Rock and Corpus Christi used to be in Edmonton (Ala.) and Jackson (Miss.) before being moved to Texas. Major League teams just can't form their own Minor League franchises wherever they please.Now that the new ownership is in place, how do the Rangers compare with financial flexibility relative to other teams in their own division and league-wide once all loans are paid and the club is given the full OK to operate without restraint?
-- Erica J., Bangs, Texas
The Rangers should have sufficient financial flexibility once the new group is in place and spending should increase over the next few years. But the new group would be wise to spend discriminately. Excessive spending on the wrong players will just send them back into the same downward spiral. The new group won't be able to surmount a $65 million contract to Chan Ho Park or a $99 million deal for Barry Zito anymore than the previous owner.I had the pleasure to watch Guillermo Moscoso during the Caribbean World Series. What are the chances of Moscoso being brought up from Triple-A to pitch in the bullpen like he did a few games last year? Does his status just depend on injuries to other relievers?
-- Brennan F., Broken Arrow, Okla.
Moscoso is the most underrated and overlooked player on the Rangers' 40-man roster because he doesn't have the big-time power arm that everybody loves. But this guy has a chance to be good if the Rangers give him a real chance to pitch. Over the past 1 1/2 seasons, at Double-A and above, Moscoso is 11-6 in 24 starts and nine relief appearances and has a 3.13 ERA. In 161 innings, he has allowed 136 hits and 43 walks while striking out 158.With all the talk about Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Taylor Teagarden and now Toby Hall, what happened to Max Ramirez? Will he get a shot with the Rangers?
-- Dean R., McKinney, Texas
Ramirez was once a big-time hitting prospect who struggled at the plate in Triple-A last season while dealing with some wrist injuries. He needs to re-establish himself as an offensive threat while continuing to work on his defense.Any chance of Brandon McCarthy, C.J. Wilson, Nelson Cruz, and a prospect like Blake Beaven being traded to the Giants for Matt Cain? Then the Rangers could sign Jermaine Dye to play right field.
-- Matt W., Eustace, Texas
Under those parameters, wouldn't the Giants be smarter to keep Cain and sign Dye themselves?With Pudge Rodriguez gone, will David Murphy get his number back?
-- John N., Dallas
Yes, Murphy is planning to wear No. 7 again this season.I was just pondering this trade: Justin Smoak for Jayson Werth. The Phillies are loaded and I've heard that signing Werth is something they might not do. The Rangers need a right-handed power bat, especially if Vladimir Guerrero is only here for one season. Would anyone consider making this trade?
-- Robby R., Fort Worth, Texas
Not with Nelson Cruz playing right field for the Rangers.I watched every Neftali Feliz appearance last year. I noticed Feliz lost velocity as the season went on? Is this a concern?
-- Sky S., Brownwood, Texas
Might be. The Rangers pushed Feliz to the limit last season and it will be interesting to see if his velocity does bounce back. In his Major League debut on Aug. 3, his fastball was 97-101 mph. In his last outing on Oct. 3, he was at 93-97 mph. However, that's still pretty good even at the Major League level.I was wondering why you weren't interviewing the Rangers players like you did last offseason. You remember when you filmed one player each month until Spring Training came around?
-- Paul B., Highland Village, Texas
That show got canceled faster than Bay City Blues, Jay Leno, Conan O'Brien and Kelsey Grammar's last effort.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.