03/19/07 5:23 PM ET
Mailbag: A fan's vote for veteran starters
Plus queries on moving to AL Central, altering the ballpark
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
What are the odds that Jamey Wright and Bruce Chen both make the team (as fourth and fifth starter?)? Would a couple more bad starts from Robinson Tejeda do the trick? If they are both pitching and Tejeda looks shaky, I'd rather keep the two veterans and option Tejeda to Triple-A Oklahoma.
-- Cory V., Edmond, Okla.
No. No. One hundred times no.The Rangers rotation needs to be Kevin Millwood, Vicente Padilla, Brandon McCarthy, Kameron Loe and Robinson Tejeda. General manager Jon Daniels has made it clear that he expects Tejeda to be in the rotation. My opinion is Loe needs to be in there with him as well. Yes, Wright has pitched well and he does have terrific stuff. Yes, the Rangers want to have the best team possible. But they've been down this road too many times before: Pedro Astacio, John Wasdin, Ismael Valdez, Alan Benes, Mark Clark, on and on and on. Tejeda pitched great last year. Loe was pretty good as well before he got hurt. Their time has come. They need to be given a serious chance to establish themselves as Major League starters. They've earned it. They deserve it. Who's the better outfielder, Sammy Sosa, Brad Wilkerson, or Frank "the Cat" Catalanotto?
-- Nick S., Lewisville, Texas
From that list, probably Wilkerson at this point. But the Rangers' best defensive outfielder is Nelson Cruz and he is another guy who needs to be given a serious chance to show what he can do.Is there any chance of the Rangers ever moving to the AL Central so that we don't have to stay up until 1 a.m. to watch division games? It was discussed at one point, but that idea seems to have been permanently shelved. Why is it more important for Colorado or Arizona to be in the NL than the Rangers being in their own time zone?
-- Matt C., Dallas
It proved too difficult. One reason is nobody wants to move from the National League to the American League.
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If you move the Rangers to the AL Central, that leaves the West with three teams. If you move Colorado into the AL West, that leaves 15 teams in each league and would force an Interleague game every night. Major League Baseball is opposed to that.The Rangers are satisfied with the arrangement for now as long as they play the Houston Astros home-and-away every year. There is a perfect way to solve all problems. I'll show you how on Wednesday on my Postcards from Elysian Fields blog. Check back then. With all the depth in the bullpen, and all the recently added invitees to training camp with regards to the pitching, is there any chance for a trade perhaps to send a young solid outfielder our way?
-- Justin F., Gilmer, Texas
The Rangers aren't getting that kind of offer for Akinori Otsuka. They have been very disappointed in what teams are offering for Otsuka. So if he can't bring that kind of outfielder, then it's doubtful some of the other relievers will. Plus, not sure the Rangers can spare a reliever at this point. They need a few guys to step it up in the last couple of weeks. Frank Francisco, Wes Littleton and Rick Bauer come to mind.People discuss the possibility of trading Otsuka and keeping Eric Gagne. But who would be our closer next year if the Rangers did a trade, assuming some other team would likely pay huge bucks for Gagne?
-- Jim H., Dallas
That is an excellent point. There are some with the potential to close and C.J. Wilson has said that he would like to be a closer at some point. Francisco and Josh Rupe have been mentioned in the past. But you are exactly right. Otsuka is arbitration-eligible next year and Gagne is a free agent. That is definitely something to be considered.Is Jason Hart still in the Rangers organization? I'd love to see him bloom late and do well.
-- Bob H., Grapevine, Texas
Hart, who had to overcome a benign brain tumor, was released early this spring by the Chicago Cubs. You were hardly alone in your desire to seem him make it to the Major Leagues.I was wondering what C.J. Wilson's role is going to be this year? He's seemed shaky throughout Spring Training, while Ron Mahay has seemed more reliable.
-- Joel N., Ardmore, Okla.
Mahay has been overlooked but has had a solid camp. Wilson had a good outing on Sunday and should be fine. They will be the Rangers' two setup relievers and a critical part of the bullpen. At some point Wilson will likely be considered for a more substantial role, either as a starter or a closer.What ever happened to the rumor if it ever was true about the Rangers possibly reconstructing the upper-level suites behind home plate that seem to cause the power surge jet stream?
-- Blake D., Sachse, Texas
The Rangers have shelved that plan. The ballpark, just renamed Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, stays the way it is. The Rangers believe they need better pitching, not a construction makeover.Could you bring me some autographs or a hat or jersey back from Surprise, Ariz.? I couldn't make it out there this year, my pregnant wife said no.
-- Travis A., Arlington
Sorry, I don't wear a hat and don't have a jersey. I could autograph one of my Nautica shirts for you. But don't forget to check out the Texas Rangers' three-piece toddler sleepwear set. You can find it right here on our Web site. It will make a great gift when Junior finally arrives and make momma very happy.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.