Texas Rangers News and Notes

by Dan M | Posted on Friday, January 25th, 2019

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BY DIC HUMPHREY                                                                                                                                        DHUMPHREY24@GMAIL.COM
Member United States Basketball Writers Association

Four new members of Major League Baseball’s Hall of Fame announced

ARLINGTON, Texas – The big news in baseball this week was the
announcement of four new elected members to Major League Baseball’s
Hall of Fame. The four former players are – Mariano Rivera, Edgar
Martinez, Roy Halladay and Mike Mussina. Martinez was primarily a designated hitter, while the other three are
pitchers.
Rivera became the first player elected to the Hall of Fame by a
unanimous vote.  He is clearly the best relief pitcher in baseball
history.  He saved 652 games in his 19 year career, all with the
Yankees; so he will have the Yankees logo on the cap of his Hall of
Fame shrine. He is certainly deserving of being voted in unanimously
in the first year he was eligible.
However, it is amazing that it took well into the 21st century to
have a player elected by a unanimous vote.  How did so many of the
truly great players such as Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe
DiMaggio, Stan Musial, Ted Williams, Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle not
get elected by a unanimous vote?
Halladay died a little over a year ago in a plane crash. He
broke in with Toronto late in 1998, starting two games and winning
one.  He pitched 15 more years compiling 203 wins for Blue Jays and
Phillies.  His wife indicated that his plaque in Cooperstown will
have a generic cap, much to the disappointment of the Blue Jays and
their fans.
Mussina spent his career in the American League East pitching for
Baltimore and New York. He won 270 games pitching from 1991-2008 –
the heart of the steroid era.  It’s surprising that it took so long
for him to get elected. With the way the game has changed in regard
to starting pitchers and bullpen usage, where starting pitchers rarely
stay in games more than two times through their opponents’ batting
order, it’s unlikely that any pitcher will ever again win 270 games.
Mussina will go into the HOF with no logo on his cap .
Martinez was also slow to get elected, largely because he was
such a one dimensional player. He becomes just the second player to
enter the Hall having played more games as a designated hitter than at
a position in the field (Frank Thomas is the other.) He was an
excellent hitter batting .312 over an 18 year career.  Martinez will
have a Mariners’ logo on the cap of his Hall of Fame shrine.
Michael Young, who played most of his career in a Ranger
uniform, received 11 votes in his first year of eligibility.  It takes
5% to stay on the ballot, so he will be dropped off in the future.
That’s a shame.  He was a key player on two World Series teams, made
seven All-Star teams, won a Gold Glove for fielding excellence, and
has more hits in his career than Edgar Martinez.
Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds again did not get elected.  Their
body of work as players is clearly Hall of Fame worthy.  Clemens won
seven Cy Young Awards, and Bonds is the all-time home run leader.
Their purported use of steroids is shooing the voters away. They fell
66 and 68 votes short of election and both have three more years to be
on the ballot.
Rangers roster update
As for the Rangers in 2019, they recently signed Shelby Miller,
once a very good starting pitcher that is returning from surgery.  At
this point, the Rangers’ projected starting rotation is Miller along
with Mike Minor, Lance Lynn, Edinson Volquez, and Drew Smyly.
Collectively they have undergone six Tommy John surgeries.
A year ago, Minor was a reclamation project coming off surgery.
After a slow start, he became the Rangers’ best starting pitcher by
season’s end. In the Jon Daniels GM regime, this has been the MO –
find pitchers that were once good, and hope they can return to the
good days of yesteryear. It hasn’t worked often – Minor is an
exception. The hope is that it works for the other four in 2019.
Farm hands Ariel Jurado and Johander Mendez are still candidates
to be in the rotation, and the Rangers likely will sign more starting
pitcher candidates for depth.
Asdrubal Cabrera was signed this week.  The veteran infielder has
mainly played shortstop and second base in his career, but he was
signed to be the Rangers’ third baseman this season. The 33 year-old
played 147 games last season for the Phillies and the Mets, hitting
.262 with 23 home runs and 75 RBIs.  He signed a one year contract for
a relatively modest $3.5 million.  It’s surprising that he didn’t
command a higher salary.
On the surface, this looks like bad news for Patrick Wisdom, the
minor league third baseman the Rangers obtained from St. Louis for
Drew Robinson.  However, if Wisdom has a strong spring training
performance, he could still be the opening day third baseman with
Cabrera becoming the backup infielder.
The Rangers also announced that Joey Gallo would be the regular
left fielder this season. Gallo has played all three outfield
positions, first base and third base in his career.  There has always
been the thought that if he played just one position, he would become
a better offensive player.  At least for now, the Rangers are saying
that he’ll be in one spot on the field. The announcement is good news
for Ronald Guzman.  Guzman has shared first base with Gallo, so it
appears the position is Guzman’s, though the Rangers are likely to
bring in a veteran first baseman that bats right handed for depth.
New stadium ticket prices revealed
Many long time Ranger fans are experiencing “sticker shock”. The
Rangers artfully waited until after most of the renewing season ticket
holders had paid for the 2019 season before providing a preview of
their season ticket options in the new stadium.  That process just
started and early reports are that the prices are astounding.  One
fan interviewed on a local television station said she has been paying
about $90 per ticket for very nice seats near the field between the
dugouts.  The first option she was shown would cost $400 for seats in
a similar location.  That’s not $400 for two or four seats. That’s
$400 per ticket per game. Some food and beverages (including
alcoholic beverages) are included, but the price is still an
astounding multiple of the current ticket cost.
There are less expensive options, but the early word for fans
sitting in the lower sections between the dugouts will be paying a
minimum of $120-$150 per ticket in the new park, after paying $70-$100
now.  OUCH!  The prediction here is that a lot of current season
ticket holders won’t be renewing next year, or in the alternative,
renewing for seats in lesser locations and/or bringing in additional
participants in their ticket group.
Texas Rangers Fan Fest
This weekend is the Rangers “Fan Fest”.  The ballpark will be open
Saturday from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM.  A number of players will be
available to sign autographs as well as for photo opportunities.
There will also be question and answer sessions with players and
coaches. Tickets are $10.00 for adults and $6.00 for children.

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