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1/5/10: Contract Year Wonder - The Texas Rangers have won the gullibility sweepstakes, signing third baseman Adrian Beltre to a six-year, $96 million contract. Beltre, who turns 32 in April, has had two spectacular seasons: 2004 and 2010, both contract years. In his 11 big league seasons outside of 2004 and 2010, Beltre has an RSL of .264/.318/.435.

There is some hope for Rangers fans. Beltre represents a huge upgrade defensively at the hot corner over Michael Young, who shifts to designated hitter. In fact, over the past three seasons, no third baseman has saved more runs defensively than Beltre (55) and none has cost his team more runs than Young (-31). Additionally, Beltre's 2010 season was not a product of Fenway Park, as he went .327/.370/.583 on the road. He has gone .306/.336/.521 for his career in Arlington.

Still, third basemen in their mid-30s tend to age quickly and Beltre has been a bust whenever not directly motivated by money. Expect a terrific year for him in 2016, however, since he is incredible every six years and will be once again playing for a contract.

6/5/10: Dr. James Andrews Will Hunt Hunter - 23-year-old Tommy Hunter pitched a gem of a game against Tampa Bay today, going the full nine innings, walking no one, and allowing just one run on five hits.

Unfortunately, this was Hunter's first big league start of the season, and he threw 117 pitches. He averaged 4.5 innings in each of is six minor league starts this season and had never gone further than 104 pitches in any of his previous 22 major league starts. This abrupt increase in workload is exactly the sort of thing that will send young Tommy Hunter out for old Tommy John surgery.

April 7, 2010 - Let Us Rejoice and Be Vlad in It - After going 2-for-3 on opening day, Vladamir Guerrero is a career .398 hitter in 225 plate appearances in Arlington Stadium, along with a .476 OBP and .704 SLG. People seem to forget that Vlad is still only 35 years old and as recently as 2007, he hit .324 with 73 extra-base hits and 125 RBI. Can you say Comeback Player of the Year?   --KG

September 1, 2009 - Adieu, Andruw Jones - This may be the year we bid adieu to Andruw Jones. I mean, I understand tailing off as a hitter in Atlanta or Los Angeles, but if you can’t get it done in Texas, you really are toast. As of September 1st, the oldest 32 year old in baseball is sitting at .217/.329/.482/.811, with 17 homeruns, 16 doubles, 41 runs and RBI, and a 110 OPS+. Those are perfectly lovely numbers for an average player on an average team, but this is Andruw Jones, and this is the Texas Rangers. Going one step further, the majority of Andruw’s work has been done at home, as he is .192/.290/.425 on the road; the majority of his work was also in the first half, as he is .188/.323/.363 in the second half so far.

So, Adieu, Andruw Jones, we hardly knew ya. You were a product of the 1990s, and though you may one day hit your 400th homerun, we truly know that you were no more than the Cesar Cedeno of the Delgado Era.   --ABC

July 28, 2009 - Ian Kinsler, Homepark Hero? - Suddenly I looked up today, and Ian Kinsler was hitting .242. What gives? Kinsler has somehow turned into a Homepark Hero here in 2009 – at home, he has 14 homeruns and 14 doubles at home, with a line of .282/.356/.569/.925. On the road, however, he has 9 homeruns, 6 doubles, and a line of .196/.264/.375/.639. It is shocking. It is appalling. It is . . . typical of baseball in Arlington.  --ABC

06/25/09: What's in a Strikeout? - How important are strikeouts as a determinant of a player’s value? Not very. While the knowledge that a player is a free swinger can help a pitcher in certain situations (think Ryan Howard sees a pitch in the zone on an 0-2 count?), generally speaking knowing that a player strikes out a lot does not actually tell you very much about how valuable that player is. For example, the major league leader in strikeouts at present is Chris Davis of the Texas Rangers with 102 strikeouts. He is currently hitting .196 with a 70 OPS+. Mark Reynolds is second with 98 strikeouts, and he is hitting .266 with a 129 OPS+. Davis and Reynolds are first and second in the majors in strikeouts, and they could not be having more different seasons.   --ABC

06/18/09: New Nicknames - You know the old saying "misery loves company?" Well, throughout the 2009 season we have tracked the performance of one Chris Davis, who is on pace to obliterate the major league single season homerun record set last year by Mark Reynolds. But in heaping attention upon Davis, we have given short shrift to Reynolds. Indeed, as of Wednesday night's games, Reynolds now has only two fewer strikeouts on the season (95 vs. 93) and is now also on pace to destroy his record from a year ago. What's more, Reynolds has been more productive overall in 2009 than Davis, so the odds of him finishing the season as a major league starter are significantly better.

So, in honor of our failure initially recognize Mark Reynolds, we have expanded our Chris Davis Watch to an all new Strikeout Watch, which now includes Mark Reynolds. Further, we have added two nicknames to our nicknames list: Chris "Misery" Davis and Mark "Company" Reynolds.  --ABC

06/12/09: Rare Moment - When Rangers first baseman Chris Davis failed to strikeout in Thursday's game, it was only the eighth time this season and 29th time in his career that he failed to strikeout in a game he started.  --ABC

5/20/09: On Pace for Something Special - Tonight the Texas Rangers played their fortieth game of the season. Second year first baseman Chris Davis struckout 3 times, to bring his season total for strikeouts to 59. At this rate, he will finish the season with 236 strikeouts, which would obliterate Mark Reynolds' single season record of 204.  --ABC

4/22/09: If It Walks Like a Gabbard, Talks Like a Gabbard, and Looks Like a Gabbard... - The Rangers claimed pitcher Darren O'Day off waivers from the Mets this afternoon. The Rangers and Blue Jays battled into extra innings tonight, and O'Day entered the game in the 11th, just minutes after arriving at Rogers Centre. The Rangers did not have a jersey ready for O'Day, so he wore the #20 uniform of Kason Gabbard, the pitcher with a near-1:1 K/BB ratio in the majors who was outrighted to Triple-A in March. You would have had a hard time convincing some Rangers fans that it was indeed O'Day on the mound and not Gabbard, as the first batter he faced (Kevin Millar) singled to win the game for Toronto.  --KG

12/16/08: Woodn't You Want Kerry? - I guess the Rangers are happy with C.J. Wilson and his 6.02 ERA.  It is mind-blowing that Texas Rangers President Nolan Ryan, fellow Texan Kerry Wood's boyhood hero, couldn't entice the lifelong Cub to pitch for the Rangers.  Apparently, the Ryan era will bring more of the same for the Rangers: stockpile hitters and ignore the pathetic pitching staff.  Perhaps Ryan is desperate to remain one of the top five Rangers pitchers of all time.  --KG

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