Thursday, July 29, 2010

News and Notes

MLBTR has some reports up that Florida has agreed to pay Cantu's salary so it seems likely that TX will be forced yet again to sell their prospects to consummate a trade. Oddly enough, I've heard some reliever's names mentioned like Fabio Castillo and Reed. Cross your fingers that no one we _really_ like has to be thrown in the mix.

I don't get the interest in Cantu. His peripherals have declined each month of the season and his OPS vs LHP is .720. He has mostly played third this year, platooning some at 1b it seems (40g/7starts), putting up poor #s at 3b (tz -5) and average #s at 1b (.0). Yes he will do better against LHP than Davis but a .720 OPS at 1b in the AL is still bad. So, yeah, I don't really get the move if they pull it off.

Kinsler to the DL due to a groin injury. Moreland called up and added to the 40. Mark Lowe to the 60-day DL.

I've written about this before here and in other forums, but there are a few questions Moreland gets a chance to answer not that he has broken onto the 25 earlier than expected: 1. Does his bat speed measure up especially vs RHP; 2. Some have said that he has a hole inside that ML RHP will effectively exploit; 3. Can he be productive enough to man 1b, RF, or DH without being a HR hitter; 4. Will he show the same reverse splits this year that he did last year (thus putting into question his ultimate value as a LHH); 5. How will his defense be at 1b after not having played the position FT the last 2 years (he did play 1b in college and in his first years in the minors however). 6. With the game sped up quite a bit in the bigs, how will he look chasing balls in RF? Fringe Average, a liability...?

I've been a Moreland skeptic because of these issues since his promotion to Frisco last year when his #s weren't all that great. They weren't great in the AFL, nor were they great in AAA early in the season, but he has been on a 2.5 month hot streak to bring his #s up and evened out his splits but I bet over the full course of the season you wouldve seen his LH/RH splits (ops) slightly reversed: .925/.850. So I guess the main question for me is whether gap power, with slightly reverse splits and an .850ops (in the upper minors) vs RHP translates into a ML starter at any of those 3 spots. Could he be the weird exception who is a bench bat, but a lefty brought in to face lefties, so a lefty/lefty platoon at 1b? That would be weird but maybe perfect, an atypical platoon.

Anyways, I like the idea of getting Moreland up a few games before the trade deadline; maybe TX simply loves Moreland or maybe they have some questions about him too, and want to take a look. I have to say though it is good to have Moe up to eyeball him, it might also indicate that TX has bailed out of the trade market for a RH platoon partner for Davis or possibly that they will be active during the August waiver period. I should also say that while I'm skeptical of Moreland it is not because he might not be able to become an average major leaguer some day, just that, he is one of those older upper minors hitters whose minor leauge #s and major league projection puzzles me a bit. I'm not at all certain how things will turn out for him, but I am very curious just in terms of thinking through how minor league #s translate to the bigs.

Derek Holland
Holland threw mostly fastballs in his second rehab start yesterday, throwing only 60 pitches over 5 innings and allowing only solo HR. The coaching staff (Clark I think) mentioned that he probably needed 2 more starts in which he worked on his changeup and slider before he would be considered for a promotion. Here are some quotes from Holland to that effect:

"I was excited. I wanted to attack the zone and get my fastball working....
"I throw my fastball and worked in my slider and curve too," Holland said. "I only threw one changeup, but I was in a groove and didn't want to worry about that today."
Holland said he was focused on trying to get as many outs with as few pitches as he could. He certainly did that, averaging just 12 pitches per inning.
"My next start, I'm going to work on my off-speed stuff," Holland said.
Holland will stay on a starter schedule and continue to build up his arm strength. Manager Ron Washington said he wants Holland to make at least two more starts before he could rejoin the Rangers.

Rich Harden
The Rangers have yet to make a decision to activate Harden or keep him in OKC for one more rehab start. TX will not be forced to activate him until ~8/11 if it came to that. The rumor has it that Harden will take Feldman's start on Saturday if he is activated. Harden says he is ready.


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