Q: Who do you see as the biggest gain and loss of the off-season for the Rangers?
I think Gary Matthews will be missed in centerfield. I don't think he'll approach the numbers he had last season again, and one of the things that aggravated me while he was here is that he didn't run enough. Maybe it was Buck Showalter's style of baseball, I don't know. Mark DeRosa would probably be right up there with Gary too because you had the opportunity to bounce that guy around anywhere you'd like to play him and not have to give up anything. Best of all, you didn't skip a beat by resting another player and starting DeRosa there instead. It's something you would see it a lot on Sunday day games where one teamwould basically bring out their "B" squad. With DeRosa in the lineup, that never seemed to be the case.
As for the biggest gain, and this isn't a knock on Buck Showalter, but I'd say Ron Washington. It's fun to believe everything I've seen and heard about how guys are feeling in the clubhouse. I think the change in the atmosphere has to be the biggest upside of the off-season.
Q: What about the biggest strength and weakness of this club?
I guess the biggest strength would be having a having a pitching staff already mostly set up for the first time in four years. And honestly, that's one of the reasons why I think this team can run away with the division. If Teixeira blows up early, Michael Young keeps doing what he's doing, Blalock has his rebound season, and with Kenny running there's no reason why this team can't run away with it. They know what they're facing in the West too: The Angels are an old team, they're getting broken down, and I love Gary Matthews, but again, there's no way he can reproduce his numbers that he had last season.
As for the weaknesses, you know, I don't believe in weakness. I'm always one of those guys who believes that it doesn't matter what you have. So I'm not buying the weakness thing at all.
Q: Now that he's a couple years into experiencing what big league ball is like, what do you think about what you've seen of Edinson Volquez?
He's got an overpowering fastball and a pretty good changeup and I don't think there's any question whether he's got the ability to get the job done. What I don't see from him so far is a guy capable of making a change and developing the kind of consistency that you need to be successful at the major league level. This game is all about making adjustments from game to game and series to series, hitters and pitchers will both tell you that. That's one of the things I haven't seen Edinson do. I thought he was rushed into a playoff situation a couple of years ago and put in crucial games at the end of September and all of a sudden he blew up and it may have shattered his psyche somewhat. But he has been given ample opportunity, at least in my eyes, to showcase what he can do.
I'd love for him to succeed because all it does is add to the depth that the Rangers have. But I don't see him breaking camp as the #5 starter. He's still young enough and I still think he has a hell of an arm. I hope he can turn it around like Robinson Tejeda did at the end of last year by showing some consistency and controlling the location of his fastball and his off-speed stuff with confidence.
Q: Do you see the Rangers making another deal before the 2007 season gets underway?
I think if you get into a situation where all the outfielders are clutch and the relievers throw the ball like they're capable of and this team is able to stay away from the injury bug, then you've got some guys to deal if you need to. If there's a bat to be had, I'd go out and get it. But you'd be hard pressed to find someone ready to give up a big bat at the end of spring training.
Q: Other than your partner in the booth Eric Nadel, who's another guy you'd love to broadcast a game with?
I would say Denny Matthews who was the Ford Frick Award winner this year, but I got a chance to do an inning with him last season which was kind of cool. I grew up in Kansas City and had the chance to listen to him all my life. But if there was somebody else out there, it'd probably be Joe Garagiola, Sr. I got the chance to work with him in Arizona. He's old school, he doesn't mix up any words, and he just tells ‘em like he sees ‘em.
Q: So last year whitewater rafting was the big off-day group outing…….what sort of fun stuff do you and your fellow broadcasters have in store for this year?
You know, I hadn't looked at the schedule but in the past lot of the off-days, especially on the road, are spent golfing. It just so happened that we had two or three off-days in Seattle last year. One was early in the season and then two came in September, and Washington weather that time of year is always fantastic. Eric and the guys from the television broadcast had done the whitewater thing three or four years ago and when he saw the 2006 schedule, we all decided to do it again. I had never done it before and it was an awesome time.
But more often than not, we're out playing golf because it's nice and safe. Although I do want to try a Category 5 river now.
Q: Cities aside, where's a better place to watch Spring Training: Arizona or Florida?
Arizona. I spent my adolescence in Florida watching the Royals play during the spring and there's a couple other cool ballparks there but Arizona by far. The weather is unbelievable and so are the stadiums. It's just a completely different atmosphere.
And those Cubs fans. Man, they're everywhere.
Victor Rojas Q&A (Part 2)
Future Rangers Top Stories
MLB Draft Top 50 Prospects: 21-30Taking a look to the future, Scout.com and it's draft analyst, Taylor Blake Ward, is giving you an in depth look at the Top 50 MLB Draft Prospects. In a continuing article, Ward…
Scouting BaseballWednesday at 2:17 AM
MLB Ballpark Experience RankingsThe Stadium Journey staff fanned out to all 30 MLB ballparks to establish this year’s rankings. Each stadium was evaluated based on our FANFARE scale which includes 1) an…
MLB Postseason Schedule ReleasedThe 2016 MLB Postseason schedule has been released.
Indians Baseball Insider08/23/2016
Trevor Bauer relishes opportunity to pitchTrevor Bauer's substantial growth as a major league pitcher has led him to a crucial role as the number two starter in the Cleveland Indians starting rotation. Although…
Indians Baseball Insider10/11/2016