All Me Exes

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The offseason saw the departure of Ranger greats Michael Young, Mike Napoli, Josh Hamilton and the bearded one (Scott Feldman) among others. This season, we have painfully watched Chris Davis become one of the most feared power hitters in baseball and seen Ryan Dempster find a resurgence in Boston.So I began to wonder what a 25-man roster made up of ex-Rangers (active) would look like, and this is what I came up with:

Catcher   Jarrod Saltalamacchia (BOS, .255/.330/.480): Salty has logged over 100 games behind the plate for the Red Sox each of the last two seasons. In 2011, he caught would-be-base stealers at a surprising 31%, but regressed to 18% in ’12 and 6% currently in ’13. The switch-hitting catcher was always known more for his offense than defense and currently has a 113 OPS+ this season. This all adds up to 2.4 rWAR in 2+ seasons in Beantown.

First Base

Chris Davis (BAL, .311/.407/.659): In Twitterverse, there has been weeping and gnashing of teeth over Davis’ incredible 2013 start. He leads the league in OPS (1.067), SLG (.659), HR (11), and more surprisingly Davis has increased his BB rate to 18.9% (6.5% in ’12). The early season MVP candidate still has plenty of fans in Texas (especially in his hometown of Longview) and is the perfect example of someone just needing a fresh start to give their career a jumpstart.

Second Base

Ryan Roberts (TBR, .250/.330/.480): Ex-Ranger active middle infielders are at a premium since Kinsler has held 2B for the last eight seasons and Andrus has manned SS for the past five. “TatMan” briefly played in Arlington and do I ever mean briefly (one game). The UT-Arlington alum had a couple of productive seasons for Arizona in 2009 (2.3 rWAR) and 2011 (2.4), but has primarily been a utility player since joining Tampa Bay in 2012.

Third Base

Michael Young (PHI, .296/.383/.370): Thankfully, Ranger fans have for the most part kept quiet this season about the departure of Michael Brian Young. Of course, I choose not to read comments on local news articles and run away from Rangers Facebook, but the intelligent fan knew he had to leave and that he might find success elsewhere. His 2013 batting average and on-base percentage is similar to his 2011 season, but he has yet to regain any power (8 XBH). Young does lead the league in one category: double plays grounded into. His ability to smash singles has led to a pedestrian 0.3 rWAR, but at least he is contributing positively to a MLB team again.

Shortstop

Joaquin Arias (SFG, .188/.257/.188): Is this a good time to remind you that the Rangers could’ve had Robinson Cano (39.2 rWAR) instead of Arias (0.8)? I let those numbers sink in for a minute before I continue. *grabs a bite* We ready? So Arias qualifies as my ex-Ranger shortstop because:

A)     He has played shortstop in one game this season.

B)      There really wasn’t a better option.

He does have something that the Texas Rangers organization doesn’t have: a World Series ring. I’ll see myself out now.

Left Field

Alfonso Soriano (CHC, .264/.292/.412): The “other” guy the Rangers received in the ARod trade (clearly Arias was the prize), Soriano turned his incredible 2006 season with Washington (.277/.351/.560) into a 8/136M deal with Chicago. Since that 6.1 rWAR season, Soriano has accumulated 7.3 wins in 6+ seasons. Good job, good effort.

Center Field

Endy Chavez (SEA, .284/.290/.313): In 83 games as a Ranger in 2011, Chavez had his third best season of his career (0.9 rWAR). Since then, he has only hurt Baltimore (-0.7) and now Seattle (-0.3). If you haven’t noticed, Jon Daniels clearly knows how to hang onto up-the-middle talent (catcher aside) as it is hard to find ex-Rangers to fill these positions.

Right Field

Josh Hamilton (LAA, .214/.264/.358): This feels weird, doesn’t it? Oh wait, it’s Josh so of course it’s going to be weird. The Los Angeles Angels are the embodiment of “buyer’s remorse” with all their major acquisitions the last few years. Well, ol’ Hambone might be the worst of them all. LAA put a ring on it and now they would love nothing better than to get a quickie divorce and hop the back fence at Sherlock’s.

Designated Hitter

Adrian Gonzalez (LAD, .349/.401/.508): Three months after becoming the general manager, JD made this trade:

1/6/06: The Rangers traded Gonzalez, Terrmel Sledge and Chris Young to the San Diego Padres for Billy Killian (minors), Adam Eaton and Akinori Otsuka.

Since then, Gonzalez has three Gold Gloves, one Silver Slugger and is a four-time All-Star. This one still hurts too much to talk about. Moving on.

Starters

Cliff Lee, (PHI, 4-2, 2.86 ERA, 1.08 WHIP): Cliff Lee is doing “Cliff Lee” things which means 200+ IP, 200+ Ks and low walk rates. Lee will always hold a special place in each fan’s heart for that magical 2010 season. Though he struggled in the World Series, he was dominant in the ALDS and ALCS.

Ryan Dempster (BOS, 2-4, 3.75 ERA, 1.15 WHIP): Here is another guy that holds a special place in fans’ hearts…wait…you forgot he was ever a Ranger? Despite accumulating seven wins in 12 starts as a Ranger, Dempster sported a 5.09 ERA and never seemed too fond of being a Ranger. We will always have this clip of the “Dueling Harry Carays” to get us through those lonely times.

CJ Wilson (LAA, 3-2, 3.88 ERA, 1.54 WHIP): It’s never his fault except for whengood happens. Have you not heard? CJ claimed that 2013 is the “Season of the Whiff.”

R.A. Dickey (TOR, 3-5, 4.83 ERA, 1.35 WHIP): Dickey’s unbelievable story is well-chronicled though I have yet to read his book. He reinvented himself as a knuckleballer and won the 2012 NL Cy Young. He has struggled so far this season, but I wish him the best.

Scott Feldman (CHC, 3-3, 2.53 ERA, 1.15 WHIP): Still believe in pitcher wins as important way to value their ability? Then you might have given Feldman a nice contract after his 2009 season too. His beard was grade A, but his play never really passed the test. He has been solid this season and is perfect for the back end of our ex-Ranger rotation.

Bullpen

Jason Grilli (PIT, 1.02 ERA, 0.74 WHIP, 16 saves): Grilli’s one year with the Rangers (2009) didn’t produce much, but he has resurrected his career in Pittsburgh as a late-innings reliever. He finished last season with 13.8 K/9 and this year he is striking out 14.8 hitters per nine innings. Unbelievable.

Joaquin Benoit (DET, 1.50 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, two saves): Benoit had his moments as a Ranger, but he was incredible with Tampa Bay in 2010 where he posted a 292 ERA+.

Darren O’Day (BAL, 1.42 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, one save): The “NAP-OH-LEE” chant was good, but it will never beat the “O DAY O DAY O DAY” chant. I cracked up every time I heard that chant and enjoyed watching him pitch in the 2009-10 seasons. 2012 was another solid season for O’Day and he has been stellar so far this year.

Mike Adams (PHI, 3.00 ERA, 1.33 WHIP): Adams made a tough transition to the American League when he was traded to the Rangers from spacious Petco Park in San Diego. He struggled at times, but overall Adams performed admirably for his 1+ seasons with the team. With the move back to the NL this year, his strikeouts are up to 11.4 K/9, but so are his walks (2.9 BB/9) and homeruns (1.8 per nine).

Koji Uehara (BOS, 2.30 ERA, 0.96 WHIP): Nobody would get quite as excited when exiting the mound quite like Koji. He struggled in 2011 as a Ranger and there were reports that he wanted to go back to Baltimore, but he bounced back with a career high 257 ERA+ in 2012. Last year was injury-riddled though as he only pitched in 37 games. Koji is a solid late-inning reliever and provides depth to this hypothetical team.

Darren Oliver (TOR, 2.81 ERA, 1.50 WHIP): Not only is Darren Oliver still alive playing, he is posting another season where his ERA safely resides below three. He never was much as a starter, but Oliver has made quite the career out of being able to get out left-handed hitters.

Mike Gonzalez (MIL, 4.15 ERA, 2.08 WHIP): Our bullpen is complete with the addition of a guy who didn’t contribute much after coming over from the Orioles in 2011. Gonzalez did bounce back in Washington last season, but did give up 4 BB/9. In 2013, he has not been good but I chose him over the likes of Blake Beavan, Robbie Erlin, Pedro Strop and Kameron Loe.

Bench

Mike Napoli (BOS, .261/.318/.522): The ol’ dirtbag made the ladies of DFW swoon and won the hearts of all fans with his 5.3 rWAR 2011 season. He battled injuries in 2012 which made it easier for the Rangers to part ways with him, but this season he leads the league in doubles (18) and sports a solid .840 OPS. On this team, he is our backup catcher (bad hip and all) and 1B.

Jeff Francoeur (KCR, .221/.258/.311): Another guy that made the ladies’ hearts pitter-patter was Frenchy. He only played in 15 games as a Ranger, but his magnetic smile and full beard made for a good impression. Frenchy left Texas for baseball hell in Kansas City where he had a 3.2 rWAR 2011 season. Since then, he cost the Royals 2.8 wins in negative WAR.

Mark DeRosa (TOR, .222/.302/.463): I have already explained that middle infielders are hard to come by and that is how DeRosa makes this team. I wasn’t even aware that he was still playing (maybe he isn’t for sure either), but he has managed to play in 22 games this season for the Blue Jays. Looking over his stats, I knew he was solid for Texas, but I didn’t realize he had over three wins for the team in 2006.

Laynce Nix (PHI, .230/.299/.361): Nix has played 11 years in MLB and yet, is only 32 years old. All he has to show for it is 4.6 rWAR. I chose Nix to complete this team because the only other real option was Gerald Laird and we already have a backup catcher in Nap.

Lineup:

R. Roberts
M. Young
A. Gonzalez
C. Davis
A. Soriano
J. Hamilton
J. Saltalamacchia
E. Chavez
J. Arias

What do you think of this team? How would they fare over the course of a 162-game season? Is there someone you would like to see on the team instead? Let me know your thoughts.
Eddie Middlebrook is the co-host of “Chin Music” and VP of Media for ShutDowninning. He can be reached at Eddie.Middlebrook@ShutDowninning.com or on Twitter @emiddlebrook

Eddie Middlebrook
Eddie Middlebrook is Senior Writer for @ballparkbanter9 and @shutdowninning. Formerly with @wfaasports and @FoxSportsSW. @IBWAA member. Eddie can be found on Twitter @emiddlebrook.

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