An Interview With Mike Rhyner

Last week I had the opportunity to pick the brain of The Old Grey Wolf himself, Mike Rhyner. Mike is the co-host of The Hardline on SportsRadio 1310 AM, “The Ticket” in Dallas and is a huge fan of the great game of baseball. If you haven’t heard Mike talk baseball, either on-air or had the chance to sit down with him, then that is something you should take advantage of. His knowledge of baseball is extensive, but his knowledge of the Rangers is downright scary. Ask any of the other guys at the Ticket, and they’ll tell you that for the most part, they defer to “Rhynes” on things of baseball. They don’t call him Baseball Jesus for nothing.

Fortunately, for us as fans of baseball and the Rangers, Mike was gracious with his time and answered our questions.

Patrick Despain:  Your initial thoughts on the raw power of Joey Gallo? 

Mike Rhyner:  Before I can tackle this one, I’m going to have to see it for myself and I’ve not done that yet. All indicators are that it’s pretty prodigious and that comes from about everybody so, I will take their word for it. What I hope, though, is that he doesn’t get so eaten up with his big power that he turns into an all-or-nothing hitter. He and those in that [draft] class are being counted on as the next wave of major league talent and him as all-or-nothing guy makes that group something less than what it could be.

PD:  Who do you think will be the biggest surprise for Texas?

MR:  It better be Leonys Martin. Indicators are positive in spring training, and we should fervently hope that this is something like what he’s going to be.

PD:  Mike Olt is still very young, however, are you disappointed at all in his development at the plate? 

MR:  I thought this last year and didn’t have enough to stand on to throw it out there, but I will now. Something about Olt is not right, and when I say the vague, ambiguous something; I’m talking about something with his head. It seems like he’s way too uptight. He needs to get comfortable and let his talent shine through and see where that gets him and I am starting to wonder if he’s wired that way.

PD:  If you had to pick one guy that could make or break the Rangers season, who would it be and why? 

MR:  This season is going to have to be an all-hands-on-deck, all game, every game affair. There is frighteningly little margin for error with this thing. But you’re wanting specifics,  so I will stick with the two I’ve said all along…but you’re only wanting one so give me the Dutch Oven (Derek Holland).

PD:  According to most experts, being the likes of Jason Parks or Keith Law, etc….Leonys Martin has all the natural ability to become a star in this league. What are your thoughts on Leonys? 

MR:  Can’t wait to see what happens when he’s given a legitimate shot and what kind of player he turns out to be. It may not be perfect at the start–not sure he fully understands how to play the game at the big league level yet, but as Jon Daniels said, ‘If we don’t look at Leonys now, when will we?’ He’s correct–now is the time to learn what you’ve got or don’t have.

PD:  The bullpen has struggled this spring, but as you know, it’s an ongoing process to improve it. Anything out there concern you or happily surprise you? 

MR: My position on the bullpen for this team and every other at this time of the year is the same: all any of them know is they’ve got guys. I have no thoughts on how they’re going to do, given the year-to-year proposition that is every team’s bullpen. The nature of the thing is, you take the best you can cobble together into the season and adjust it as you go and hope roles solidify, guys perform and that they’re not burned out and in some kind of reasonably good place in September. Assuming the rest of the team is as well and you’re still in it, of course. It’s foolishness for me or any other fan to count on the bullpen for anything more right now.

PD:  If you were JD, where would you put Profar to start the season? 

MR: This is a non-issue. He starts in the minors. I want that extra year of control, and I want him getting regular AB’s. And if all my guys are ready, that’s what happens and that’s that.

PD:  Ranger fans have a love/hate relationship with Mitch Moreland. Do you believe this is his one chance in the Texas system to prove himself? 

MR:  He won’t get many more, that’s for sure. There’s a hitter in there somewhere and it’s got to be found and that’s one of several big jobs for Dave Magadan. He’s in much better shape, he’s worked hard in the off-season and in spring training the signs are very positive. He’s got to get his approach turned around, use the whole field, not get so hung up on home runs to the point where every one he hits is followed by 2 for his next 31. And in general, he has to be tough to pitch to. Grind….and if they want to walk you, take it–don’t get yourself out. That’s a lot, but we’ve seen all of that out of him before. It’s in there somewhere and if we see it, that will be a great answer for one of the three keys to this team’s offense.

PD: Joe Ortiz has been my favorite young player to watch this spring. Who is yours? 

MR: I would go with, as a rule, I don’t get real hung up on what happens with young players in spring training. I put little stock in Cactus League statistics because the question of what the opponent is running out there at the time, is rarely apparent without actually seeing the game. But Ortiz has been solid and wouldn’t it be neat to come up with that rarest of commodities out of the blue: the bullpen lefty who can get guys out ?

PD:  Prediction: The Rangers finish the AL West in _____ place.

MR:  It’s not time yet.  Be by the channel toward the end of the week for that.

You can hear Mike, along with Corby Davidson and Danny Balis from 3 pm to 7 pm, Monday through Friday on  1310 AM The Ticket, or on the iHeart Radio App.

Patrick Despain
Patrick is a member of the IBWAA and creator of Shutdown Inning. He was raised him Arlington, Texas and grew up watching games on HSE and listening to Eric Nadel and Mark Holtz on the radio. He is a long time Rangers fan and never achieved his dream of being a bat boy. He know lives in Georgia with dreams of a Texas return.

Leave a Reply