Wednesday, March 30, 2005

The Look of Confidence

Things are getting interesting for the Rangers as they attempt to nail down the final spots on their opening day roster before starting the season next Tuesday night in Anaheim. The latest news from the final week in the Cactus league begins with Chan Ho Park getting shelled .

And just when they thought it was safe to embrace Chan Ho Park, he showed an old side of himself. It's the side that regularly left the Rangers queasy.

Park allowed six runs in five innings in a 13-12, 10-inning loss to San Diego on Tuesday. The scary part for the Rangers was the first inning, in which he walked the first two batters, hit another and allowed four runs. It was vintage Park.

Hardly a shock, but his spot in the rotation is cemented somehow. Like many spots on this roster, it appears more out of default than merit. Nevertheless, Park will throw the first game in Seattle, which is game 4 of the season.
Meanwhile, the attempt of the Rangers to enjoy a cheap off-season of risky signings appears to be failing. Pedro Astacio has pitched in one game the whole spring, and will likely begin the season on the Disabled List. This is hardly a surprise if you realize that Astacio has spent most of the last few years injured.

Meanwhile, Greg Colbrunn is hurt, too . Again, this is only a surprise if you didn’t realize Colbrunn has been injured for most of 2003 and 2004. A wise man, Ralph Strangis, once told me, “The bad thing about injury-prone players, is that they tend to get injured a lot”. It sounds painfully obvious, right? Then how come the Rangers thought they could fill out their DH spot and a key spot in their rotation with two guys who only received contract offers from 1 team each because of injuries?

This is why the phrase, “you get what you pay for” was once coined. I’d like to predict big things for 2005, even though I predicted 100 losses last year, but I just feel like they have way too many question marks that have no answers on this roster. I would love to be wrong.


Gruden on Chris Simms

As reported in The Tampa Tribune, Gruden said the young quarterback, entering his third year in the league, needed to ``tune out'' the hype surrounding him and concentrate on hitting open receivers.

``I did hear about his comments,'' Simms said. ``Some people I know called me up and asked if I had read the newspaper to see what coach had said. As far as the comments go, he's my head coach. He's been doing this a long time and knows what is best for the team. There was some truth to what he said.''

Last season, Simms played in five games, with two starts and completed 42 of 73 passes for 467 yards, while throwing one touchdown and three interceptions. He was sacked 10 times, including four times in the season finale against Arizona.
Gruden singled out that game in his critique of Simms, saying he ``did not play well against Arizona, partly because they are a handful on defense.'' The coach also brought up Simms' status as their 2003 third-round draft selection.

``We're the only team that drafted Simms, OK?'' Gruden said. ``He was the last pick of the third round, so get your head out of your rear end. We're the only team that drafted him. Everybody else in the league had opportunities, not once, not twice, but three times.''

Gruden went on to add that Simms has ``got to keep coming on ... try not to listen to the elevator music and these chat sessions.''

That's one item Simms wished to dispute. He said he doesn't sit in front of a computer screen reading glowing reviews from fans.

``I'm not a computer guy, you can ask my wife,'' Simms said. ``I wouldn't know how to get into a chat room.''

For now, Simms is focused on the team's offseason conditioning program and is excited about Tampa Bay's 12 draft picks next month and the possibilities they provide. He will take a break from football in May when he and wife Danielle, whom he married just before training camp last year, take a belated honeymoon trip to Italy.

As for Gruden's comments, Simms has filed them away and plans to use them as motivation.

``I'm sure he's sick of answering questions about me,'' he said. ``I'm going to try to take what he said as a way of motivating me. Anytime anyone questions my ability or my desire to play, my competitive nature takes over and drives me to get even better.''

A fair amount of Gabe Kapler ink in the last few days. First, a flattering walk down memory lane in Red Sox camp

Many days last season, Millar, Varitek, Doug Mirabelli, and Gabe Kapler could be spotted hitting together in the cages under the center-field bleachers at Fenway Park. This summer, Kapler will be in Japan, making $2.7 million with the fabled Yomiuri Giants.

"They just threw so much at him that he couldn't pass it up," Mirabelli said. "He's at an age [29], he needed to do it now or he wasn't going to do it. He e-mails us a lot.

"Right now, this whole team -- no disrespect to other players on this team -- but just from a friend standpoint, everybody misses Kapler. I hear it almost daily: `Hey, I wish Kapler was here.' Everybody on this team loved Kapler. It's hard to look forward, but I just hope when he comes back from Japan he comes back here. Everybody says that."

Kapler made $750,000 last season, hitting .272 with 6 home runs and 33 RBIs in 290 at-bats. He played all three outfield positions as well as DH. His replacement is Jay Payton, who is making $3.5 million. Payton has a team option for 2006 at $4 million, though the Sox could buy him out for $500,000.

Meanwhile, not to be outdone, The Yomiuiri News with a story on Kapler

DMN on Deron Williams’ roots

Mavs prepare for Antoine Walker

So you have always wanted a Greg Biffle license plate, right?

The latest on Landon Donovan

By the way, here is the latest on Ruiz to Dallas, Donovan to Los Angeles (read Saturday’s blog if you don’t know what I am talking about, and yet care enough to find out). Carlos Ruiz is holding this deal up to get more money. I don’t blame him. The league needs Ruiz to be a good soldier and move to Dallas so that the “cash cow” Landon Donovan can return to MLS. Ruiz is perhaps the top player in this league, and yet has never received any level of compensation close to Landon or Freddie Edu. Well, finally, Ruiz has some leverage, and plans on using it. Without him moving to Dallas, Donovan cannot play in the MLS (where he wants), so Ruiz is going to milk this for a while and even threaten to not report to Dallas. FC Dallas is wise to not make the deal until they are sure Ruiz is pleased. This may take a bit to sort out, but I still understand that this is still going to happen…

Wilbon on a great day 24 years ago in the tournament

Despite the Browns finishing 32nd in stopping the run, The Broncos have acquired 3 of the 4 Browns D-Linemen now that they have traded for Ekuban

60 Minutes to bust the Panthers tonight

Adam blogs about Adrian Gonzalez

1 comment:

Big Daddy said...

Gotta' say I can't blame Ruiz for playing hardball with the leverage he's got.

I just hope he stays in Dallas a while, at least, but a foreign club may come a calling when the transfer window reopens this summer.