Posted tagged ‘Texas Rangers’

Ballpark Review: Globe Life Park

July 31, 2015

Franchise: Texas Rangers

Year Opened: 1994

Capacity: 48,114

Games Attended: September 14, 2014 v Atlanta Braves; September 24, 2014 v Houston Astros; July 29, 2015 v NY Yankees

Sec 216, Row 1 , Seat 1; Suite; Sec 39, Row 27, Seat 15

They say everything is bigger in Texas and Globe Life Park can be added to the list of examples. While the park is dwarfed by its neighbor in AT&T Stadium, Globe Life Park definitely is a giant structure in itself. It is also a hard park to judge. For everything it does great, there is seemingly another flaw to bring it down a peg.

1) Aesthetics- 17/25

Exterior- 5/5

Outside of Yankee Stadium, Globe Life has the best exterior design of any ballpark. It almost looks like a castle, as it sits on an open grass space surrounded by a lake. Each corner gate of the park has columns that rise up, just like those of a castle. There is beautiful red brick with designs of Texas achievement sketched into the brick- some depictions include cowboys, cattle, and the space program.

Interior-  7/10

Globe Life is known for borrowing from other stadiums. They had a manual scoreboard in left field like Fenway Park (now it’s LED). They have a facade that resembles Yankee Stadium. The grandstand in right is supposed to bring back memories of Tiger Stadium. On their own, these are really cool tips of the cap. When executed all together though it makes the look of the park messy. Yes, I love that it makes the park somewhat unique, but the execution isn’t quite there. One really cool thing are the office spaces in center field. I think if they had just picked their favorite quirk- the grandstand or offices or fence in left- and forgot the rest, the whole look of the park would have been better.

Backdrop- 5/10

It is rare these days to see a fully enclosed park and that is a good thing. Unfortunately, Globe Life is not one of those parks. While I like the grandstand and I like the offices in center, everything looks clunky. For example, the decks in both left and right jut in front of the offices and it makes the backdrop just look awkward. If left field or right field had been left open, I would be a bigger fan.

2) Seats & View- 11/20

Sight line- 5/10

There are some really good seats here- and some not so good ones. My favorite location was on the second level, between the bases. With these seats you feel close to the action, get great angles, and food service! However, at this park the closer you get to the foul poles, the worse angle you get. I also sat down by the foul pole on the first base side, in section 39. The way the seats were built, the rows stack up high the further you go back. So you feel close to the field despite being 20-30 rows back. However, you can’t see most of right field. Any ball hit there I couldn’t see if it was caught or not. As for the upper deck- it is really high up.

The right field outfield seats look really good for an old-time experience, but there are the support beams, overhang, and you can’t see the video board because that is located on top of the grandstand.

Proximity- 3/5

As I mentioned above, some seats will let you feel like you are right in the middle of the action. Other seats make you feel like you are a mile away. The first and second level are fine, but the third and fourth level are worse than most other parks.

Comfort- 3/5

The seats do squeeze together, but there is average leg room so it’s not too bad. The only thing that made me feel uncomfortable was the barefoot guy a couple seats down who had the ashiest feet of all-time. His feet looked dead.

3) Atmosphere- 9/15

Fan Participation- 3/5

I was expecting a lot more because I know a lot of passionate Rangers fans but I was slightly let down. Maybe this was because the Rangers have been a bad team the times I’ve gone. But despite a Rangers win in all games I’ve gone to, the loudest I’ve heard the park was for a fight in the stands.

Attendance- 3/5

Again, this is due to the record of the team over the past couple seasons, but I went to two games in 2014 that were sparsely attended and the Yankees game this season looked to only be at 60% capacity.

Fan Knowledge- 3/5

The fans that do show are very loyal and try their best, but aren’t what most consider experts of the game. Sorry Dallas, Houston had you beat in this regard for best fans in the state. It pains me to say that because Dallas is a nicer city.

4) Attractions- 8/15

Museums & Team History- 7/10

The Rangers have a team museum which will always be a plus in my book. It’s not nearly as well done as Turner or Yankee Stadium, but it has some pretty neat stuff in there, including designs for Globe Life. My favorite part was a line of plaques outline “firsts” in Globe Life history, such as first game, playoff game, All-Star game, etc. All were losses by the Rangers/AL and all were games decided by 1 run.

Outside of the museum though, I didn’t see much celebration of team history. But with no World Series titles in over 50 seasons, you can understand why.

Things to See & Do- 1/5

The concourse is large and there are a ton of places to eat and drink, but very little to see and do. I wish I could expand, but there are no cool statues, plaques, monuments, or anything in that vein. If you don’t go to the team store then just walk around and find some food.

5) Food & Drink- 9/10

Hot Dog- 3/5

The most average I have had at a game. Definitely tasted like a generic dog.

Best of the Rest- 5/5

Globe Life has the best food offerings of any park I’ve been to. They have beers of Texas, beers of the world, craft beers, and more. They have BBQ plates in addition to ballpark staples. They have giant portion foods, such as a 24 inch hot dog, 24 inch kabob, mega burgers, and mega sandwiches. And bacon.

Signature Dish- There are too many to choose from between the Boomstick (24in hot dog with chili, cheese, onions, jalapenos) to the Beltre Burger ($26 to give you a reference for how big it is). +1

6) Game Entertainment & Presentation- 2/5

It is not that good. They have something going on every inning, but it’s all very boring and unoriginal. And the mascot is one of the worst in baseball if not the worst.

7) Cleanliness- 4/5

For an old, big park, I thought Globe Life is very clean. Not brand sparkling new clean, but better than average.

8) Local Scene & Location- 1/5

There is nothing to do here. It is in a giant land area it shares with the Cowboys stadium and 6 Flags. That is it. No local shops or restaurants. You go to the game and then you leave. The area is not bad, but it is just an area with nothing else to do.

9) Access & Cost- 2/5

The accessibility is terrible. You can only get to Globe Life by car and while there are main highways that can get you to the game, there will always be terrible traffic during the week. Moreover, because the park is in the middle of nowhere, it will take quite a bit of time to get there and you will eat up a good amount of gas driving from most nearby towns that you might be staying at.

Game tickets are relatively expensive but it all depends on how good the team is and how good the team they are playing is. I got 200 level tickets for $20. But I also got tickets against the Yankees for too much than I should have for a weeknight game.

Food and drink though? GLP has some of the best prices in baseball. I would love to give a better ranking here just for that, but the access is really that annoying!

10) Misc- 0.5

Stats & Info- .5

All relevant information is very accessible. It’s on the LED boards around the park and the main video board. My one problem- they didn’t keep track of the pitcher’s stat line. Just their balls, strikes, and pitch count. Not hits allowed, runs allowed, etc.

Concourse- 0

Closed. Very disappointing. The concourse were spacious though which is always nice.

Out of town Scoreboard- 0

It was LED which I didn’t like and they only had 4 scores up at time and rotated them. I hate that.

Personal Score- 3/5

I like the park and I know the ratings from this will make it seem terrible- it is not. From food and drink to aesthetics to overall game experience, this park is above average. But there are so many wonderful parks out there that it just doesn’t quite stack up to most of the pack.

Overall Score- 66.5/115

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Tigers, Rangers Swap Fielder, Kinsler

November 21, 2013

In shocking news (to me) that came out of left field (to me) the Detroit Tigers have traded Prince Fielder to the Texas Rangers for Ian Kinsler. Wow.

This happened so fast that my head is still spinning as I try to make sense of it and evaluate the trade. All we know right know is that it is a straight-up trade with the possibility of some money being exchanged. For now I will analyze it as a straight-up trade and can edit in some opinion if more information is revealed.

After the 2011 season the Tigers signed Prince Fielder to a 9/$214mil contract. This is not only the highest contract on the Tigers, but one of the highest in baseball history. From 2011-2013 he put up fWAR’s of 4.9, 4.8, and 2.2. His wRC+ over that span is 160, 153, 125 and his defense has been rather poor, as one would imagine.

After the 2012 season Ian Kinsler signed an extension with the Rangers to the tune of 5/$75mil with a $10mil club option in 2018. From 2011-2013 his fWAR was 7.3, 3.0, 2.5. His wRC+ has ranged from 123 to 100 to 105 while playing above average defense.

In this trade the Rangers will be trading four years and $62mil of Kinsler for seven years and $168mil of Fielder.

Taken on face value this seems like an unfair trade. The Tigers will be reducing payroll while getting a good second baseman. Moreover, they will be on the hook for less years in a long term contract. However, we know the analysis doesn’t end right there.

Why did the Tigers make this trade? Prince Fielder was a star athlete and hit in the heart of the lineup. He made the All-Star team both seasons in Detroit and was the best hitter on the team, outside Miguel Cabrera, both seasons. Moreover, he has led baseball in games played the past few seasons. However, he is a big, power hitting first baseman who will be thirty in 2014 and be paid $24mil a season through 2020, his age 36 season. His B-R similar players list is scattered with players who saw a steep decline in production after age thirty.

Here are two graphs from a FanGraphs article written by Eno Sarris.

What these graphs are trying to say is that hitters decline around age thirty. The graphs show BB%, K%, GB%, and ISO- all components of a power hitter like Prince Fielder. From 2009-2012 Fielder had an OBP above .400 and BB% in the 15% range. However, it has dipped the past two seasons to 10.5%. His K% went from about 12% in 2012 to 16% in 2013 (although his career average is about 17%). His GB% has actually lowered the past two seasons, but his ISO has shown the expected dip that the above graph expects.

By most estimates we should expect a less dangerous Prince Fielder going forward. He won’t be bad, but between poor defense and declining offensive skills, $24mil for Prince Fielder is a steep price to pay for Detroit, Texas, or any team.

At the same time, Ian Kinsler is going through a similar decline phase. He will be 32 in 2014. His offense and defense have taken a hit from his peak season in 2011. However, Kinsler’s decline won’t be as bad as Fielder’s. First off, the Tigers won’t be on the hook for as many years and as much money as the Rangers will be with Fielder. Moreover, Kinsler holds a lot more positional value at second base. Going further, while he has probably peaked defensively, Kinsler is still an above average fielder. And while we won’t see anymore .364 wOBA seasons out of him, he has a good BB% and superb K% rate and GB% still. While we should expect all those to decline, he will still be an average offensive contributor for the remaining years on his contract. So at an average of about $15mil over the next four seasons, we can expect Kinsler to match those expectations more so than Fielder and his $24mil AAV contract.

So, after that roundabout analysis, let’s get back to the question- why did the Tigers make this trade after giving Fielder a nine year contract just two seasons ago? Well, Fielder is entering the decline phase of his career, but still was owed $168mil over seven seasons. All that for a future DH. Meanwhile, Kinsler would be on the Detroit payroll for three less years and for over $100mil less in payroll money.

When it comes to the ball field it makes sense as well. Without Omar Infante the Tigers needed a second baseman. Kinsler not only gives the Tigers a second baseman, but it gives them a quality second baseman. To fill the hole at first, the Tigers can move Miguel Cabrera there (a defensive liability at third) and then fill third base with top prospect Nick Castellanos. The $100mil in savings can go towards re-signing players such as Max Scherzer and Miguel Cabrera. And the end of the day the Tigers really shouldn’t project to lose any projected wins for the 2014 season.

As for the Rangers, I think the trade still makes sense despite what I said about Prince Fielder before. In 2013 the Rangers got a combined 0.4 fWAR from first base. Prince Fielder is an immediate upgrade, albeit at the cost of $24mil. The trade also opens up a position for top prospect, Jurickson Profar. Instead of paying $16mil for Kinsler in 2014 they can play Profar for the league minimum and get similar on-field production and/or value. In a sense, the Rangers are paying just an extra $8mil over the next couple seasons to upgrade at first base and allow Jurickson Profar to start full time at the league minimum.

My only qualm is the long term impact this deal will have for Texas. Fielder’s contract will be a heel in a few seasons and by that time Profar will no longer be a league minimum player. However, Texas is built to win now and after being so close to winning a title the past few seasons, Texas realizes their window is closing and wants to capitalize.

Essentially, I think this a win-win trade for two AL pennant contenders. While I like the deal more for Detroit, I can see where Texas is coming from in making this deal. Although I do think Fielder will continue to decline, playing in Arlington opposed to Comerica will surely slow that decline.

EDIT: Detroit is sending $30mil to Texas, so Texas is effectively paying $138mil over years for Fielder. That is much better value for Fielder, but it will still be a tough contract on the payroll come 2016 or 2017 and beyond. However, it makes the deal that much better for Texas in the short run, the trade still makes a lot of sense for Detroit.

Mike Adams traded to Texas

July 31, 2011

The Rangers get Mike Adams, the Padres get Joe Wieland and Robbie Erlin.

I like this trade for both sides, but especially for San Diego. Yeah, Mike Adams is a beast. Insane numbers. But ultimately, he is just a RP and a RP on a losing no less. In return, they get Wieland was a top Rangers prospect, and someone who has been dominating the minors. Robbie Erlin is another young pitcher who has been good so far. I mean, neither may be future aces, but both, especially Wieland, look to have promising careers. So to get them for a relief pitcher who wasn’t the difference between winning and losing on your team is a nice pick up. As for the Rangers, you want to criticize them for overvaluing a RP, but in these circumstances its okay. They are in a pennant race and Adams is more valuable to them than a pair of 21 year old prospects who are still little bit aways from the majors.

 

Divisional Preview: AL West

March 30, 2011

The Rangers were baseball’s surprise team last season, surging past the American Leagues win leaders, Tampa Bay Rays, in the ALDS and then cruising past a heavily favored Yankees team in the ALCS. The Angels also fell from grace in 2010 while the Mariners, 2010s trendy pick, sucked.

1) Texas Rangers (87-75)

I think the Rangers still are a good team and still are up and coming with many young prospects yet to make debuts, but I believe they will take a step back in 2011. The main reason is pitching. First of all, they lost Cliff Lee, who by far was their best starter and helped them tremendously down the stretch and in the post-season. Second, I expect some regression to the mean from CJ Wilson and Colby Lewis. Both are good pitchers, but had especially good years in 2010 and should see some production decline. Moreover, CJ Wilson and Colby Lewis are now their #1 and #2 pitchers. Color me unimpressed if those are a team’s top two starters. Beyond that, they plan to give starts to Matt Harrison and Tommy Hunter, neither of whom are good. I am still a big Derek Holland, but it appears Texas still hates him.

However, the bullpen will be nasty once again. Obviously, Neftali Feliz is a freak in the bullpen, but the pen also has Alexi Ogando, Darren O’Day, Darren Oliver, Arthur Rhodes, etc,etc. Yeah, pretty good.

Plus, the lineup is good. They have Josh Hamilton, the reigning MVP, and one of the games more underrated hitters, Nelson Cruz, who I think could have a better offensive season than Hamilton in 2011. Kinsler is another good bat and the defense should be strong with Adrian Beltre, Elvis Andrus, and Julio Borbon. The pitching will keep them from 90 wins, but as a whole this is a good team that should win the division.

Players to watch: Ian Kinsler, Nelson Cruz

2) Oakland Athletics (85-77)

The As were my sleeper team last year and are my “sleeper” team this season, but I have a tough time calling them a sleeper since everyone is picking them to upset Texas this season. They are this years Mariners. Except I don’t believe they’ll fall apart. For one, the pitching is better. Granted, they don’t have a legit ace like Felix Hernandez, but the whole staff is better. If Brett Anderson stays healthy, I think he’ll emerge as one of the best pitchers in baseball. Other arms include Gio Gonzalez, Trevor Cahill, and Dallas Braden. And between Grant Balfour, Brian Fuentes, Brad Ziegler, and their other relievers, the pen should do their part in holding leads.

Offensively, the As will struggle, but it is an improved offense from last season. They added Hideki Matsui to DH, and despite his age, he is still a legitimate force on offense. However, I wonder how he will be impacted by the Colliseum. Oakland also added David DeJesus, a solid bat who also brings a solid glove to the table. Josh Willingham will also bring much needed area to the Bay. Although he will be a defensive liability in left field, the rest of the defense should be superb between Daric Barton, Mark Ellis, Cliff Pennington, Kevin Kouzmanoff, Kurt Suzuki, DeJesus, and Coco Crisp. If they have good fortune, much like San Diego last season, the As very well could win the West.

Players to watch: Brett Anderson, Gio Gonzalez, Daric Barton

3) Los Angeles Angels (81-81)

I love the Angels pitching staff. I really do. Jered Weaver, Dan Haren, and Ervin Santana might be the best top 3 in the AL. Joel Piniero and anyone besides Scott Kazmir are also good ends to the staff. The pen should be decent with Kevin Jepsen, Scott Downs, and Fernando Rodney.

However…the rest of the team is not so good. Vernon Wells could be “alright” but he isn’t a good fielder. Peter Bourjos is a stud fielder, but can’t hit. Callaspo, Aybar, Kendrick, and Trumbo represent a weak infield, especially offensively, in my opinion. When your best hitters are an old Bobby Abreu, Tori Hunter, and Vernon Wells, you’re in trouble. The Angels are in trouble. I have them at .500 because of their starting pitching. But if anyone of their big three gets hurt, lookout for the cellar floor.

Players to watch: Kendrys Morales (IF he returns), Hank Conger

4) Seattle Mariners (72-90)

Ah, now onto the lowly Mariners. Felix=stud. Michael Pineda=promising rookie. Rest of staff=poo poo. That simple. No point in breaking it down further than that, because that’s the end result of what any analysis would be. The bullpen isn’t any good either. Brandon League is a nice arm, but they are going to hope Aaron Laffey and Jamey Wright can hold the few wins they will get.

Offensively they still suck, but should be better than 2010. Ichiro is a rock, Figgins should be better, Cust adds some good OB skills, and Dustin Ackley is a Rookie of the Year candidate. But the team lacks power and the ability to get on base. That will mean few runs. Tough to win without scoring when the pitching isn’t that good. 2011 will be another long season.

Players to watch: Michael Pineda, Dustin Ackley

Blue Jays trade Mike Napoli to Rangers for Frank Francisco

January 25, 2011

Well, that was fast. I’ve gotta say, after making a brilliant trade, the Jays have made a dumb one.

Mike Napoli, once again, is a good player! Even if you stick him at first base, which Toronto would have done, he would produce. Moreover, it would allow the Jays to start Adam Lind at DH, not Edwin Encarnacion, and they could start JP Arencibia at catcher.

But nope, now Edwin will actually have to play and Arencibia will be pushed into the lineup immediately- no strings attached. All for Frank Francisco.

Don’t get me wrong, Francisco IS a good a reliever. But they’re a dime a dozen and Toronto already has a good bullpen. In my opinion, Mike Napoli helps the Blue Jays win more than Frank Francisco. Moreover, he is cost-controlled for a few more seasons so he will contribute to future teams as well.

My only guess is that Francisco might be a Type B or Type A free agent after the season and Toronto values the draft pick more than a couple seasons of Napoli. If that’s the case, I understand the move but disagree with it and don’t like.

As for the Rangers- they got themselves a catcher and a first baseman which they needed. GREAT move.

Andy Pettitte partially retires

January 13, 2011

Which opens the door to Andy announcing his comeback sometime in May from the Yankees front office brass suite, causing Suzyn Waldman to blow her load live on-air.

I will wait to talk about Andy’s career until he officially retires. But I will talk about the Yankees current rotation.

So far the definites are CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett, and Phil Hughes. Obviously I would love to see Joba Chamberlain return to the rotation, but I doubt that happens this season so I will assume that is not a possibility.

So the Yankees have two spots to fill. On Opening Day, possible in-house options are Sergio Mitre, Ivan Nova, Hector Noesi, and David Phelps. Come opening day, we will not see Andrew Brackman or Dellin Betances in the rotation short-running. I do not think Phelps is ready and the same goes for Hector (although I love Hector). Mitre is trash as a starter, which leaves Ivan Nova. I am willing to give Nova a shot and come May if he sucks, try out Phelps or Noesi. Nova could be a pretty good reliever, but if he can pitch similarly to his end of season stint from 2010, then I think he will be a capable 5th starter.

Now, onto the FA market. Players that interest me are Jeff Francis, Justin Duchscherer, and Kevin Milwood. Honestly, I would sign all three. Depth is going to be HUGE for the Yankees. In a typical season, the Yankees will use an about eleven different starting pitchers. Even with our minor league depth, we could use those three FA pitchers. Neither of them are great, but at a cheap price they have the potential to be some of the better 4 or 5 pitchers around.

Jeff Francis would be #1 on my list. He is a lefty, which is useful for Yankee Stadium and useful since they will be competing with lefty heavy lineups in Boston, Texas, and Minnesota (especially if Jim Thome re-signs there). Francis isn’t great, but he should be good for about a 4-ish FIP. He doesn’t walk many batters, which is good since he is a hittable pitcher.Francis is also 29 and could parlay a nice season into a draft pick or a worthy extension.

Next, I would go after Milwood. I know he made $10mil plus on his last contract, but there is no way he sniffs that. Considering his type B status, I can’t imagine him signing for more than $5mil. Milwood is not the pitcher he once was. But he eats innings. That is going to be vital for the rotation. Outside CC, there is no reliable pitcher in the rotation. Milwood is good for 30+ start. He was hit hard last season and gives up his share of walks, but like Francis, he is a 4-4.5 FIP pitcher. As the last guy in the rotation, that’s not bad if he can throw 180+ innings. A team like the Yankees would prefer more production, but given their options Milwood is one of the best options still available.

As for Justin Duchscherer, I like him. I think he can be a good starter. But I don’t trust him. He is always hurt. We will sign him and he will get hurt and we’re back to square one. I think signing him to relieve will help and reduce his injury potential. For a low, $1mil or $2mil deal I would sign him. For depth and to see what he could possibly do in the pen.

Pettitte walking away- for now- hurts. The Yankees can manage if they follow any of the aforementioned strategies. It’s not ideal, but it’s making the best of a bad situation.

Adrian Beltre is likely headed to Arlington

January 4, 2011

The signing is not official yet, but it appears that Adrian Beltre will sign a 6/$96mil deal to be a Texas Ranger through the 2016 season. Damn, that’s a lot of money.

To me, this is kind of a risky deal. $96mil is a lot of money, especially when that money will be going to player who will be in their mid-thirties for the majority of the contract and said player gets more of his value from his fantastic defense. For a young team that can a World Series RIGHT NOW it’s good bring in quality players, but this deal could potentially handcuff them down the road. Yes, Texas is a growing market and they have visions of being a franchise that can support a $100mil+ payroll. But they have a lot of young/good players who will want expensive extensions themselves (Hamilton, Josh; Wilson, CJ; Cruz, Nelson; Feliz, Neftali). Giving an old Beltre $16mil a season may prevent them keeping a Nelson Cruz or CJ Wilson.

I do think Texas is a good destination for Beltre. He is a good hitter, but not as good as his 2010 season suggests. He has power and mediocre on base skills. In a pitcher’s park in Seattle, he put up average numbers. In a hitters park in Boston, with some good fortune, he put up amazing numbers. Texas is a hitters park as well, so I think between that and an age related decline in offensive skill, his offensive numbers should be somewhere between the numbers he put up in Seattle and Boston- but closer to Seattle.

Moreover, he will continue to be a quality defender. However, the glove does slow with age. Now, he is an elite defender so I don’t think he’ll forget how to field a baseball. What I do believe will happen is that he will from a +10 to a +15 fielder, to a +5 fielder. Defense is where he gets a lot of value, so if his defense declines some, Texas may find themselves overpaying for Beltre.

Looking ahead to 2011, I believe Beltre has a true talent WAR level around 4 WAR, which is pretty much what he was in Seattle. In 2011 I see him being worth 10 runs offensively, 10 runs defensively, 20 runs through replacement level, and he should have about a 2 run positional adjustment. So I am predicting a 4.2 WAR.

So yeah, according to my figures it’s about a fair deal. I can see that. However, that doesn’t make him worth. As I said before, it’s risky. He could pay off right now. The team is a World Series contender and he gives them a legitimate chance to win it all. Plus, he is still a quality player and will be worth $16mil in all likelihood. However, come 2014 and beyond, he could have the type of contract that Texas will be looking to unload.

As for Beltre, he proved patience is a virtue.