With the trade deadline Friday night, the Dallas Morning News is reporting talks with the Jays and Texas for ace Roy Halladay have heated up again. Toronto reportedly wants Derek Holland, Tommy Hunter and Justin Smoak for Halladay.
This seems like it could be a really, really bad move for Texas. Holland pitched an 8 inning gem Thursday night (perfect timing) and Hunter is a very good pitching prospect in his own right. Add Justin Smoak, a player many believe to be the future at first base, and it gets a little steep for a guy you may not be able to afford to pay past this season.
What’s more it goes against GM Jon Daniels and team president Nolan Ryan’s grow our own philosophy.
Worst loss of the season.
Worst loss in franchise history in terms of margin of defeat and runs allowed.
Worst individual start for a RedHawk this year with Josh Rupe’s 12 earned runs.
Most runs scored in Albuquerque franchise history, though that only goes back six years.
It was not the kind of night OKC had in mind after evening their critical PCL South division series Wednesday night. Now the ‘Hawks drop to 2.5 games behind the Isotopes for the division lead.
The good news is they get to play tomorrow. Utility man Royce Huffman told me earlier this season the losses that linger are the walk-off type, not the blowouts. I wouldn’t expect this will effect the RedHawks much at all heading into the series finale Friday night. Still, the best they can do is come out with a split. Advantage ‘Topes.
Texas is in overdrive desperately trying to manage their roster as the season moves down the stretch. The Rangers recalled reliever Warner Madrigal Thursday and sent Guillermo Moscoso back to Oklahoma City without even throwing a pitch. Moscoso was called up Tuesday.
Madrigal has evolved into the RedHawks closer over the last two months. He leads the team in saves.
The Rangers have recalled infielder Joaquin Arias because of an injury to second baseman Ian Kinsler. Kinsler hasn’t been placed on the DL but will sit out at least a few games because of a sore hamstring.
It’s Arias’ second stint with Texas this year and a big blow for the RedHawks. Arias has been one of the team’s best hitters as of late, including two homers in the Nashville series at the Brick.
He could return to OKC when Kinsler gets healthy, but it will be interesting to see if he makes the case to stick around a little longer.
While the series with Albuquerque is important, one of the things that can knock OKC out of the playoff hunt is Texas picking the team apart.
They did just that Tuesday, calling up arguably the best starting pitcher on the team. Moscoso has been up with Texas twice before this season so it will be interesting to see if he sticks around. If he does it’s a big gain for the Rangers and a big loss for the RedHawks as they move down the last stretch of the season.
Oklahoma City is very much in the PCL South playoff race currently 1.5 games behind Albuqrque.
The bad news for the RedHawks is that despite the incredible turnaround of the last few weeks, they’re still further behind the pesky Isotopes than they were on July 1, when they were a half game back.
The good news for the RedHawks is they have a four-game set at ABQ beginning Tuesday night. If they dominate, they’ll wrestle control of the lead from the Topes. If they stumble (get swept) they’ll find themselves in a very deep hole with just over a month to go in the regular season.
The RedHawks are 3-1 in the desert so far this year and 6-6 against ABQ overall. They have been a tough nut to crack, even last year when OKC was clearly better. But OKC does have the momentum and will apparently have Chris Davis for at least a few more games. Combine the potential of his bat in a hitters park, and the red hot Esteban German (3 for 3 Monday) and Joaquin Arias (3 for 4) and it’s easy how the next four games could look a lot like the last four which is good news for the RedHawks.
But the bottom line is in April, May and parts of June, this team looked like it would be well out of the running by now. They’re very much in the hunt and are playing about as anyone with the second best record in the PCL in July behind…Albuquerque.
There is all kinds of internet squawk on the Rangers trading for Roy Halladay. That would cost a pretty penny, but if Texas does do a deal before the deadline here’s a look at a few RedHawks who might be in the mix.
Joaquin Arias, SS, 2B: Still a prospect at just 24 years old. Arias has battled dead arm, the result of surgery on his throwing shoulder in 2007, but appears to be regaining his form defensively. His batting average is also up significantly.
Max Ramirez, C: Lingering wrist injuries were not what Texas had in mind in 2009 for Ramirez. He’s currently on the DL rehabbing in Arizona. Ramirez hasn’t been fully healthy this year. No doubt he has lost some of his appeal.
Justin Smoak, 1B: It’s a long shot but you figure he would have to be involved in a trade for Halladay. Smoak was the Rangers first round pick in 2008. He hit well in Double-A but hasn’t found his groove with OKC just yet, hitting .118.
Greg Golson, OF: In his first year with Texas. Golson doesn’t have a big bat but his speed on the bases and in the outfield makes him an intriguing player.
Luis Mendoza, Willie Eyre, Kris Benson, Dustin Nippert, Warner Madrigal: The Rangers have no shortage of second tier pitching prospects. Any one of these guys could also be included in a trade.
Esteban German’s complete ownership of PCL pitching is no surprise to RedHawks fans. German, who played three years in the big leagues with KC, went 3 for 4 with 4 RBIs in the PCL’s loss to the International League in Wednesday night’s Triple-A All-Star game.
German has hit over .300 for virtually the entire season and leads the RedHawks in average and RBIs.
The clock is ticking for German who would no doubt like to find another team that can give him a big league shot this year before the trade deadline.
That shot isn’t likely to happen with Texas who at least up until now haven’t had a need for a utility infielder. His best shot for some big league time this year is likely through a deal.
I explored what if any effect the new Hampton Inn in left field has had on home runs at the Brick this year.
There are two very simple schools of thought on the issue.
1-The hotel doesn’t matter.
2-The hotel does matter.
One argument against the notion it has cut down on homers to left field this year is the simple fact this RedHawks team doesn’t hit a lot of home runs. Last year’s club did and the hotel didn’t seem to matter much.
On the flip side, RedHawks manager Bobby Jones has changed his opinion. Last year Jones said it didn’t matter. This year he believes the finished product prevents balls from carrying to left.
Indeed that could be the case. Chris Davis hit one hard to left several days ago and it simply died at the track.
Josh Hamilton has been activated from the 15-day disabled list by Texas, ending his brief rehab stint with the RedHawks at five games.
To make room for Hamilton the Rangers sent first baseman Chris Davis to the RedHawks. Davis has struggled this season, batting .202 with a league-high 114 strikeouts.
This move isn’t exactly surprising, though it was easy to see how Texas might have kept Hamilton in OKC for at least one more game. What makes it interesting is Justin Smoak’s presence in OKC.
Smoak, who was Texas’ No. 1 pick in 2008 has climbed the ladder quickly and was promoted from Double-A on Saturday. Now the RedHawks have last season’s breakout player (Chris Davis) and another who some believe will be the long term starter at first base (Smoak) for the Rangers. Both have incredible potential and if they can get on track, should give Oklahoma City a formidable lineup over the next few weeks.