Monday, July 9, 2007

An Unhealthy Dose of Reality

Happy Monday loyal readers! Unfortunately, I must hold by my promise from yesterday- I simply cannot uphold the euphoria of Ranger optimism any longer than I must. Because as badly as I want them to be good, I am a realist at heart. And the truth points at a half-empty glass best served with several jagged pieces.
So as much as I hate to do it, today's presentation will be an analysis of the unmitigated failures that have graced this franchise with their collective presences. And what better (or worse?) place to begin than with the biggest 180 I've ever seen as a Rangers fan. And my peers, you know very well how much that means.
His acquisition was the biggest triumph the JD proponents had to point to. He was a sign of hope, a beacon declaring competency within Ranger talent evaluation. Vicente Padilla went through the majority of last season as the best pitcher in the rotation. He was a legitimate #2 for a large part of the year, and even a second half slump could not hold him back from adequacy. However, as is the case with many of these success stories, Vicente had an agenda. He was going into a contract year, and certainly capitalized. Padilla turned an ERA in the 4.5 area into a deal worth over 10 million a season over three whole revolutions of the 12-month cycle. The mysterious and shady Venezuelan has been a complete and utter unmitigated DEBACLE from the beginning of the season. It has truly been painful to watch Vinny this season, especially when recalling the RANGER pitcher who was so solid in the previous season. I can't think of a single major league player, including Jeff Weaver, who has underperformed to this extent. I shun you, Vicente. Oh wait, that doesn't matter! Because you refuse to talk to the dirty Americans in the first place!
One doesn't have to stray too far to find contestant #2 for the "Juan Gonzalez Ranger Stint #2 Award". Although there is nobody who even approaches Padilla's vast stature in this area, Robby Tejeda gives him a run for his money. Similarities run amok between the two. Both are of Central American birth, both credited as possessing stuff clearly above the average. And both shimmered with promise for a time, but then left us staring stupidly at the rusting piece of scrap metal that had once been so precious. Robinson absolutely wowed fans during the start of the year. If I recall correctly, his first four starts were all sparkling-highlighted by a shutout against the immensely dangerous Bosox of Beantown. Since then however, Tejeda has been... worse than Padilla, if such a thing were possible. An ERA topping seven over a period of several months is a precarious thing to hold. The only thing keeping him from placement in the Padilla category of 'Simply Disgraceful' is the fact that Tejeda did show promise in the aforementioned early portion of the year.
Clearing out the limited list I have due to... time restraints is not a player who has sat out significant portions of the season. I won't deny that Hank Blalock's rib removal didn't disappoint me, but that's not really a performance failure he could have any semblance of control over. And looking at pure statistics, many will advise me to pass on grass after seeing the third entry.
Ian Kinsler, what happened? Your nuclear lumber throughout the first few weeks taunted not only the fans, but apparently yourself. News Flash: You're no Babe, and I certainly hope for the sake of your public profile that you're not Barry Bonds. What happened here seems to be a massive change in strategy, as the already undercutting Kinsler altered his swing to a point where he could dislodge the branches of a California Redwood. Ian, you're a wonderful player. But you're not going to pace the rest of the contestants in a single season homer contest. I was mislead, Ron Washington was misled, but more importanly, Ian, and most lamentably, YOU were misled by your early success. I know, It's easy to fall into the trap. But nobody knows Ian Kinsler better than than.. surprise surprise, Ian Kinsler. And subsequently, adjusting a fine plate approach to facilitate a newfound power at the dish was a mistake. The numbers following the initial burst of lightning are telling; we were treated to little other than mere sparks. Ian, go back to Rudy. Get your swing redone, revert to what you had been doing in all the years prior-the same stance, swing, and discipline that led to so much success throughout your ascent in the minors as well as your fine rookie season.
And not to overdo the cold blanket routine, but I think I Rangers Captain could be just as bad in the field, whilst annoying the other team into submission.
That's all for today. Next to come: Mid-Season Leaguewide Awards!

No comments: