Posts Tagged ‘Marlon Byrd’

Starting Nine: National League Central

January 15, 2010

Next up in our Starting Nine series is the National League Central. Outside of the St. Louis Cardinals re-signing Matt Holliday, there haven’t been any big-time offensive additions to this division. As a whole, this might be the weakest offensive division in baseball (yes, even passing the NL West).

Let’s take a look at the starting lineups for all six teams in this division as presently constructed.

St. Louis Cardinals

1. Skip Schumaker, 2B

2. Brendan Ryan, SS

3. Albert Pujols, 1B

4. Matt Holliday, LF

5. Ryan Ludwick, RF

6. Yadier Molina, C

7. Colby Rasmus, CF

8. David Freese, 3B

9. Chris Carpenter, P

Quick Take – Re-signing Holliday was crucial to this lineup. Despite having Holliday and Pujols in the three-four spot, this lineup will only be as dynamic as Rasmus and Freese takes them.

Milwaukee Brewers

1. Rickie Weeks, 2B

2. Alcides Escobar, SS

3. Ryan Braun, LF

4. Prince Fielder, 1B

5. Casey McGehee, 3B

6. Corey Hart, RF

7. Gregg Zaun, C

8. Carlos Gomez, CF

8. Yovani Gallardo, P

Quick Take – The Brewers sacrificed some offense for defense in 2010. This isn’t the powerful Brewers’ lineup of the last couple of years. There are a lot of automatic outs from seven through nine.

Chicago Cubs

1. Alfonso Soriano, LF

2. Kosuke Fukudome, RF

3. Derek Lee, 1B

4. Aramis Ramirez, 3B

5. Marlon Byrd, CF

6. Geovany Soto, C

7. Ryan Theriot, SS

8. Mike Fontenot, 2B

9. Carlos Zambrano, P

Quick Take – This lineup is getting old in a hurry. If Soriano, Ramirez, and Soto can come back from disappointing 2009 seasons, the Cubs could be in business in 2010. However, I still think they are going to be hard pressed to score runs in 2010.

Cincinnati Reds

1. Drew Stubbs, CF

2. Brandon Phillips, 2B

3. Joey Votto, 1B

4. Jay Bruce, RF

5. Scott Rolen, 3B

6. Ramon Hernandez, C

7. Paul Janish, SS

8. Chris Dickerson, LF

9. Bronson Arroyo, P

Quick Take – This lineup looks good for now and even better for the future. If Bruce can stay healthy, he could have a breakout year in 2010. I would like someone better than Janish at SS, but top prospect Todd Frazier isn’t ready to take over just yet.

Houston Astros

1. Michael Bourn, CF

2. Kaz Matsui, 2B

3. Lance Berkman, 1B

4. Carlos Lee, LF

5. Hunter Pence, RF

6. Pedro Feliz, 3B

7. J.R. Towles, C

8. Tommy Manzella, SS

9. Roy Oswalt, P

Quick Take – This six through nine is brutal. It’s hard to have a top offense when the bottom part of your lineup is this bad. Top catching prospect Jason Castro is not too far away, so this is Towles’ last stand with the Astros.

Pittsburgh Pirates

1. Andrew McCutchen, CF

2. Akinori Iwamura, 2B

3. Garrett Jones, 1B

4. Ryan Doumit, C

5. Andy LaRoche, 3B

6. Lastings Milledge, LF

7. Ryan Church, RF

8. Ronny Cedeno, SS

9. Zach Duke, P

Quick Take – I think in order to maximize their offense’s potential, the Pirates will play Jones at first and Church in right instead of playing Jones in right and Jeff Clement at first. The Pirates’ offense will be better in 2010, but will still have a hard time scoring runs on a consistent basis.

Last, but not least, tomorrow we will take a look at the National League West.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

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Chicago Cubs Find Their Center Fielder, Sign Marlon Byrd

December 31, 2009

Center field as really been a black hole for the Chicago Cubs during the 2000’s.

They started off the decade with the legendary Damon Buford and over the last 10 years have had players like Gary Matthews Jr., Corey Patterson, Juan Pierre, Jacque Jones, Alfonso Soriano, Reed Johnson, Jim Edmonds, and Kosuke Fukudome patrol center field.

Either players they had playing center weren’t very good overall (Patterson), or not very good defensively (Soriano), or were a short-term solution (Edmonds). Today, the Cubs hope they have finally found a long-term solution to their center field problems–at least for the next three years.

According to Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago, the Cubs have signed former Texas Ranger Marlon Byrd to a three-year, $15 million contract. Not a bad start to the new year for Byrd.

Byrd is the latest Cubs' CF

I hate sitting on the fence with these type of free agent deals, but I am very torn on this one. Half of me sees the positives to this deal and the other half sees the negatives.

As far as the positives go, I definitely see a few.

First and foremost, the contract is not an albatross. A three-year deal at essentially $5 million a year will not break the Cubs’ bank. What’s the harm in paying your starting center fielder $5 million a year?

Second, the signing of Byrd allows Fukudome to move to his natural position of right field. Fukudome looked out of place in center last year and this move will improve the Cubs’ outfield defense.

Byrd isn’t the best defensive center fielder in the world, but having him in center and Fukudome in right is an improvement over Fukudome in center and Milton Bradley in right.

Lastly, Byrd is coming off a career year with the Rangers in 2009. Byrd hit .298 with 20 home runs and played in a career high 146 games in 2009.If Byrd can produce those numbers with the Cubs, then this is a great deal for the Cubs.

And it’s with that last paragraph, where I start having my doubts about Byrd.

Haven’t we seen this act play out before us time and time again? A mediocre player has a career year in his free agency year, earns a nice contract, and then never lives up to that deal.

That scenario has been a time honored tradition in baseball for the last 25+ years.

Byrd’s only other year of significance in he majors was back in 2003 with the Philadelphia Phillies. He played in 135 games that year hitting .303 with seven home runs, a .784 OPS, and 11 stolen bases.

Since that year, Byrd has been a fringe starter/forth outfielder with the Phillies, Washington Nationals, and Rangers. Byrd never lived up to the hype that made him one of the Phillies’ top prospects in the early-2000’s.

Ironically for me, Byrd has a lot of former Cub Gary Matthews Jr. in him. Matthews too, was a fringe starter/forth outfielder for most his career, then had one great year with the Rangers in his free agency year, and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim signed him to a huge contract.

Now Byrd’s contract isn’t nearly as bad as Matthews was, but the similarities are there.

Another concern I have about Byrd is his home and road splits. Last season in Texas, his home OPS was .873 and his road OPS was .740. That is a huge difference.

Byrd was the Cubs’ first big signing of the offseason and they will need a lot more than him to get where they need to be. I look at the Cubs’ roster as of today, and I feel it’s significantly worse than it was just two years ago.

Unless a lot of Cubs’ players have bounce back years in 2010, it looks like next year is going to be another frustrating one in Wrigleyville.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Mariners Steal Milton Bradley From Cubs

December 18, 2009

Chicago area deep dish pizza places beware–Carlos Silva is coming to town!

According to various sources, the Seattle Mariners have traded RHP pitcher Carlos Silva to the Chicago Cubs for OF Milton Bradley. This is essentially a swap of contracts as Silva has two years and $25 million remaining on his deal and Bradley has two years and $21 million remaining on his deal.

This is a heist by Seattle GM Jack Zduriencik.

I know Bradley could be insane. I know Bradley could be a lunatic. And I know he clearly has some issues that go beyond the game of baseball.

But Bradley has value. Even if Bradley just gets one hit and drives in one run in 2010, he will be more valuable for Seattle than Silva would have been.

Bradley is headed to Seattle

I actually think Bradley will do well in Seattle. Bradley needs to play in a place where the fans are not on top of you like they are in Chicago or New York, and Seattle is just that.

The Mariners have a good clubhouse, Ken Griffey Jr. is will be there to be a mentor, and Bradley won’t be bothered by the media like he was in Chicago.

He will be the Mariners’ primary DH with a sprinkling of left field in 2010 and will be asked just to hit. Something he did quite well with the Texas Rangers in 2008.

Bradley hit just .257 with 12 home runs and a .775 OPS for the Cubs last season. However, the year before with Texas, Bradley hit .321 with 22 home runs and led the American League with a .999 OPS.

I think Bradley could fall somewhere in between his 2008 and 2009 seasons with Seattle in 2010. If Bradley hit around .275 with a .380 OBP and a .830 OPS, the Mariners’ lineup will get some much needed depth.

That is why this trade is such a heist for the Mariners. Bradley has potential. Silva is the most useless pitcher in the game. He would have never seen the field for the Mariners.

Now Silva and his 8.60 ERA from 2009 is the Cubs’ problem.

Listen, I know the Cubs had to trade Bradley. There was no way he could come back in 2010. But GM Jim Hendry really screwed this one up–as usual.

Hendry was screwing around with the Tampa Bay Rays for the last two months trying to figure out a way to do a Pat Burrell for Bradley swap. He kept trying to stick a round peg in a square hole in Tampa and the deal was never going to work.

In that time he missed out on Curtis Granderson and Mike Cameron–two prime center field options for the Cubs.

What he should have done is either figured out a way to send Bradley to the Rays or he should have called Zduriencik two months ago and gotten a deal done then.

If your entire offseason is dependent on trading one player–then you have to trade him right away–no matter what.

At least if they would have gotten Burrell from the Rays, Burrell still has some value. Silva has no value what so ever.

The Cubs have been held hostage by Bradley and now they are looking at guys like Rick Ankiel or Marlon Byrd to play center field. Neither should excite a Cubs fan.

The Cubs will also get $9 million from the Mariners over the next two years. However, it doesn’t matter.

This was a steal by the Mariners.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Arbitration Roundup

December 2, 2009

For those of you who are not aware, yesterday at 11:59 pm est was the last day at teams could offer their free agents arbitration. Once a team offers arbitration to a player, that player has until Dec. 7 to accept.

A team would offer arbitration to a player–especially to a Type A or a Type B free agent because that team then would receive draft compensation as a result of that player signing with a new team.

A great example of this is what we saw this morning.

Since Billy Wagner signed with the Atlanta Braves and he was a Type A free agent who was offered arbitration, the Boston Red Sox will receive the Braves’ first-round pick (20th overall) and a supplemental pick in 2010.

Here is a list of the players who were offered arbitration by their current clubs. This list is courtesy of MLB Trade Rumors.

Type A Free Agents (10 players)

Chone Figgins

Figgins was offered arbitration by the Angels

John Lackey
Jose Valverde
Marco Scutaro
Mike Gonzalez
Rafael Soriano
Matt Holliday
Billy Wagner
Jason Bay
Rafael Betancourt

Type B Free Agents (13 players)

Justin Duchscherer
Rod Barajas
Joel Pineiro
Mark DeRosa
Adrian Beltre
Ivan Rodriguez
Marlon Byrd
Brian Shouse
Gregg Zaun
Jason Marquis
Brandon Lyon
Fernando Rodney
Carl Pavano

Yesterday was a good day for guys like Bengie Molina, Jermaine Dye, LaTroy Hawkins, and Kevin Gregg, who are all Type A free agents. Since these players were not offered arbitration and will not cost a first-round draft pick, they become much more attractive for teams to sign.

My predictions are that Molina ends up with the New York Mets and Dye ends up with the San Francisco Giants.

Yesterday was a bad day for a player like Rafael Betancourt. With him being a Type A free agent and offered arbitration by the Colorado Rockies, he is going to have a hard time finding work.

It’s hard to justify giving up a first-round pick for a middle reliever, who has been up and down for much of his career. My guess is he ends up back with the Rockies in 2010.

After Dec. 7, we will start to see the dominoes start to fall in the free agent market.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Curtis Granderson: What’s His Trade Market?

November 12, 2009

One of the biggest shocks coming out of this weeks general manager’s meeting in Chicago was that the Detroit Tigers have let it be known that OF Curtis Granderson could be had in a trade.

This was shocking to everyone because I don’ think the word trade and Granderson have ever been used in the same sentence. Why would the Tigers’ GM Dave Dombrowski look to trade Granderson?

Here are some of the contracts the Tigers are paying in 2010:

Nate Robertson: $10 million

Dontrelle Willis: $12 million

Carlos Guillen: $13 million

Jeremy Bonderman: $12.5 million

Magglio Ordonez: $18 million

That’s *$65.5 million committed in 2010 to a bunch of players who probably aren’t worth $15 million. Since those contracts are untradeable, the Tigers are looking to trade some of their more valuable pieces.

Curtis Granderson

Granderson could be on another team in 2010

Hence, the Granderson and Edwin Jackson trade rumors.

For a GM to say a player can be had and for him to actually trade that player are two different things. But if a team were to look into trading for Granderson, what are they getting?

I did this last month with Brad Hawpe, so let’s now look at the trade market for Granderson. What are his pros, his cons, and what teams could be interested in the Tigers’ center fielder.

Pro’s

I think we can all agree on that Granderson is one of the great ambassadors for the game of baseball. He is extremely smart, he extremely well spoken, he has worked for TBS during the playoffs, and has traveled all across Europe promoting baseball.

Off the field, he is everything a team would want.

On the field, he is no slouch either.  Last year, he set a career high with 30 home runs and continues to be one of the better defensive center fielders in the game. He also is one of the more durable outfielders in the game as he has averaged 155 games played over the last four years.

Perhaps the most appealing aspect of Granderson is his contract. Granderson is due only $5.5 million in 2010, $8.25 million in 2011, and $10 million in 2012. Granderson also has a club option for $13 million in 2013.

That is a very reasonable contract for a guy who is only 28-years-old and in the prime of his career.

Cons

While Granderson’s power numbers have increased over the last two years, everything else offensively seems to have declined.

His average has gone from .302 to .280 to .249 in the last three years

His OPS has gone from .913 t0 .858 to .780 in the last three years

His walk percentage decreased from 11.4 percent in 2008 to 10.2 percent in 2009. Not good for a leadoff hitter.

You really have to start wondering if Granderson thinks he is a legit power hitter? His groundball percentage was 29.5 percent in 2009. By far and away the lowest of his career.

It’s like he has Willie “Mays” Hayes syndrome.

Now that we have looked at the pros and cons of Granderson, now let’s take a look at what teams would be interested in trading for Granderson.

Chicago Cubs: Anytime you have Alfonso Soriano and Milton Bradley manning the corner outfield spots, you have one of the worst outfield defenses in baseball.

Granderson would give the Cubs a plus outfielder and someone who could track down balls that Soriano and Bradley couldn’t get to. Kosuke Fukudome is basically a fourth outfielder at this point.

Born in Illinois, Granderson would be perfect for the Cubs.

Arizona Diamondbacks: If the Diamondbacks are willing to pick up Brandon Webb’s $8.5 million option and they are looking to sign pitchers on multi-year deals this offseason, then trading for Granderson is not the craziest thing in the world.

A Chris Young for Granderson swap might make sense for both teams. Granderson would bring leadership to the Diamonbacks locker room, which is something they desperately need with all of their young talent.

Young would provide a young, low-cost replacement for Granderson.

New York Yankees: Granderson would be a great fit in the media capitol of the world. He would also be a major upgrade over Melky Cabrera or Brett Gardner. Both of whom are fourth outfielders.

A package including David Robertson would be a good start for the Tigers.

Texas Rangers: With Marlon Byrd and Andruw Jones free agents, the Rangers could use a center fielder. Now, they do have Julio Borbon who can play center field and they could put David Murphy in left and Nelson Cruz in right in 2010.

But if they can get Granderson, then they can put him in center, put Borbon in left, and Cruz in right. This would give the Rangers a superior fielding outfield and would allow Murphy to move into a outfield/platoon roll.

Of course, in both scenarios Josh Hamilton would be the DH for the Rangers.

Chicago White Sox: The White Sox need a center fielder, but there is a better chance of me playing center field for the White Sox than Granderson.

What is fascinating, is that if this was five years ago the Tigers would have no problem finding a suitor for Granderson. But now, there are so many teams who have young, good center fielders, that the market for a player like Granderson is pretty thin.

There is probably more talent now at the center field position than there has been in the last 25 years. From Grady Sizemore to Drew Stubbs to Matt Kemp to Andrew McCutchen, baseball is flooded with talented center fielders.

I am going to say, at the end of the day,  there is a 10 percent chance Granderson gets traded.

*All contract information was supplied by Cot’s Baseball Contracts.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg


Fantasy Week In Review, September 21-27

September 28, 2009

This is it kids — the final week in the regular season and of course, the final week in fantasy baseball. For those of you playing for your league championship this week, good luck.

Here were the fantasy studs and the potential pickups from the fantasy week that was September 21-27.

Fantasy Studs

Ryan Howard: .375/2/14. It seems that the big man always heats up down the stretch. A hot Howard spells trouble for opposing teams in the playoffs.

Ortiz has bounced back from a slow start

Ortiz has bounced back from a slow start

Marlon Byrd: .320/3/11/.433. Byrd is having the best year of his career and is a free agent at the end of this season — convenient.

David Ortiz: .280/3/10/.419. Despite everything Ortiz has been through this season, he still has 27 homeruns and 94 RBI on the season.

Alex Rodriguez: .350/3/8 with three SB’s. Rodriguez and Ortiz on the same list. It’s like a PED festival here at The Ghost of Moonlight Graham.

Joey Votto: .560/1/8. Votto had 11 runs scored and 10 doubles last week. In five years he will be on the ballot for entry into the Paul Molitor Hall of Fame for players if they played in New York, Boston, or Los Angeles would be superstars.

Adrian Gonzalez: .321/2/8/.441. Six months into the season and still haven’t figured out why opposing teams pitch to him.

Zack Greinke: 2-0 with a 0.69 ERA and 13 K’s in 13 IP. Hasn’t Greinke been on this list every week? If you have a vote and don’t vote for him for the Cy Young, you should have your voting privileges revoked.

Joe Blanton: 2-0 with a 3.55 ERA and 13 K’s in 12.2 IP. Blanton has quietly been the Philadelphia Phillies most consistent pitcher this year.

Tom Gorzelanny: 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA and 16 K’s in 12 IP. Gorzelanny is going his best to win a spot in the Chicago Cubs’ rotation in 2010. Remember, he did win 14 games for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2007.

Gorzelanny could be a nice sleeper in 2010.

Rafael Soriano: Three saves with a 0.00 ERA and six K’s in 3.1 IP. Soriano had 16 career saves coming into 2009. In 2009, Soriano has 27 saves and has the highest K/9 rate of his career (11.9/9).

Potential Pickups

Paul Bako: Need a catcher for the last week? Take a look at Paul Bako (something I never thought I would write). He hit .381/1/3 last week in 21 AB’s.

Ronnie Belliard: Belliard is getting regular playing time in Los Angeles. Last week he hit .409/1/3 with seven runs scored.

Jay Bruce: For those of you who dropped Bruce after his injury — shame on you. Bruce has keeper potential and has turned it on as of late.

Bruce hit .500/2/7/.611 last week in 14 AB’s.

One last thing. If you are looking for a New York Yankees Ipod protective case, or a Boston Red Sox cell phone holder, or even a Los Angeles Dodgers Blackberry case — check out Accessorygeeks.com.

Good site with a ton of inventory. They have cell phones, cell phone accessories, Ipod accessories, headsets, and more.

Fantasy Week In Review, June 29 – July 5…

July 6, 2009

I hope everyone had a great July 4th weekend!!! It was finally nice out for more than one day here in the northeast so the bbq’s were grilling, the beach was crowded, and the softball’s were flying.

Last week was a very intriguing week in fantasy baseball. We finally saw everyone’s preseason man crush get crushed and we saw one pitcher who is trying to make a run at something that only two other pitchers (Greg Maddux and Randy Johnson) have done in the National League – win back to back Cy Young awards.

Here are the fantasy studs, players who have us concerned and the potential pickups for the week of June 29 – July 5.

Fantasy Studs

Derek Lee – .250/4/12. Lee only had seven hits during the week, but four of them cleared the fence. That is being efficient.

Albert Pujols – .429/3/8/.571 and one SB. The look on David Weather’s face when Pujols hit the grand slam off him on Friday was priceless.

Casey McGehee – .370/2/10. McGehee is doing just fine filling in for Rickie Weeks.

Shin-Soo Choo – .409/3/9. Any guy who has seven RBI in one game is a fantasy stud.

Marlon Byrd – .450/3/9/.556. Byrd has filled in nicely for Josh Hamilton. Now with Chris Davis being sent down (more on that later), Byrd should continue to get AB’s.

Oswalt was a stud last week

Oswalt was a stud last week

Roy Oswalt – 2-0 with a 1.06 ERA and 14 K’s in 17 IP. Oswalt got off to a slow start, but has really turned it on as of late.

Ricky Nolasco – 2-0 with a 1.13 ERA and 20 K’s in 16 IP. It looks like Nolasco’s time in the minors served him well. Good to see him back to his 2008 form.

Tim Lincecum – 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA and 17 K’s in 16 IP. Lincecum is making a serious run at his second consecutive Cy Young award. If the season ended today, I would vote for him.

Reasons for Concern

Chien-Ming Wang – The New York Yankees placed Wang on the 15-Day DL with a right shoulder strain. At this point, I am confident in saying this isn’t Chien-Ming Wang’s year.

From his early season struggles, to being put in the bullpen, and now to being put on the 15-day DL this season has been a disaster for Wang. He is 1-6 with a 9.64 ERA this season.

There is no time table for Wang’s return.

Randy Johnson – Johnson left Sunday’s game against the Astros with a left shoulder strain. Johnson is going for an MRI today.

Hopefully for Johnson owners, the MRI is just a precautionary move. If it’s anything more, there is a good chance Johnson could be placed on the DL.

Davis was finally sent down

Davis was finally sent down

Chris Davis – Well, well, well everyone’s preseason man crush finally crushed the hopes of fantasy owners across the world. Davis was sent down to Triple-A in order to make room for the returning Josh Hamilton.

Davis was batting just .202 this season and was leading baseball in strikeouts with 114. I am guessing this won’t be the last we will see of Davis this year.

Potential Pickups

Ryan Sadowski – Two starts, two quality starts, two wins, and more importantly – zero runs allowed in 13 innings. As long as he is pitching in the very pitcher friendly AT&T Park, Sadowski has a chance.

As long as he keeps pitching the way he has, he will stay in the rotation for the San Francisco Giants.

Alfredo Aceves – With Chien-Ming Wang headed to the DL, Aceves becomes the likely choice to replace him in the rotation.

I will ignore that Aceves has the most inappropriate nickname in baseball “Ace,” and focus on what he can bring to your fantasy team. With the Yankees’ offense rolling, Aceves should be in line for some five inning, seven to four victories.

Softball Update

It’s been awhile since I have done a softball update, so I thought I would give one today. It’s been a rough couple of weeks for the Vipers. The players we lost from last year’s team that made the finals is starting to show in the lineup. Not being able to score runs in softball is probably the most frustrating thing ever.

We started off 4-1 and now we sit at 6-4 through 10 games.

As for me, I am hitting .520 with three HR’s, nine RBI, and seven runs scored in 25 AB’s. Very Miguel Cabrera-like. I am also fielding like Miguel Cabrera would if he was to play shortstop, but that is a different story.

Two big games for the Vipers this week, so I will give another update next Monday.

Rangers Will Survive Without Hamilton…

June 3, 2009

The Rangers yesterday placed Josh Hamilton on the 15 Day DL with an abdominal strain. Hamilton could miss anywhere from two weeks to two months. That is kind of a wide range, but there is a possibility of surgery if the injury doesn’t improve in two weeks. While losing Hamilton for an extended period of time would be a tremendous loss for the Rangers, all is not lost.

While losing Hamilton for an extended period of time would be a tremendous loss for the Rangers, all is not lost.

Let’s take a look at Hamilton’s contributions to the Rangers so far—they really haven’t been much.

First, Hamilton has only played in 68 percent (35 out of 51) of the Rangers’ games this year. Second, when he has been in the lineup, Hamilton hasn’t been up to the standards he set during the first half of last year.

Hamilton has put up a .240/6/24 hitting line this year and has a dreadful .290 OBP. Granted, Hamilton has played most of the season hurt, but there is no excuse for having only a .290 OBP.

Despite Hamilton’s limited contributions, the Rangers have the second-best record in the AL with a 30-21 mark and currently have a 4.5 game lead in the AL West, so it’s not as if the Rangers have been dependant on Hamilton to win games.

The Rangers have enough good hitters to make up for the time Hamilton may miss.

The Rangers still have four very capable OFs who can hit with anyone. Nelson Cruz is putting up a .295/15/39 line and may be an All Star this year. Marlon Byrd has found a second life with the Rangers and has turned into a very good fourth OF type player. Byrd has hit .303 with four homers and 24 RBI so far this season.

Speaking of second lives, Andruw Jones is back, kids. After being left for dead by the Dodgers and the rest of baseball, Jones has hit .282 with five homers, 14 RBI, and a very, very solid .415 OBP in just 25 games. Jones isn’t a CF anymore, but he has turned himself into a more than capable RF of LF.

The Rangers also have David Murphy, whom they acquired from the Red Sox in the Eric Gagne trade two years ago.

Now, before everyone says that Murphy is only batting is .237 this year and can’t cut the mustard, remember, Murphy did hit .275 last year with 15 home runs and 74 RBI in just 108 games. Over a 162-game season, that’s a 22 home run and 110 RBI pace. Not too shabby.

Let’s also take a step back here for a second. I am not suggesting the Rangers won’t miss Hamilton at all. For me to suggest that would be the height of comedy. Hamilton is the leader of the Rangers and has a certain “aura” about him that makes his teammates gravitate toward him. Any time a team loses their leader, it hurts.

But I do think the Rangers will be able to survive without Hamilton, and I will say this: Whenever Hamilton does comes back, whether that is in two weeks or two months, the Rangers will still be in first place.