I was just wondering of all the candidates for the Rangers to get in a trade, which one would be most beneficial to Texas? Which one would you like seeing the Rangers acquire the most?
-- Tony A., Austin, Texas
Zack Greinke. He is the one pitcher who could be a "difference maker" in the playoffs. The Brewers are determined to trade him and the Rangers are actively pursuing him. James Shields is a very good pitcher, but I'm not sure he would be a significant upgrade from what they have right now, or could potentially have when Neftali Feliz returns or if Alexi Ogando is moved to the rotation. Josh Johnson? No thank you. His numbers aren't overwhelming and his health is tenuous.
While many of the Rangers' everyday players are slumping offensively, Michael Young in particular sticks out; he is clearly struggling and has been for weeks or months. Will the Rangers address this, or will they allow him to languish and jeopardize the team's chances of winning this year?
-- Andy S., Bryan, Texas
The Rangers' stance on their offense is simple: they are going with the guys they have and they are going to trust their track record, because there is nobody out there available that would be a significant improvement. Not sure why Young sticks out over some of the other hitters in the lineup, but he is certainly one of several that need to get going. It is interesting that he hasn't drawn a walk since the All-Star break.
Is Felix Hernandez "untouchable"? It seems the Mariners should be willing to part with him for the right deal. Could the Rangers acquire King Felix with a package centered around Mike Olt?
-- Kody B., Webster, Texas
The Mariners say they won't trade him. Hernandez is signed through 2014, which is attractive to them. But if they were willing, it would be something for a package like Derek Holland, Jurickson Profar and Olt. Remember we're talking about one of the four best pitchers in the American League, along with Justin Verlander, Jered Weaver and David Price. Interested? Think Hernandez would get the Rangers over the top this year and be a clear upgrade over Holland at the cost of other prospects? That's what you have to consider.
Why not trade Josh Hamilton now while they can get something for him instead of waiting to lose him in free agency?
-- Ron K., Powderly, Texas
Because the Rangers are trying to win this year, and because clubs are looking for pitching, not a slumping outfielder who candidly admits he is in a funk right now. Even if Texas was willing to take that drastic step, I'm not sure Hamilton's trade value is at its apex right now. The Rangers are better off waiting for Hamilton to get hot rather than explore a trade that would get maximum value in return, keep the club on course for the playoffs and not cause a negative backlash inside the clubhouse or with the fans.
Why hasn't Scott Coolbaugh been fired yet? Thad Bosley was fired when the Rangers had that bad stretch, shouldn't Coolbaugh be held to the same standard?
-- Joseph E., Dallas
Probably because Texas leads the league in runs scored, batting average and on-base percentage. Bosley was dismissed for a perceived disconnect with his players. That's not a problem with Coolbaugh. Here is a prediction, and you can throw it back in my face one month from now. Now that the Rangers are finished playing on the West Coast for awhile, their offense is going to get on a roll.
Why did the Rangers stop wearing the home uniforms with the "Rangers" logo? I like the uniforms with "Texas", but I am curious as to why the change?
-- Mark A., Longview, Texas
Texas changes uniforms so often, it's hard to keep up with it all. But at the time, the Rangers were trying to expand their geographical fan base and throw a wider net over the region.
During the last few years, we have heard the term "walk-off" often. What exactly does it mean?
-- Dwight F., Watauga, Texas
Very simple. You score the winning run in the bottom of the ninth, or in the bottom of extra innings, and get to walk off the field in triumphant while a delicious pie in the face or clubhouse suds shower awaits the conquering hero.
How do you feel about Martin Perez's time in MLB? Is he going to come out and be that front of the line starter?
-- Travis H., Fort Worth, Texas
He can pitch, and his velocity could rise as he gets older. Remember, Perez is just 21. He has a real chance to be just as good as Matt Harrison and Holland.
Everyone keeps talking about the Rangers trying to sign another quality starting pitcher before the Deadline, and speculating just who might be available, and also be a good fit for the team as well. Personally though, I feel right now the Rangers' weakest position is catching. I think they need better offense from the catching position, and an upgrade on defense wouldn't hurt either.
-- Ron D., San Marcos, Texas
Again, people are looking for drastic changes to a team that is in first place. Texas could use more offense from several positions. Defensively, the Rangers are happy with the way Mike Napoli and Yorvit Torrealba handle their pitching staff. Good catchers are a premium in the game and not often made available. That's why trading for Napoli last offseason proved to be a shrewd move on the Rangers' part.
Why do the Rangers always have Craig Gentry hit ninth when he starts? With his speed and on-base percentage, wouldn't it be better to have him higher up in the lineup?
-- Aaron R., Carrollton, Texas
Manager Ron Washington is a big believer in putting young players in a position to succeed. Right now, Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus are hitting at the top of the lineup. Both started their careers at the bottom, where Gentry is right now. Washington believes that part of Gentry's extraordinary success comes from not being yet thrust into a high-profile spot in the batting order.
Much guesswork in batting. Takes great hand/eye coordination. During World War II, soldiers were given quick glances at enemy aircraft to improve recognition. Would something like that work to a batter's benefit and help remove some of the guesswork out of one pitch versus another?
-- Bob V., Arlington
Anti-aircraft training? Sounds good to me. If it won the day at the Marianas Turkey Shoot, then why not at the Ballpark in Arlington.