Inbox: Could injuries bring Lohse into picture?
Beat reporter T.R. Sullivan answers Rangers' fans questions
With the loss of Martin Perez and other early developments, are the Rangers going to finally sign Kyle Lohse?
-- Michelle W., Fort Worth, Texas
That is still not likely to happen, according to sources. Word is the Rangers' stance on Lohse has not changed and they are still determined to find a fifth starter from within the organization. At this point, Robbie Ross and Nick Tepesch have become the leading candidates, with Randy Wells also getting consideration. Kyle McClellan's lingering shoulder issues have all but taken him out of the running, but he certainly could end up in the bullpen. The Rangers are still confident that Colby Lewis could be back in the rotation by the end of May and, at this point, they have not increased their interest in Lohse.
Please tell me it isn't true that Nolan Ryan is going to leave the organization.
-- Claudene C., Big Spring, Texas
Ryan is the only one who can tell you that, and he is not talking. But the Rangers have suddenly put themselves in a dismaying state of uncertainty after Friday's announcement about the front-office promotions of Jon Daniels and Rick George, and subsequent (and accurate) speculation Ryan might walk away from his job as CEO. From everything that has been said and heard, that is definitely a possibility and the Rangers need to address it one way or another. The Rangers have a management team that has been quite successful the past four years, but change has always been the one constant in this organization.
Are the Rangers going to put Alexi Ogando in the bullpen again? He has not pitched well this spring.
-- Tim K., Durant, Okla.
Beware of Spring Training feeding frenzies and overreaction to early performances. The Rangers still have almost a month to go before Opening Day and they are still determined to give Ogando every possible chance of being in the rotation. There has been little in the way of discussions about moving him back to the bullpen. It's accurate that Ogando has not pitched well yet, but the Rangers aren't ready to change course after just two outings.
Based on the way they have handled Justin Smoak, Chris Davis and Mitch Moreland, and looking at our prospects, the Rangers don't appear to value first base as much as the other three infield spots. They seem to view first base as primarily an alternate spot for the designated hitter to play. Is this perception accurate?
-- Tom G., San Angelo, Texas
At the Major League level? No. In the farm system? Yes. But that may be changing. The Rangers, at the Major League level, have tried to do everything they can to get the best first baseman possible. That's why there has been so much turnover there. But they still believe Moreland can be the answer. In the Minor Leagues, the Rangers spent a significant amount of time and money trying to find pitching and athletic players who can play in the middle of the diamond -- meaning catcher, shortstop and center field. That left them short of serious offensive power-hitting prospects at the corners, but they have begun to address that. Over the past two years, they have signed and/or drafted some impressive young power hitters, and that could soon become a serious strength of the farm system.
I recently saw that Mark Lowe signed a Minor League deal with the Dodgers. Did the Rangers have any interest at all in re-signing him? Considering they lost Mike Adams and Koji Uehara, should they have re-signed him?
-- Patrick S., Kilgore, Texas
Mark Lowe and Scott Feldman were two pitchers who were ready to part ways with the Rangers. Both were looking for a place where they could possibly have a more meaningful role on the pitching staff. Everybody pretty much decided it was in the best interests of both that they land with another organization.
Have the Rangers considered attempting to sign Grady Sizemore? Before his injuries, he was a dominant left-handed-hitting center fielder with speed and power, but because of his injuries, it seems like they might be able to pick him up for a relatively low price. To me, it seems like a low-risk, high-reward situation.
-- Alec C., San Antonio, Texas
Sizemore is still recovering from his latest knee surgery, and according to his agent, he is not going to sign with anybody until he is completely healthy. The Rangers have had interest in him in the past, but it would be a long shot to think they would sign him now and to expect him to return to his former high level of play. Sizemore has been through much in the past few years.
Is Colby Lewis' return in June the most concrete return date of our injured pitchers? And do you think it would be safe to just let Neftali Feliz sit this year out since his return isn't projected until August?
-- Scott F., Hollidaysburg, Pa.
The Rangers continue to express confidence Lewis will be back before June 1. Feliz is currently throwing on flat ground and hasn't pitched off a mound yet. That probably won't happen until after Spring Training. The Rangers are taking it one step at a time with all their injured pitchers. Feliz will likely pitch in August or September, but it doesn't seem likely that he'll be the electrifying reliever he once was until next season. It takes at least a year to recover from Tommy John surgery but longer than that for a pitcher to really get back to peak performance.
In your opinion, how much of a chance does Leury Garcia have of making the Rangers as a utility infielder out of Spring Training?
-- William W., Murchison, Texas
This was the curious thing about the World Baseball Classic decisions made in Spring Training. The Rangers were serious about looking at Garcia as a utility infielder, but he decided to join the Dominican Republic team, even though his playing time could be minimal. Jurickson Profar, on the other hand, would have had a substantial role on the Netherlands' team, but decided to stay in camp even though he will likely start the season at Triple-A Round Rock. Profar should have been the one to play in the Classic and Garcia is the one who should have stayed in camp.
If Nate Robertson has a good Spring Training and makes the 25 man roster, what are the chances later on in the season he could be a starter or at least a spot starter?
-- Aaron H., Hickory, N.C.
The Rangers have no plans at this point to stretch Robertson out as a starter. He could be an intriguing short-term starting option, but the Rangers like how he is throwing in the bullpen and the plan right now is to leave him there.
Is it true in the current Collective Bargaining Agreement that there are provisions for teams actually trading Draft picks? If so, when a team moves up, do they get the slot money increase?
-- Greg H., Amarillo, Texas
No. Teams are still not allowed to trade Draft choices. They also have to wait at least one year before they can trade any player that they take in the June First-Year Player Draft.
The Rangers received a supplemental pick for Josh Hamilton, does that add to the Draft pool money and how much?
-- David B., Brownwood, Texas
Yes. When a team gets a supplemental Draft pick, they also get a corresponding increase in their Draft budget to sign the player. The increase is equal to the predetermined slot value of the pick. The Rangers received the 30th overall pick as compensation for losing Hamilton.