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Texas Rangers and Arizona D-backs

The 2023 World Series participants are now identified, and I for one am surprised but not dismayed.  I will enjoy the show.  I am a non-apologist diehard LA Dodgers fan.  I will always be convinced they can and will win, and I will support them even in their worst times.   Support does not mean that I cannot question.  I will continue to reserve the right to question on the field decision making, on the field play, as well as front office personnel decisions and finance decisions.

But I am also a baseball fan.  So, I plan on watching the World Series.  I will be rooting for Texas, primarily because of Corey Seager.

Both teams lost 100 games two years ago (Arizona lost 102).  How do you go from a 100 loss team to a WS participant in two years?  Both teams got there in different ways.  Texas used the draft, free agency, and trades to get there, while Arizona primarily used the draft and surgical trades.

Texas Pre-Season Acquisitions:

  • FA – Signed RHSP Jacob deGrom, RHSP Nathan Eovaldi, LHSP Andrew Heaney, LHSP Martín Pérez (accepted QO), OF Robbie Grossman.

 

  • Selected the contracts of OF Travis Jankowski and RHRP Ian Kennedy. Both signed MiLB contracts.

 

  • Acquired RHP Jake Odorizzi and cash considerations from Atlanta in exchange for LHP Kolby Allard.

 

Texas at the deadline:

  • Acquired RHSP Max Scherzer and cash considerations from the New York Mets in exchange for INF/OF Luisangel Acuna.

 

  • Acquired LHSP Jordon Montgomery, RHRP Chris Stratton and international bonus pool money from St. Louis in exchange for LHP John King, INF Tommy Saggese, and RHP T.K. Roby.

 

  • Acquired C Austin Hedges from Pittsburgh in exchange for international bonus pool money.

 

Not all organizations that have benefitted from FA did so at the level of what Texas has done.

Of the 26 players to appear in a game for the Rangers this postseason, nine were acquired or retained via free agency. The club got a combined 23.3 WAR (per Baseball-Reference) from these nine players during the 2023 regular season.

That is the 3rd highest bWAR for FA for any MLB team.  2009 NYY FA had a bWAR of 38, and Boston’s 2013 FA had a bWAR of 26.

FWIW, no LAD team is included in the top 10 bWAR for FA.  This should dispel the commentary that LAD buys their teams.  But it will not.

 

Arizona Pre-Season Acquisitions:

  • FA – Signed Andrew Chafin, Evan Longoria, Scott McGough, Zach Davies

 

  • Acquired OF Kyle Lewis from Seattle Mariners for C/OF Cooper Hummel.

 

  • Traded C/CF Daulton Varsho to Toronto Blue Jays for OF Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and C Gabriel Moreno.

 

  • Traded cash to St. Louis Cardinals for LHP Anthony Misiewicz.

 

Arizona at the deadline:

  • Acquired C Francisco Ortiz from Colorado for cash.

 

  • Acquired RHP Paul Sewald from Seattle in exchange for INFs Josh Rojas, Ryan Bliss and OF Dominic Canzone.

 

  • Acquired OF Tommy Pham and cash in exchange for SS Jeremy Rodriguez.

The Gabriel Moreno/Lourdes Gurriel Jr. trade, and the Paul Sewald/Tommy Pham deadline trades have put Arizona into the WS.  Those were great trades for very little cost, and all four have been critical for the D-backs during the year, and especially in the playoffs.  Paul Hazen should get exec of the year for those trades alone.

Both teams benefitted from their respective deadline trades, more than any other MLB team (IMO).

In 2023, Arizona also released veterans, Nick Ahmed, MadBum, Carson Kelly to get younger.

One 2022 deadline trade has generated positive results.  Arizona traded RHP Luke Weaver to KC for 27 year old 3B Emmanuel Rivera.

 

Mike Petriello, MLB, authored a position by position analysis for the Series.  Here are his conclusions.

 Catcher – Jonah Heim (Texas), Gabriel Moreno (Arizona)

Advantage: D-backs (Ever So Slightly)

 

1B – Nathaniel Lowe (Texas), Christian Walker (Arizona)

Advantage: D-backs (Somewhat small)

 

2B – Marcus Semien (Texas), Ketel Marte (Arizona)

Advantage: D-backs (Marte offense over Semien Defense)

 

SS – Corey Seager (Texas), Geraldo Perdomo (Arizona)

Advantage: Rangers (Rather significant advantage)

 

3B – Josh Jung (Texas), Evan Longoria and Emmanuel Rivera (Arizona)

Advantage: Rangers (Clear Advantage)

 

LF – Evan Carter (Texas), Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (Arizona)

Advantage: Rangers (Clear Advantage)

 

CF – Leody Taveras (Texas), Alek Thomas (Arizona)

Advantage: Rangers (Ever So Slightly)

 

RF – Adolis Garcia (Texas), Corbin Carroll (Arizona)

Advantage: Rangers (Throws a Dart)

 

DH – Mitch Garver (Texas), Tommy Pham (Arizona)

Advantage: Rangers

 

SP – Jordan Montgomery/Nathan Eovaldi/Max Scherzer (Texas), Zac Gallen/Merrill Kelly/Brandon Pfaadt – Texas has Dane Dunning/Jon Gray/Andrew Heaney as a 4th starter…Arizona has no 4th starter

Advantage: Rangers (Montgomery and 4th starter give small advantage)

 

RP – Neither is a strength, and can probably be labeled as a weakness for both teams.

Advantage: D-backs (Somewhat small)

 

Mike Petriello prediction – D-backs in 7

 I might have switched Corbin Carroll over Adolis Garcia (even with his ALCS).  Otherwise, I cannot argue with his conclusions on the players.  However, I am picking Texas in 6.

Both teams have a pair of rookies that are playing a significant role this season that is being carried over to the postseason:

Texas (LF Evan Carter and 3B Josh Jung), Arizona (RF Corbin Carroll and RHSP Brandon Pfaadt).

I do not anticipate many changes in the lineups for either team.  Arizona could use Longoria as the DH to face LHSP Montgomery, with Pham going into RF and Carroll to CF with Alek Thomas sitting.  Texas could throw out the same 9 in each game.

Four more wins by one team will get us closer to the Hot Stove League.  Let the games begin.

 

 

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Oldbear48

I think Marte and Semien are dead even offense wise. Semien has more homers and RBIs also more stolen bases. Texas overall has more power by a large margin. Texas also has an advantage in postseason experience. Many of the Diamondbacks have none except what they have experienced so far. Pfaadt did well so far in the playoffs, but he was 3-9 in the regular season. Texas has a huge advantage in the starting pitching department. Both staffs give up a ton of homers.

Dionysus

Bring on the offseason.

Badger

I think the Rangers lineup is deeper and more powerful. I think their pitching is better as well.

These teams are because they played better in the October tournament. They are the 1 in 6 teams.

I played tournament softball for many years. There were numerous times my team was saying “we should have beat them, we’re the better team”. But we didn’t beat them.

What was done is done. The Dodgers players coughed up a three game hair ball. They were the ones hitting and pitching. Nobody but them were on that field of play. Blame management if you choose, but none of them had an at bat or threw a pitch.

I’ll watch some of this series and for reasons already stated, I’ll pull for Arizona.

Bumsrap

Maybe next year the wild card team that advances past their initial playoff series should have to win three games to again advance and the Division winner would only have to win one game to advance. (sarcasm)

I will watch the World Series, not every inning and maybe not every game. I will pull for AZ. They are the NL team and they are in our Division. I’ve watched quite a few games in AZ and none in TX.

I was a big fan of Seager for most of his time with the Dodgers but by the time he left I wasn’t a big fan. I have my reasons but nothing I would want to share to be fair to Seager because it was just a feeling.

As a Joc fan I watched him more closely than I do for other players. He would get on a hot streak and then there would be an off day sandwiched around lefty pitchers and most of the time when he didn’t start for 4 or 5 games it would cause his hot streak to stop cold. I can see where a 5 day break could have cooled the Dodgers this year.

I am not a fan of platoons unless they are less rigid.

Jeff

With today’s win, AZ heads home tied 1-1 with a 3 game series coming up. I’ll take Az, for sure. They’ve beaten some very good teams and are peaking at the moment.

tedraymond

I too will be watching the World Series. And, I’ll be pulling for Texas to win in six games and for the same reason as Jeff D…Corey Seager.

Badger

You’re pulling for a team from Texas because of someone who chose to play there instead of for the team that taught him how to succeed in MLB, the Dodgers. I don’t get it, but, to each his own.

When I was a kid until I was in the service the World Series was between the two best teams in baseball. It’s not that way anymore. It’s just not. This year it’s the 5th best team in the NL against the 4th best team in the AL. May the best team win? Yeah, sure.

Fred Vogel

Easy choice for me…the D-Backs…happy wife, happy life (as I’ve mentioned before, Torey Lovello is my wife’s cousin. As is guitarist, Steve Vai, by the way).

Last edited 6 months ago by Fred Vogel
Singing the Blue

To me, Texas is definitely the stronger team. Therefore, based on how the better teams have done this post season, I’m picking the Dbacks in 4. 😎

I have nothing against either team so will be happy for whichever one ultimately wins it.

Badger

I’ve found that the agony of defeat far outweighs the thrill of victory. Losing the last game of the year against a team you’ve owned sucked the ruby begonia.

That said, I don’t really care who wins this. Texas. Blah. Arizona? I find myself always rooting for the NL but as time goes on my rooting is more shallow. I got a feeling this one won’t draw a large audience.

Bobby

I’m with you, this is not a sexy world series, but, because we’re all obviously big baseball fans, we’ll have it on.

For me, it’ll be on the laptop, on mute, as background while more important things are on tv

Bumsrap

I wonder if AZ runs a lot and wins as a result if fans will want their teams to add speed and run more.

I am also curious why Freddie ran more than Mookie.

Jeff

Freddie has become our ironman. He loves doing it all. He is the least flashiest player on an elite level that I can think of. He has become the heart and soul of this team without being the HR leader. Mookie is a good player but he’s lost something.

Badger

I knew that.

No I didn’t.

Embarrassed to say I never noticed it.

Bumsrap

Another blog listed how AZ and TX acquired their players. Whether drafted, traded for, or signed as free agents there were not that many first round draft picks. It doesn’t matter where in the first round a team picks if the gems come from a later round. There are exceptions as there are exceptional players that have been top 20 picks but its not like winning is determined by payroll or the number of top 20 picks playing on a team in any given year.

Bobby

That’s an interesting point. I know we always hear “the Dodgers always draft low; hence they depth but not superstars.”

I’d love to compile a list of “superstars” and then see where they were drafted.

From quick memory, thinking about our “superstar type” players over this last decade of success (12 straight trips to October is success):

1) Mookie was like a 5th round pick
2) Freddie a 2nd or 3rd round pick
3) Will Smith pick 30 or so,
4) Buehler a late 1st round pick
5) May 3rd round pick (yes, I thought pre first injury he was on his way to the All Star game)
6) Bellinger a 4th round pick
7) Seager pick 16
8) Obvi Kersh top 10
9) Urias and Puig international signings

There are great players to be had after the first 5-10 picks I would think. And we’ve gotten a lot over the years. It seems maybe we didnt’ get as many over the last 5 years, and now we’re seeing “depth” vs “superstar” minor league system.

Oldbear48

Piazza, 62nd round

Badger

The sluggers beat the small ballers in a tight one. Good game that the dbacks had won with their deadline acquired closer on the mound. It appears this might be how it will go in this series. Gotta score 7.

Clutch hitters in important situations. This is how legends are made.

Bobby

Garcia is swinging and hitting everything all over the yard like Arrozarena did in 2020.

Bluto

I love basball so much:

García’s story is part of the appeal, a man who played in Japan and defected from Cuba, who was dumped by the St. Louis Cardinals and, two years ago, even removed from the 40-man roster of these Rangers he is now carrying into history. Rangers general manager Chris Young joked before Game 1: “We don’t always make good decisions.”

Badger

Friedman said 2023 was a “transition” year. Transition to what?

While the Automated Ball-Strike system won’t be used at the major league level next year, Manfred said there have been improvements in tailoring the computer to individual batting stances in minor league testing.

Still, there is no consensus on the shape of the strike zone — umpires call an oval strike zone in the major leagues that has little resemblance to the cubed strike zone in the rule book.
“We have to come to an understanding about what it is we’re going to call,” he said.

So you ADMIT your umpires are both inconsistent and not calling the strike zone. Also, the Hawk Eye system uses 12 cameras to set up its strike zone. As soon as a hitter takes his hitting stance in box the strike zone is determined.

Pretty weak Rob. The system is ready. Use it.

Bluto

Transition to a new core pitching staff? Transition to a new salary budget paradigm?

Bumsrap

Speaking of transitions which choices would anybody make if these were the choices:

Add

  1. Ohtani or
  2. Yamamoto and Montgomery or
  3. Snell, Bellinger, or
  4. Ohtani and Montgomery but no Muncy
Badger

I’d go Ohtani Montgomery and trade Muncy for minor league depth or another pitcher.

Singing the Blue

Yamamoto/Montgomery for me.
Also the Korean outfielder Lee.

That said, I don’t see any way Texas lets Montgomery sign elsewhere. I expect him to get a nice contract to stay with the Rangers.

Therefore, I’d go after Burnes along with Yamamoto.

Badger

The way I figure it, we sign Ohtani free agents are going to want to come here. All of them.

Jeff

If this is a transition year, I would think it would translate to a lower payroll while building their new pitching rotation. I would expect the lower half of the lineup to be filled with either bargains or vets looking for a WS appearance who are willing to take lower wages. This is the most interesting interim since the Coletti days in my estimation. The Dodgers are a cash cow and they want that machine to continue giving milk for many more years. The end of Kershaw signals a new beginning.

Badger

New staff? Yep. A few of them. Salary budget paradigm? I don’t think so. The Dodgers will always spend. I don’t think a salary tax is a problem for them. That said, they seem to be getting outbid on the stars they want.

Jeff

Yes, 100% agreement. Old thinkers cannot give up their habits.

Badger

527 yards. 49 points. To Cal?

Grinch has to go.

Jeff?

Bluto

The state of things:
Merrill Kelly is now the first pitcher to work seven innings in a World Series game in the 2020s. The last pitchers to do it were Stephen Strasburg (8.1 IP) and Gerrit Cole (7 innings twice) in 2019.

this is a totally modern baseball stat.

Back in the 2010s, Bumgarner went at least 7 innings in every one of his four career World Series starts (1 in 2010, 1 in 2012, 2 in 2014) and obviously added a 5-inning relief appearance in 2014 Game 7.

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