All-Star Rumblings

Agree, disagree, comment or discuss among yourselves:

I started watching Monday night. Caught some more before the game last night, and watched a bit during lunch today. I just can't seem to choke it all down. It's just too much.

Sure, it's fun to watch the fans ride Robinson Cano (btw-what's with the ESPN broadcaster saying it's in bad taste? Since when has it been in bad taste to root for your home town favorites? Besides, Yankee hating and Yankee baiting has been a long term tradition. and a downright side hobby for this Tiger fan.) And it was great to watch Prince hit the dunk tank regularly and win. (Haven't seen it yet, just heard about it during the game.

But this is just WAAAy too long. The old Home Run Derby from our youth was sweet (at least, that's the way it lives in my memory.) Half an hour during rain-delays or other holes in the schedule, two big leaguers head to head, playing the role of commentator when the other guy hits. Nice. Compact. What we have today has lost that sweetness. It's obese.  I know, with the high-priced, world-wide talent we have today, we can't go back and re-create yesterday. But maybe there's another way. How about creating a series of half-hour shows and playing them? Could be a mini-series, all filmed the day before the All-Star Game.   They could still make millions by selling out the ball park, and showing the series could create a great revenue stream.


So it was a blowout, and not at all exciting. But like Ranger manager Ron Washington says, "That be baseball!"

Maybe Verlander just gave us his worst inning of the year, or career, and got it out of his system. So what? (Maybe Ron Washington wouldn't agree with me, since he's had his team play and lose two World Series as the visiting team.)

By the way, I know we all joke that we could just turn down the TV's volume and enjoy the game just as much. But am I getting hard of hearing in my old age, or does the audio guy have the crowd noise cranked up so loud you have trouble hearing the broadcasters? Particularly in a game like this, where we saw a lot of players we don't often get the chance to see, and with so many young stars, cogent commentary would be nice.

(This isn't just baseball, but most other sports.)

The Futures Game: Are we shopping for a shortstop?

According to the following from the Dallas morning news, the Rangers are way overstocked at young talent at short. Of course, Elvis Andrus is an All-Star and doing incredibly well both with the stick and in the field, but they have this kid Profar at AA Frisco Roughriders (just 15 minutes from my house!) He's still a few years from the bigs, but has great potential. Maybe the Tigers could pick up some of the Rangers' excess somehow.

Rangers rich at shortstop with Elvis Andrus, Jurickson Profar, but a decision could loom soon

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — On Sunday at Kauffman Stadium, Rangers prospect shortstop Jurickson Profar held the attention of a throng of scouts at the Futures Game even before he homered in a two-hit performance.

“He makes plays I’ve only seen a few guys ever make,” a National League East scout

Jurickson Profar, SS, double-A Frisco: Profar trudged along at his typical pace, going 6-for-21 with a double and a homer this week. He also walked twice and struck out four times. Profar, who's hitting .292/.370/.476 this season, is fifth in the Texas League in total bases and tenth in on-base percentage. He's also part of an odd trend for a speedy Frisco roster -- all of the Texas League's top five triples leaders are Rough Riders.

On Tuesday at Kauffman Stadium, Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus will make his second appearance on the American League All-Star team.

“Each year, he gets better,” manager Ron Washington said when All-Star teams were unveiled. “He’s a guy that wants to be in the spotlight. He wants to be the man.”

The Rangers have an All-Star shortstop in Andrus, who turns 24 in August, and an uber-prodigy at shortstop in Profar, who turned 19 in February. They have more shortstops backed up in the player-development pipeline.

That falls under the heading of “Embarrassment of Riches at Shortstop.” Shortstops and catchers are the currency of the game. A club rich in either position deals from strength.
“It’s the toughest position to get one guy in,” general manager Jon Daniels said. “To have a couple of good upper-level players helps us as an organization.”

This marks the first time since 2006 that a team placed a shortstop in the All-Star Game and the Futures Game. The Rangers had Michael Young and Joaquin “Spider” Arias, who fell by the wayside as many prospects do. Atlanta had Edgar Renteria and Yunel Escobar, whose promise convinced the Braves that they could include Andrus in a deal with the Rangers for Mark Teixeira in 2007.

Baseball officials at the Futures Game said a more apt comparison for Andrus-Profar is Barry Larkin-Kurt Stillwell with Cincinnati a generation ago.

Stillwell, the second overall pick in the 1983 draft, started 64 games at shortstop for the Reds in 1986. A year later, he shared the position with Larkin, the fourth pick in the 1985 draft. After the 1987 season, the Reds decided they had to pick one shortstop and went with Larkin.
Stillwell, traded to Kansas City, had a solid career that included one All-Star selection. Larkin had a Hall of Fame career with the Reds.

The Rangers will face a similar choice sooner than later. Profar could be major league ready within a year if his body continues to fill out. Andrus can become a free agent after the 2014 season. The options include a trade, a position switch for one or a departure via free agency.

If the Rangers push to add a top-end starting pitcher this month, they will be asked for Profar in return. After the 2010 season, they balked when Kansas City asked for Profar in a trade for right-hander Zack Greinke. He went to Milwaukee and could be available again soon.

The Rangers watch and wait. Until a real possibility presents itself, they will ride Andrus and allow Profar to develop at his own rate, which is to say rapidly.

“These guys love to play the game,” Daniels said. “They have winning personalities. They don’t back down from the big moment. If anything, they take their game to the next level. Those are the exciting things for me.”

Profar is spending his summer in Frisco, about 35 miles from Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. He had a chance to take in a major league game earlier this season but declined.

“When I go there, I want to go there to play,” Profar said.

Profar has handled what is considered the most difficult jump in a player’s career: from Class A to Double-AA. A switch-hitter, Profar ranks among the Texas League’s top 10 in five offensive categories, topped by a sixth-place in OPS at .840. He has 18 errors, but that reflects the poor quality of some Texas League infields more than his fielding. Defense is Profar’s strength.

For Frisco manager Steve Buechele, the former Rangers third baseman, the most impressive part of Profar’s game has been his ability to play at a high level on a daily basis. There are none of the rises and falls that mark many other young players.

“I’d heard a lot about him,” Buechele said. “There are very few guys who everything you hear about them is true. He’s one of the guys who lives up to everything.”

The advance billing for Profar began in 2004, when he led Curacao to the Little League World Series at age 11. He signed with the Rangers in 2006 for a $1.55 million bonus and has been on an upward course since.

Andrus hears the tub-thumping for Profar but insists it is not bothersome. Andrus said he is not concerned about the possibility of Profar running him out of town.

“Does he make me nervous?” Andrus said. “No. I don’t think nervous. I’m here, and I’m going to play hard. Whatever they decide to do in the future, it’ll be good for me and good for him.

“He’s a great kid. He reminds me of myself, only he’s smarter. You don’t see that quality in a kid. The way he plays in the field, the way he handles himself, that’s what I like.”

This has been the best of Andrus’ four seasons. He has eliminated the careless errors and has developed extra-base power as his body has matured. Andrus began Sunday’s play with 26 extra-base hits, nine fewer than last season’s total.

Profar’s rise has not served as motivation, Andrus said. He considers Profar a friend, not a professional rival.

In spring training, Andrus developed a relationship with Profar and turned into a mentor for him. The veteran Renteria did that for Andrus when both were with Atlanta.

“I want him to be as good as he can be,” Andrus said. “I’m going to teach him all I can and help him all I can.”

Profar realizes the need to balance eagerness with patience. He can see the majors from Frisco but understands the gap is more than mere miles. And he does not fret about how the Rangers will resolve the shortstop riddle.

“If I keep playing hard and take care of myself, good things will happen,” Profar said.


  1. I have no interest in the MLB All Star game. Haven't watched one since the late '70s.

    1. You may be on the right track there, TH! (I know my wife would appreciate four days of no baseball in the middle of summer!)

  2. The Home Run Derby has run its course. It's like the NGA slam dunk contest. YAWN. The game of baseball is so much more than hitting home runs. But the thing sells out every year and the crowd gets a thrill. I don't see it going away.

  3. So, back to the shortstop thing. How about (get ready, big trade here) the Rangers give up Elvis Andrus, and Josh Hamilton (just the rest of this year on his contract) for Miguel Cabrera? (Tigers might have to throw in one of their crappy shortstops to help the Rangers get through the next year or so til Profar is ready.)

  4. whatever the Tigers do I hope they do NOT trade Nick Castellanos.