Inbox: Will Texas trade for top-notch starter?
Rangers beat reporter T.R. Sullivan answers fans' questions
Do you see the Rangers making a big trade for Zack Greinke or Cole Hamels before the Deadline?
-- Louis B., Fort Worth, Texas
The Rangers are scouting both. So is every other contender. Texas is downplaying the possibility, but that's not surprising. That's standard operating procedure.We know the Rangers' rotation down the stretch will include Yu Darvish, Matt Harrison, Colby Lewis and Derek Holland. That leaves Roy Oswalt now and Neftali Feliz later. Feliz could be ready to return to the rotation right at the Trade Deadline. Oswalt has three more starts before the Trade Deadline. If he pitches like the team expects, it will lessen the need for Texas to acquire somebody else. If he falters, it will come down to how the Rangers feel about Feliz and if they are willing to aggressively pursue one of the pitchers on the market. Though you said the Rangers don't want to trade Mike Olt, what about a straight swap with the Phillies for Hamels or the D-backs for Justin Upton?
-- Bret B., Oklahoma City
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On the other hand, at some point in the next year or two, Texas is going to need Olt in its lineup and have him stay there for awhile. No interest in trading him for Upton.I'd like to see the Rangers pursue Ryan Dempster of the Cubs to bolster our pitching rotation. I've always liked him and he's having a great year so far. Could you see Dempster as a potential trade target for the them?
-- Wes W., Waxahachie, Texas
Right now, Dempster is the hottest pitcher in baseball. He could bolster any rotation. How much better is he going to be than Oswalt and/or Feliz though? Dempster has never been considered as good as Oswalt before. Look, if Feliz is healthy for the final two months, he could end up being as dominating as any pitcher the Rangers acquire from the outside.It has been said many times that Texas does not like negotiating with players during the season, because it might possibly create a distraction. Josh Hamilton has had at least two interviews lately implying that he feels he does not owe the Texas Rangers anything. As a Rangers fan, I find those types of comments unfair to the entire Rangers organization. It seems as if the club has gone above and beyond to help Hamilton get his career and, more importantly, his life back on track. He certainly does not owe the team a contract, but he does owe them respect. Is there any concern that Hamilton's interviews about his contract will cause a distraction in the clubhouse?
-- Pam G., Dallas
Hamilton has tremendous respect for the Rangers, and it's mutual. Texas has done a lot for Hamilton, but he has done a lot for the organization. He had something to do with two trips to the World Series, a place the team had never been before.Look, Hamilton is a free agent. That's just the way the system works, and we've been down this road before with some of the greatest players in Rangers history. Hamilton has the right to secure the best contract possible, for whatever reason. But here is what people are forgetting. The Rangers have the right to walk away from Hamilton and let him go elsewhere. They have the right to turn their back on him, just like they did with Ivan Rodriguez in 2002 and C.J. Wilson last year. This comes down to Hamilton doing what he feels is right and the Rangers doing the same. If there is mutual interest, it will get done. Why do our batters just let the good balls go by and strike at the outside-the-box balls? Like Ian Kinsler, Mike Napoli, and a few others, that's the reason why we can't win a lot of the games. Do they ever check out the ballplayers on other teams? They need to practice hitting the balls, most of them are the first pitch.
-- Ruth S., Cedar Hill, Texas
The Rangers are in first place by five games and they lead the league in runs scored. Isn't that good enough? All right, their offense hasn't been as that good lately.Two theories, both of which manager Ron Washington doesn't agree with. The team has played an excessive number of games the past two months on the West Coast in pitcher-friendly environments, and that hasn't helped the club's overall production. Secondly, they've had some starting pitching issues over the last two months, the Rangers find themselves behind early in the game, and that puts more pressure on the offense to come back. It also keeps Washington from trying to do some things to manufacture runs. I love the fact that Robbie Ross has to wear his get-up out to the bullpen, because he is a rookie. What are some of the other gags the vets pull over the rookies?
-- Andrew B., Memphis, Texas
The big one is when the team takes the rookies' clothes out of their locker after an away game and forces them to dress in ridiculous costumes or dresses on the team plane. The Hooters uniforms one year were a big hit.When the Astros join the AL West next season, who will be the Rangers' "natural rival" during Interleague Play?
-- Matt R., Wichita Falls, Texas
Colorado is the leading candidate, considering its relatively close proximity. Arizona would be another.Can you explain to me why the organization does not do something with the Hall of Fame located at the Ballpark? I visited the Hall of Fame during a recent game, and it was sad to see. For a team with a 40-year history and a loyal and growing fan base, there should be a professionally-developed museum-quality type Hall of Fame along the lines of Cooperstown to tell our Texas Rangers story. Why has this part of the Rangers experience at the Ballpark been ignored?
-- Larry B., Fort Worth, Texas
Over the past three years, the organization has spent a significant amount of money in upgrading the Ballpark, and it has done an extensive amount of studying about how to best use the space available while maximizing revenue and the fan experience. One project was to actually have a real "Hall of Fame," which the Rangers didn't have before. They did so by converting the old museum into a special events area for group entertainment. It's an ongoing evolving project.In Interleague Play, home teams enjoy a double advantage; playing on their own field by their own league's rules. With the changes next season to Interleague Play, would MLB consider playing Interleague games by the visiting team's rules? Besides reducing the extreme home-field advantage, fans would get to see baseball in their home park played by the opposing leagues rules.
-- Bruce A., Fort Worth, Texas
This is under discussion, and Commissioner Bud Selig recently said he is in favor of it. Look for this quirk to be implemented in the next year or two.I know when Rangers Ballpark in Arlington was being constructed, they moved the foul poles from the old Arlington Stadium to the new stadium. Are they still using the same foul poles? What else from the old stadium is being used at the current stadium?
-- Brian M., Forney, Texas
The foul poles are still there, but they are all that remains from the old stadium, except my press box chair, which has been in my home study since the Ballpark in Arlington opened.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.