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Ron Washington: Comparing Mike Trout to Willie Mays has to stop

Angels rookie outfielder Mike Trout is an insanely good athlete. After spending much of the first month of the season in the minors, Trout has wasted no time figuring out how to wear out Major League pitching and make an impact on the game. In 74 games, Trout is leading the American League with a .357 average, 31 stolen bases, 70 runs scored and an on-base percentage of .412. He has also added 15 homers and 47 RBI and played tremendous defense in center field.

For all the aforementioned reasons and more, folks are already comparing the 20-year-old phenom to Willie Mays. Rangers manager Ron Washington says that has to stop.

“He’s not Willie Mays,” Washington said after a loss to the Angels on Sunday according to ESPN.com. “He’s a pretty good player, but I think the comparisons have to stop. Let the kid play. When he’s been here five years, six years, then you can start doing that.”

I couldn’t agree more. Trout is obviously a phenomenal talent with incredible potential as he has shown with plays like this one, but Mays is arguably the best all-around player to ever play the game. As amazing as it is that Trout has already shown he is a five-tool player after just over 100 total Major League starts, that could also mean opposing pitchers have yet to figure him out. Mays played over 20 seasons, hit 660 home runs and drove in nearly 2,000. If Trout continues to produce at a high level for about 1,500-2,000 more games, then the comparisons to Mays would be slightly more justified.

Photo credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

Ron Washington Believes He Would Have Made A’s Winners [Unlikely]

I know, I know. Upon reading the headline, I’m sure your first inclination was to throw in a cocaine joke. Ours too. But we here at LBS are tasteful, and don’t have to resort to such low-hanging fruit when it comes to humor. So we won’t.

Getting to the story, in light of all the Moneyball talk lately, Ron Washington raised some mustaches by telling the San Francisco Chronicle that if he had been named manager of the A’s in 2006, they’d be winning just like the Rangers have.

“If I took this team over when I went to Texas, I believe the same thing we did in Texas, we’d be doing here,” said Washington, referring to Oakland. “Billy (Beane) had that chance. I’m not saying he didn’t want me, but he went in another direction, and another team wanted me.”

Washington was hired to manage the Rangers in early November 2006, while the A’s went with Bob Geren a week or so later. The A’s haven’t had a winning season since, and they have finished third or worst in the AL West in four of the five seasons. Texas, meanwhile, has enjoyed three winning seasons in a row, and even reached the World Series last year. But few people, outside of Ron Washington and Ron Washington’s mother, will argue that Ron Washington is the reason the Rangers have been successful while the A’s have not.

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Ron Washington Pulled C.J. Wilson Too Early and Bullpen Blew it for Texas

If you’re a Texas Rangers fan walking out of the Ballpark in Arlington or done watching Game 1 of the ALCS on TV, you have to be asking yourself “how the heck did that just happen?” The Rangers were up 5-0 in the 7th and on absolute cruise control against the Yankees but wound up losing 6-5. The momentum change in the game was unreal and could cost Texas a chance at the series. Fans are lucky they have their manager Ron Washington to blame for things unraveling so quickly.

Starting pitcher C.J. Wilson was awesome for the first six innings of the game and only got touched up by Robinson Cano who hooked a change up around the right field foul pole for a home run. After the home run in the 7th, Wilson got the next three batters out. Then in the 8th, Wilson allowed an infield hit to Brett Gardner who beat out a ball in the 3-4 hole. Derek Jeter hit a hard ground ball down the left field line right after that, scoring Gardner from first. It was one of the few hard-hit balls Wilson allowed the entire game, yet Ron Washington thought that was the proper time to remove his effective starter. Wilson left with a 5-2 lead in the bottom of the 8th with Derek Jeter at second. And that’s when everything fell apart for the Rangers.

Lefty Darren Oliver walked Nick Swisher and Mark Teixeira to load the bases. Washington pulled Oliver after 13 pitches in favor of Darren O’Day who gave up a laser by Alex Rodriguez that scored two making it 5-4. The very next pitch, Robinson Cano smashed a line drive up the middle off reliever Clay Zapada to score Teixeira and tie the game. Keep in mind that’s two pitchers who made two pitches and gave up three runs. Washington then figured Derek Holland could be the answer. Holland gave up the go-ahead single to Marcus Thames but managed to get the next three men out, not to mention pitch a scoreless 9th. By that time it didn’t matter because the damage had been done.

Ron Washington went through five pitchers in the 8th inning. C.J. Wilson left with a 5-2 lead and only a man on second but Washington thought it was time to pull him. Maybe next time he’ll let his starter keep going, and maybe next time the rest of the bullpen will do their jobs.

Photo Credit: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Ron Washington Used Coke Last Season

A relatively big bombshell in the world of baseball was dropped on Wednesday by SI writer Jon Heyman. Heyman reported that Rangers manager Ron Washington tested positive for cocaine use during the 2009 baseball season. Washington knew he screwed up and even gave the league and his team a heads up prior to the test, alerting them that the test would likely turn up positive. In that respect, Washington took responsibility for his mistake and likely saved his butt by doing so.

While I’m pleased that Washington met the issue head on, it’s still a major concern that a person in his leadership position, one who manages a former major addict like Josh Hamilton no less, snorted coke during the freaking season. Tony LaRussa falling asleep at the wheel while driving (sleeping?) drunk during spring training is bad enough and nothing short of unacceptable. Doing coke is worse, and doing it during the season is even more alarming.

Let’s damn well hope it was a one-time deal for Washington and that he learned you can’t screw around like that, especially when you’re supposed to be setting a strong example for your players. By the way, between the jheri curl, tinted glasses, and old school mustache, was there any question about Washington’s coke use? The dude probably swigs Crown Royal between innings too. Please leave your Josh Hamilton jokes in the comments. I’m sure there are many.

Sources:
Rangers manager Ron Washington tested positive for cocaine last July [SI]