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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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Texas Rangers Discourage Fans from Doing the Wave with Humorous Message

The Texas Rangers have become one of the most fan-friendly organizations since new owners took over last year. They’ve broken a Guinness World Record for fans wearing sunglasses at night, and Nolan Ryan has reimbursed fans for some of their expenses. They’re now trying to cater to the fans by discouraging the wave. No joke. Check out this message that made the scoreboard at the ballpark and Rangers telecast according to Stop the Wave:

Even though the message is clearly in jest, it was done as a response to fans who were complaining. Chuck Morgan, the Rangers’ senior vice president for ballpark entertainment, explained the message. “I was getting lots of emails and Tweets from fans during the game asking me to do something to stop the wave. So I said, ‘Let’s see if we can have fun with it.”

Well played Morgan, well played. Now if we could just get him to address all the beach balls at Dodger Stadium and fans running onto the field, then I’ll be satisfied.

Forearm bash to Eye on Baseball

Can 16-Year-Old Dominican Prospect Nomar Mazara be Worth $5 Million Bonus?

The Texas Rangers have made a splash in the international free agency market, spending a reported $9 million to lock up three Dominican prospects. The most notable agreement they appear to have reached is one with 16-year-old outfielder Nomar Mazara, who will be receiving a $5 million bonus according to Enrique Rojas. That’s record money for an international prospect, beating the $4.25 million the A’s gave pitcher Michael Ynoa in 2008. Before we discuss whether or not he was worth the money, let’s share what we know about him.

According to a scouting report on Baseball America, via MLBTR, Mazara is a 6’5″ left-handed hitter. They say he has the best power of any Latin American hitter, but that he also has a propensity for strikeouts. MLBTR says Rojas said Mazara has the best power of a Latin American hitter since Wily Mo Pena and Miguel Cabrera (though we can’t track that quote down).

So now that you know what scouts are saying about Mazara, I ask you the question: is a 16-year-old prospect worth a $5 million bonus?

Spending $5 million on a 16-year-old from the Dominican is not something teams want to do, but it’s something they have to do to win a bidding war, and obviously the Rangers felt Mazara was worth it. If Mazara has the potential to be a Miguel Cabrera-type hitter, then spending $5 million to have him in their system is worth it.

Here’s the issue: can you even tell how good a player will be when he’s 16?

Players don’t develop at 16 in baseball. It’s even difficult to tell how good prospects are when they’re 18. However, for the elite talents — the guys like Ken Griffey Jr., Alex Rodriguez, or Bryce Harper — you can tell they’re that good at 16. If Mazara is in that class, then he’s worth the money. If he’s not, it really isn’t a huge risk for Texas when you think about it.

Rangers Set Sunglasses at Night Record

We told you on Tuesday that the Texas Rangers were aiming to set a Guinness World Record for most people wearing sunglasses in the dark to celebrate the first day of summer. As you can see, EVERYBODY got in on the act. Though they only needed 424 to beat the previous record, most of the 33,533 fans in attendance reportedly wore their sunglasses. Yup, that includes President George W. Bush, and Nolan Ryan. Frankly, Bush couldn’t have been more cool with the shades on than he was in the second Harold and Kumar. As for Ryan, he earned his cool points with his impressive first pitch thrown last year in the playoffs.

Texas Rangers Will Try for Sunglasses in the Dark Guinness World Record Tonight

The Texas Rangers‘ new owners made it known when they took over the team they would try to replicate the model the Angels employed to become one of the most fan-friendly teams in sports. They did so by cutting beer prices and giving fans parking refunds during last year’s playoffs. Now they’re following another example set by the Angels: they’re trying for a Guinness World Record during Tuesday night’s game against the Astros.

According to the Rangers’ site via Hardball Talk, the team “will attempt to set a world record for the most people wearing sunglasses in the dark on Tuesday to celebrate the first day of summer.” Sunglasses will be handed out to the first 30,000 fans in attendance who will be asked to wear the shades for 10 minutes at the end of the sixth inning.

So how do the Angels come into play? Well they’re the same team that attempted a record for fans wearing a wrestling mask last month and fans wearing snuggies the year before. I like the thought and I think it will be fun, but we all know where they’re getting their ideas.

UPDATE: The Rangers did set the record. Check out the picture.

Texas Rangers Slip and Slide on Tarp During Rain Delay at Camden Yards

The Rangers-Orioles game on Friday night was postponed because of rain, but don’t say the Texas Rangers didn’t make the most out of the poor weather before the game was called:

That video of the Rangers using the tarp as a slip and slide comes courtesy of the team’s bullpen catcher, Josh Frasier. Michael Young seemed to be the ringleader, and Josh Hamilton, Ian Kinsler, Adrian Beltre, and a few other seemed to be down. If the team were losing they’d be called fools, but at 6-0, they’re colorful. It’s just another example of the awesomeness that goes on during rain delays of baseball games. If you don’t know what we mean, just check this out.

Thanks to Jimmy Traina on twitter for the heads up.

Adrian Beltre Talking with Texas Rangers, Remains Risky Signing

The Rangers and free agent Adrian Beltre are reportedly close to finalizing a deal to bring the All-Star third baseman to Texas. The deal is said to be worth between $90 and $96 million over six years.

Adrian Beltre first broke into the league with the Dodgers as a teenager. He developed into one of the best young players in the game and peaked in 2004 when he hit .334 with 48 home runs, 32 doubles, and 121 RBIs. It just so happened that that was the final year of his contract with the Dodgers, and he used the monster year to cash in as a free agent.

Beltre headed to the Pacific Northwest to join the Mariners on a five-year $64 million deal. He dropped off in most offensive categories averaging 21 home runs, 34 doubles 79 RBI, and a .261 average with Seattle. The numbers were not bad, but not worth the kind of money he was given. However, you can’t knock his defense — Beltre was in the discussion for the Gold Glove every year and won it in 2007 and 2008.

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